Oakland, Maryland, United States
A monstrous supercharged V8 engine could be in store for Chrysler and SRT products, if recent rumors are to be believed. Allpar is reporting that the forced-induction V8 - Chrysler's first, if this goes down - could make its debut this summer.
The story goes that the Hellcat would be based on a 6.2-liter Hemi engine, rather than on the existing 5.7- or 6.4-liter versions of the company's vaunted mill. In any case, the general consensus is that the motor will have gobs of power. Modest estimates call for between 500 to 570 horsepower, with some outliers predicting a figure as high as 600 hp. That figure would put the output would place the Hellcat awfully close to that of the 640-hp V10 in the SRT Viper, too. Allpar contends that a slightly lower powered version would allow Chrysler to keep costs below that of the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, which might be a sweet spot.
The Hellcat could debut in a number of SRT products. SRT versions of the Charger, Challenger and 300 are all up for grabs, as is the rumored SRT Barracuda.
With the exception of some notable truck and van introductions, Chrysler brands have tended to use the Chicago Auto Show to bring out new special editions, pimp their aftermarket parts support or indulge in the occasional flight of fancy. That plan is holding true for 2014, as well. Cases in point are these new Satin Vapor Editions of the 2014-model-year Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 - all from SRT.
The Satin Vapor name may sound like a failed 1970s glam-rock band, or a pseudo-gynecological diagnosis from the Old West, but is, in fact, pretty much a tape-and-trim package for this trio of hi-po Mopars. 300, Challenger and Charger alike come shod with 20-inch aluminum wheels finished in Black Satin Vapor Chrome, and are accented with Satin Black bits aplenty. The 300 gets blacked-out mirrors, spoiler and roof; the Challenger applies it to mirrors and its fuel door; while the Charger has the stuff covering its roof, hood and Super Bee tail graphic.
Interiors of the cars have been mildly updated as well, with all three getting some combination of Nappa leather, ultra-suede and carbon-fiberish finishes.
Say what you want about the Dodge Durango, but ever since it came on the scene in 1998, it has occupied its own niche in the SUV market - not too small, not too big, tough, able, not always the best on the road and not always the best off-road. If it were a football player, it would be a tight-end that can block and catch. If it were a hamburger - a double burger with cheese and bacon, but not the Whopper.
As part of a mid-cycle upgrade for what was already a very capable SUV that Chrysler introduced in 2011, and built on the same platform as the Mercedes GL-Class and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2014 Durango has gotten some refinements worth noting that have cleaned up its tailoring and toned up its body and powerplant. The result is an SUV that shows itself to be a very good value in a category full of sticker prices that can run away faster than a kid who's been told he has to take ballroom dancing lessons.
Chrysler executives showing us the new Durango made a special point to reiterate that the Dodge brand is not going away, as has been rumored after the company took the Ram and Viper - the cream of the brand - out from under the Dodge umbrella. Turns out Dodge has been the brand attracting the most young people (who knew?) and has a younger average age buyer than Honda. The Dodge brand historically has also attracted buyers who aren't exactly Phi-Beta Cappa, which some companies worry about. Chrysler not so much. Dodge buyers tend to be more the working, high-school-educated, community-college-educated backbone of the work force in America. If they keep coming to Dodge, the Durango is a pretty good piece of hardware to save up for.