by Dan Minick of Global Auto with major thanks to oh2o and JRS200x
It’s 2013, and we’ve seen refreshes of the entire lineup; and new joint projects started to appear at local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships. Eight-speed automatics were now standard on some Rams and on the big V6 cars. Here’s what we also saw:
The 2013 Viper: 640 horsepower. 600 foot-pounds of torque. 100 pound weight reduction. Three models: Base, S, Track Pack. See more at the 2013 Viper page.
Viper was now officially an “SRT car,” not a Dodge, though technically there were no SRT cars, or so Chrysler said. Underneath the blather was an attempt to elevate SRT so it would compete against BMW on an equal footing, losing the “blue collar” Dodge aura. That apparently did not work, or was not worth the effort; or senior executives decided they’d rather have SRT lend its aura to more pedestrian Dodges. In any case, in 2014, SRT disappeared as a brand, though Viper reportedly was to stay as an SRT, not a Dodge.
Dodge’s (barely) compact sedan filled the gap vacated long ago by the Neon. Derived from the C-EVO (altered to become CUSW) platform, along with the Fiat Bravo, Alfa Giuilietta, and others, the Dodge Dart was engineered largely by Chrysler folk in Auburn Hills, and built at Belvidere. Mopar once had a huge share of this segment, essentially dominating it with Valiant, but mis-steps slashed their sales and credibility to the point where most people have forgotten; and Dart sales reflected that, with the small car selling poorly. It also faced some internal competition from price-slashed Avengers and 200s.
The 2013 model year Dart started slowly, with just the 1.4 engine and manual transmission made at first; the 2.0 engine and automatic came next. The 2.4-liter R/T finally came at the end of the year.
The Charger remained the muscle car with room for the family, the Challenger as Dodge’s muscle car. Both had a choice of the Hemi or the Pentastar V6, with SRT versions of both sporting a 6.4 liter Hemi engine.
How Launch Control works: When the car was at a complete stop, the driver pressed ESC twice, then (on manuals) depressed the clutch and quickly applied full throttle (for automatics, the driver pushed down on the brake with one foot, and applied full throttle briefly with the other). Launch control held the engine at the desired speed and waited for the driver to release the clutch or brake. The manual-transmission driver could adjust the launch rpm from 2500-4500 in 250 rpm increments, while automatics are kept to 1,825 rpm. Launch Control then used torque management to reduce wheelslip for peak acceleration up to 62 mph (100 kph).
The 2013 Dodge Challenger remained stuck with the five-speed automatic or, on V8s, a six-speed manual, where the Charger V6 got an eight-speed (all the V8s were five-speeds). A new Redline Rallye Challenger added red exterior accents, a red leather interior, black chrome 20” wheels, performance suspension, and 3.06 rear-axle ratio; it came with the 305-horsepower V6. Another new Challenger option was the UConnect 430N navigation system.
Dodge Charger SRT8 and Challenger SRT8 got three-mode (rather than two-mode) adaptive damping for its suspension — Auto, Sport, and Track; and standard launch control (on both automatic and manual cars) increases straight-line acceleration. In “Track” mode, higher damping rates combined with a performance shifting and gear holding feature that allowed full shift control when using the steering wheel mounted paddle controls or AutoStick.
The Challenger got rear park assist on all models (optional on most); radar red leather was available on SXT Plus, R/T Plus, and R/T Classic; and new colors were Billet Metallic, Granite Crystal, Jazz Blue, Phantom Black Tri-Coat.
The 2013 Dodge Charger got a Black Roof option, along with new colors -- Billet Metallic, Granite Crystal Pearl, Jazz Blue, Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl, Copperhead Metallic, Phantom Black Tri-Coat Pearl. A new cold-air induction system and sport-tuned exhaust were added to the Charger SXT and SXT Plus with the Rallye Appearance Group and Blacktop Package, boosting the V6 engine to 300 or 305 hp.
Continuing as the crossover / wagon entry in North America, the Dodge Journey and partner Fiat Freemont were changed mainly in trim and options. The Journey was sold with a choice of 2.4 liter gasoline engine and Pentastar V6; the Freemont had a Fiat 2.0 liter diesel joining the Chrysler four-cylinder gasoline engines.
In the U.S., Journey AVP and SE got 17-inch wheels with covers, and optional ($500) aluminum wheels. SXT gets standard 17 inch aluminum wheels, and a $595 standalone 8.4” touch screen option; power sunroof and trailer prep were optional. Crew got a price cut to $27,995, with standard leather, heated seats, and heated steering wheel added to the mix. Journey R/T got a $1,000 price cut with new high performance suspension, heated steering wheel, and dimpled leather seats and steering wheel bearing red accent stitching. New colors were “winter chill pearl coat” and “fathom blue pearl coat.” Dodge expected 40% of sales to go to AVP and SE (the cheapest models), 40% to SXT, and 20% shared between Crew and R/T.
No major changes took place for 2013. Caravan got an optional Blu-Ray (AT5) rear DVD player, including second-and-third row 9-inch screens, and a dual-DVD option; that setup included dual USB ports, an HDMI port, and an AC inverter in the second row, allowing use of Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. In addition, Dodge announced:
Spinning off of the Grand Cherokee as the big people mover was the Durango, starting in calendar-year 2011; this was the last year before a 2014 refresh. The rendering below was pretty much dead-on, albeit based on the patent filing.
For its final pre-refresh year:
The front-drive 2013 Dodge Avenger continued with its 2.4 and 3.6 liter engines (four and six cylinders), both coupled to six-speed Chrysler automatics; 2013 was its last year. There were changes in options: wheel choices for SE, new bundled content for SXT without a price change (fog lamps and auto headlights), $795 leather option, cheaper SXT V6 option, cheaper “sun and sound” package, and a new Rallye appearance group with darkened grille and black and red momentum seats ($495).
Dodge Avenger R/T price was cut by $500, with new available black cloth seats with red accent stitching and leather bolsters. For color, Crystal Blue Pearl replaced Copperhead; True Blue Pearl replaced Blackberry; and Billet Silver Metallic replaced Bright Silver. Dodge expects most sales to be the SE model, split between four cylinder and V6, with just 5% being the top end R/T.
Following the success of the Charger Super Bee, the SRT brand launched a full “Core” line of cars with cloth seats, fewer frills, and lower price tags (by around $3,000). Allpar first predicted the launch in December 2012; it was officially unveiled in February 2013.
All three cars had the standard SRT performance gear, black cloth seats (the fabric used in the Viper), and the 392 V8 with 470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft, and cylinder cutoff. The seats had Axel cloth bolsters and door bolster inserts.
The 2013 Challenger SRT8 “Core” had a black grille and black SRT rear spoiler, black 392 decal on the front fenders, 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels with black pockets, and black Brembo brake calipers; new colors were HEMI® Orange Pearl Coat and Plum Crazy Pearl Coat, in addition to the existing Billet Silver, Bright White, Granite Crystal Metallic Pearl, Jazz Blue Pearl, Pitch Black, and TorRed. (Phantom Black Tri-coat Pearl and Redline Tri-coat Pearl are exclusive to the standard 2013 Challenger SRT8 392).
The base price was US$39,990 including destination.
The 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 “Core” had a 6.4L badge on the front fenders (a first for the 300 SRT8), 20-inch aluminum wheels with black pockets, and black Brembo brake calipers (red was optional).
Matte carbon and piano black accents surrounded the instrument panel, door bezels and center console. Eight paint colors were available on all 300 SRT8s: Billet Silver Metallic, Bright White, Deep Cherry Red Pearl, Gloss Black, Granite Crystal Pearl, Ivory Pearl Tri-coat, Jazz Blue Pearl, and Phantom Black Tri-coat Pearl.
The base price was $44,990, including destination.
2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee had an SRT badge with a 3-D helmeted bee mascot on the new, gloss-black split crosshair grille. Both front fenders have the “392 HEMI” badges first seen on the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392; the round Super Bee graphics in the rear now include the wording “Powered by SRT.”
New paint colors include the vintage-based HEMI® Orange Pearl and Plum Crazy Pearl. The Charger SRT8 Super Bee is also available in Bright White, Pitch Black, and TorRed.
The base price was $42,990 including destination.
Dodge’s entry level model was to be a B-segment hatch smaller than Civic Si or VW GTI, likely be a rework of Fiat’s Grande Punto Abarth or the Alfa MiTo. It was probably dropped as being too close to 500 — or changed and sold as the 500L.
Other parts of this report: Jeep, Ram, colors, and oil changes • Chrysler and Fiat cars
EuroHorizon and the Golf
Walter Chrysler: the early years
All Mopar Car and Truck News
FCA at the Eiffels
Chrysler: Port Melbourne