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    New York Auto Show: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class


    • Mercedes renames the ML-Class to the GLE-Class with the latest refresh.


    Mercedes-Benz is saying 'good night sweet prince' to the ML nameplate that has been a part of its midsize SUV since it was first-introduced in the late-nineties. Taking its place will be the GLE name which is part of Mercedes' name-change to their SUV/Crossover lineup. So what better way to introduce a new name than with revised model. Next week at the 2015 New York Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz will just do that.

    The standard GLE-Class takes some ideas from the GLE Coupe we saw in Detroit such as a new front end design with either a two-bar grille for standard models or a single-bar for the AMG model, along with a new bumper, headlights, and hood. Around back are a set of new taillights and bumper with rear exhaust tips. Inside is a carbon copy of the GLE Coupe with a new steering wheel and infotainment system with a screen mounted on top of the dash.

    As for powertrain choice, the GLE-Class will have a wide range of engines.

    • GLE300d 4MATIC: 2.1L Turbodiesel-Four - 201 horsepower and 369 pound-feet
    • GLE350 and GLE350 4MATIC: 3.5L V6 - 305 horsepower and 273 pound-feet

    • GLE400 4MATIC: 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 - 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet

    • GLE500e 4MATIC: (Plug-In Hybrid Setup) 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 and electric motor - 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet

    • GLE63 4MATIC: 5.5L Twin-Turbo V8 - 550 horsepower and 516 pound-feet

    • GLE63 S 4MATIC: 5.5L Twin-Turbo V8 - 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet

    All models except the AMG variants use the 7G-tronic gearbox. AMG models get a Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission. The GLE350 will be the only the only model be available with rear-wheel or 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

    Mercedes-Benz is keeping quiet on pricing for the GLE-Class, but does say most of the lineup will be at dealers this August. The GLE500e will arrive a month later.

    Source: Mercedes-Benz

    Press Release is on Page 2


    WORLD PREMIERE FOR THE MERCEDES-BENZ GLE AND MERCEDES-AMG GLE63

    • Efficiency meets performance

    March 25, 2015 - Stuttgart: Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly revised its best-seller in the SUV segment. The highlights of the new GLE include considerably more appealing front and tail ends and extensive measures which make new benchmarks with regard to emissions and drive system possible. For the first time in its SUV history, Mercedes-Benz offers a plug-in hybrid model, the GLE550e 4MATIC, which combines maximum efficiency with outstanding performance. This multi-talent will even best the already low fuel consumption figures of the efficiency champion GLE300d with four-cylinder diesel engine, while delivering the performance of a V8 model. The advantages of the new GLE furthermore include best on-road and off-road handling, outstanding spaciousness and high levels of active and passive safety. The high-performance SUV models, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC and the GLE63 S 4MATIC, celebrate their world premieres at the same time at the New York International Auto Show.

    "State-of-the-art and efficient drive technology, combined with superior ride quality and the versatility and robustness typical for SUVs - the new GLE has all the ingredients to continue the success story of our best-seller," is how Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars, characterizes the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. Outstanding safety and a high level of driving dynamics both on the road and in terrain are among the other strengths of the premium SUV. Furthermore, the GLE impresses with ground-breaking assistance systems and the innovative DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, which offers extensive drive and off-road programs for even the base model.

    The unmistakable design with the hallmark C-pillar and the variable interior with the wellness factor of a luxurious sedan model enrich the Mercedes-Benz GLE experience additionally. "Often copied, rarely equalled - the M-Class established the segment of premium SUVs in 1997 and since then has been one of the most successful models in the world. With the launch of the GLE, the edition will surpass the 1.6 million mark," Kaellenius went on to say. And Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, added: "With the new GLE63 and seven additional performance SUV models from the GLA45 AMG to the G65 AMG, Mercedes-AMG is in an extremely strong and very confident position. All three generations of the predecessors were highly popular. We offer the right performance automobile for every individual taste in the further growing SUV segment."

    Diesel and hybrid drive: efficiency meets the joy of driving

    In addition to the appealing design, the variable driving experience thanks to DYNAMIC SELECT and the assistance systems familiar from the E- and S-Class, the GLE impresses with an extensive engine line-up. Five equally efficient and powerful powertrain options with four, six or eight cylinders are available to choose from.

    The special focus:

    • The (201-hp) four-cylinder diesel model GLE300d offers superior performance with an all-time low fuel consumption for this class of vehicles. It is the world's first production full-size SUV with conventional drive that under the European cycle emits just 140 g of CO2/km (5.4 l/100 km).
    • No less impressive is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV with plug-in hybrid technology. A system output of 436 hp in the GLE550e 4MATIC guarantees brilliant performance - with European cycle CO2 emissions of just 78 g/km (3.3 l/100 km). With a power consumption of 16.7 kWh/100 km, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC is the benchmark in this market segment. In addition, the hybrid model is capable of up to 30 km (18.6 mi) of all-electric driving.

    GLE550e 4MATIC: plug-in hybrid technology meets a luxury SUV

    The new GLE550e 4MATIC with plug-in hybrid drive combines the power and refinement of a V8 engine with the fuel consumption of a three-liter car and the versatility of a premium SUV. The drive system components comprise a V6 direct-injection gasoline engine with 329 hp and a hybrid module with 114 hp of electric power. The system peak torque is a massive 479 lbs-ft. In addition to impressive acceleration thanks to the boost function, the innovative system drive also offers all-electric driving at speeds up to 81 mph, optimized energy recovery thanks to the intelligent operating strategy and comfort functions such as pre-entry climate control in summer and winter.

    A selector switch on the center console and the instrument cluster offer the driver a choice between four specific operating modes:

    • HYBRID: the system controls automatically select the most sensible operating mode with combustion engine and/or electric motor for optimising the overall energy balance
    • E-MODE: all-electric driving
    • E-SAVE: this mode preserves the current state of charge of the battery to be able to drive on all-electric power at a later time, for example in urban traffic
    • CHARGE: battery is charged while driving and when the vehicle is stationary

    The compact hybrid module is fully integrated into the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The electrical energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of 8.8 kWh, which can be recharged using public charging stations, the wallbox charger at home or on a conventional 220 volt power outlet. The charging time using the wallbox charger or the charging station is around two hours.

    Intelligent drive system management

    The best strategy for efficient driving has always been anticipatory driving without unnecessary braking and accelerating. This is even more important in a hybrid model: because braking maneuvers serve not only to deliver deceleration, but are also used to recover kinetic energy. The route or the traffic also has influence on the most efficient charging and discharging of the high-voltage battery. For this reason the intelligent drive system management aids the driver with specific control strategies in adopting the most efficient driving style.

    State-of-the-art BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 petrol engines

    The GLE400 4MATIC is powered by a direct-injection twin-turbo V6 engine with spray-guided combustion, new piezo injectors and MSI multi-spark ignition. This engine produces an output of 329 hp and 354 lbs-ft of torque from 1400 rpm and makes do on 8.8 l/100 km or 209 g CO2/km (NEDC combined) on the European cycle.

    Powerful clean diesel engine

    With the start of the new GLE generation, the diesel model will be equipped with the optionally available off-road reduction gear and inter-axle differential lock. The transmission is fitted with a new type of torque converter with a high efficiency of 92 percent and a wide spread of 9.15 across the nine speeds. Both contribute to the high energy efficiency of the GLE models. A double turbine torsional damper with centrifugal pendulum and the torque converter lock-up clutch with return spring ensure the extremely refined operation typical of the brand. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system, the 7G-TRONIC impresses with great agility and responsiveness or poised composure.

    Workout for the best-seller: Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and GLE 63 S

    The new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC is now stronger and more appealing than ever with an expanded model line-up and even more power. Following the introduction of the new naming logic, the successor of the successful Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is now called the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. The AMG 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 engine is even more powerful than before: in addition to the basic variant developing 550 hp, there is also the highly sporty S-Model to choose from which is rated at 577 hp. The chassis was completely revised to deliver even better driving dynamics and agility. The throttle response of the engine and the shift times of the transmission are now on a new, even sportier level and thereby underscore the hallmark AMG Driving Performance. With the characteristic AMG family face featuring "A-wing” and twin-blade radiator grille, the power SUV also has a more dynamic appearance than before

    DYNAMIC SELECT combined with off-road drive programs

    The DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system of the new GLE offers up to six drive programs. In addition to the established settings INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY and SPORT, in the 4MATIC models the driver can choose the additional OFFROAD setting for mild terrain with the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the centre console. If the GLE model is equipped with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, the OFFROAD+ setting is available. In this setting, the off-road reduction gear and a 100% inter-axle differential lock come into play to generate high traction even in challenging terrain. This is further boosted by the expanded functions of the optional AIRMATIC air suspension with raised ride heights for a ground clearance of up to 11 inches and a fording depth of 23 inches. The reinforced underfloor panelling of this equipment variant protects important components against not so gentle contact with the ground.

    The selection of the individual drive programs effects the DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system to activate entirely different characteristics. The system networks all the control systems, generating different sets of parameters for distinct driving experiences. The names speak for themselves: SPORT turns the GLE into a sporty and dynamic vehicle with strong linear and lateral dynamics. COMFORT is the opposite end of the spectrum. Here the emphasis is on the feel-good parameters so typical of classic Mercedes-Benz saloon cars, for relaxed, effortless cruising with the greatest possible energy efficiency. SLIPPERY optimises the handling on surfaces with low friction coefficients such as snow or ice. And special off-road algorithms for ABS, 4ETS or ESP boost traction in the OFFROAD settings. In addition, INDIVIDUAL mode enables the driver to programme and store personal preferences in the individual control strategies, regardless of the engine variant.

    All DYNAMIC SELECT programs are visualized on the central media display. Especially impressive are the off-road animations: various parameters such as slope angle, tilt angle, steering angle or heading are displayed dynamically in real time.

    Superior high everyday practicality and perfect traction, sports-car agility and spontaneous throttle response – the new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 guarantees its driver an exclusive driving experience without parallel. DYNAMIC SELECT is a major factor in this as well: the drive programs provide even more variety in the area of driving dynamics. The additional SPORT+ setting offers the driver tailor-made characteristics for particularly sporty driving dynamics. Throttle response, gear-change strategy, ESP® thresholds, steering power assist or the characteristic of the continuous damper adjustment exclusive to AMG: the system networks all the control systems, generating a wide variety of distinct driving experiences.

    Mercedes-AMG uses a special transfer case for the AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive in the GLE63 and GLE63 S. This exclusive solution splits the torque at a ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axles, resulting in greater agility about the vertical axis of the vehicle. The pay-off for the driver: even more dynamic cornering.

    Stable combination for all M-B GLE models: optional AIRMATIC ADS and optional ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM (ACS is standard on AMG models)

    In addition to the ground-breaking powertrain configuration, the retuned AIRMATIC air suspension with ADS variable damping system guarantees extremely stable driving. The damping system changes its priorities depending on the preselected DYNAMIC SELECT mode. SPORT focuses on the greatest possible lateral dynamics with the best possible ride quality. Conversely, COMFORT mode enables maximum ride quality with the best possible dynamics. The current handling conditions are detected via a steering angle sensor, four rotation sensors, the driving speed from the ESP® signal and the brake pedal switch. The control unit uses these signals for continuous adjustment of the current damping force for each individual wheel.

    The optional ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilization system can be combined with the optional AIRMATIC package with air suspension and ADS or with the Off-Road Engineering package. The system uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle and compensates the roll angle of the body during cornering. This enhances agility and driving fun. At the same time, the system provides increased handling stability and therefore safety, especially at higher speeds. Better driving comfort both when cornering and on straights as well as expanded off-road capabilities are also part of the advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

    All models with four- and six-cylinder engines are equipped with the AGILITY CONTROL steel suspension as standard. The AIRMATIC package with ADS is optionally available for these versions. An electro-mechanical Direct-Steer system is standard on all models.

    The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with AIRMATIC package comprises more than just the air suspension with automatic level control. The new GLE 63 is also fitted with special struts, which were refined with ADS Plus continuously variable dampers, a solution exclusive to AMG. The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilisation system is part of the standard equipment in this model.

    The towing capacity of the GLE is up to 7700 lbs on non-diesel models.

    High protective potential through comprehensive safety

    As is already a tradition, the new GLE impresses with outstanding active and passive safety. The models regularly score highest marks in the international crash ratings. With its high protective potential, the GLE also creates the best conditions for passing future tests with the highest rating. The comprehensive safety concept follows the brand's hallmark strategy and comprises four areas:

    • Safe driving: avoid dangers, provide timely warnings, and aid the driver with extensive assistance systems
    • In the event of danger: prevent and activate protective measures preventively (PreSAFE®)
    • In the event of an accident: provide tailor-made protection with a highly stable passenger cell, defined deformation zones and restraint systems such as airbags or belt tensioners
    • After an accident: prevent the worst and make swift assistance possible

    Modern times: new design with classic style elements

    Even at first glance, the new GLE blends tradition and modernity. Classic SUV elements meet modern Mercedes-Benz design and form a convincing whole. On one hand, the confident appearance of the GLE is enhanced with the typical stylistic features of all generations: the characteristic C-pillar and the harmoniously integrated rear side window have been an integral part since this model series started in 1997. At the same time, elements of the modern Mercedes-Benz design idiom catch the eye. Radiator grille, bumpers, headlamps, wings and the hood with its two power domes follow the current sensuous and clear design idiom of Mercedes-Benz. Especially the harmonious, organic transition of the two radiator louvres to the central Mercedes star is convincing. New headlamps with the daytime driving lights forming the brand's hallmark eyebrows and the current lamp layout - optionally as LED Intelligent Light-System - blend harmoniously with the front end. The new wings with their arched wheel wells lend the entire front end more harmony and presence.

    The tail end of the GLE was likewise matched to the current design idiom and updated cautiously. New LED tail lamps now glow in the brand's hallmark night design. Also striking are the redesigned tailpipe embellishers firmly integrated in to the lower section of the bumper. Front and rear bumper furthermore are fitted with the likewise characteristic three-dimensional chrome-look underride guard. New light-alloy wheels boost the superior appearance of the new GLE.

    Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and GLE63 S: powerful sportiness with "A-wing"

    Performance and perfection revealed: the design of the new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 inspires with exclusivity, powerful sportiness and dominance. It underscores the progressiveness of the AMG brand and transports the impressive motor sport history. From now on, the new GLE63 also sports the distinctive "A-wing" in the front bumper, which is characteristic for the AMG design philosophy. The design of the radiator grille with the silver chrome double louvre, the integrated AMG lettering and the central Mercedes star are distinguishing features of current AMG Performance automobiles.

    The performance SUV also impresses with dominance when viewed from the side. Wheel arch flares in vehicle colour provide space for the large wheels. As standard, tires of size 265/45 R 20 are mounted on 9J x 20 AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels painted titanium grey with high-sheen finish. Optionally the GLE63 can be upgraded in terms of looks and driving dynamics with tires of size 295/35 R 21.

    The black diffuser insert in the rear bumper with black trim strip in the shape of the front "A-wing” represents typical motor racing design. The special exhaust system with two chrome-plated dual tailpipe embellishers and "AMG" lettering underscores the sportiness and exclusivity.

    Detail work for an even more harmonious interior*

    In the interior the larger media display stands out, which is now partially integrated into the instrument panel. The centre air vents next to the display and the outer air vents are framed by classy silver shadow surrounds. In combination with the black high-gloss surround this emphasises the sophisticated design of the interior. The centre console houses the COMAND controller with the touchpad fitted above in an optimal ergonomic position.

    New colors make the interior even more attractive and lend it the feel-good atmosphere that is typical of the brand. The choices now also include ginger beige, espresso brown, saddle brown or porcelain, which in combination with black interior elements create an interesting contrast. In addition to the standard aluminium with light-coloured longitudinal grain, the large trim elements are also available in a version featuring a particularly classy black piano lacquer or various types of wood: open-pore brown ash wood or the glossy wood types brown eucalyptus, black poplar or brown burred walnut. And especially sporty minded customers can choose high-quality AMG carbon-fibre trim.

    Complete standard equipment, attractive equipment packages*

    The extensive range of standard equipment of the new GLE is based on the predecessor model, enhanced with new assistance systems such as Crosswind Assist and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. ECO start/stop function, the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the centre console, the revised multifunction steering wheel as well as the Audio 20 CD infotainment system with 7-inch display and communications module for the use of Mercedes connect me services are also part of the standard delivery scope.

    This high equipment level can be upgraded further with attractive equipment packages. The Driving Assistance package Plus includes DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian protection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS. With the Comfort package, the equipment is enhanced with the automatic EASY-PACK liftgate, the soft and automatic power closing of all doors and a reversing camera. The Parking package with 360° camera and Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC guarantees an excellent overview and problem-free manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces. Night-time vision is improved by the LED Intelligent Light System which is available for all models; adverse weather conditions resulting in impaired visibility are defused by MAGIC VISION CONTROL, the heated adaptive windscreen wiper system with purposeful water distribution.

    Freely combinable packages lend the GLE additional appeal. With the AMG Line exterior, the GLE has an even more dynamic and athletic appearance. The package comprises, among other things, special front and rear bumpers in the distinctive AMG styling and 50.8-cm (20-inch) AMG light-alloy wheels. Those who like things even more exclusive can combine this feature with the Night package, which features a high-gloss black radiator grille louvre and exterior mirror housings, for example. The line-up of options is rounded out by high-sheen black 50.8-cm (20-inch) AMG light-alloy wheels.

    The AMG Line interior transfers the sporty appearance to the interior with sports seats with MB-Tex man-made leather upholstery (optional nappa leather), a black nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel, an instrument cluster with distinct dial in chequered-flag design and brushed stainless-steel sports pedals with rubber studs.

    As an option, the latest generation of COMAND Online offers perfect infotainment with a 20.3-cm (8-inch) display and intuitive touchpad. The system comprises, among other things, a DVD player and traffic sign recognition including wrong-way warning function. Customers can supplement COMAND Online optionally with a 6-disc DVD changer, the Rear-Seat Entertainment System with remote control or a TV receiver. Also available are sound systems from Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen to elevate the music experience to the level of a concert hall.

    Vehicle functions that can be controlled remotely or traffic information in real time - Mercedes CONNECT ME makes personal mobility easier and more convenient: from the basic services for safety and security and LIVE TRAFFIC information in real time to the in part fee-based Remote Online services, the desired data can be exchanged via the mobile phone network and via an internet connection.

    Even more exclusive: design and equipment of the Mercedes-AMG GLE63

    In the interior the new GLE63 demonstrates what constitutes a true AMG Performance automobile. Exquisite materials, first-class workmanship and maximum precision create a unique driving experience. Design and equipment underscore the exclusive high-end positioning.

    Aluminium trim with longitudinal grain in the black MB-Tex man-made leather instrument panel set attractive highlights. Perforated nappa leather sports seats with special upholstery layout and topstitching as well as AMG badges make for an exclusive look and feel. Thanks to their specific upholstery with greater contouring and higher side bolsters at the front, the sports seats offer excellent lateral support. The fitting complement is the 3-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel with flat bottom and silver paddle shifters with "UP" and "DOWN" lettering.

    Two tube-shaped round dials with silver chrome surrounds and the central 11.4-cm (4.4-inch) multifunction display provide the driver with comprehensive information. The typical AMG equipment scope includes sporty dials in carbon-fiber appearance with a 200 mph speedometer scale, AMG lettering and red pointers, as well as the main menu including RACETIMER, manual gear indicator and AMG start-up screen. The top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S model offers nappa leather exclusive AMG upholstery in addition - a highlight both in terms of looks and touch and feel.

    "G" to the fore: the new SUV nomenclature

    Mercedes-Benz has rearranged its successful SUV model range. The multifunctional all-rounders now always carry a G in their name as a reminiscence to the legendary G-Class. The name in each case is an acronym of three letters. The G is always followed by an L, the third letter facilitates orientation in the SUV line-up based on the passenger car model range of Mercedes-Benz. In detail, this new naming scheme results in the following nomenclature for the SUV and off-roader range in which only the legendary G-Class on account of its unchanged model designation signals its special position as the forefather of all modern SUVs and off-roaders:

    • GLA SUV in the A-Class segment
    • GLC SUV in the C-Class segment; formerly GLK
    • GLE SUV in the E-Class segment; formerly M-Class
    • GLE Coupé SUV in the E-Class Coupe segment
    • GLS SUV in the S-Class segment; formerly GL
    • G unchanged

    The names of the AMG model series are also adapted accordingly:

    • Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4MATIC
    • Mercedes-AMG GLE63 / GLE63 S 4MATIC
    • Mercedes-AMG GLE63 / GLE63 S Coupé 4MATIC
    • Mercedes-AMG GLS63 / GLS63 S 4MATIC
    • Mercedes-AMG G63 / G65

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    Bo Ring. Looks 10 years old already.

     

    - - - - -

    Certainly doesn't make much sense to have both the 3.0 & the 3.5 with nearly identical HP outputs.

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    The 3.0TT will be a lot torquier and have a broader torque band. The 3.0 has a 75 lb-ft advantage... that's nothing to sneeze at.

     

    Anecdote time:  Before the original GLK came out, it wasn't originally going to be called that. What was it going to be called?  Well think of M-B naming system at the time. There was the SL roadster, and then the smaller, cheaper roadster the SLK (K for Klein... as in smaller) They already had the ML, so naturally, the smaller cheaper entry should be the MLK in natural German logic.

     

    It took 6 months of pleading to Stuttgart by Mercedes-Benz USA to convince them that naming a car MLK would be a bad idea in the US. 

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    Is this a typo? 

     

    GLE350 and GLE350 4MATIC: 3.5L Turbo V6 - 305 horsepower and 273 pound-feet

     

    My car makes about those exact numbers, no turbo.  Unless the 3.5 isn't DI.

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    The 3.5 is not turbo, that is the V6 they have had since 2012 model year.  This is a mid-cycle refresh of the ML, so when the new one comes around 2018 I'd imagine the inline engines would replace the V6s.

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    Will have to say that this is a much better dash with the floating NAV than they have done in the past. Yet even with that said, the exterior is boring and dated. Sad that this refresh is so pathetic.

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      I have a trend of driving brands or vehicles that will be ending. Most infamously was the time when I drove a Suzuki SX4 for review and then hearing the news of the brand leaving a couple of days after returning it. That was the case of the Scion iA. A few months after driving the iA, Toyota announced that it was shuttering the brand. Some of the vehicles, like the iA would continue as Toyotas. This was a smart move as the iA proved to be a winner. Being a rebadged Mazda2 was a big reason as to why I liked the iA. It was a fun vehicle to drive around town or on a special road. But it also featured a lot of standard equipment including automatic emergency braking. While the brand is gone, it is good to see the iA lives on.
      2016 Toyota Prius Three
      I have never been a fan of the Prius family. Every Prius that I have reviewed left me wondering who decided to start selling a science experiment and not an actual vehicle. But the 2016 Prius is my biggest shock of the year. Yes, the Prius will take its time getting up to speed on the freeway. But around town, the Prius was a spritely performer. More surprising was how well the Prius drove. Taking a corner, I was expecting to experience motion sickness because of how much body roll previous models had. But the Prius took it like a champ showing little body and some decent steering - thank the new TGNA architecture. It doesn’t hurt that I got 60.2 mpg as my average for the week. Well done Toyota.
      2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
      If there is one shining light at Volkswagen, it would have to be the Golf family. Last year, I named the Golf GTI as one of my favorites. This year, that honor falls to the SportWagen. Yes, it isn’t the sharpest looking vehicle in the class and the DSG transmission needs some more work. But Volkswagen got the basics right. The 1.8T is powerful and delivers excellent fuel economy. The interior spacious for both passengers and cargo - I was able to fit two massive Ikea boxes into it. Volkswagen also mastered the dark art of balancing fun to drive with comfort. I could take the Golf SportWagen down a windy road and be entertained. Afterward, I could drive it around town and not feel any road imperfections. 
      There you go, the eight vehicles that earned a coveted spot on my favorites list. Now it should be noted that some vehicles we’re close to getting onto this list, but were kicked off for one reason or another. Here are those vehicles,
      Chevrolet Malibu 2LT: Chevrolet did an excellent job with the new Malibu with fixing a number of issues that plagued the old model. But the 2LT introduced a new set of problems - questionable materials, poor road noise isolation, and the lack of options. I really do like the new Malibu, just not in 2LT form. Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible: Loved the V8 performance and noise. Hate the $54,000 pricetag. This might explain why GM has such a large amount of Camaros sitting on dealers. Hyundai Elantra: Hyundai played it safe with the updated Elantra and this would have been ok a couple of years ago. But in light of the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, it wasn’t enough for the Elantra to be a strong contender as it once was. Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X: This was a truck I really wanted to like. Nissan was trying something different with the Titan XD - offer something between a light-duty and heavy-duty pickup. Plus, a nice Cummins V8 diesel could have been the cheery on top. But trying to convince someone that your truck is the best is difficult since truck buyers tend to stick with one brand. Not helping is the lack of cab and bed sizes. At the time of our original review, the XD was only available as a crew cab. A regular cab has been since introduced. But it seems Nissan doesn’t fully understand the truck market. You need to have a lot of options available to buyers at launch, not down the road.
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    • By William Maley
      2016… What a year. This year saw a number of things that no one thought would actually happen did. Not helping matters is the number of famous people that have sadly passed on. Here at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Bureau, it wasn’t such a great year for vehicles. For the 2016 review season, 44 vehicles came in for evaluation. Out of this group, only eight vehicles earned a spot of being my favorite vehicles from the year. Read on to see which vehicles made the cut.
      2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe
      It is amazing how far Cadillac has come in the past decade and proof of it can be shown in the ATS- V coupe. A 464 horsepower twin-turbo V6 makes the vehicle fly with no issue. A set of sticky tires and adjustable dampers show the ATS-V is just as capable, maybe more so than its German counterparts. But it can also provide decent ride around town if you set the dampers into a comfort mode. Then there is the look. I’m not usually a fan of red, but it looks killer on the ATS-V coupe. It pairs quite nicely with sharp angles and a low roofline This was one of the models where I found myself grinning from ear to ear because of how much fun I had.
      2016 Chevrolet Volt
      It is amazing how far Chevrolet has come with the Volt. Five years ago, the Volt was this odd looking vehicle with a clever powertrain that made range anxiety nonexistent. Yes, 35 miles of electric-only range didn’t seem like a lot. However, the gas generator acted as an insurance policy if you ran out of juice with the battery. Flash forward to this year and Volt has not only seen an increase in overall range to 53 miles, but it has also gotten sleeker. This is currently my favorite looking Chevrolet vehicle with the new Cruze a close second. Other plus points include an improved interior and smooth ride. The new Bolt is currently basking in the spotlight that the Volt was at one time. But let us not forget the Volt is one of the key reasons why the Bolt exists. 
      2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack & SRT Hellcat
      Dodge covered the two extremes of performance this season with the Charger R/T Scat Pack and Hellcat. The Scat Pack was first up and I fell in love with it. For almost $40,000, you basically got an SRT Charger minus the adaptive suspension and number of luxury items. It was great fun with the 6.4L HEMI V8 bellowing down the road and the sharp looking Plum Crazy paint color. I found that you really don’t need the adaptive suspension as the Scat Pack does ok on bumpy roads or curvy roads.
      Then we come to the Charger SRT Hellcat. 707 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8. It seems maddening that we are given a vehicle with all of this power for a price tag under $66,000. Trying to describe the way the Hellcat goes is difficult and something you need to experience. This is a vehicle that will make you laugh like a small child every time you decide to drop the hammer to hear the whir of the supercharger and manic sound of the V8.
      2016 Kia Optima SXL
      It is no secret that the Kia Optima is one of my favorite midsize sedans. It offers distinctive looks and feature set at a price that will surprise many. But it was set to fall off my list earlier this year when I drove the Optima EX. The big issues were an uncomfortable ride and poor noise isolation. So when I found out that the top of line SXL was scheduled later in the year, I was worried that it would be plagued by the same issues. But those issues never appeared. The SXL was not only quiet but showed a noticeable improvement in terms of ride comfort. I still don’t know what black magic Kia did on the SXL, but it kept the Optima on my favorites list. Now if they could work on the lazy throttle…
      2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
      “Sometimes to fully test a vehicle, you need to put it in a situation where it isn’t fully comfortable.”
      That was the case for the Mazda MX-5 Miata as it would not be only driven in the middle of one of the coldest winters in Michigan, but it would also be taking me to and from the Detroit Auto Show. Crazy? Of course. But the MX-5 Miata was wearing a set of winter tires which helped it stick to the road. Despite the cold temps and snow that would fall during the latter half of the week, the MX-5 Miata proved to be just as fun as it would have been in warmer weather. Sharp handling, an engine that loved to rev, and a slick six-speed manual transmission. It didn’t hurt that I could actually fit my suitcase into the trunk of the Miata for the show.
      2016 Scion iA
      I have a trend of driving brands or vehicles that will be ending. Most infamously was the time when I drove a Suzuki SX4 for review and then hearing the news of the brand leaving a couple of days after returning it. That was the case of the Scion iA. A few months after driving the iA, Toyota announced that it was shuttering the brand. Some of the vehicles, like the iA would continue as Toyotas. This was a smart move as the iA proved to be a winner. Being a rebadged Mazda2 was a big reason as to why I liked the iA. It was a fun vehicle to drive around town or on a special road. But it also featured a lot of standard equipment including automatic emergency braking. While the brand is gone, it is good to see the iA lives on.
      2016 Toyota Prius Three
      I have never been a fan of the Prius family. Every Prius that I have reviewed left me wondering who decided to start selling a science experiment and not an actual vehicle. But the 2016 Prius is my biggest shock of the year. Yes, the Prius will take its time getting up to speed on the freeway. But around town, the Prius was a spritely performer. More surprising was how well the Prius drove. Taking a corner, I was expecting to experience motion sickness because of how much body roll previous models had. But the Prius took it like a champ showing little body and some decent steering - thank the new TGNA architecture. It doesn’t hurt that I got 60.2 mpg as my average for the week. Well done Toyota.
      2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
      If there is one shining light at Volkswagen, it would have to be the Golf family. Last year, I named the Golf GTI as one of my favorites. This year, that honor falls to the SportWagen. Yes, it isn’t the sharpest looking vehicle in the class and the DSG transmission needs some more work. But Volkswagen got the basics right. The 1.8T is powerful and delivers excellent fuel economy. The interior spacious for both passengers and cargo - I was able to fit two massive Ikea boxes into it. Volkswagen also mastered the dark art of balancing fun to drive with comfort. I could take the Golf SportWagen down a windy road and be entertained. Afterward, I could drive it around town and not feel any road imperfections. 
      There you go, the eight vehicles that earned a coveted spot on my favorites list. Now it should be noted that some vehicles we’re close to getting onto this list, but were kicked off for one reason or another. Here are those vehicles,
      Chevrolet Malibu 2LT: Chevrolet did an excellent job with the new Malibu with fixing a number of issues that plagued the old model. But the 2LT introduced a new set of problems - questionable materials, poor road noise isolation, and the lack of options. I really do like the new Malibu, just not in 2LT form. Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible: Loved the V8 performance and noise. Hate the $54,000 pricetag. This might explain why GM has such a large amount of Camaros sitting on dealers. Hyundai Elantra: Hyundai played it safe with the updated Elantra and this would have been ok a couple of years ago. But in light of the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, it wasn’t enough for the Elantra to be a strong contender as it once was. Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X: This was a truck I really wanted to like. Nissan was trying something different with the Titan XD - offer something between a light-duty and heavy-duty pickup. Plus, a nice Cummins V8 diesel could have been the cheery on top. But trying to convince someone that your truck is the best is difficult since truck buyers tend to stick with one brand. Not helping is the lack of cab and bed sizes. At the time of our original review, the XD was only available as a crew cab. A regular cab has been since introduced. But it seems Nissan doesn’t fully understand the truck market. You need to have a lot of options available to buyers at launch, not down the road.
    • By William Maley
      Last fall, I had the chance to drive a Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack for a week and fell in love. It was basically an SRT Charger, minus a few items for just under $40,000. This fall, another high-performance Charger came in a week’s stay and it was packing more heat. 707 horsepower to be exact. Yes, I finally got my hands on a Hellcat. What was it like? It was fast, but you want more information than that.
      That 707 horsepower figure comes courtesy from a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8. Torque is rated at 650 pound-feet.This is backed up by an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, then you’ll need to get the Challenger Hellcat. Trying to explain just how fast the Charger Hellcat is difficult. This is a car that you need to drive or sit in to experience the ferocity of the V8 engine. The best way I can use to describe the Hellcat’s power delivery is engaging warp drive. Step on the accelerator and the supercharger whirrs into life and the V8 produces a roar very few vehicles can dream. Blink and you’ll be at an illegal speed before you know it. Taking turns in the Hellcat is somewhat difficult because of the accelerator. You need to roll on it if you want to do it smoothly. If you step on the accelerator pedal like you would on a standard vehicle, the back will become very loose and the stability control will kick on to get the vehicle straightened out. This is especially important due to the tires fitted to Hellcat, a set of Pirelli P-Zeros. These tires need to be warmed up before they begin to bite the road. The Hellcat will be a regular at the fuel pump with fuel economy figures of 13 City/22 Highway/16 Combined. I got about 14.3 mpg during my week in mostly city driving. Handling? That’s the surprising part as the Charger Hellcat doesn’t embarrass itself. Fitted with an adaptive suspension system, the Charger Hellcat shows little body roll when put into Sport and provides a smooth ride when in comfort. The steering system provides the right amount of feel and heft you want in a performance vehicle.  Bringing a 707 horsepower vehicle to a stop is no easy task, but a set of massive Brembo brakes is up to the task. It brings the Charger Hellcat to a quick halt. The Charger Hellcat looks like your standard SRT Charger with a new front clip and lowered stance. There are some slight differences such as a new hood, 20-inch wheels finished in a dark bronze color, and the requisite Hellcat emblems on the front fenders. Inside, the Hellcat isn’t that much different from the standard Charger aside from the speedometer going 200 mph. It would have been nice if Dodge could have done some sprucing of the interior to not make it feel so dank and dark. A little bit more color on the dash would not be a bad thing. The front seats have extra bolstering to hold you in when you decide to let loose all 707 horsepower or take a turn a bit too fast. As I mentioned in my Ram 1500 Quick Drive last week, the Charger’s UConnect system is beginning to show its age. The interface is still easy to use but is beginning to show signs of aging. Performance isn’t as snappy either as in previous FCA models. Hopefully, the 2017 model is able to get the updated UConnect system that debuted in the Pacifica. The UConnect system in the Charger Hellcat does come with SRT Pages. This allows you to record 0-60, quarter-mile, and reaction times. It also allows you to change various performance settings such as gear changes, suspension, and whether you want the full 707 horsepower or 500. The last one pertains if you happen to have the red key. In terms of pricing, the Charger Hellcat kicks off at $65,495. With options and a $1,700 gas guzzler tax, our tester came to $72,820. Compared to other high-performance sedans, the Hellcat is quite the steal. If it was my money on the line, I would go for the Charger R/T Scat Pack. I get most of the enjoyment of the Hellcat, minus the supercharger whine. But I would have a fair chunk of change that I could spend on hopping it up. But I understand why someone would go for the Charger Hellcat. It is a four-door sedan that provides explosive acceleration and engine note that no other vehicle can dare match. There’s something magical about stepping on the accelerator, being flung back into the seat due to power on tap, and then laughing like a four-year old after what happened. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger Hellcat, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (Author’s Note: That’s a wrap for the 2016 review season. We’ll be back with the first batch of 2017 model year vehicles after New Years. But I will be picking my favorite vehicles I drove this year. Expect to see that before the year comes to a close.)
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Charger
      Trim: SRT Hellcat
      Engine: Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8
      Driveline: Eight-speed automatic, Rear-wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 650 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/22/16
      Curb Weight: 4,570 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $65,945
      As Tested Price: $72,820 (Includes $995 Destination Charge and $1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax)
      Options:
      Customer Preferred Package 23T - $1,995.00
      20-inch x 9.5-inch Brass Monkey SRT Forged Wheels - $995.00
      275/40ZR20 P Zero Summer Tires - $595.00
      Redline Red Tri-coat Pearl Exterior Paint - $595.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Last fall, I had the chance to drive a Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack for a week and fell in love. It was basically an SRT Charger, minus a few items for just under $40,000. This fall, another high-performance Charger came in a week’s stay and it was packing more heat. 707 horsepower to be exact. Yes, I finally got my hands on a Hellcat. What was it like? It was fast, but you want more information than that.
      That 707 horsepower figure comes courtesy from a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8. Torque is rated at 650 pound-feet.This is backed up by an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, then you’ll need to get the Challenger Hellcat. Trying to explain just how fast the Charger Hellcat is difficult. This is a car that you need to drive or sit in to experience the ferocity of the V8 engine. The best way I can use to describe the Hellcat’s power delivery is engaging warp drive. Step on the accelerator and the supercharger whirrs into life and the V8 produces a roar very few vehicles can dream. Blink and you’ll be at an illegal speed before you know it. Taking turns in the Hellcat is somewhat difficult because of the accelerator. You need to roll on it if you want to do it smoothly. If you step on the accelerator pedal like you would on a standard vehicle, the back will become very loose and the stability control will kick on to get the vehicle straightened out. This is especially important due to the tires fitted to Hellcat, a set of Pirelli P-Zeros. These tires need to be warmed up before they begin to bite the road. The Hellcat will be a regular at the fuel pump with fuel economy figures of 13 City/22 Highway/16 Combined. I got about 14.3 mpg during my week in mostly city driving. Handling? That’s the surprising part as the Charger Hellcat doesn’t embarrass itself. Fitted with an adaptive suspension system, the Charger Hellcat shows little body roll when put into Sport and provides a smooth ride when in comfort. The steering system provides the right amount of feel and heft you want in a performance vehicle.  Bringing a 707 horsepower vehicle to a stop is no easy task, but a set of massive Brembo brakes is up to the task. It brings the Charger Hellcat to a quick halt. The Charger Hellcat looks like your standard SRT Charger with a new front clip and lowered stance. There are some slight differences such as a new hood, 20-inch wheels finished in a dark bronze color, and the requisite Hellcat emblems on the front fenders. Inside, the Hellcat isn’t that much different from the standard Charger aside from the speedometer going 200 mph. It would have been nice if Dodge could have done some sprucing of the interior to not make it feel so dank and dark. A little bit more color on the dash would not be a bad thing. The front seats have extra bolstering to hold you in when you decide to let loose all 707 horsepower or take a turn a bit too fast. As I mentioned in my Ram 1500 Quick Drive last week, the Charger’s UConnect system is beginning to show its age. The interface is still easy to use but is beginning to show signs of aging. Performance isn’t as snappy either as in previous FCA models. Hopefully, the 2017 model is able to get the updated UConnect system that debuted in the Pacifica. The UConnect system in the Charger Hellcat does come with SRT Pages. This allows you to record 0-60, quarter-mile, and reaction times. It also allows you to change various performance settings such as gear changes, suspension, and whether you want the full 707 horsepower or 500. The last one pertains if you happen to have the red key. In terms of pricing, the Charger Hellcat kicks off at $65,495. With options and a $1,700 gas guzzler tax, our tester came to $72,820. Compared to other high-performance sedans, the Hellcat is quite the steal. If it was my money on the line, I would go for the Charger R/T Scat Pack. I get most of the enjoyment of the Hellcat, minus the supercharger whine. But I would have a fair chunk of change that I could spend on hopping it up. But I understand why someone would go for the Charger Hellcat. It is a four-door sedan that provides explosive acceleration and engine note that no other vehicle can dare match. There’s something magical about stepping on the accelerator, being flung back into the seat due to power on tap, and then laughing like a four-year old after what happened. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger Hellcat, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (Author’s Note: That’s a wrap for the 2016 review season. We’ll be back with the first batch of 2017 model year vehicles after New Years. But I will be picking my favorite vehicles I drove this year. Expect to see that before the year comes to a close.)
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Charger
      Trim: SRT Hellcat
      Engine: Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8
      Driveline: Eight-speed automatic, Rear-wheel drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 650 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/22/16
      Curb Weight: 4,570 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $65,945
      As Tested Price: $72,820 (Includes $995 Destination Charge and $1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax)
      Options:
      Customer Preferred Package 23T - $1,995.00
      20-inch x 9.5-inch Brass Monkey SRT Forged Wheels - $995.00
      275/40ZR20 P Zero Summer Tires - $595.00
      Redline Red Tri-coat Pearl Exterior Paint - $595.00
    • By William Maley
      Like life, reviewing vehicles sometimes mean having a curveball thrown your way. Originally, I was going to be reviewing the Chrysler 200 before its production run would end. Sadly, the 200 was pulled out of Chrysler’s test fleet before I was able to drive. But sometimes, that curveball can be a positive. In this case, a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn would take its place. More importantly, it would be equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. We like this engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. How would it fare in the Ram 1500? Quite well.
      The EcoDiesel V6 in question is a turbocharged 3.0L with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test truck came with four-wheel drive, but you can order the EcoDiesel with two-wheel drive. The EcoDiesel might not have the roar or performance figures of the 5.7L V8 (0-60 takes about 9 seconds for the diesel compared to just a hair over 7 seconds for the V8), but it is a very capable engine. There is a lot of punch on the low end of the rpm band and the engine never feels that it is running out of breath the higher you climb in speed.  You can tell the EcoDiesel is a diesel during start up as it has distinctive clatter. Also, it takes a few seconds for the engine to start up if you let the truck sit for awhile. But once the engine is going, you can’t really tell its a diesel. Whether you’re standing outside or sitting inside, the V6 is quiet and smooth. The eight-speed automatic is one of the best transmissions in the class as it delivers imperceptible gear changes. In terms of towing, the EcoDiesel V6 has a max tow rating of 9,210 pounds (regular cab with 2WD). The crew cab with 4WD drops the max tow rating to 8,610 pounds. This does trail the V8 considerably (max tow rating of 10,640). But the EcoDiesel makes up for this in terms of fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined for the EcoDiesel equipped 4WD. Our average for the week was a not too shabby 23.4 mpg. This generation of the Ram 1500 has garnered a reputation for having one of the best rides in the class. We can’t disagree. The coil-spring setup on the rear suspension smooths out bumps and other road imperfections very well.  Our truck also featured the optional air suspension which is more focused on improving the capability of the pickup and not ride comfort. There are five different ride height settings that allow for easier access when getting in and out of a truck to increasing ground clearance when going off-road. The air suspension will also level out the truck if there is a heavy load in the bed or pulling a trailer. The Ram 1500’s exterior look hasn’t really changed much since we reviewed one back in 2014. Up front is a large crosshair grille finished in chrome and large rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. The Laramie Longhorn features it own design cues such as two-tone paint finish, 20-inch wheels, and large badges on the front doors telling everyone which model of Ram you happen to be driving. Inside, the Laramie Longhorn is well appointed with real wood trim on the dash and steering wheel, high-quality leather upholstery for the seats, and acres of soft-touch plastics. Some will snicker at the seat pockets that are designed to look saddle bags, complete with a chrome clasp.  Comfort-wise, the Laramie Longhorn’s interior scores very high. The seats provide excellent support for long trips, and no one sitting in the back will be complaining about the lack of head and legroom. One nice touch is all of the seats getting heat as standard equipment, while the front seats get ventilation as well. The UConnect system is beginning to show its age with an interface that is looking somewhat dated and certain tasks taking a few seconds more than previous versions. There is an updated UConnect system that debuted on the 2017 Pacifica with a tweaked interface and quicker performance. Hopefully, this is in the cards for the 2017 Ram 1500. As for pricing, the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 comes with a base price $52,365. With options including the 3.0L EcoDiesel, our as-tested price was $60,060. Sadly this is the new reality for pickup trucks. Many buyers want the luxuries and features found on standard vehicles and are willing to pay for it. The Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 can justify the price for what it offers, but it is still a lot of money to drop. The nice thing about the Ram 1500 is the number of trims on offer. You’ll be able to find a model that should fit your needs and price range. Personally, I would be happy with a Big Horn or Laramie as they would offer everything I would want or need in a truck. But if you want something luxurious with a cowboy twist, you can’t go wrong with Laramie Longhorn. The EcoDiesel is just the cherry on top.   
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Diesel
      Year: 2016
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: 1500 Crew Cab
      Trim: Laramie Longhorn
      Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 3,600
      Torque @ RPM: 420 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $52,365
      As Tested Price: $60,060 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - $3,120.00
      4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,695.00
      Wheel to Wheel Side Steps - $600.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $280.00
      Cold Weather Group - $235.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $75.00

      View full article
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