What to Drive to the World's Biggest Classic-Car Cruise

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The Woodward Dream Cruise happens every year on the third Saturday in August as it has since 1995, when a group of volunteers decided to try and relive their youth from the 1950s and 1960s, back when evening entertainment in the Motor City often involved aimlessly cruising up and down the well-known street.

What to Drive to Your High School Reunion

The street is M-1, Woodward Avenue, stretching 25 miles from the heart of Detroit into the suburb of Pontiac, crossing a dozen communities and the sites of many former drive-in restaurants. Since its humble beginning, the event has become the largest classic-car gathering in the world, with this year's event reportedly drawing 1.5 million people and more than 60,000 classic and modern specialty cars over the course of roughly a week. It is the ultimate event for the classic-car enthusiast, and the perfect place to take a classic, interesting or just plain fun car.

It just so happened this year that I had a test car that met all three descriptors. In a sea of extraordinary muscle cars, classic rarities and outrageous iron, what could possibly make the spectators sitting on the side of the road drop their Big Gulps, quickly whip out cameras, yell encouragement, flash thumbs-up and even in one case burst into applause en masse?

How about the redesigned 2013 SRT Viper GTS coupe in stunning, eye-popping Stryker Red Tinted Pearl?

By Aaron Bragman | August 28, 2013 | Comments (0)

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)

Will 'Fast and Furious' Accelerate Dodge Dart Sales?

The return of Michelle Rodriguez as the ostensibly back-from-the-dead Letty Ortiz in "Fast & Furious 6," roaring into theaters May 24, has been a key element in the film's prerelease marketing. Similarly, the resurrected-for-2013 Dodge Dart is ready for its close-up in the latest edition of the immensely popular Vin Diesel-fronted street-racing saga. But will the movie spark sales of the slow-selling compact?

While "Fast & Furious 6" is likely to be quick off the line on its way to box-office success — its predecessor, 2011's "Fast Five," bowed to a reported $86 million — early sales of the 2013 Dart have proved neither fast nor furious in its crowded segment. The automaker is no doubt hoping the Dart's prominence in both the film and a cross-marketing campaign will help raise its public profile, as similar product placement in "Fast Five" did for the Dodge Charger two years ago. A fleet of Chargers will return for some more screen time in the new film, along with the current SRT Challenger and a vintage Charger Daytona, according to the Wall Street Journal.

By Matt Schmitz | May 14, 2013 | Comments (6)

Chrysler Really Connects With 8.4-inch Touch-Screen

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Chrysler's massive 8.4-inch touch-screen available in Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram and SRT models is one of the few multimedia systems to integrate dozens of tasks without overwhelming users. Tasks including smartphone integration, navigation, Satellite radio and more pair with climate control functions in one easy-to-use 8.4-inch command center versus an unwieldy combination of knobs, buttons and touch-screen complexity.

Testing Chrysler's latest Uconnect 8.4 system in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee reminded us how seamless Uconnect works and why it's one of our favorites. Below are five aspects of the Uconnect 8.4 system that give it an advantage over not only direct competitors of Chrysler products, but in the grand scheme of all automotive multimedia offerings.

By Joe Bruzek | May 7, 2013 | Comments (18)

2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) at the 2013 New York Auto Show

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  • Competes with: 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, 2014 Nissan GT-R
  • Looks like: A Viper competition car endorsed by Dreamsicle
  • Drivetrain: 640-hp, 8.4-liter V-10 engine; six-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: 33 examples go on sale starting in third quarter 2013

The SRT Viper TA (Time Attack) is the Viper for track rats and those who want a more dedicated track package from the all-new Viper that debuted for the 2013 model year. Power remains the same at a chest-thumping 640 horsepower, and the package offers a more road-race-oriented suspension and aerodynamic package while remaining street legal.

It's also bright Crusher Orange, the only color available on the 33 planned production examples, and a single-spec trim level with no optional equipment.

An adjustable two-mode suspension borrowed from the up-level SRT Viper GTS combines with the low weight of the "entry-level" SRT Viper base model to make up the package's most notable change besides the retina-burning Crusher Orange paint. It's not a straight swap, however, as the two-mode Bilstein adjustable suspension is retuned with more track-oriented shocks, springs and road-racing derived stabilizer bars. The SRT brand says the TA has a smaller spread between the levels of dampening found on the Viper GTS models.

By Joe Bruzek | March 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 SRT Viper at Roebling Road Raceway: Photo Gallery

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The third generation of the erstwhile Dodge Viper returned from a three-year hiatus not only a "better car overall," says Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder, but no less outrageous. Faithful to its rep, the 2013 SRT Viper boasts showy features like a forward-opening hood, 18- and 19-inch wheels in front and back, respectively, and lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum components. Similarly impressive are interior upgrades, which in the GTS trim Wiesenfelder drove at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Ga., included abundant Laguna leather that muted memories of its previous inferior interior. Check out the gallery below.

By Matt Schmitz | March 7, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 SRT Viper GTS at Roebling Road Raceway Video

Admirers of the former Dodge Viper should be thrilled with the 2013 SRT Viper GTS. Those who would never dream of paying $100,000 for a less-than-practical sports car aren't likely to become converts. Whatever one's attitude on it, the third-generation Viper is an all-around improvement on its predecessor, says Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder. The new Viper has shed 100 pounds thanks to lighter-weight materials, helping its 640-horsepower, 8.4-liter V-10 achieve a low-3-second zero-to-60 time and a 206 mph top speed. Better yet, the track-ready SRT Viper has become an overall more manageable performance sports car without sacrificing its essential "Viper-ness." Watch the video above.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 5, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core: Photo Gallery

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SRT versions of the Dodge Challenger just got a little more accessible. Chrysler's high-performance brand unveiled the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core model at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show; it's a lower-priced version of the traditional Challenger SRT8.

More 2013 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

Power is unchanged: The new Core version uses the same 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. Exterior features include a black grille rear spoiler, unique decals, 20-inch aluminum wheels with black pockets and black Brembo brake calipers. The biggest story is price: The Core version starts at $39,990, including the $995 destination fee. The regular Challenger SRT8 starts at $44,770, including destination. 

Check out the photo gallery of the Challenger SRT8 in Plum Crazy Pearl Coat below.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 8, 2013 | Comments (3)

New SRT8 'Core' Models Drop Features, Price

Dodge's and Chrysler's high-performance SRT8 models receive a substantial price drop courtesy of a new breed of high-performance trim levels called the Core models. Challenger SRT8 and 300 SRT8 Core models strip convenience features like leather, moonroof, high-power stereo and fog lights in search of a lower price discounted as much as $4,780 than their full-featured regular models.
 
The trend started with Dodge's special edition Charger SRT8 Super Bee that — compared to the regular SRT8 — used the less-expensive radio, standard hood, cloth interior instead of leather and ditched the adaptive adjustable suspension in favor of a fixed firmness suspension.

More 2013 Chicago Auto Show Coverage
By Joe Bruzek | February 8, 2013 | Comments (0)

Chrysler-Fiat Plans 47 New or Updated Cars by End of 2016

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Chrysler-Fiat will introduce, redesign or update 47 cars over the next four years, the automaker said Wednesday in a financial presentation to analysts. Among them are six Alfa Romeos from Fiat's upscale European division, plus seven new Fiat-branded models. Chrysler also encompasses the Dodge, Jeep, Ram and SRT brands.

The pipeline goes well beyond what Fiat had planned when it took a government-brokered stake in Chrysler in 2009. In September 2012, the automaker unveiled 66 future models at a private dealer meeting in Las Vegas, and we don't know how many of these 47 cars overlap with those. At that meeting there were just two Alfas, however.

The new plan eliminates four Fiat-built cars — two Chryslers and two Dodges — and moves the timing back by one to three years on nine models. All told, there are 16 refreshes and 31 new cars between now and the end of 2016. We've already seen five of them — the refreshed Compass and Grand Cherokee, plus Fiat's new 500L and the Ram HD and chassis cabs — and an SRT Grand Cherokee is also in the works. That still leaves 42 to come. Naturally, all of this is subject to change. Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne called the plan "a living document," the Detroit News reports.

Here's how it breaks down:

By Kelsey Mays | January 31, 2013 | Comments (7)

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