In case you haven’t heard, we are in the process of ramping up for our inaugural Comfort Index Awards. These awards will highlight the most comfortable vehicles in a variety of categories. So to whet your appetite for the awards, here’s a list of the most comfortable American cars on the Winding Road Comfort Index.
I like what is being done with the V-6 versions of muscle cars today. I like that you can’t always tell the difference between a V-6 and a V-8. After all, muscle cars have never been completely about performance. The styling has always been an important factor, and what these new V-6s lack in speed, they make up for with the looks of their high-powered brothers. This Challenger is a prime example. It drives well enough, has a decent exhaust note, and even gets manageable fuel economy. But its looks are what sells it.
It’s no secret that there is near-universal love for convertibles here in the Winding Road offices (with the notable exception of cabriolet-hater John Beltz Snyder). In fact, we have an unwritten rule here at WR HQ, that unless it is raining, the top must be down, regardless of other weather conditions. The problem is, convertibles are, for the most part, a precious commodity.
On the road, the new Charger leaves the old one behind in a few key areas. For a start, the ride feels more balanced between involvement and comfort. Whereas the old car had a tendency to float along, oblivious to the goings on between it and the road, this new model feels decidedly more planted and stable. We did experience a bit of suspension and tire noise, but this is more likely due to the large chrome wheels than anything else.
In Winding Road Issue 72, we will be announcing the winners of the 2011 Involvement Index Awards, where we select the most deserving, engaging vehicles from a range of categories. In anticipation of honoring the winners in about a month’s time, we’d like to take a look at the most involving American cars from our Index.
Planning to see my fiancé Molly’s parents and extended family—stopping first in Boston, and then heading north to New Hampshire and Maine—I really wanted to borrow a car that was both fun and kind of laidback to drive. I’d always thought that the Challenger SRT8 would make a hell of a good GT car, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to try out that theory.
In the three-row world, what else comes close to having the chops to hang with the 355-horsepower, 350-pound-feet of torque turbocharged Flex?
For every amazing deal we spot on eBay Motors, we find maybe a dozen or more horrendous potential bilkings. Especially around times like these, where very high gas prices are throwing many established values out of the door, there are more than a few sellers out there with some awfully wrong-headed ideas.
Dodge has just given its 2011 Charger a very large shot of adrenaline in the form of the SRT8 version. The already rapid 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 from the 2010 SRT8 has been swapped for a 6.4-liter powerplant, with numbers jumping from 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, up to a matching 465 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque.
2011 has been a busy year in the Winding Road offices, with auto shows, new model launches, and the usual comings and goings of the automotive industry filling the virtual pages of our website. Even with all the activity, there has been a near-constant stream of automobiles filtering in and out of our parking lot, giving us no shortage of vehicular material to write about.
While those of us Stateside anxiously await the arrival of products from the Fiat portfolio, our friends in the Boot country are finally getting their own taste of the Chrysler/Fiat relationship. This is the Fiat Freemont. And yes, it is a Dodge Journey with Fiat badges and a slightly modified grille.
When talking about factory-backed aftermarket tuners, fewer names are held in higher regard than Mopar. The brand was synonymous with Dodge and Plymouth performance vehicles during the muscle car wars of the 1960s. Since then, it has turned from pure performance tuner to a manufacturer of aftermarket items for all the brands under the Chrysler umbrella. Seeing an opportunity to demonstrate the its expertise, Chrysler is showing several Moparized vehicles at this year’s North American International Auto Show.
The “performance truck” is in keeping with the general drift of pickup trucks sold in the US in the Swiss Army Knife direction. There is a definite appeal to the idea of a vehicle that can do many things: take the kids to school, haul kitchen cabinets home, pick up a plasma TV, and go on an off-road expedition in a national park. That list of consumer needs has led to the popularity of full-size crew cab pickups. Change up the list to: commute comfortably to work, pick up a plasma TV from Best Buy, haul kitchen cabinets home, and deliver some semblance of quickness and responsiveness while doing it all and you get various sport trucks like the Toyota X-Runner, the Ford Raptor and this week’s Quick Drive, the Dodge Ram 1500 R/T.
It’s getting to be that time of year again—the holiday season is upon us, snowy weather is well and truly on its way, and another calendar is due to be replaced. A time to take stock of the year that’s passed, and look forward to the new one at hand, and all that.
The Mopar folks have been pretty busy over the last year and a half, preparing a re-invigoration of the lineups for both brands by extensively updating the full range of vehicles. We were recently invited to join Chrysler and Dodge in Northern California for a busy three days of driving and discussion.
True to its image within the sedan/coupe world, it seems that Dodge is hoping to build a reputation for building the most muscle car-like trucks around. The Ram 1500, with its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, absolutely backs this up. Lots of full size pickup trucks have shared V-8 motors with sports cars of the same brand, but Dodge has seemingly kept more of the sports car flavor in its new Ram trucks than most are willing to. The exhaust note is loud and meaty, transmission seems to be tuned for more acceleration than most big pickups, and, of course, the multi-link coil rear suspension offers ride and handling traits that feel a lot more car-like. This Ram is a real sports truck.
Let’s not mince words. Dodge’s Ram 2500 Laramie 4×4 is not one of those kinder, gentler pickup trucks you’ve read about that claim to possess certain car-like virtues. No sir, this is a big, burly, muscular, manly truck that looks down (quite literally) upon most of the vehicles with which it shares the road.
Concept cars serve many purposes; technology demonstrators, gauges of public opinion, and indications of future design direction, to name just a few. Unfortunately, as cool as some concept cars may be, they aren’t always followed up by production versions. In fact, some of the very coolest concept cars are pure thought/design exercises.
Here, we offer the top ten new cars with the best power-to-weight ratio available for less than $40,000.
If horsepower is the only thing on your mind when purchasing a car, the current market has no shortage of choices. 200- to 350-horsepower cars can be had at a price that won’t break the bank, but what if you want something more. 400-horsepower cars, from your local dealer, are becoming more and more attainable, but are still a long way from being as common as a 300-horsepower car. The new breed of muscle cars (Mustang, Camaro, Challenger) can all be had with big V-8s that are north of 400, but when you are done with the options sheet, the grand total will still be in the mid-to-upper $30,000s. So what is the best way of breaking 400 horsepower without breaking the bank?