Posts Tagged ‘Challenger’


Chrysler Group: Chrysler didn’t show any new models, but it did show some awesome updated and special edition models. And of course, this is the Los Angeles debut of the 2013 SRT (Street Racing and Technology) Viper.

The 2013 SRT Viper is one mean-looking snake. Move over Corvette, the Viper is finally more user friendly, while still packing a mean bite with the 8.4L V10 making 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

The 2013 SRT Viper from the rear. This beauty has no bad angles. Prices start at $97,395. Something this pretty doesn’t come cheap.

There was scant information about this 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T. I love the stripes and amber running lights.

This was a Mopar Concept Car – a Dodge Challenger with a big engine under the hood (note the bump) and a mean purple paint job.

This is another Mopar Concept car – The Dodge Charger Juiced. This lovely orange-copper colored beast has the Viper V10 engine stuffed under the hood. Talk about muscle!

This 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye has a factory matte paint job and it was quite sharp. You too can order it this way.

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler with the Rubicon 10th Anniversary package. It also has some cool Mopar accessories like that mean winch on the front bumper. The red leather interior was very sharp, I’m just not sure it would do well in open or off-road motoring or in mud.

Another popular Mopar Concept is this Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sand Trooper with Chrysler’s 5.7L Hemi V8 and a 5-speed automatic. The tires and wheels are ridiculous but it would be a wet dream for serious off-roaders.

The rear view of the Jeep Wangler Unlimited Sand Trooper.

The interior of the Mopar Concept Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sand Trooper is mostly stock. Most of the modifications were under the hood as well as the chassis, suspension, off-road accessories and 4-wheel drive hardware.

Ford: Ford had several interesting new models in Los Angeles. The biggest news, of course, was the LA premier of the all-important 2013 Fusion. It’s a volume leader for Ford and with Aston Martin-ish handsome face, it will be a serious treat to the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Volkswagen Passat.  The only engines offered will be 4-cylinder, with the top of the line being a 2.0L EcoBoost making  240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.  The Fusion Hybrid is rated at 47 mpg – city or highway, besting the Camry, Sonata and Optima hybrids as well as the Passat TDI.

2013 Ford Fusion. Check out that Aston Martin grille.

This 2013 Ford Fusion has a Euro Series styling package by 3d Carbon-Air Design

The interior of the 2013 Ford Fusion is all high-tech. However, I found some of the controls didn’t respond quickly to my touch and I accidentally pressed surface controls that I didn’t want to change or activate.

Ford’s Mustang is getting very old and is due to be replaced in the Spring of 2014 with an all-new, completely modern model to celebrate Mustang’s 50th Anniversary. In the meantime, Ford just keeps adding horsepower and styling packages to keep up interest.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible is always a crowd favorite. I mean who doesn’t like 662 HP, 631 lb-ft of torque and a price tag of $68.,710?

The white leather stripes make for a nice continuation of the paint stripes on the outside of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible.

Ford also introduced a refreshed 2014 Fiesta. The headline in the redesign isn’t the exterior, but that for the first time in decades, it will be offered with a 1 liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. The little mill whips out 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque and should be good for at least 40 mpg highway.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta with the 1.0L 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

To please the enthusiast crowd, Ford also showed the 2014 Fiesta ST.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST. Note the grille looks more like the 2013 Fusion.

Ford is jumping back into the minivan market, albeit in a completely different way.  Ford’s little Transit Connect commercial van has been selling well since it went on sale a few years ago. Now it’s time for a refreshed Transit Connect and with that refresh comes a consumer minivan option. It’s definitely a Euro-flavor van as it’s quite tall and shorter than something like a Chrysler Town & Country.  I think it will find a new type of buyer – a family which may not want a traditional minivan or a big SUV.  I think it’s pretty cool!

2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

The interior of the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

The rear of the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon (don’t call it a minivan) can easily be reconfigured for passengers or cargo. Sliding doors are on both sides. And it should be more fuel efficient than a traditional minivan.

Honda: The big news was the redesign of the Honda Civic for the 2013 model year. However, I’ll cover that in another post as it happened on Day 2 of the auto show.

Honda did have an interesting little hybrid concept called an EV-STER and it also showcased the new 2013 Plug-In Accord Hybrid.

Honda EV-STER Concept. It’s small and cute… I doubt it will ever see production.

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

Hyundai: The big reveal was the 2014 Santa Fe – long wheel-base version.  However, I’ll cover that on Day 2. On Day 1, the fun Concept Veloster Roll Top opened some eyes. If you don’t like the Veloster, you won’t like the Concept, but I really like the sporty and high-style concept of the Veloster, so the Roll Top concept for an active lifestyle hit the right note.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo C3 Roll Top Concept

Everyone needs a custom bike to put in the back of your custom concept car, right? Very cool Veloster C3 Roll Top rear hatch.

Infiniti: The LA Auto Show got nothing from Nissan’s luxury brand.  The LE Concept has made the rounds of auto shows for over a year now, finally landing in LA.  Is this its final resting place?  The LE is based on the all-electric Nissan Leaf platform and it shows nicely, but I was tired of seeing it in photos before I was bored seeing it in person. Hey, Infiniti, time for some new product, right? And I don’t mean the JX – a luxury version of the Nissan Pathfinder SUV.

Infiniti’s all-electric LE Concept.

Jaguar: The 2014 Jaguar F-Type roadster was probably the highlight of the LA Auto Show. I have more pictures of it from Day 2 that I will put in another post. There’s no denying the Sexy Kitty and the F-Type is a sure hit, even if it’s a low volume one. It’s more of a halo car for Jaguar, something the brand sorely needed. The Old XK Cat has been face lifted more times than Joan Rivers and while we will eventually get a new XK, I almost don’t care as the F-Type is so delicious.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S’ supercharged engine makes 495 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a ZF 8-speed automatic.  It looks sensational in orange. Can you say tiger?

The rear of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S has a spoiler that rises out of the rear deck lip.

The interior of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S looks like a lovely place to spend many hours on the open road. The electronic shifter appears to be lifted straight out of a BMW.

Jaguar also showed an updated XF sedan. The screaming blue example on the floor refuses to be ignored. I have more pictures from Day 2 which I’ll put in another post.

The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S.

The business end of the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S. Hear its supercharged V8 roar as it blasts past you.

Kia: The Kia Sorento mid-size SUV is all new for 2014. It features both four and six-cylinder engines and improved fuel economy.  It’s much more stylish than the Toyota Highlander.

The 2014 Kia Sorento is rides on an all-new platform.

Interior of the 2014 Kia Sorento.

Lexus: Toyota’s luxury division didn’t have anything new for the LA Auto Show, but it did have some very cool (albeit recycled) concept cars.

The Lexus LF-CC Concept previews the upcoming new IS. However, I can’t believe the production IS will ever look this good.

The Lexus LF-LC Concept Coupe was also sensational. Now if Lexus would actually produce an IS or GS coupe and/or convertible that looks this good.

On the production side, the GS F-Sport models are looking good.

2013 Lexus GS F-Sport. The ground effects package give it a sportier appearance.

I think Lexus nailed the interior of the new GS. The horizontal lines work and the matte colors in the F-Sport look, well, sporty.

Lincoln: The big news is the 2013 MKZ, which was introduced on Day 2 of the show, so I’ll cover it in a subsequent post. But lucky for the press, and only on Day 1, Lincoln brought a collection of classic Lincolns.

1929 Lincoln L Dietrich Convertible Coupe.

1932 Lincoln Derham Sports Sedan

1932 Lincoln KB LeBaron Convertible Roadster

1932 Lincoln Zephyr Sedan Coupe.

1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

1961 Lincoln Continental Sedan.

Elizabeth Taylor’s 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II

To be continued in the next post, 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3


Over the past weekend, I attended the 2011 Inland Empire Auto Show at the Ontario Convention Center. It was a three-day affair, from Friday August 19 through Sunday August 21, 2011. Saturday was a glorious day in Ontario. Usually an oppressive cauldron during the summer, we were spared the usual triple digit heat and it never passed 80 while we were there.

This is the first auto show of the season in So Cal.  The big LA Auto Show isn’t until November 18-27, so I really didn’t expect much from this show. Most of the cars on display were provided by local area car dealers, not manufacturers.   The notable exceptions were GM (Chevy, Buick and Cadillac), Toyota (including Scion) and Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Fiat) — all of whom had Drive-N-Ride courses set up.

In order to drive the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 or the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 muscle cars, you had to drive another Chrysler Group car.  For better or worse, the only car no one wanted to drive was the 2011 Jeep Compass, so I took one for the team and volunteered for the orphan Jeep.

Under new Chrysler leadership, the Compass had received a new “Grand Cherokee-like” grille and the interior had been seriously revamped, adding the excellent Garmin GPS navigation system, upgraded electronics and infotainment and soft-touch plastics with an extra dollop of soundproofing materials. I pity any sucker who bought the 2010 Compass because the 2011 model is so much better. That said, I still think it’s a homely contestant, always destined to be a bridesmaid, never the bride.

An all-new Fiat-based replacement for the Dodge Caliber and its corporate cousin, the Jeep Compass,  is planned for the 2013 model year. The current Compass just has to hang on a little longer.

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was the highlight of the various Drive-N-Rides.  The Charger was completely and successfully redesigned for the 2011 model year. For 2012, Dodge’s Street Racing and Technology (SRT) tuning division worked its magic for all us car guys, gearheads, fuel-freaks and aging baby boomers waxing nostalgic for the American Muscle Car.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 at the Inland Auto Show driving event.

SRT replaced the “old” 6.1L Hemi V8 with a 6.4 L (392 cubic inches) unit boasting 470 horses and matching lb-ft of torque.  The only transmission is the old, but reprogrammed, 5-speed automatic.  It sounds as good as it looks and there is nothing like a living, breathing muscle car that fires all 8 cylinders when you punch the gas pedal.

For 2012, the Dodge Hemi V8 increased to 6.4 liters making 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque -- all to the rear wheels.

I found the transmission shifts harsh at times, but with so much torque spinning the rear wheels, who cars? The rear tires even chirped for me. Heaven.  Handling was excellent with little body roll. The old Mercedes E-class chassis has been thoroughly modernized by Chrysler and fitted with new, more sophisticated suspension parts. It’s sport-tuned stiff, so you hear and feel the road more than in the “standard” Charger, but that’s the point of the SRT8.

The Charger's 4 doors make life easier if you've got kids or passengers on a regular basis. Easier to justify to your partner, too.

It’s sheer linear fun in a very liveable, daily driver 4-door package.  While it’s $50,000 (which seems expensive for a Dodge) it delivers superior, modern muscle combined with the convenience of a roomy 4-door sedan and a host of electronic convenience and comfort gadgets usually only found in much more expensive cars. You buy this car for the torque-drunk fun you will have daily. Even if  you have to sit in traffic you can gun the engine for aural pleasure.  You’ll be lucky to get 14 mpg in the city. Cylinder deactivation buys the Charger low 20s on the highway.  Pleasure with the gas pedal yields pain at the pump. Such is life.

The 2012 Prius V (V is for Versatility, according to Toyota) is a wagonized version of the ubiquitous third-generation Prius.  I couldn’t tell the difference between the regular Prius and the V, when it comes to driving; however, it does seem to offer substantially more cargo space.

The 2012 Toyota Prius V looks like a cross between a Toyota Matrix, Prius and Mazda5 MPV.

The Prius V has a cavernous rear cargo area and a large tailgate.

Lots of families were checking out the new Prius V

The heavier body reduces fuel economy to a combined 42 mpg; but that won’t stop it from flying out of LA-area Toyota dealers’ showrooms.

The 2012 Plug-In Prius is just that. It’s a third generation Prius with more powerful, more expensive lithium-ion batteries that can both be recharged by plugging it in and it can drive up to 13 miles in EV mode only.  Once you exhaust the EV mode, it feels, drives and functions exactly like the “normal” Prius.  The new battery pack can fully recharge in 3 hours from a normal 110 volt plug or in only 1.5 hours using a 220 volt hook up.  For people like me who make short trips around town every day, I could drive all week in EV mode and only use the hybrid mode on my weekly Palm Springs pilgrimage.  Toyota hasn’t released exact pricing yet, but it’ll be priced between $3,000 – $5,000 more than the “standard” Prius.

Except for the bright decals and a small plug, the 2012 Plug-In Prius looks nearly identical to the "regular" Prius - inside and out.

Toyota had a small display at the IE Auto Show. The banner lets you know that the plural of Prius is Prii and the family is growing.

The 2012 Plug-In Prius will also fly off dealers’ lots.   Price is no obstacle for some well-intentioned green wallets in Metro LA.

I tortured myself by riding in the back of a Fiat 500 while my friend test drove.  Fortunately, the Fiat rep was a short, thin, pretty young woman and she rolled her seat almost into the dash. The back seat of a Fiat 500 is not the place for tall people.

Below are some other vehicles I saw at the show. Enjoy!

2012 Buick Verano - Front. It's based on the Chevy Cruze.

The rear of the Verano is interesting. I'm not sure about the chrome eyebrows over the tail lights. Maybe this was done for the Chinese market, where GM sells LOTS of Buicks.

The Buick Verano's interior shows its Chevy Cruze origins; however the materials are upgraded as are the leather seats. I understand the Buick has packed it with more soundproofing to give it that Buick hushed quality.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is a looker. I just wish that each time I looked at it, I didn't see an old geezer (kind of like the old guy talking to the young model on the stand).

The Cadillac CTS-V (v for "velocity") has a nice rear too. However, the plastic center brake light felt like it was going to fall off. GM needs to do better with those small things.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS also comes in sedan and wagon guise. I love the rear tailgate of this 2011 CTS-V Wagon. They don't sell many of these wagons, so they will likely be collectible in 25 years.

The interior of the CTS-V Wagon is handsome and I like the darker wood inserts. However, there is still too much cheap-looking bright bits that will annoy you when driving in the sun.

I was surprised to find the 2012 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible at the IE Auto Show. I don't think it's on showroom floors yet.

The big news for the 2012 Camaro is the upgraded interior plastics, a new, handsome corporate steering wheel and the addition of power lock controls on both doors (not just in the center before).

The rear of the Camaro is lean and mean. It screams muscle. The white color with orange stripes and interior accents looks sharp, very desirable.

The Camaro never had much trunk capacity, and the convertible top sucks up lots of precious space. But what is impressive here is the lovely. expensive gas struts that assist the trunk's hinges. This way, the hinge doesn't interfere with the cargo.

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is one expensive, sexy machine. With a top speed of 205 mph, it's the fastest GM production car EVER. GM produces these in very limited quantities, so I was surprised to see it at this auto show.

The Corvette ZR1's engine is a 6.2L LS9 V8 engine producing 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. It uses a four-lobe Eat0n Twin Vortices Series (tm) supercharger.

This Carlisle Blue Metallic Beauty has a MSRP of $123,500. Nice if you can afford it!

The 2012 Chevy Sonic LTZ Turbo. It will be on sale in a few months, so I'm told. Chevy even sent a model to read a script about its virtues.

A closer look at the front of the 2012 Chevy Sonic. GM hopes you'll forget that its predecessor, the Aveo, ever existed.

The interior of the new Sonic still looks to have some hard plastic surfaces. Then again, it is the entry-level model for Chevy. Looks way better than the Aveo.

The Sonic will be available in a 5-door hatch (seen here) and a 4-door sedan. This LTZ Turbo model is the top of the line.

This 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T in Toxic Orange Pearl Coat paint (love the name) looks pretty nice. The interior upgrades for 2011 increase its appeal.

The Challenger is a Mean Machine!

I had to show you this 2012 Fiat 500. The dealer gave it a matte black paint job. It's also possible that the look is merely a "wrap" like when you see cars that turn into rolling billboards. I've seen the MINI dealer to a matte black wrap for the Countryman and it looked pretty good. If it's paint, it probably cost as much as the car, if it's shrink-wrap, it still costs thousands. Don't waste your money on a car this inexpensive.

Need a big truck that can tow a house? Look no further than this 2011 Ford F-350 SuperDuty 4x4 truck with the PowerStroke 6.7L V8 diesel engine.

Note the B20 and green leaf part of the badge. This gigantic PowerStroke Turbo-diesel engine can run on B20 which is Biodiesel, 20%. You won't find B20 at more than a couple of pumps in all LA, but it is available in farm/rural areas.

This is the window sticker for the 2011 Ford SD F-350 4x4 CrewCab Lariat 172" wheelbase Styleside truck with the 6.7l V8 Powerstroke turbo-diesel engine and a 6-speed automatic. You better need the brute power of this truck because it's $60,290.

The only thing interesting about this 2011 Honda Pilot was the standee next to it. It looks like one of the crazy school-girl ninjas from the Crazy 88s gang in Kill Bill.

This is the interior of the 2012 Honda Civic EX sedan, with the leather option. If only the plastics were a bit nicer. The cockpit is just passable - something that we shouldn't be saying about the Honda Civic.

The 2012 Nissan NV 1500 V6 utility van is already on the streets. It's the first time a foreign manufacturer has challenged Ford, GM and Dodge Ram in the full-size utility van market. They are very large and odd-looking.

The cockpit of the Nissan NV is utilitarian and well laid out. You can't get rear seats. It's strictly a cargo affair. It can be customized to any number of contractor needs.

The widow sticker for the 2012 Nissan NV 1500 V6 SV. It's very competitive at $27,750. It depends on how much you will spend to customize it for your needs.

This is the 2012 all-new Subaru Impreza 5-door hatchback. It's nothing like the sexy concept Impreza from 2010. It looks chunky and utilitarian - not rugged. Is that what a Subaru should be?

The 2012 Subaru Impreza hatch does opens wide for lots of cargo. The rear seats easily flip down.

The Impreza's interior is much improved, but I'm not sure it's enough to keep up with the competition. I still felt lots of rubbery plastic.

The 2012 Scion iQ was present, but not open. I wish I'd had the chance to sit inside, see if I fit, adjust the seats and feel the plastics. The window tint made taking interior pictures impossible. It will be interesting to see how well Toyota markets the new 1.3 liter 4-cylinder, 94 hp iQ and if it gains traction in all-so trendy LA.