Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review

April 27th, 2015 by Robert Barry

There’s a delicious irony about piloting a high-performance V8-powered Jeep SUV which most self respecting people will never take off road.

The 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT is a long distance cruiser rather than a bush bashing bruiser as witnessed by the availability of a sport and track mode setting on the adaptive damping system. Continue reading “Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review” »

Chrysler reveals 2011 Dodge Charger in police uniform

August 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

While it was known that the 2011 Dodge Charger was due for a refresh no one expected the first official image of the new model to be shown in full Police pursuit gear.

Chrysler is out to prove it’s a contender for lucrative American Police agency car contracts with its 2011 Charger Pursuit. Ford and General Motors have already introduced their next-generation police pursuit vehicles, and while the Taurus- and Caprice/Commodore-based cruisers will be tough competition for one another, the new Charger pursuit is no softie either.

The Pursuit is based on the new-for-2011 Dodge Charger, and will be available with either Chrysler’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 or 5.7-litre Hemi V8. The larger engine comes equipped with a Multi-Displacement System to shut off fuel to unneeded cylinders during lighter duty, improving fuel economy when cruising the beat.

Other special treats for the Charger on Police duty include things like heavy-duty anti-lock brakes, front and rear stabiliser bars, a two-mode police-specific stability control system and 18-inch performance tyres on ugly steel wheels.

Inside, the front cabin serves as a mobile command center, and Chrysler has got busy developing a police interface module to best integrate existing computer equipment. There’s also reinforced front seats, a column shifter to open up floor and console space and interior lighting in red and white to assist the use of night-vision equipment.

It’s one mean machine and American Police forces will be able to order the 2011 Charger Pursuit from next month.

Chrysler turning its back on Hemi branding

July 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler has introduced muscular V8 engines carrying the Hemi moniker twice in the last fifty years, and is now reportedly preparing to once again cut down the Hemi name. It’s all about marketing in this time of green credentials and eco awareness and the Hemi needs to be rebranded.  Dodge vehicles and Ram trucks will still unashamedly use the Hemi engine, and it will continue to be available in some Jeeps and the Chrysler 300, but it will be downplayed as a mere “5.7-litre V8” in those brands. So the Hemi engine will still be available in the cars where it’s not a massive selling point.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Hemi’s Multi-Displacement System will also be given more marketing angle at talking up the engine’s fuel-saving abilities. With Chrysler’s V6 finally becoming fully competitive with Ford and GM combined with a desire by the new management to bulid a more refined and efficient image, it seems that the iconic motor will be waiting behind the scenes. Who knows what the future holds for the big Hemi, but for now it lives on.

Dodge Ram Hemi heavy duty

December 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Dodge Ram heavy duty with a 345 horsepower, 5.7L Hemi magnum

Dodge Hemi: 2004 commercial with dragster

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Hemi legend continues

Next Dodge Ram may get 6.4-litre Hemi motor

December 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler’s 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine is a mammoth motor, but it seems that it just isn’t big enough. According to reports Dodge’s next heavy duty Ram will be offered with a massive 6.4-litre version of the OHV V8.

Based on the current 6.1-litre version of the HEMI, an engine that appears in a few SRT-branded cars, the new engine would feature both a larger bore and a longer stroke, with resulting power figures estimated at between 450 and 500hp.

An engine with that much horse would need a hardcore transmission bolted up to its crankshaft, something Dodge already offers with its diesel engines. Chrysler may use the latest six-speed gearbox from German specialist ZF.

Of course, all of this assumes that Chrysler will retain the RAM and this particular engine development when it emerges from bankruptcy. Assuming it does, in addition to its spot in the Ram HD lineup, the 6.4-litre HEMI V8 is also likely to make an appearance under the hood of Jeep’s next Grand Cherokee SRT8. No word yet on how much the new motor will add to the price of the Ram and also how bad the fuel economy is for such a big unit.

Facelifted Chrysler 300C on sale in NZ

August 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler 300C facelift 2009

Chrysler’s 300C has received its first refresh since it reached the NZ market three years ago and is now offering an upgraded equipment list and cosmetic changes.

Minor changes to the rear fascia and tail lamps have been made, with the sedan now sporting a rear deck lid featuring an SRT-inspired integrated spoiler and high-mounted stop light. The dramatic nose and the long-bonnet, short-deck styling remain unchanged.

Inside, however, is another story. The interior design of the Chrysler 300C has been upgraded with a change to dark slate premium leather upholstery, LED lighting in the front cup holders and front- and rear-door map pockets, along with soft-touch surfaces on arm rests and door panels. Also new are the instrument panel and centre-console design, highlighted with satin silver bezels.

“Most of the changes are subtle, because you don’t want to radically alter what is already such a successful formula, so what we have aimed to do is enhance the ownership experience and value,” says David Smith General Manager of Chrysler New Zealand. “The 300C has become a benchmark for Chrysler in terms of its styling, performance and quality of craftsmanship and the new model lifts the bar even higher.”

Under the bonnet the 300C continues to offer four power options, but with some minor changes.

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine has improved performance and economy thanks to an all-new active, three-plenum intake manifold and ETC, which provides higher power and torque over the entire operating band, offering 183kW @ 6500 and 340Nm @ 3800rpm.

The 5.7-litre V8 HEMI-powered Chrysler 300C now has a “Fuel Saver Mode” display, included as part of the Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC), that tells drivers when they are in four-cylinder mode, allowing them to modify their driving habits for improved fuel efficiency.

Chrysler 300C Sedan and Touring are offering the Multi-Displacement System (MDS) as standard on its V8 engines. Chrysler’s MDS turns off the fuel consumption in four cylinders of the 5.7-litre HEMI engine when V8 power is not needed. MDS improves fuel economy by up to 11%, depending on driving style and vehicle usage.

Some visual changes have been reserved for the Chrysler 300C SRT8, now featuring an all-new deck lid with an integrated spoiler, new tail lamps and black mesh front grille. Other unique touches to the 300C SRT8’s exterior include new body side mouldings, body-colour front and rear bumper inserts, body-colour mirrors and door handles, along with unique SRT badging.

End-user technology figures prominently in the Chrysler 300C SRT8 with new features such as the SRT-exclusive Reconfigurable Display in the cluster providing performance data, Adaptive Cruise Control and a Kicker premium surround-sound system.

Matching its high-performance character, the Chrysler 300C SRT8 continues to provide power-adjustable front sport seats accented with suede inserts (matched in the rear seats), full instrumentation, automatic temperature-control system with dual-zone controls and infrared temperature sensing, and an EVIC with 128 customer-programmable features.

Powered by a 6.1-litre HEMI V8 engine producing 317kW and 569Nm of torque, the Chrysler 300C SRT8’s powertrain represents a high level of HEMI performance, with over 65 additional kilowatts 27% more than the 5.7-litre HEMI.

Chassis setup for the Chrysler 300C SRT8 is aimed at all-round performance, including SRT-tuned dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings, and large-diameter anti-sway bars. Revised front and rear suspension knuckles contribute to a ride height that is lowered 13mm from the 300C. In addition, the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) has been tuned for the 300C SRT8’s Adaptive Cruise Control.

Chrysler 300C pricing starts from $60,990 and currently all Chrysler dealers are offering a 1/3+ 1/3+1/3 finance deal at a 3.9% interest rate.

Military Jeep J8 now available to civilians

May 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jeep J8 fq

The most hardcore of American Jeeps the J8 has ironically only been available to foreign militaries and governments, and not the American public, until now. A company named American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) thought the situation wasn’t right and have stepped in to supply the Jeep J8 to American civilians who love serious off road vehicles or military equipment.

Unfortunately the stripped-down, beefed-up super-Jeeps have to undertake some steps before they are road-ready. However, these are the real-deal, military-grade Jeep J8s that are being sold overseas. They are available in either three-door or five-door variants, but both are built on the same Wrangler Unlimited platform.

“Hardcore off-road enthusiasts have been asking for a vehicle like this for years, no frills and setup for a choice of diesel or V8 power and built with extra heavy-duty components,” said Dave Harriton, top brass at American Expedition Vehicles. “It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s all part of the appeal. Being able to offer even limited quantities to the American public is really a dream come true for us. First, it’s a perfect match with our niche manufacturing and distribution channels, and second, the J8 is a unique part of history that we’re proud to be part of.”

The powertrain has to be sourced separately from the chassis package, but AEV does have independent dealers that can supply both the standard 174hp/339lb-ft (130kW/460Nm) 2.8L four-cylinder diesel or a 330hp (246kW/508Nm)) 5.7L HEMI V8 gasoline engine. The chassis itself is assembled in Detroit by AEV, fully finished with paint, upholstery, wheels and tyres, but missing engine and transmission.

The J8 gets some extra muscle over a standard Jeep, including a Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles, plus rear leaf springs and a heavy-duty frame that together boost the J8’s tow capacity to 3,500lb and payload rating to 2,500lb.

AEV is still in the stage of taking orders and being rightous, there is no word yet on final pricing for the big-balls J8 but potential suburban commandos will be looking at around $50k USD.

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