Dodge's Challenger Scat Pack Shaker (and no, the scat pack doesn't mean it leaves stuff behind it on the road) is not only a great muscle car experience, it's also an interesting lesson in semantics.
That's because it teaches us that the word "standard transmission" no longer applies to a stick shift, at least in this instance. Nope, in this case, the 485 "horsepowerhouse" comes "standard" with an automatic transmission, whereas the great Tremec six speed stick manual transmission is a thousand dollar option.
And a good option, too - better than a lot of the nannies for which you can pay more!
And all for 57 grand! Well, to be fair, the base Challenger Scat Pack Shaker starts at a still substantial but somewhat less frightening $48,895 and, also to be fair, you get a LOT of car for that.
It starts with the retro design, of course, a design that very nearly made me want to seek out a couple of gigantic earth movers to test its ultimate stopping power. Fortunately, the urge reached its vanishing point quickly… more...
The 2015 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is one heck of a truck, big and powerful and equipped very well. It's also so high off the ground that shorter folks might find it a real chore getting in and out of it.
That was my experience, anyway, and it didn't help that my arthritic feet were giving me trouble at the time of my review. So, Murphy's Law being what it is, the media sample of this humongous hauler had no running boards, or steps, or any other way of facilitating easy entry for the diminutive. That meant I had to reach up as high as I could to grab the handle inside the cabin - just inside the door frame - and then do an awkward manoeuvre to get up there, one guaranteed to show the world just how graceless one person can be. more...
Dodge's Journey has come a long way - but then again, so has its corporate owner, so perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising. But after spending a week in a vehicle I would have walked a mile to avoid driving only a couple of years ago I came away with a fresh respect for what is, in fact, a very nice crossover.
Dodge Canada's sample was a Journey Crossroads model, a trim level that ups the ante over lesser Journeys (jaunts?) via such stuff as new front and rear fascias, 19 inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels and Platinum Chrome finish on the roof rails and side sill inserts. There's also black around the head and tail lights, a "Gloss Black" grille and a Crossroad badge, and you get leather inside as well. And if all that stuff seems as if it doesn't improve the Journey's performance a whit, you'd be right. Fortunately, there's a lot to like anyway.
Available in front or all wheel drive, and with either a four or six cylinder engine, Dodge sent the V6 (the only engine offered for the "Crossroad" model) in all wheel drive livery. I was fortunate enough to have it during our first really cold week of "pre-winter" (it had no right being that cold that early!) and was delighted to discover the Crossroad came equipped with a wonderful remote start feature by which I could fire the thing up from the comfort of Chateau Bray and only venture out to face Parent Nature's wrath once it had warmed up. more...
It may have started life as a hot, 1960's muscle coupe, but today it's Dodge's version of the full size, four door family sedan. Yet the 2012 Charger still manages to bring some sporty feel to the task.
And if the V6 isn't enough for you , you can get plenty more oomph from other models. Heck, you can stuff the Charger's engine bay with a 6.4 liter HEMI V8 engine if you want, its 470 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque providing very nice grunt indeed. more...
Ford F-150 Vs. Dodge Ram – Head to Head Haulers
Big and brawny, with plenty of towing and hauling capability, the latest generations of full size pickup trucks are the most capable and sophisticated yet. But what are they like to drive?
That's the question I asked when going into back-to-back weeks with the 2009 Dodge Ram and Ford F-150, two of the most popular examples of the big beasties. more....
Dodge Dakota Deigns to Drink Differently
Talk about making a fuel of yourself. The Dodge Dakota midsized pickup is a heavy duty beast that for 2008 is capable of driving right past the gas pump – and straight to the ethanol one.
It's called Flex Fuel, a no charge bit of flexibility that'll let you burn E85 – assuming you can find it. If you can't, well Dodge says the Dakota gives better "conventional" gas mileage this year anyway, so I guess it's a win-win scenario. more....
Dodge "Avenges" the Nitro
Dodge's Avenger is a conventional mid-sized four door sedan that looks kind of like a smaller and a bit more subtle Charger (not a bad thing). It's quite attractive, visibly a Dodge (if that's important to you) and gives reasonable driving pleasure for its price. Whether it's as good as, or better, than its competition will surely be settled objectively by the marketplace.
The base Avenger comes with a 2.4-liter four cylinder "World Engine" featuring dual variable valve timing and putting out 172 horses @ 6000 rpm and 165 lb. ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm. My R/T came with the 3.5 liter V6, which is much more satisfying and, well, hot. It cranks out 235/232 horses/torque and is coupled to a six speed automatic with a manual mode that, curiously, shifts side to side and, curiously, often shifts when it pleases, seemingly. more....
Dodge Nitro - Easy to Dodge This SUV
The new for 2007 Nitro SUV is based on a stretched version of the Jeep Liberty and is being billed by the manufacturer as a vehicle that'll give you an "adrenaline rush" when you connect with it. "With its powerful stance, chiseled lines and unmistakable Dodge crosshair grille, it'll definitely get you noticed."
Well, if getting noticed is all you want out of life, then maybe you'll love the Nitro, with its "baby Hummer-wannabe" looks and admittedly great-sounding exhaust note. But I found it one of the most annoying vehicles I've driven – not that I've come anywhere close to driving all the world's most annoying vehicles, I'm sure. more....
Dodge Caliber SXT – a Little Wagon That Can
The Neon is dead and Dodge has come up with a car to replace it that's of a whole different caliber. Or a different character, anyway.
The Dodge Caliber is a roomy and economical little wagon that appears to focus on "user friendliness", which is probably just what many people are looking for. more....
It's big and brawny, yet comfy and civilized. And though
I think it lost something aesthetic in its super sizing from
the original Durango, this current version is a heckuva SUV.
Redesigned in 2004, the Durango now also offers DaimlerChrysler's
Multi-Displacement feature in its big, 5.7 liter Hemi V8.
This shuts down four of the engine's cylinders when you have
no pressing need for the extra oomph of the V8, such as when
you're cruising on the freeway. It's supposed to give you
better gas mileage, and perhaps it does. more...
It may not be the most fun minivan to drive, but when it
comes to hauling your stuff and making your life easier,
the Dodge Grand Caravan is a real winner.
Dodge is credited with introducing the minivan more years
ago than we of middle age would undoubtedly care to remember.
They created the niche and, eventually, just about every
marque worth its salt jumped into the market until now there
are so many of the beasties around it can be tough to make
a buying decision. more...
Time was when Dodge’s Dakota was being marketed as
almost a compact pickup truck. It was bigger than trucks
like the Toyota Tacoma or Mazda B series, but not as big
as the full sized trucks like the Dodge Ram, Ford F150 and
Then it must have reached puberty or something, because
it experienced a growth spurt that, while it didn’t
shoot out to the size of those full sized trucks mentioned
above, at least saw it growing farther away from those still
compact trucks. It also “matured”
aesthetically so that it now sports the look of the big Ram
pickups, with a macho nose that looks as if it could double
as a battering Ram in a pinch and a boxy exterior that’s
all truck. It looks like it’s been working out with
weights and now sports chiseled pecs, biceps and hips. more...