The new Dodge Journey comes to town

September 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Journey fqThe new Dodge Journey goes on sale in New Zealand this October. It’s a crossover designed 7-seater which boasts having the practicality of a people mover, the flexibility of an SUV and the overall fuel efficiency of a passenger car.

The powertrain choices for the Journey are a 2.7-litre V6 petrol engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission, which is standard across the range. Also on offer is a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine matched to a Chrysler-Getrag six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The vehicle features six airbags, ESP, storage combinations including underfloor storage bins, and a new dual-clutch transmission are standard across the range.  Under the hood the 2.0-litre turbo diesel puts out 103kw and peak torque is 310Nm, it achieves fuel consumption ratings of 7.0 L/100km. The bigger 2.7-litre V6 engine produces 136kw and 256Nm of torque, and a fuel consumption rating of 10.3 L/100km (combined).

To view our Dodge vehicle reviews please see below

Chrysler surges ahead with electric vehicles

September 24th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Jeep EV phantom

Chrysler has announced plans to introduce three electric-drive vehicle prototypes, only one will be selected for production for the North American market in 2010 and European markets the following year. The three options include a Dodge performance sports car, a Jeep SUV and a Chrysler people mover based on the popular Voyager platform.  As a joint project between Chrysler and the U.S Department of Energy, 100 electric vehicles are to be on the road in government, business, utility and Chrysler development fleets by 2009.

The Company said that it is well into the development of advanced, production-intent electric vehicles, and that it will apply electric-drive technology to its front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive platforms in the next several years.

“We have a social responsibility to our consumers to deliver environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, advanced electric vehicles, and our intention is to meet that responsibility quickly and more broadly than any other automobile manufacturer,” said Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO — Chrysler.

Chrysler’s Electric Vehicles utilise just three primary components. These include an electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power the electric-drive motor and a controller that manages energy flow. The electric-drive system is being developed for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive vehicle applications. This technology provides customers with a vehicle that has zero tailpipe emissions and a 150- to 200-mile driving range.

The Range-extended Electric Vehicle technology combines the electric-drive components of the Electric Vehicle with a small petrol engine and integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed.

In the Dodge EV sports car the 200 kW electric-drive motor generates 650 N¢m (480 lb.-ft.) of torque. The instant high torque of the electric-drive motor delivers outstanding performance, accelerating the Dodge EV to 60 mph in less than five seconds, with quarter-mile times of 13 seconds and a top speed of more than 120 mph.

To find out more check out www.Chryslergoeselectric.com

Dodge Journey coming to New Zealand soon

August 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

dodge-journey-fq

The soon to be released in New Zealand Dodge Journey looks set to provide affordable seating for seven.

The front-wheel drive Dodge Journey has 5+2 seating as standard across the range and loads of family-friendly features including a tilt and slide flexible seating system; spacious under-floor storage bins and under-seat storage areas; rear doors that open to 90-degrees for easy access when installing child seats; a rear conversation mirror and climate control that operates in all three rows.

The new Dodge comes with a choice of a 2.4-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel engine. The diesel engine is available with either a manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox and will return up to 6.5L/100km (combined cycle).

The entry-level SE model will come with three-zone climate control; a tilt and telescope steering wheel; tyre pressure monitoring; power-folding and heated wing mirrors; electric windows and six-disc CD with MP3 compatible sound system all as standard.

Dodge Avenger SXT 2007 Review

October 26th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Avenger SXT 2007 s

Avenger is a pretty cool name. It sounds like the moniker that would be given to a muscled black guy in a long trench coat and shades who acts as a vigilante on the mean streets of LA, seeking retribution¦looking moody¦kicking ass.

But that’s not the Dodge Avenger. It more just negotiates in a friendly way with bad guys, ruffles their hair a little bit and sends them on their way. It is a comfortable family-sized four-door sedan/saloon with hints of coupe in the styling, and some enormous shoulders above the rear wheels that have to carry this brawny image.

Equipped with two-tone leather seats, the inside of the Avenger’s interior looks stylish. Its interior appointments are excellent for a car in this class and price range. A heating/cooling cup holder, driver and passenger seat heaters that would melt an iceberg, plenty of storage, a trip computer, easy-to-read instrumentation and a fully telescopic adjustable steering wheel makes for a relaxed drive.

This ‘relaxation unfortunately extends through to the engine. It doesn’t ‘avenge’ in the power department, with a 2.4-litre mill that does not unleash fury on the tarmac like a car called the Avenger should. Converting the power to the road is a four-speed automatic that also features a sequential shift with Dodge’s unusual left/right action for changing up and down.

If you are content to cruise comfortably, the Avenger is perfect — handling is not too firm, and it’s not like a quivering, cowardly weakling either. Disk brakes all around hide behind 18-inch alloys shod in 215/55 rubber that haul the Avenger to a stop smartly. You could easily go to 19- or 20-inch wheels which would fill the Avenger’s arches out better. Unusually angled styling on the front bumper would be better matched to larger wheels as it makes the Avenger look like it’s travelling on suspension that needs lowering a couple of inches.

Multi-stage airbags — front, side and curtain — coupled with ESP, ABS and a collapsible steering column protect occupants in the event of an accident.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Avenger is the optional MyGIG multimedia infotainment system which includes a DVD player and 20Gb hard drive. Mated to a six-speaker Boston Acoustics system, the 276W amp is more than adequate to cause tinnitus. You can upload songs from your portable music player or computer via a USB. MyGIG will play MP3/WMA-format files, and there’s an auxiliary in for your iPod. The MyGIG panel is a large (just under 7-inches diagonal) 16:9 touch-sensitive screen that encompasses all the audio functions, from changing the radio station to uploading a photo to display with your music. While the car is stationary it’s possible to watch DVDs on the screen. So, I cracked open The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’ widescreen edition double DVD. Chapter 37 on disk one is a studio session of ‘Who Are You.’ And that sums up the Dodge Avenger. After all this talk of how friendly and plush the Avenger is for the money, should it be called the Dodge Appeaser? Yes: it’s a comfy car that is easy to make friends with, but for kicking ass, the engine doesn’t quite cut it. Who are you? I really wanna know.

Price: from $38,990 ($33,990 for SE version)

What we like

  • MyGIG stereo (optional) is cool
  • Large boot
  • Passenger comfort

What we don’t like

  • Wrong engine for this car — nowhere near enough power, and not the right sound
  • Stereo over bassy
  • Small rear window means you’ll most likely want the optional Parksense reversing sensors
  • Optimistic fuel consumption figures (8.9l/100km)

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Dodge Nitro R/T 2007 Review

August 19th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Nitro RT 2007 fq

Dodge’s campaign for the Nitro reads ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ Dodge could have called it the Pharaoh, and used ‘Who’s your Mummy?’ But puns aside is the Nitro really ‘your Daddy’, would you want it to be your Daddy if it wasn’t, and if not who actually is your Daddy?

To answer this plethora of parental pontifications, I took the Nitro to the pony clubs and rolling hills of Whitford, east of Auckland.

The front of the Nitro echoes its bigger pickup brother, the Dodge Ram SRT10. The whole car is purposeful and bulging. With the oversized front it’s like a bodybuilder doing push-ups — muscular and grimacing.

There’s a large fatherly kick up the backside in the form of a 4-litre V6 producing 195kW and 360Nm of torque at 4200rpm, which drives through a five-speed automatic to reach 100kph in less than eight seconds.

Though it’s touted as a capable off-roader (it even has a four-wheel-drive diff lock), with 20-inch mags on each corner I daren’t take it into the squishy stuff. Content to remain on the blacktop I discovered the Nitro’s paternal, domineering presence a reassuring and comfortable drive. Just don’t expect it to corner like it’s a sports car. Occupants sit high up, and this means a high centre of gravity and its consequential body roll. The fat 245/50R20 tyres did as good a job as they could to rein in my boyish exuberance, and disc brakes all round haul the Nitro to a halt effectively.

The weight contribution from the enormous 368W stereo with monster subwoofer in the boot is probably significant. Who cares, though, because in this consummate lifestyle vehicle you can roll up anywhere in the Nitro and bring the party with you. There are five seats, enough luggage space for 832 litres of your favourite beverage (or 1994 litres with the back seats folded), and you can tow 2270kg (braked trailer with the weight distributing hitch). Getting your luggage in and out of the back is assisted by the convenient Load n’ Go loading tray which slides partially out of the boot and will hold 181kg — almost enough for an American to sit on.

The stereo controls are, unusually, on the back of the steering wheel with no markings to tell you which buttons do what. Fortunately learning which side changes the frequency and which buttons control the volume only takes a little while. Cruise control is located on a stalk on the right of the wheel, and the buttons on the wheel itself change the display of the trip computer. This display has other functions: it’s a compass, it gives you a readout of what frequency is on the stereo, and it will even tell you the tyre pressures of each wheel.

The electric folding wing mirrors are heated to help on those frosty winter mornings, as are the front seats, (the driver’s seat is power-adjustable), and a photochromic mirror darkens if traffic is following you at night. The footwell doesn’t suffer transmission tunnel intrusion like it does a bit in the Jeep Wrangler, and overall, the driving position is comfortable.

My partner Jen (who only knows that cars have four wheels and are bad for the environment) said, “Why do they call it a Dodge — it’s more like a hit?” And she might just have it. It’s a smack in the face with standover tactics to political correctness. The Nitro should be your benevolent-but-tough older brother. He’s the one that beats up the kid that picks on you (and a few that don’t), teaches you interesting swearwords and lets you hang out with his much cooler mates. But ‘Who’s your Brother’ just doesn’t have the same ring.

Price: from $50,990 (petrol), or $55,990 (diesel)

There are Dodge Nitros for sale on this website (opens in a new window)

What we like:

  • Styling
  • Power
  • Engine note

What we don’t like:

  • Roads with corners reveal the very conservatively calibrated stability control

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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