Chrysler's Special Editions: The Hits and Misses

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Few automakers embrace the special edition like Chrysler and its Dodge and Jeep brands. With most automakers, a sprinkling of special editions turn up on performance cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition, but Chrysler's examples span from economy to sports cars. Seemingly dozens of PT Cruiser special editions almost made that weird car interesting. Almost.

Fast forward to today and special editions of various Dodge, Jeep and Chryslers continue to grow. At our count, there are roughly 25 unique special editions called out across each brand's website. All use specific exterior and interior features to create a limited-edition package that stands out.

Each special edition ranges in execution from a colored grille and special wheels to a complete reimagining of the car's purpose; names like Glacier, Core, Freedom, Blacktop adorn each one. We dug into all 20-plus Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler special editions — check out our most and least favorite models: 

By Joe Bruzek | July 25, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Chrysler is recalling 4,458 model-year 2014 versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee due to a problem with the headlamps, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Jan. 14 through March 20, 2013, (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and are equipped with premium headlamps. Switching between daytime running lights and parking lights could lead to electrical spikes, which may cause the parking lamps to malfunction. The faulty lights fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Chrysler will notify owners beginning in August, and dealers will update the affected software for free. Owners can call Chrysler at 800-247-9753 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By Jennifer Geiger | July 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

The Top 10 Biggest Recalls of 2013

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Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls on millions of vehicles. In 2012, NHTSA recalled just shy of 18 million, and 15.5 million in 2011. While some recalls affect just a handful of vehicles, others impact millions.

So far this year, the biggest recall is technically not a recall at all. In June, we reported that NHTSA had requested Chrysler fix 2.7 million Jeep SUVs — 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty models — due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in a rear-end crash. Jeep initially refused, insisting the vehicles "met and exceeded all applicable requirements" of federal standards pertaining to fuel-system integrity. NHTSA then gave Chrysler a June 18 deadline to either issue a recall themselves, or be ordered to do so.

On the day of its deadline, Chrysler announced it would launch a campaign to inspect and, if necessary, fix the 2.7 million Jeeps — never officially referring to the action as a "recall." Still, that's what it was, and therefore it earns the distinction of being the biggest one this year.

According to research, the biggest recalls affecting the U.S. market in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 51,477 Ram Pickup Trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs

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Chrysler is recalling 51,477 Ram pickup trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs in three separate actions for varied problems with the vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The largest of the recalls covers 45,961 model-year 2013 Ram 1500 pickup trucks equipped with four-wheel drive; a software issue with the electronic stability system could cause the feature to be disabled when the truck is started. Affected trucks were manufactured between June 26, 2012, and Feb. 5, 2013. Disabling the system may result in loss of directional control, increasing the risk of a crash.

In addition, Chrysler is recalling 4,458 model-year 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs due to a problem with the exterior lighting system that could cause the parking lights to malfunction. Affected vehicles were manufactured between Jan. 14 and March 20, and are equipped with premium headlamps; the recall does not affect the SRT trim. When switching between daytime-running lights and parking lights, electrical spikes may cause the parking lights to turn off; without properly functioning parking lights, the SUV may not be as visible to other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash.

By Matt Schmitz | July 17, 2013 | Comments (0)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: State of the Midsize SUV

2013 Midsize SUV Challenge Overview

A lot has changed in the midsize SUV segment in the last 10 years. What once was a class dominated by truck-based models has given way almost entirely to car-based versions with a high seating position and styling that helped make SUVs popular, but offer improved ride and handling, fuel economy and interior space.

The class took a hit to its popularity around the first time gas prices reached $4 a gallon, but lately sales have been roaring back. Jeep's Grand Cherokee is Chrysler's second-best-selling vehicle this year after the Ram 1500 pickup truck, and it's a reason the joint venture with Fiat is booming. Ford's Edge, while not as successful as sister SUVs Explorer and Escape, still outsells Ford's largest and smallest cars, the Taurus and Fiesta.

By Mike Hanley | July 8, 2013 | Comments (11)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Mileage Results

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Midsize SUVs aren't known as the most fuel-efficient vehicles. The six SUVs we tested for Cars.com's latest comparison have technological advancements that make these five-passenger family haulers far more efficient than the previous generations. Features like an eight-speed automatic transmission, Eco driving modes and a turbocharged four-cylinder are sprinkled throughout the field.

We tested the 2013 Ford Edge, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2014 Kia Sorento, 2013 Nissan Murano and 2013 Toyota Venza.

Each manufacturer fielded its own vehicle and chose the drive type and engine to be evaluated for our comparison. The result was a mix of front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive SUVs. The Santa Fe Sport (20/27 mpg city/highway) went with front-wheel drive along with the Edge (19/27 mpg); the Grand Cherokee (17/25) was rear-wheel drive, and the Sorento (18/24), Venza (18/25) and Murano (18/23) were equipped with all-wheel drive.

We put these SUVs to the test on a 200-plus-mile driving loop in the Chicago suburbs to evaluate their gas mileage in as equal conditions as possible: same day, same time and same route with six legs to swap drivers to equalize weight and driving styles. How'd they do?

By Joe Bruzek | July 7, 2013 | Comments (1)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Results

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A quick look again at our judges:

  • Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com
  • Joe Bruzek, editor and car reviewer for Cars.com
  • Mike Hanley, editor and car reviewer for Cars.com
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today
  • Ben Davis, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Brian and Melissa Brown, our family judges for this Challenge

Here's how the score broke down: The experts' scores account for 75% of the total score; 15% from the family's scores; and 10% was based on fuel economy. To help you make your own comparisons of these SUVs, we've pulled together a list of what you get for $38,000.

By Patrick Olsen | July 7, 2013 | Comments (14)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Cargo

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Any of the six vehicles we tested for the $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge can swallow a generous dose of Little League equipment, potting soil, groceries or whatever you can imagine in the cargo area. When shopping for an SUV, it's important to remember that a big exterior doesn't mean it will have a huge cargo area.

The 2013 Nissan Murano is the longest of the bunch, yet it has the smallest cargo area. To drive that point further, the 2014 Kia Sorento is the second shortest but has the largest cargo area compared to the Murano, 2013 Ford Edge, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and 2013 Toyota Venza.

By David Thomas | July 7, 2013 | Comments (2)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Meet the Family

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The family testers arrived at our Challenge with a history with one of the competing automakers, but they left choosing a different automaker's SUV. But it wasn't an easy or quick decision.

Midsize SUVs are all about family friendliness, so we called in a family of four to help us evaluate six SUVs in the Cars.com/USA Today/"MotorWeek" $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge. Brian and Melissa "Missy" Brown live in the Chicago suburbs with their kids, Zachary, 7, and Taylor, 6. Missy is an elementary school teacher, and Brian is a technical support engineer for Panasonic's biomedical division.

Along with our experts, Brian and Missy evaluated the 2013 Ford Edge, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2014 Kia Sorento, 2013 Nissan Murano and 2013 Toyota Venza. Their evaluation scores helped determine the competition's winner.

By Joe Bruzek | July 7, 2013 | Comments (1)

What Kind of Mileage Does a 470-Horsepower SUV Get?

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The all-new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a monster. If you peek through the functional cooling nostrils atop the lightweight hood, there's a massive 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine that's ready to unleash all 470 horsepower. Amid the changes and upgrades for the new model year, there's an Eco mode and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2014's EPA-estimated 19 mpg highway rating is an improvement over the 2013 model's 18 mpg.

Does the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT get that highway number in the real world with all that Hemi power?

By Robby DeGraff | June 24, 2013 | Comments (0)

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