AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Top 10 Cheapest SUVs
With the growing crossover segment, the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market is slowly dying. Still, it’s got life in it yet and no cute-ute can replace the pure utility of a go anywhere, do anything body-on-frame Sport Utility Vehicle.
If you’re in the market for one and the Cadillac Escalade is a bit out of your budget, AutoGuide has compiled a list of the top 10 cheapest SUVs available today. True, they’re not all strict SUVs. Nonetheless, these are all seriously capable machines.
Strategic Vision has announced the winners of its 2013 Total Quality Index (TQI), with American automakers reinstating their position in some very competitive segments.
The Durango has been a hit for Dodge, bringing back SUV buyers to a brand that has shed numerous products over the past few years.
While equipped with a standard (and efficient) 3.6-liter V6 engine, as a truck (and a sizable one at that), rising gas prices could send potential buyers away from the Durango and into something smaller. In order to keep pace with such changes Dodge is moving up the introduction of the 2014 model, which will see a several mile per gallon improvement thanks to a transmission with two extra gears.
According to one source the 2014 Durango will launch in May of 2013, sporting the same 8-speed automatic transmission that is already being used in the Chrysler 300 and which is expected to make its way under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee soon.
In addition to that update, also look for the addition of the Chrysler brand’s larger 8.4-inch LCD screen as a part of the Uconnect system.
Dodge will be showing off a flashy Durango “Tow Hook” at this year’s SEMA Show, featuring a vibrant four-coat orange and satin-black color scheme that has been applied inside and out on the vehicle. Accenting the bright orange paint is a satin-black roof, bumper and hood accents, and blacked-out lighting. On all four corners are 22×9.5-inch forged Superalloy wheels paired with Pirelli rubber.
The custom Durango Tow Hook also sports a throatier note thanks to a custom Corsa exhaust system, aiding in giving the Durango some additional horsepower as well. Finishing touches on the outside include a Piano Black split-crosshair grille and suspension lowering the Durango by almost an inch.
On the inside, the black, perforated Mopar Katzkin leather is accented by orange leather trim, stitching and piping. For seat inserts, perforated Barracuda suede was used while smooth suede bolsters with orange stitching and silver metal brush trim is shared on the dash and just above the glove box.
AutoGuide will be sure to stop by the Chrysler booth to check out their huge collection of vehicles at this year’s show.
See the complete 2011 SEMA Show preview here and look for full coverage starting November 1st.
The Evoque was up against some stiff competition this year. Other contenders up for the award included BMW X3, Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, MINI Countryman, Saab 9-4x and Volkswagen Touareg.
According to Motor Trend, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque passed each of its six criteria for the distinction (Advancement In Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance Of Intended Function) with flying colors.
Based on the Land Rover LR2, the Evoque is an evolutionary leap over its predecessor, says Motor Trend. Even though it shares a platform with the LR2, the Evoque performs considerably better in every way. “The Evoque is meant to appeal to the buyer who ranks style, content, and fuel efficiency above approach and departure angles,” says Motor Trend.
Just a few of Evoque’s perks that wowed the judges included its Terrain Response handling and AWD system, its stylish design, roomy cargo area, emission reduction, improved fuel economy and impressive value (it has a price tag of $43,995 – not too shabby when you see all the great features it comes with).
Discuss this story at RREvoqueForum.com
Toyo Tires has just announced their vehicle lineup for this year’s SEMA Show, bringing four high-profile and customized vehicles to their booth and announcing three of them today.
Headlining the debuts will be the Toyo Tires Ultimate Ride Sweepstakes 2011 Dodge Durango, which will also be given away to a lucky winner. Along with the Durango, Toyo will have a 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor, a 2011 BMW 5-Series customized by Wald, and a yet-to-be-announced vehicle at their booth.
The giveaway Durango is a Mineral Gray Metallic Heat Edition 4×4 features a set of Toyo Proxes ST II rubber matched with 22-inch Savini Forged SV28c wheels. The Durango is further modified with a Magnaflow exhaust system while Mega Motorsports outfits it with a custom Alpine Audio entertainment system. Roadwire further modifies the interior with black leather upholstery contrasted with blue stitching. Up front is a T-REX four-piece flat black mesh grill featuring a UFC logo. Those attending the show will have the opportunity to scan a QR code to automatically enter themselves into the giveaway.
Second on the list is a custom Ford F-150 Raptor done by Street Concepts. The exterior features a Snow Camo vehicle wrap with 20×9-inch matte black Fuel Boost wheels wrapped with Toyo’s Open Country M/T rubber. The F-150 will be show-ready at SEMA thanks to Icon Vehicle Dynamics’ suspension, Brembo brakes, new bumpers and lighting. On the inside, Street Concepts gave the interior a carbon fiber-wrapped interior accented by black Alcantara. Kenwood supplies the in-car audio on this truck project.
Last of the announced vehicles will be a complete Wald F10 Black Bison, a customized 2011 BMW 5-Series. The 5-Series will feature a full Wald Black Bison body kit with 20-inch Wald R12 two-piece wheels paired with Toyo Proxes T1 Sport UHP tires.
The fourth vehicle remains a secret but Toyo promises it’ll be a crowd-stopping show car. Autoguide.com will be sure to stop by Toyo’s booth at this year’s SEMA Show to see these masterpieces in person.
GALLERY: Toyo Tires 2011 SEMA Lineup
Chrysler is issuing a recall for a small number of vehicles equipped with the new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6. According to the automaker a total of 657 vehicles may be affected and could exhibit a loss of power as a result of manufacturing debris left in the engine.
Chrysler saw the problem was caught early on, but not until those 657 models had been shipped out. Models affected include the Chrysler 200, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Journey, Durango, Grand Caravan and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Chrysler says it will be sending out letters to retail and fleet customers in October, but that the majority of the vehicles have yet to be sold.
Hard-hitting Consumer Reports, recently tested a plethora of updated Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, revealing that while Detroit’s number three automaker has made significant gains in terms of vehicle improvement, levels of quality between vehicles remain varied and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Speaking at CR’s Auto Test Center, located in East Haddam, Connecticut, David Champion, senior director at the center, said, “we see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”
The models rated as the most significantly improved, were the re-designed seven-passenger Dodge Durango SUV and the 2011 Charger full-size sedan, both of which received ‘very good’ ratings during CR road tests.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan also received a ‘Very Good’ rating, however other vehicles tested at the same time, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, as well as Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, while still improved over their predecessors, were still rated as ‘mediocre’ by the publication.
Consumer Reports also said that in terms of overall reliability, based on its Annual Auto Survey, Chrysler vehicles still rank below average, in fact scoring the lowest overall road test scores for any major automaker. In the last three years, CR has only only given a single Chrysler vehicle a ‘recommended’ rating, the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup.
The results from the eight 2011 Chrysler models tested will appear in the August issue of Consumer Reports, the publication had planned to also include the Fiat 500, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, but those vehicles weren’t available for testing at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see what the magazine makes of those when it gets around to evaluating them.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Dodge‘s trademark cross-hair grille, the front end treatment that has been the hallmark of the brand’s styling for years, will become the sole domain of the Ram truck brand, as the Chrysler division moves toward a new look for future products.
“It takes time. We will evolve the products,” Ralph Gilles, CEO of Dodge and Chrysler’s design chief, told Automotive News. “We did as much as we could with the split cross-hair grille,” he said. “We had to be careful because the cooling work was pretty much done when we decided to rebrand the vehicles. That will continue evolving over time.”
No plans were divulged with regards to Dodge’s new look, but with cars like the new Charger leading the way, and attempting to target a different kind of buyer, perhaps a more mature look is in line for the brand as Chrysler moves upscale, and Dodge has been seperated from Ram Trucks, which understandably needs to project a macho image.
[Source: Automotive News]
Mere months after workers at Chrysler’s Jefferson North factory were caught drinking and smoking marijuana on their lunch breaks, three employees were arrested by law enforcement agencies after Chrysler tipped off police regarding workers who continued to abuse substances while on the job.
The workers were arrested on January 24th, but have yet to be formally charged, according to a spokesman for the Michigan State Police. Chrysler confirmed that they were co-operating with police on the matter. The company released a statement to the media, remarking “In this instance, Chrysler Group cooperated with the County of Macomb Enforcement Team in the arrest of suspected employees at Jefferson North who were allegedly in violation of state law.”
A local Fox affiliate caught workers on video engaging in similar behavior last fall. The Jefferson North plant builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, two vehicles that have won widespread acclaim from consumers and the media.
[Source: The Detroit News]
Show of hands: who has actually read the owner’s manual that came with their car? Yep, that’s what we thought… not that many of you. Because so few of us actually get around to reading it, Dodge has come up with an app for that.
Dodge and Mopar make it easier for owners by offering a free, new smartphone application that puts the information at your fingertips. You can bring up vehicle operation, maintenance and warranty information, product feature video demonstrations, connections with fellow owners via the company’s brands on social media sites and access to customer care and 24-hour road-side assistance. This is one owner’s manual you won’t shove in the glove box.
Another bonus: since it’s a digital system, any changes Dodge makes to the manual are made in real time, so you’ll get them the moment they are updated.
In the US, owners of the new Dodge Durango and Charger can download vehicle information applications to select personal smartphones. The app will be available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices on major mobile carriers.
Finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year have been announced, with Chrysler dominating the truck field, and electric vehicles comprising 2/3rds of the car category.
The Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, both built on the same platform, were nominated in the truck category, as well as the re-designed Ford Explorer.
In the car segment, both the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are nominated, with the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T as the lone traditional car.
The jury deciding on the awards is made up for 49 journalists from the United States and Canada. 50 vehicles are sampled, while only 14 make it to the second round.
The outgoing Chrysler 300 was a great value thanks to a number of cost cutting initiatives, like sharing a platform with Mercedes-Benz’s old E-Class and using interior materials made out of melted down children’s toys. That might have been passable five years ago, but with even small cars boasting high quality interiors, the awful tortoise shell trim and cheesy analog clock isn’t going to cut it anymore.
With most of Chrysler’s new offerings getting substantially upgraded interiors, the 300 range wasn’t going to miss out, and the first officially released photo looks pretty good, echoing products like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and the upcoming Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango. We’ll likely get our first look at the car during the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, and you can check back starting January 10th for live shots.
[Source: Automotive News]
The 2011 Durango had yet another “official” debut at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, with Dodge front man Ralph Gilles telling the assembled journalists how proud he is to show off his portfolio now, with six new or newish models in the lineup – including the all-new Durango.
While Gilles talked at length about how each and every model in this new lineup will surpass any expectation you may have of a new Dodge lately, he admitted that he is most proud of the Durango. He said the handling, overall performance, and materials are particularly praiseworthy, and then he announced the pricing, which make it seem quite the bargain. Available in three trim levels, (well four if you count an optional package thrown in on the mid-line Crew model), base pricing of the new Durango will range from $29,195 / $31,195 for the 2WD/4WD entry level Express models, up to $41,795 / $43,795 for the range-topping Citadel.
The new base engine is a 290-hp 3.6L V6 and with a 6,200 lb tow rating, while the top-level 5.7-liter Hemi V8 can pull 7,400 lbs.
Optional equipment on the new Durango includes items like Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Keyless Enter-n’ Go.
GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Durango Debut in LA
Official release after the jump: