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Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

FCA Killing Off Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 in Favor of Trucks and SUVs

February 5th, 2016

2016_chrysler_200

Could you imagine Ford discontinuing the Fusion? Or Mazda doing away with the Mazda3?

Of course not. Those are core models for the brands and it would be complete insanity to cancel them without an improved replacement ready to go.

Chrysler, now FCA, spent years fine-tuning its core sedans. The Chrysler 200 began life as the Sebring and has since become a respectable entry in the compact sedan market. The Dodge Dart resurrected a cherished name from the past and is the FIAT-based sedan that Americans hoped would arrive when the Italians bought out Chrysler.

The cars aren’t record-setting sales superstars, but they do fill an important hole in the company’s lineup. Not having an entry in the compact sedan segment is akin to suicide in the mainstream auto industry.

Yet FCA is doing the unthinkable: Canceling the 200 and the Dart, without any concrete plans to replace them.

Why is this happening?

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Best and Worst Super Bowl Car Ads

February 4th, 2016

Christopher Walken for Kia

Some assignments are just too good to pass up. Somebody needed to watch the current crop of automotive commercials for Super Bowl 50, and who better than me? I love cars. I love commercials. And I love sharing my opinion.

This isn’t an in-depth look at every single commercial. Rather it’s a quick critique of some of the best and some of the worst. In no particular order, except for the one I saved for the end, here are the best and worst automotive commercials for Super Bowl 50.

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Jeep Wrangler’s Future Includes a Hybrid, a Diesel, and a Pickup

February 3rd, 2016
Jeep Gladiator Concept

Jeep Gladiator Concept

Last week on this blog we proposed some of the cars that are worth re-imagining with different bodies. It was fun and included everything from an F-TYPE with a backseat to a hyper-luxury minivan.

Neither of those are safe bets to hit the market anytime soon, but the vehicle that got us thinking about such possibilities is the ubiquitous Jeep Wrangler.

The Wrangler just might be the most famous 4×4 of all time, and the next few years could turn out to be some of the best it has ever seen.

Here’s what’s coming down the road for Wrangler fans.

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Would You Want a Ford Ranger Raptor?

February 1st, 2016

2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor takes everything we know about full-size trucks and dials it up to 11. The coming 2017 version of the truck might even take it up to 12.

Car and Driver says,

The new F-150 Raptor won’t go on sale until fall 2016, but with a twin-turbo V-6 making more than 500 hp, it should prove worth the wait. A new 10-speed automatic will send power to all four wheels, all the time. Two wheelbase/cab setups will be offered: a 133-in SuperCab and a 145-in four-door SuperCrew. Beefy Fox Racing Shox are onboard while a stout skidplate protects the front. Meaty 35-in tires wrap around 17-in aluminum wheels. This is what Ferrari would build if it built 4×4 pickups.

Considering they’re purpose-built off-roaders, I sure see a lot of Raptors on paved roads. Maybe they’re all headed to the desert or off to find a mud-filled bog to slog through, but I doubt it. I assume the vast majority of Raptors on the road are only used on the road. Granted, they look incredibly intimidating at stoplights and in restaurant parking lots, but I don’t think that’s what the SVT engineers had in mind when they created the truck.

That said, it’s time to start dreaming about what might be coming next: The Ranger Raptor.

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Building a Better Body: 10 Cars Worth Re-Imagining

January 29th, 2016

Jeep Gladiator Concept

The Jeep Wrangler is an insanely popular car. Not only is it one of the most sought-after used cars on CarGurus, but it also retains its initial value better than any other car on the market. Nevertheless, enthusiasts have been hammering Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) to produce new and different versions of the Wrangler for years, and the returns on their efforts have been slow but sure. In 2007, Jeep modified the previously 2-door-only Wrangler and introduced the first 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. At the New England International Auto Show this year, we saw the Wrangler Backcountry: an extra-capable off-roading version of a car specifically designed to be extra-capable at off-roading. Until just recently, however, Jeep has failed to acquiesce to its fan base’s greatest demand: a Wrangler Pickup.

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Bad at Backing Up? Trailer Assist to the Rescue!

January 28th, 2016

2016-Ford-F-150-Pro-Trailer-Backup-Assist

I didn’t learn to back up a trailer until I was 37 years old.

Until then, panic set in whenever it came time to go backwards with anything attached to the hitch of my car. Especially at the dump. That’s where a burly man would point to the empty slice of space between two massive F-250 Super Duty trucks and expect me to back my trailer perfectly between them. I’d try, only to wind up with the trailer nearly parallel to my car while hanging my head in shame.

My dad, on the other hand, can expertly perform a 3-point turn in the space of a small driveway while towing a 35-foot boat.

I’ve gotten way better, and trips to the dump are now handled with confidence, but I definitely didn’t get the right gene passed down into my DNA. That’s why new functions such as Volkswagen’s Trailer Assist are not just cool options, they are vital to the ego for people like me.

Volkswagen recently released this fun new ad promoting its Trailer Assist feature:

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Toyota FJ Cruiser: The Unlikely Collectible

January 27th, 2016

2014_toyota_fj_cruiser

I may have accidentally cost myself a lot of money.

Since my son was about 10, he’s been in love with the Toyota FJ Cruiser and obsessed with having one as his first car. Being a loving and supportive dad, I told him that I’d pay half and match his contribution to buying one when the time came.

My son is 14 now, and his driving years are getting frighteningly close. He’s still set on having an FJ Cruiser, but prices haven’t exactly fallen like I expected.

Insead, some used FJ Cruisers are selling for more than when they were new. What’s going on?

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10 Cars We’d Happily Let Do the Driving

January 22nd, 2016

Google Self-Driving Prototype

Self-driving cars are coming. Thanks to visions of Skynet and Terminators, this is a frightening proposition to many people. Rather than being seen as an unparalleled convenience, autonomous cars have often been viewed as a soul-sucking leech on the driving experience. But that’s a shame, because if you begin to see cars as appliances, the appeal of an autonomous automobile is enormous.

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The Concept Kia Needs to Build

January 20th, 2016

Kia Telluride

Kia wants to get into the luxury game.

Its sister company, Hyundai, dabbled in luxury for a few years with the Genesis and Equus sedans before finally announcing that it would launch a separate luxury brand to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. That new brand, called Genesis, will launch in Hyundai dealerships this year and offer up to six models by 2020.

This post, though, isn’t about Hyundai.

Kia also produces a luxury liner, the well-appointed K900, but it’s struggling to find a place in the world.

A recently completed long-term review of the car said,

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How to Enjoy a New England Winter Weekend Without Snow

January 15th, 2016

2016 New England Int'l Auto Show Press Day

CarGurus was honored to attend yesterday’s press preview of the 2016 New England International Auto Show. With more than 600 cars from 37 manufacturers valued at over $22 million, we were able to see and get into a bunch of brand-new vehicles for the first time. The show offers any car fan with an interest in new vehicles an unbeatable opportunity to take a close look at and ask experts questions about the wide world of cars available to American buyers.

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