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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker

      Best bang for your buck?

    I’ve driven my fair share of Challengers on both extremes - from the standard V6 to the high-performance SRT and Hellcat models. But I never had any time behind the wheel of the R/T with its 5.7 V8. That changed in the summer when a bright orange Charger R/T Shaker was dropped off for a week. This allowed me to ask a question that has been sitting in my head for some time: Is the R/T the best bang for your buck in the Challenger family?

    • The Shaker sets itself apart from other Challenger models with the use of a ‘Shaker’ scoop that prominently pops up from the hood. There is also a blackout treatment on several trim pieces and wheels that make it look even more imposing on the road.
    • Along with the scoop, the Shaker package does add a new cold-air intake seated right in front of the driver’s side corner. This addition should boost the output of the 5.7L HEMI V8 (372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque when paired with the eight-speed automatic. But FCA’s spec sheet doesn’t say anything about the Shaker Package adding more oomph or not.
    • When you first start up the R/T Shaker, it makes presence known with a deep and loud exhaust note. I had to do a double-take the first time as I was wondering if I was given either an R/T Scat Pack or a Hellcat by mistake.
    • While it may lack the high power numbers of the 6.4 and supercharged 6.2 V8s, the 5.7 is no slouch. 60 mph comes in at just over five seconds and power is seemingly available at any speed.
    • My tester came with the optional Performance Handling Group that adds upgraded springs, sway bars, and a set of Bilstein shocks. This does improve the handling by a fair amount with less body roll. But it doesn’t feel nimble due to a curb weight of around 4,158 pounds. The steering has a quick response, but there is a noticeable lack of road feedback. If you want your muscle car to have some handling, consider the Camaro or Mustang.
    • Nothing new to report on the Challenger’s interior. It still has the angled center stack, retro-inspired gauges, and easy to use UConnect infotainment system. The seats are where the Challenger loses some points as it feels like you’re sitting on top of cinderblocks.
    • The Shaker package is surprisingly good value, adding $2,500 to the base price of the R/T which begins at $34,295. But you’ll need to be careful on the option sheet, or you’ll end up with something quite expensive. My tester came with an as-tested price of $46,555, which is $300 more than an R/T Scat Pack Widebody with the 6.4 HEMI V8. 
    • The Dodge Challenger is getting up there in age and sadly cannot compete with the likes of the Camaro and Mustang in terms of handling. But Dodge is still able to offer a lot of performance in the form of the R/T. With a potent V8 engine, old school styling, and different packages like the Shaker to make your Challenger stand out, the R/T is possibly the best value and well-rounded model in the lineup.

    Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2019
    Make: Dodge
    Model: Challenger
    Trim: R/T
    Engine: 5.7 HEMI VVT V8 Engine
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 372 @ 5,200
    Torque @ RPM: 400 @ 4,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/25/19
    Curb Weight: 4,158 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
    Base Price: $34,295
    As Tested Price: $46,555 (Includes $1,495.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    "Shaker" Package - $2,500.00
    TorqueFlite Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission - $1,595.00
    Performance Handling Group - $1,495.00
    Driver Convenience Group - $1,295.00
    Power Sunroof - $1,295.00
    UConnect 4C Nav with 8.4-inch Display - $1,095.00
    Alpine Sound Group with Subwoofer - $995.00
    Shakedown Graphics - $495.00

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    Sexy as Hell, if I was wanting a weekend play thing for the wife and I, I would buy this over the Ford or Chevy as it looks much better than the bunker look of Chevy or the meh ford.

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    Love. This. Car.

    Still one of my favorite rentals, and put 5,900 miles on a 2017 Challenger R/T Hemi base with no options...LOVED it. Comfy. Solid. Hemi. Perfect 8 speed. Useful daily, without being a slot car.

    And, oddly enough, the best gas mileage recorded in any rental, 29.6 mpg from western PA back to Philly...back in 2017. Great car.

    Had another recently, in July, an AWD 3.6L...and loved it too. Sharp, quick, smooth, felt powerful, moreso than a RWD V6 I had before. Always a fave.

    Oldie but a goodie...

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    The base cloth seats are certainly nothing to write home about, and the headrests are just old blocks that don't adjust much (that did bug me), but comfy is this car's mantra.

    Touch it up with a few more new things, or even the commonly optioned leather/alcantara seats with bigger bolsters, etc. and you're still good to go.

    Can't go wrong with this platform. In a world of tiny turbos, bizarre transmissions, etc., a well baked RWD gut that's beyond proven, a perfect ZF originated 8 speed, still up to date features, etc. they're in their own class. Pardon me, while I go try to see if I can get a rental one again......

    Edited by caddycruiser
    • Upvote 1

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      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the UX 200, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: UX
      Trim: 200 F-Sport
      Engine: 2.0L 16-Valve DOHC VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/37/33
      Curb Weight: 3,307 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $40,260
      As Tested Price: $41,285 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      F-Sport Premium Package - $975.00
      Power Rear Door w/Kick Sensor - $600.00
      Premium Paint - $595.00
      Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert w/Braking - $565.00
      Blind Spot Monitor - $500.00
      Head Up Display (HUD) - $500.00
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    • By William Maley
      Like it or not, crossovers are becoming the de facto choice for many buyers and automakers are responding. There is now a wide variety of crossovers available: From large three-row models to small, compact vehicles perfect for urban environments. The latter is what we’ll be focusing on this review with the latest entrant into subcompact luxury crossover class, the 2020 Lexus UX 200 F-Sport. It’s a late arrival to the class, but as I found out with the Volvo XC40 last year, that isn’t a bad thing. So how does the most affordable Lexus model stack up to the competition?
      Crossover or Hatchback on Stilts?
      It feels odd to think of the UX being more of a hatchback with a taller ride height than a crossover, but allow me to make my case. To start, the overall shape reminds me more of the Toyota Corolla Hatchback than the NX and RX crossovers. The roofline is a perfect example as the shape is similar to Corolla than any Lexus crossover. Second is when you get inside the UX. You may think that you step up to get inside, but it’s the opposite. The lower position might cause you to think that you lose out on the visibility gain with a higher ride height, but that isn’t the case as you have excellent visibility around most of the vehicle. The rear is difficult to see out of due to the thick pillar and it is recommended to order the optional backup camera.
      The UX 200 does make its presence known to everyone due to some bold design choices. Upfront lies the latest iteration of Lexus’ spindle grille along with some deep cuts in the bumper to give the model an aggressive attitude. The side profile features unique sculpting on the doors and the roof steeply raked towards the back. A vibrant color palette such as this orange on my tester only adds to the bold ideal.
      A Small, Premium Interior
      Lexus has mostly nailed the UX’s interior appointments with soft-touch materials featuring stitching on the dash, metal-like buttons for the climate control system, and contrasting stitching for the seats. The only part which slightly ruins this luxury feeling is the cheap-feeling door panels. Leatherette upholstery is used on the seats and it feels quite nice when sitting on them. F-Sport models get heavily bolster front seats which may make some larger people uncomfortable. Power adjustments for the front come standard on all UX models and allows both driver and passenger to find a comfortable position.
      The rear seat is quite snug for two people, while three is severely pushing it. Legroom can range from ok to non-existent if a tall person happens to be sitting upfront. Headroom is decent for most people, even with the optional sunroof. Cargo space is about average for the class with 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up. A tall lift-over height does make it a pain to load heavy items into the vehicle.
      Infotainment System is Better, But Still Frustrating
      The base infotainment system is a 7-inch screen, while a larger 10.25-inch screen is available as an option. Controlling each screen is Lexus’ Remote Touch system. The touchpad controller is unwieldy because you need to pay attention to the screen while making a selection. Otherwise, you’ll end up selecting a different function or setting than what you had originally aimed for. Lexus has added a touchscreen to the recently refreshed RX for 2020 and I can only hope this appears on other Lexus models down the road.
      One change that will be a welcome relief to Android users is that Lexus has added Android Auto compatibility to the system, bringing Lexus in line with most competitors with offering this and Apple CarPlay.
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      Under the hood of the UX 200 is a 2.0L inline-four producing 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with CVT and front-wheel drive. If you want AWD, then your only option is the UX 250h which pairs the 2.0L with a hybrid system. The 2.0 really struggles at high speeds as evidenced by a 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds. Competitors in the class are at least are a second or two quicker. The engine also has a noticeable drone that appears when you are accelerating hard. But around town, the 2.0 feels quite punchy with excellent get-up and minimal fuss.
      Where the UX does well is in fuel economy. EPA figures are 29 City/37 Highway/33 Combined for the UX 200. My average for the week landed around 31 on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      I’m wondering if the UX could fit the 2.5L four-cylinder from the Toyota Camry. It would improve overall performance with a slight hit to fuel economy.
      Surprising Handling Characteristics
      Going for the F-Sport version like my test vehicle will net you a revised suspension setup. Going around bends, the UX shows little body roll and quick reactions. The only item that falters is the steering which feels very rubbery and doesn’t encourage enthusiastic driving. For normal driving duties, the UX’s ride quality is on the complaint side with a few bumps making their way inside. I do wish Lexus had done more to keep tire noise from coming inside, especially at highway speeds
      The Price Is Right
      With a starting price tag of $32,300 for the base UX 200, this makes it the most affordable model in the class. It also happens to be very good value as it comes with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard. This suite of active safety features includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. The UX 200 F-Sport seen here comes with an as-tested price of $41,285 and that’s with the optional navigation system, windshield deicer, heads-up display, and power tailgate. To get something similar on the competition, you’ll need to spend a few extra thousand dollars.
      The 2020 UX 200 makes a very compelling case for itself in the subcompact luxury crossover class. This is due in part to its low price and a long list of standard equipment. A competent handling package in the F-Sport and decent fuel economy figures help bolster the model further. But there are areas Lexus needs to address, primarily the engine and infotainment system. The good news is that Lexus has the necessary solutions to both these issues in the form of the infotainment system from the RX and borrowing the 2.5L four-cylinder from the Camry. It would move the UX from being somewhere in the competent class to one that can compete for class honors.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the UX 200, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: UX
      Trim: 200 F-Sport
      Engine: 2.0L 16-Valve DOHC VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 169 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/37/33
      Curb Weight: 3,307 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $40,260
      As Tested Price: $41,285 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation System with 10.3-in Color Multimedia Display - $2,200.00
      F-Sport Premium Package - $975.00
      Power Rear Door w/Kick Sensor - $600.00
      Premium Paint - $595.00
      Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert w/Braking - $565.00
      Blind Spot Monitor - $500.00
      Head Up Display (HUD) - $500.00
      Heated F Sport Steering Wheel w/Paddle Shifters - $150.00
      Windshield Deicer - $100.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
    • By Drew Dowdell
      FCA US LLC Sales Summary Q4 2019


       
       

      Model

      Q4 Sales

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      CYTD Sales

      Vol %

      Curr Yr            Pr Yr           Change

      Curr Yr            Pr Yr        Change

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      Grand Cherokee

      Renegade

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      6                      22                   -73%

      52,012               49,081                  6%

      16,663                   0                    New

      42,048               59,694                -30%

      57,929               58,255                 -1%

      19,615               21,488                 -9%

      221,536        227,033             -2%

      143,934             171,167            -16%

      27                    621               -96%

      228,032             240,032             -5%

      40,047                   0                 New

      191,397             239,437            -20%

      242,969             224,908              8%

      76,885               97,062             -21%

      923,291        973,227          -5%

      Ram P/U ProMaster Van ProMaster City

      RAM BRAND

      172,579             161,397                 7%

      15,108               15,009                  1%

      2,968                 4,301                 -31%

      190,655        180,707              6%

      633,694             536,980             18%

      56,409               46,600              21%

      12,920               13,788              -6%

      703,023        597,368         18%

      200

      300

      Town & Country

      Pacifica

      CHRYSLER BRAND

      3                      43                   -93%

      5,520                12,038                -54%

      1                      0

      27,481               26,727                  3%

      33,005           38,808             -15%

      48                   1,043             -95%

      29,213               46,593             -37%

      5                      6                -17%

      97,705              118,322            -17%

      126,971        165,964        -23%

      Dart Avenger Charger Challenger Viper Journey Caravan Durango

      DODGE  BRAND

      2                      10                   -80%

      0                      0                    100%

      25,829               20,918                 23%

      14,298               14,403                 -1%

      0                      4                   -100%

      12,290               16,863                -27%

      23,245               30,992                -25%

      14,977               16,406                 -9%

      90,641           99,596              -9%

      15                    389               -96%

      1                      4                -75%

      96,935               80,226              21%

      60,997               66,716              -9%

      5                      19               -74%

      74,686               94,096             -21%

      122,648             151,927            -19%

      67,599               65,947               3%

      422,886        459,324          -8%

      500

      500L

      500X Spider

      FIAT BRAND

      699                  1,653                 -58%

      166                   182                   -9%

      442                  1,002                 -56%

      430                   600                  -28%

      1,737             3,437              -49%

      3,267                5,370              -39%

      771                  1,413             -45%

      2,518                5,223              -52%

      2,644                3,515              -25%

      9,200            15,521         -41%

      Giulia Alfa 4C Stelvio

      ALFA ROMEO

      2,328                 2,586                 -10%

      17                     55                   -69%

      2,600                 2,999                 -13%

      4,945             5,640              -12%

      8,704                11,519             -24%

      144                   238               -39%

      9,444                12,043             -22%

      18,292           23,800         -23%

      FCA US LLC

      542,519        555,221             -2%

      2,203,663     2,235,204       -1%

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