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Report: New cars, Viper shown to dealers

by David Zatz on

Two Allpar readers at the national dealer meeting reported on the cars shown:

The big news is the new Dodge Viper, driven in to the amazement of everyone there. It is apparently a big styling change and people raved about it. The looks are more upscale, and word is that the product committee took just five minutes to unanimously approve the car.

The Chrysler 300 was shown, and is as beautiful as they claim. They claim to have spent $1 billion dollars on the development and used the BMW 5-series (starting at $44,000) as a benchmark. The interior is incredibly impressive, with hand-sanded wood accents. With the optional eight-speed automatic, it can get 30 mpg.

The Chrysler 200 looks good overall and is a vast improvement over the Sebring. The pillars are all that remain the same. With the six-speed dual-clutch automatic, engineered by both Chrysler and Fiat (both had dual-clutch designs at the time of the deal), it reportedly hits 29 mpg. The Chrysler 200 will see showrooms in November.

The minivan looks even better in person, and the interior is truly impressive especially on the Limited. The Dodge Caravan has also been greatly improved inside, with a sportier exterior; the suspension has reportedly been tuned for a more sporty feel (as in years before 2008), and the “man van” has been confirmed as a limited edition version.

The Dodge Challenger V6 is rated at 305 horsepower, (as at least one other web site reported). The 6.4 liter Hemi will be called the 392, as previously reported

The Dodge Charger was shown and it is a vast improvement, especially the interior.

The Ram 3500 Longhorn package was impressive in luxury and had a badge in the floor mat that could be worn as a belt buckle. It will appear at the Texas State Fair soon. The Ram 2500 and 3500 will have RamBox optional next year.

The new Dodge Journey was shown, with one of the best looking interiors there; even Ralph Gilles was gushing about it.

Dodge Avenger, is an Avenger. New powertrain, basically, with most of the changes going into the Chrysler 200.

They showed the new small Dodge pickup truck (possibly still called Dakota).

Jeep Compass really does look like a baby Grand Cherokee.

At the end of the Jeep show, Mike Manley started to leave but (in a Steve Jobs-like move) a door opened and a Jeep pickup truck drove in. It was the 2005 Jeep Gladiator concept, which used a modified Ram frame with a Wrangler suspension. Manley shrugged, said, “Hey, you never know,” and walked off.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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