Two “new” Compass reviews

T4OG: Trans Four Owner’s Group

Mopars of the 2017 NYC Auto Show
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The 2005 New York Auto Show

2005 New York Auto Show - Camp Jeep

Dieter ZetscheIn 2004, after launches of a new Grand Cherokee and Liberty, the biggest news was in the Mopar Speedshop, which showed Plymouths in race form. The Jeep off-road course ("Camp Jeep NY") was a big hit, with over 36,000 participants taking test rides, and it was back for 2005 in the same place.

The show floor is divided into two levels. On the car floor, Toyota has the most prominent location, while Chrysler and Dodge are among the hardest to reach, all the way at the back corner. On the truck/SUV floor, Dodge trucks are next to Toyota, right by the center entrance.

"Starting at the end," with a "media scrum" of actors pretending to be journalists, complete with mics and TV cameras, Dieter Zetsche introduced the Jeep Commander, pointing to its heritage in the Cherokee and other past Jeeps.

Jeep team leaders

Dieter Zetsche with CommanderThe bigger launch was the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, a 410 horsepower SUV that can still go off-road and tow over 3,0000 pounds, but also does 0-60 in 5 seconds - making it faster, according to Zetsche, than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the quickest BMW SUV.

One of the more interesting launches from other automakers was Lexus, whose new GS430h hybrid-electric runs 0-60 of about six seconds, but still produces gas mileage in the high 20s, combined city-highway.

Auto Show Press Day Two (by J. White)

To launch the Dodge Charger SRT-8 and Dodge Charger pursuit car, Chrysler Group Vice President Eric Ridenour told the media that there was a live event downtown, switching to a “satellite” feed “downtown.” A local police chief was telling Tom LaSorda that the Dodge Charger SRT-8 would make their life more difficult. Enter the new Dodge Charger police car.

The video had someone steal the new Charger SRT8, with Tom and the police chief pursuing through the downtown; the chase made it way to the stage. Joe Eberhardt then climbed out of the Charger SRT-8 and was arrested.

Dodge Charger police car

Tom Lasorda also announced that SRT owners would get a free SRT Track Experience day with help from Skip Barber Driving School instructors.

Dodge Charger SRT8

Though the SRT-8 is only lowered 0.5 inches it seems much lower. The hood is aluminum to save weight but unlike the 300C SRT-8 the Charger SRT-8 decklid is steel. The rear wing is strikingly like those on the second generation Charger R/Ts.

inside the Dodge Charger squad car

The new 20" wheels, unique to the Charger SRT-8, remind me a bit of the Plymouth Prowler wheels but more squared off. The 14.2 and 14.4 inch Brembo brakes behind them are accented with red paint. The brakes will stop this 4100 lb mass of muscle in Viper-matching 110 feet from 60 mph. The front buckets have contrasting suede inserts for a splash of color and the rear seats have been given a matching treatment. Overall, a great package that should do very well.

srt8

The Charger Police Vehicle is nice looking in its own right with a body colored grill and steel wheels hidden behind a cap resembling the standard Charger wheels. Overall, the package seems similar to the Magnum police car.

srt interior

After the launch, I asked Dan Knott about the “functional” hood scoop. He mentioned that a Ram Air type scoop would have to deal with water and snow management, and the height of the 6.1 L engine also made it a tricky proposition. I also asked if the rear wing might be a delete option and he said “no.”

I then pulled Ralph Gilles, who seemed familiar with Allpar, and he said that the Charger SRT-8 is the LX car that is most him and his personality. He said he almost wished that they had led the Charger launch with this car, as it has been done for some time, but that the plan was to release it in New York all along.

I asked him about the new minivans (which he is leading the design of) and he said he was having a lot of fun with them and that he wanted them to be striking and attention grabbing. They want to re-invent what the minivan can be.

New York Auto Show in progress (by Mark)

Camp Jeep NY, which was separated from the rest of the show by a short tunnel, occupied the entire North Pavilion. The display was swamped with visitors: the wait for a test drive exceeded an hour for the majority of the day.

The Hurricane and Gladiator concepts occupied rocky pedestals along the perimeter of the off-road course, while heritage models stood proudly at its center. One curious element was a woman wearing stilts on her hands and feet, completely covered in vines save for her face. She strutted around silently among the crowd, making awkward poses and mischievous facial expressions along the way. She was somewhat of a hit, with awestruck visitors snapping pictures and crowding around her.

John Georges’ impressions of the show

The 2005 New York Auto Show was quite impressive- even more so than last year’s.  This year, there was more knowledgeable staff available to provide help and answer questions.  Digital camera stations were set up around some of the more popular high-end vehicles where you could get your picture taken, which was later posted on a web site. Outside, there was a tent set up with customized cars from celebrities like Snoop Dog and Nelly. 

Ford

The 2005 Mustang GT was impressive.  Based on the 1979 platform, this 4.6 liter all-aluminum V-8 (also available in a slightly cheaper V-6 version) Mustang cranks out 300 horses at 5750 RPM and 320 lb-ft of torque at 4500 RPM.  This bad boy runs the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds. Ford also showcased the Shelby Gr-1 concept car, a two-seat, polished-aluminum fastback has a 605 horsepower V10.

Dodge

The SRT-4 is only a Neon until it’s out-running and out-maneuvering you… then you can tell your friends it was a Viper. With a base price of only $21,195, this front-wheel drive, 4-door speed demon is powered by a 2.4-liter four pumped up by a high-pressure turbocharger and a huge air-to-air intercooler.  The second you step on the gas you are speeding down the road pushing out 230 horsepower at 5300 RPM and 250 lb-ft of torque at 2200 RPM.  It comes with a 5-speed manual, and can do the quarter in about 13.9 seconds; braking from 60-0 takes only a short 112 feet.

The Nitro concept-car is expected to have a top speed of 108 mph, standing quarter-mile at 16.8 seconds and 0-60 in 9.7 seconds.  For people who have been waiting for a mid-size SUV, just wait a little longer; the Dodge Nitro is for you.

Honda

The V-6 powered Accord Hybrid pushes out 255 horsepower with the fuel economy of a compact-class, 4-cylinder Civic Sedan (37 mpg highway/ 29 mpg city).  The starting price of $30,140 is a little steep but when it comes to fuel economy with strong power, this car does its job.

In light of its 20th anniversary, the Civic Si concept car really makes the name Civic a true legacy.  Honda is planning to unleash this car with a 16-valve, DOHC I-VTEC engine with 200 horsepower.  It should come standard with a 6-speed close ratio manual transmission and a redline at 8,000 RPM.

Mitsubishi

The 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Edition is here at last.  Lately, it seems that lately more and more car companies are putting out 4-cylinder AWD turbocharged cars but nothing compares to the Evo when it comes to smooth sailing.  This all-wheel drive, inline 4 pushes out a strong 278 horses at 6500 RPM and 286 lb-ft of torque at 3500 RPM.  The MR edition includes 6-speed manual transmission, monotube Bilstein® dampers and forged aluminum BBS® wheels.  Nothing looks hotter than this car- with its Recaro® seat, bulging fenders, and its high-mounted carbon fiber spoiler.

Even though the last design of the Eclipse didn’t seem all that hot to me, the 2006 Mitsubishis Eclipse is pretty sleek- it looks like a Nissan 350Z mixed with the a 2005 Eclipse.  The 2006 Eclipse GT has the most powerful V-6 in its class, 263 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque. 

Nissan

The 2005 Nissan 350Z Roadster is designed to transform from top-up to top-down in just 20 seconds.  The power in this car comes from a reliable 3.5 liter V-6 engine producing a 287 horsepower.  The Roadster starts out at $28,650 for the Enthusiast edition but it can go all the way up to $39,200 for the Grand Touring edition.  The new Nissan AZEAL Coupe concept car has an intense body design with wide fender flares. 

Volkswagen

The GTI VR6 is an economy car with a sports car spirit and Volkswagen’s 2.8-liter engine, which pumps out 200 horsepower at 6,200 RPM. This car gets a nice 23-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway with a base price of $22,330. Volkswagen is focusing on sleek styling with the new Volkswagen Ragster concept car. 

Jeep

The 2005 Grand Cherokee continues the Jeep tradition.  At first, the Grand Cherokee looks only slightly changed but when you get closer you notice more steel and less glass on a slightly more angular body and the windshield is pushed back more towards the driver. The basic Laredo comes with a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission ($26,130).  A Laredo 4x4 model with Quadra-Trac I full-time four-wheel drive will come out to about $28,100.  A 4.7-liter V8 is also optional for the Laredo.  The Limited comes with V8 engine, power adjustable floor pedals with memory, and rain-sensing wipers ($31,455).  An optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available for both Laredo and Limited.

2005 grand cherokee

The new Jeep Hurricane is something I never would have imagined in the Jeep lineup.  This concept car is easily the most powerful yet maneuverable 4x4 ever.  It is powered by two 5.7-liter HEMI engines (one in front, one in back).  Each engine produces 335 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque (a total of 670 horsepower and 740 lb-ft of torque). This two-seater has a turn radius of zero which is achieved by the skid steer capability and toe steering (the ability to turn front and rear tires inward).  This future car is sure to turn some heads but with power like that in such a small car, how safe can it be?

Acura


Finding a car that is both luxurious yet mildly powerful with a smooth ride can be a pretty hard thing to do these days.  No other car fills this description so perfectly than the 2005 Acura RL.  The four-door RL powered by a V6 3.5-liter engine that pushes 300 horsepower (75 more than last year) to all of its 4 wheels through the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.  The Active Torque Transfer System from the 1997 Prelude SH was put to good use in this car.  The RL comes standard with an Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition that quickly guides you through the roads with real-time traffic information.  With a price tag of $48,900, it may be a little steep but will definitely appeal to those willing to spend the money.

Acura showed that it has the engineering to create a sleek yet speedy SUV with their MDX and are once again stepping up the game.  Acura’s new RD-X concept car combines the performance of a speedy sports car and the comfort of a sports sedan with the same all wheel drive system used in the RL (SH AWD).

Saturn


I’m not really much of a Saturn fan.  In fact, at the Auto Show I pretty much just rushed by the Saturn section thinking, “not a car for me.”  Then I noticed quite a few people gathered around a car on display- the new 2006 Saturn Sky.  This stylish convertible is like no other Saturn I have ever seen.  The car is pushed by a 2.4-liter engine that puts out 170 horsepower.  Projector halogen low beams and reflector optic halogen high beam headlamps extend the cars already sophisticated look.  This car comes standard with a 5-speed short throw manual transmission.  The Sky is expected to be less than $25,000 and will be available in early 2006.

Another Saturn with dramatically improved design is the Saturn Aura concept car.  Not much is known about this car except that the exterior styling was based on a more European look.  It is expected to have 19-inch polished alloy wheels pushed to the corners, resulting in short overhangs.

All in all, the 2005 Auto Show was a blast but I still can’t wait until next year’s show.

Engine displays

2.8 liter VM diesel from Jeep Liberty

Cummins turobdiesel from Dodge Ram

5.7 Hemi 6.1 Hemi V8 4.7 Jeep PowerTech

Other items of interest

Chrysler HeritageHistory by YearChrysler People and BiosCorporate Facts and History


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Virginia PDC
New Mopar distribution center

FCA’s high school design contest

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Two “new” Compass reviews T4OG: Trans Four Owner’s Group Mopars of the 2017 NYC Auto Show