Category Archives: All Mopars

Compass: mpg, $$$

Pricing and gas mileage for the new 2017 Jeep Compass (as opposed to the old 2017 Jeep Compass, which is still at dealers) has just been released. Every Compass uses a 2.4 liter engine (the older model had a 2.0 as well).

The best mileage, an impressive 23 city/32 highway, comes with the six-speed manual transmission and front wheel drive. Going to the all wheel drive version, though, doesn’t hurt much — stripping off 1 mpg from both numbers.

Automatic buyers can find two transmissions. Front drivers get a six-speed, yielding 22 city, 31 highway — the same as the AWD manual. As for AWD automatics, they have nine speeds and yield a respectable 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.

The base price of the old 2017 Compass was $19,940; the new Compass Sport starts at $20,995, but comes much better equipped.  Add $1,500 for AWD.

2018 jeep compass trailhawk

Buyers stepping up to the well-equipped Latitude, which is probably going to be the volume seller, will pay $24,295 whether they want FWD or AWD.  Moving up to the Limited adds $4,700 to the ticket — and AWD is the only option ($28,995).

The Compass Trailhawk is the only truly off-road-capable car in the set, as the bearer of serious skid plates (and various aids to mobility). This Compass starts at $28,595 and, as one would expect, is AWD only.

All prices exclude the mandatory $1,095 destination charge. The Compass has reportedly started production, but shipping from Toluca, Mexico will start next week. The top model is a fully optioned Limited — $34,695.

Demon’s drag suspension: better launches

The latest release on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was announced this morning; so this week, we are talking about the suspension of the next monster muscle car.

This is a new, adjustable, adaptive suspension which should help the Challenger Demon get away from the starting line more quickly and with more force than any factory-built, street legal car before it.

The basic suspension architecture of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon looks similar to the normal Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, except that the adaptive dampers will focus more on launch force than handling.

Old school drag racers set up their suspensions to transfer weight to the rear wheels for better traction, with soft springs and dampers up front, and stiffer dampers in the rear. With this setup, when someone launches their tricked-out classic muscle car, the front end comes up and the weight of the car pushes down on the rear wheels as the rear shocks help keep the wheels down for the best launch. The downside is decreased handling in normal driving, so while a car with the drag-strip suspension might get off of the line much quicker, a stock car would handle a turn better.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is designed to be a drag strip beast and a solid road car, so engineers worked their way around the problem — by using the Hellcat Challenger’s mechanical/electronic adaptive and adjustable suspension, with an added “Drag Mode.”

The Challenger SRT Demon includes front springs which have a 35% lower rate (than the Hellcat), rear springs with a 28% lower rate, a front sway bar with a 75% low rate, a rear sway bar with a 44% lower rate and new drag-tuned Bilstein adaptive damping shocks.

When the new Drag Mode is engaged, the adaptive suspension enables better weight transfer to the rear wheels for better launches. Otherwise, the driver can engage a street-friendly mode for stronger cornering and ride quality.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the first production road car with mechanical/electronic drag racing suspension.

Next, Dodge released a spread which we are unable to decipher, so we have included it below the hardware specs. If anyone can shed some light on this, feel free to post your ideas in the comments below, or in the Allpar forum. The “Software” portion likely refers to the compression and rebound rates of the dampers in Drag Mode under WOT and non-WOT, with firm compression and firm rebound for the rear dampers and firm compression with soft rebound for the front dampers. The numbers, on the other hand, are our next Demon mystery.

The software “code” below might be explained by suspension engineer and race specialist Ian Sharp’s words: “It is related to torque split and/or torque vectoring, either front to rear or front side to side, and diagonally on very sophisticated systems. This is probably related to how power is delivered, whereas electronic stability control is somewhat the inverse as it relates to how each individual wheel brake is applied to maintain dynamic stability.”

35% lower rate front springs/28% lower rate rear springs
75% lower rate hollow front sway bar/44% lower rate rear sway bar
Drag-tuned Bilstein Adaptive Damping Shocks

Rear = F/F and Front = F/S
F/F – F/S maintained @ wide open throttle (WOT)
F/F – F/F < WOT
Traction control disabled/ESC maintained


Today’s announcement is accompanied by the newest teaser video, titled ‘Third Law’.  Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action. In this video, the front and rear suspension components are highlighted in a computer generated launch sequence.


Dodge bringing some fans to NYC to meet the Demon

FCA announced today that when the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon debuts in New York City, a few specially selected Dodge fans  will be invited to attend the big event, meeting the men and women involved in bringing this new Demon to life.

Details on the grand debut of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon are short, but we know that it will meet the world during the opening week of the 2017 New York International Auto Show during the week starting April 10th, and when the public days open later that week, the Demon will surely be one of the main attractions under the lights of the Big Apple show.

That is big news for everyone who is interested in the world of American muscle cars or high performance cars in general, but with today’s announcenment, the Demon debut will be even more exciting for a select group of Dodge/SRT fans.

“Our Dodge//SRT fans are among the most enthusiastic and socially engaged in the automotive industry,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FCA North America Passenger Cars. “Inviting fans to attend the reveal of the all-new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in New York is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for being a vital part of Dodge and SRT.”

FCA hasn’t made clear how many lucky enthusiasts they will invite to the Big Apple debut of the Demon, nor has the company announced how those folks will be selected. The press release did state that they will be inviting a “limited number of loyal fans of the brand’s social media channels,” so if you want a shot at being one of the Dodge/SRT fans invited to the debut of the 2018 CHallenger SRT Demon, liking the official Dodge Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter account would be a good start, in addition to regularly checking for any key updates.

New straight-six diesels, too?

Alongside new gasoline straight-six engines from FCA Corporate, we have seen some evidence that Fiat Powertrain is working on straight-six diesel engines, possibly based on a new generation of the FPT four-cylinders used in the Ram ProMaster and Fiat Ducato vans.

Fiat four cylinder diesel

What would the diesel be good for? We can think of a few uses within the American brands, quite aside from Fiat commercial applications.

For one, it could replace the expensive VM 3-liter V6 diesel used in Ram 1500 pickups, reducing the pressure on VM to produce ever-increasing numbers of those engines. That would allow more of the engines to be used in more Maseratis, Alfa Romeos, Grand Cherokees, and such. It could even be a base diesel for the Ram 2500, at much lower cost than the top-range Cummins.

Another use could be in the Jeep Wrangler and the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup; standardizing on inline engines could help engineers to dramatically improve the off-road abilities of both, by providing more room for suspension movement.

That alone would be justification enough, but chances are there are numerous places for such an engine in the Fiat Chrysler empire.

Return of the straight six?

For decades, straight sixes were a Chrysler Corporation (and Jeep) mainstay, powering cars and trucks alike.  The slant six fell first, in 1987 (by then, it was only used in Mexico), followed by the Jeep six, which lasted into 2006.

AMC 4 liter straight six

Now, rumors coming out of Auburn Hills suggest that the company may be looking to straight sixes again. These would, we suspect, be based on the GME four-cylinder design (which has yet to be used in any Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep, but has been seen in Alfa Romeos).

BMW has continued to use in-line sixes, and Mercedes is developing new ones; they are inherently smoother-running than V-shaped engines, and have packaging advantages in some applications — particularly where suspension articulation is important.

At this stage, we only have rumors, but if the engines are “for real,” we should expect to see them in around five to seven years.

AWD 300/Charger recall

FCA is recalling 2014-2017 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger cars with all wheel drive, to replace their front propshaft bolts. The company discovered that some bolts may loosen over time, in reviewing warranty data. There are no related injuries or accidents, so far.

Roughly 75,000 vehicles are affected — nearly 70,000 in the US, over 5,000 in Canada, and just 347 outside North America.

Toledo upgrades mean furloughs

The Toledo Blade reported that around 3,200 workers will be furloughed, or temporarily laid off, while the $700 million Toledo plant renovation and retooling takes place. The changeover could take up to six months, as one of two Toledo plants switches from making unibody, front-drive-based Cherokees to body-on-frame, rear-drive-based Wranglers.

After the workers are brought back, in waves (as production ramps up), the company expects to hire 700 more people. Disruption should be relatively minor, as they should get most of their normal take-home pay between state and company unemployment insurance and benefits.

Truth and fiction: Demon power rumors

There are lots of numbers being thrown around in the search for 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon horsepower and torque figures;   some outlets are insisting they have the “official” numbers. Today, we look at these rumored power numbers and whether they could be real hints of the Demon’s output, or just random numbers in marketing materials which are throwing everyone off the trail.

There are no official power numbers for the new Demon, so whether you hear it from a guy you know who knows a guy, your local salesman, or a Facebook guy who read an article from some clickbait website, anyone who claims to know the official numbers is just plain wrong.  Until we get the real numbers from Dodge, all of these reports claiming to “know the real numbers” based on something in the teasers should be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, Dodge has released images of the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon — the Demon’s license plate, the Demon Crate serial plate, a dyno chart in the Durango SRT Performance Pages, and, most recently, one of an odd tire size, seemingly highlighted.

The Demon’s license plate has #2576@35 spelled out. Some people believe that it is an equation predicting the Challenger Demon’s horsepower. The most popular belief with the plate is that 35% of 2,576 is 901, so that was one number which has been thrown around in the Demon power discussions.

These numbers could be an equation for something else, or completely unrelated to the actual power numbers – such as the blower size in cubic centimeters (2,576) and the blower drive ratio (3:5).

Next, there was the serial number plate on the Demon Crate, bearing the name Tom Coddington, a key player in the old school Mopar drag racing program back in the 1960s; it also had the serial number 0757 and a  VIN of 001121. Those two numbers – 757 and 1,121 – were instantly seen as power numbers. The Demon is expected to have different power settings (as the Hellcat Challenger does), and quite a few people believe that those numbers predict the horsepower in low and high performance modes.

757 horsepower seems reasonable, but 1,121hp? That would be incredible, but I’m not holding my breath while waiting for a 1,121hp street legal muscle car, even on race gas.

The third photo was part of the media package for the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT. The new Durango has the 392 Hemi with 475hp and 470lb-ft of torque, but in its Performance Pages shots, there is a digital dyno chart roughly 900 horsepower — on a scale that goes up to 1,200hp. Why does is this picture included?

Some believe that this is a horsepower hint for the Demon, but a company representative explained that this is a standard image used to show off the capabilities of the newest UConnect system in every vehicle with the Dodge Performance Pages. This is most likely a case of the company making one image to use for a handful of vehicles, and the graph shown is just some random artwork.

Finally, we have one of the wallpapers on, showing the wheel and tire of the new Dodge Challenger Demon. This image has a small arrow on the edge of the wheel, pointing at the tire size of the Demon-specific Nitto drag radials. The only problem is that instead of saying 315/40R18, which is the size of the Demon tires, it says 815/40R18, with the arrow seemingly pointing directly at the 8 at the beginning.

There are no tires 815mm wide, so this image has to have been doctored — but why? It’s also available from FCA with the correct 315, so this wallpaper was definitely altered. This is the most popular alternate hint; the others could all be something else, but we know what this number is supposed to be the width of the Nitto tires.

Right now, these are the key points being used for horsepower speculation and while we might learn in April that one of these numbers does reveal the actual power levels, there is no way of knowing which – if any –  of the numbers are accurate. Because of this unknown factor and these possible hints, speculation is to be expected, but in the end, there is no official number; and anyone insisting otherwise is simply making false claims to draw traffic to their website.