Next-gen muscle and the case for performance crossovers

Dodge Charger Daytona Banshee

The automotive world is going through a metamorphosis as we move into the EV Era. We are going to see may more electric models from all of the brands, including the Mopars.

Another trend that is quickly rising, especially in the American performance car segment, is adding “sub-brands” using the performance-car names. Ford has the Mach E crossover and GM will have Camaro and Corvette sub-brands, with a crossover Corvette. Dodge has not yet announced something of this nature, though Jeep has a luxury Wagoneer sub-brand.

Dodge recently shocked many with the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee EV concept  at Speed Week, a massive, noisy muscle coupe that received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, from Mopar enthusiasts and many outside of the Mopar world alike. The big coupe is genuinely a standout in both looks and sound, but it operates in a rapidly shrinking market.

Hello, STLA Medium? Belvidere plant and the 2025 tax breaks

Belvidere plant

Stellantis announced recently that it would idle the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, which makes Jeep Cherokees, on February 28, 2023. While Stellantis blamed the idling of Belvidere on multiple factors, including COVID-19, the microchip shortage, and electrification, a gap between the build-out of the existing Cherokee and its replacement was inevitable. U.S. Cherokee sales for the first nine months of 2022 were just 30,852, nowhere near enough to justify its existence when the Compass and Grand Cherokee were reasonable bookends. 

A set of Illinois tax breaks targeting EV production will go into effect in 2025, and that is likely when the plant will reopen to make new vehicles based on STLA Medium or STLA Large.

Charger/Durango police car shifter-assembly recall

2022 Dodge Durango police pursuit car (squad)

A rather small number of Chargers and Durangos may slip from Drive to Neutral unexpectedly, possibly causing a crash, according to NHTSA recall 22V866. The problem is a shifter assembly which was not properly heat treated, and the solution, unsurprisingly, is replacing the assembly…

All ranges: Hurricane adds power, economy to Wagoneer lineup

Hurricane Twin Turbo Engine

The battery-electric Wagoneer S might be coming, but the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are already on sale. They started out with 5.7 and 6.4 Hemi engines, but these have largely been replaced already by two varieties of the “Hurricane” twin-turbo straight six. The standard output variety produces more power and torque than the 5.7 Hemi … Read more

Michigan State Police tested the ’23 Charger, Durango—this is how they stacked up

2022 Dodge Durango police pursuit car (squad)

Once again, the Michigan State Police have tested all the police pursuit and special duty cars they could lay their hands on. The pursuit cars were the Chevy Tahoe and Silverado, Dodge Charger and Durango, and Ford Explorer, F-150, and Mustang Mach E. Surprisingly, given its quick 0-60 acceleration, the Mach-E was not impressive during … Read more

Resolution? Compass transmission, power mysteries

2023 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Several outlets incorrectly reported that the 2023 Jeep Compass’ 2-liter turbo engine will generate 270 hp. However, Chrysler itself reported, in three places on the press release, that it will actually generate 200 hp, with 221 lb-ft of torque. This would seem to settle the power question, but what would cause such a large difference? … Read more

Chrysler, Fiat doing LA reveals; Dodge, Jeep, Ram showing new vehicles

500e reveal

The Los Angeles show will see a new version of the Chrysler Pacifica and an “electric” reveal of one of the “most iconic and classic FIAT brand models of all time.” The Fiat is almost certainly the new-and-improved 500e already on sale in Europe. While it’s possible there will be a new generation of the … Read more

CR quality rankings don’t even list most Mopars

The latest Consumer Reports rankings are out, and they managed to skip pretty much all former Chrysler, current Stellantis brands, using this disclaimer: Criticisms of Consumer Reports’ “feedback loop” seem to have support in how few owners are willing to splash out on any vehicle from FCA US; more niche brands such as Acura and … Read more

Wrangler 4xe: gasoline and electricity costs

2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe

The Wrangler 4xe, FCA US’ most popular plug-in hybrid despite years of selling PHEV minivans, has been out long enough for people to get some idea of how much money they may save by driving one, versus the standard gasoline engines. The four-cylinder-turbo-plus-motor 4xe system generates nearly the same acceleration as the big 392 V8, … Read more

Jeep-China joint venture quietly died

Jeep Renegade (made in China)

Jeep’s joint venture with Guandgzhou (GAC) has declared bankruptcy. Jeep was the first American company to make and sell vehicles in China, with Beijing Jeep; this was before China required that foreign companies form joint ventures with Chinese firms. When Daimler-Benz took over Chrysler, though, they gave the company and factory to Mercedes. For a … Read more