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    Review: 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel AWD and Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 30th Anniversary


    • A Tale Of Two Passenger Carriers

    Say you are looking for a vehicle to carry you, your family, and all of their stuff; what do you get? Previously you could get a station wagon or an SUV. But both types of vehicles have fallen out of favor for different reasons and new types of vehicles have mostly taken their place. Those vehicles in question happen to be the crossover and minivan. For most people, the crossover is the more appealing choice instead of a minivan because they don’t want to be seen as a ‘soccer mom’. That doesn’t mean crossovers get away scot-free. Their biggest problem is the ‘can do everything, but not really well’ conundrum.

    So which one should you consider? Well, I happened to have the Dodge Durango Citadel and Grand Caravan SXT 30th Anniversary within a couple weeks of each other. So why not compare the two and figure out which one is better.

    Design:

    Let’s begin with the Grand Caravan first. The overall shape of the a rounded rectangular box hasn’t changed since it was introduced back in 2007. 2011 saw Dodge give the model some tweaks with a new front end treatment, somewhat revised rear, and new wheel choices. Compared to other minivans on the marketplace, the Grand Caravan sits somewhere in the middle.

    2014 Dodge Durango Citadel 9

    Then there is the Durango, which in my books is one the best looking crossovers on sale today. The look is mean and aggressive which such details as the large crosshair grille, race track inspired taillights, and the twenty-inch aluminum wheels that come standard on the Citadel. The Durango has the look that it could beat up on other crossovers.

    Interior:

    The Grand Caravan’s interior does show some of its age by keeping the same dash layout and certain controls from 2007. The plus side is that the layout is very easy to understand where everything is. Materials range from soft-touch on the dash and certain parts of the door panels, to hard plastics in other parts. I believe this is a good mix of materials since the Grand Caravan will likely be carrying kids and you want something to stand up to that.

    Passenger space is very good with all three rows getting a decent amount of head and legroom. Front passengers get power adjustments and heat. Cargo space is a slight disappointment with the third row up as it measures only 33 cubic feet, the smallest space for all minivans. However when you fold the third row down, the Grand Caravan’s cargo space grows to 83.3 cubic feet. The Stow n’ Go seating Dodge introduced in the last generation vans is surprisingly easy to use when putting the seats down. Putting them back up is a little bit more difficult as you have to follow the instructions to a T for them to go back up correctly.

    2014 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 30th Anniversary 11

    The Durango on the other hand is a really nice place to be in. Dodge gave the interior some tweaks last year to bring it more in line with the rest of their lineup. The dash layout is reminiscent to the Charger and Dart with a simple design and the large 8.4-inch touchscreen smack dab in the middle. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement compared to the 2012 Durango. One disappointment I did have is that that Citadel really didn’t feel that luxurious to me. I mean there are such touches as the Nappa leather and the ventilated seats for the front passengers, but I was expecting something more for the price tag.

    Comfort-wise, the Durango features very supportive front seats with power adjustments for both passengers. The second row in my tester featured bucket seats that provided a decent amount of head and legroom. The third row is best to be folded into the floor as it's a bit hard to get back there, and there isn’t enough head and legroom unless you are a small child. Folding the third row also increases the cargo space from 17.2 cubic feet to 47.7 cubic feet.

    Tech:

    Another sign that the Grand Caravan is old is the optional infotainment system. The Grand Caravan still uses the first-generation UConnect system on a smallish 6.5-inch screen. The interface is somewhat clunky looking and isn’t nice to look at. But the first-generation system is very much easy to use and features such as navigation, satellite radio, and more are here. The Grand Caravan also came equipped with an optional BluRay player with a screen for the rear passengers.

    2014 Dodge Durango Citadel 15

    The Durango is bit more modern in this department. It begins with a seven-inch color screen in the instrument cluster that handles the speedometer and trip computer duties. The screen is clear and vibrant, til the sun hits it and the screen becomes a bit washed out. The 8.4-inch touchscreen features the latest version of UConnect that features an integrated 3G connection and an app store. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to try out either feature during the Durango’s week-long stay. What I can say about the latest version of UConnect is the system retains the easy-to-use interface that I have praised before.

    Powertrain:

    One item both vehicles have in common is the engine, which happens to be the 3.6L Pentastar V6. In the Grand Caravan, the V6 makes 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Durango makes do with 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. How the power gets down to the road is a bit different for both vehicles. The Grand Caravan makes do with a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, whereas the Durango utilizes an eight-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive is standard).

    As I have previously written, the 3.6 Pentastar is a wonderful engine as it's really smooth and moves both vehicles with authority when you climb up in the rev range. However, I felt the Grand Caravan was a little bit quicker than the Durango. This comes down to Grand Caravan’s curb weight of 4,510 pounds, versus the 5,097 pounds of the Durango. As for transmissions, both are very smooth and are able to pull the most out of the 3.6. The Durango had the better average fuel economy for the week, with 20.5 MPG. The Caravan only got 19.4 MPG for the week. Thank the extra two gears in the Durango for that.

    2014 Dodge Durango Citadel 11

    Ride and Handling:

    The two models have similar ride and handling characteristics, which is somewhat surprising. On the daily drive, both models provide a very comfortable ride. Bumps and road imperfections are mostly ironed out in both models. As for quietness, the Durango is slightly better than the Grand Caravan when dealing with road noise. Both are equal when it comes to isolating wind noise. As for driving on the back roads, both models are surprisingly fun to drive. The Grand Caravan hunkers down when you decide to push it. Steering is very responsive. Meanwhile, the Durango is surprisingly nimble for its size. When you decide to have a bit of fun, the suspension keeps body roll to a reasonable level. Steering is excellent with good weight and feel.

    Verdict:

    The crossover and minivan have their respective places in the automotive marketplace, with their high and low points. Most people will go towards the crossover, as it offers the look and space of an SUV. But keep in mind that you’ll end up with some of the downsides of many vehicles. Minivans have an image problem. But if you have a lot of people and stuff to move around, then a minivan becomes a perfect option.

    But what about the two vehicles in question, the Durango and Grand Caravan. Well, both vehicles happen to be impressive choices in the respective classes. The Durango is a sharp looker and not a bad crossover to drive around in. The Grand Caravan is excellent a value for what you get and can still give newer vans a run for their money.

    No matter which one you choose, you’ll end up being very happy.

    Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Durango and Grand Caravan, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Dodge

    Model: Durango

    Trim: Citadel AWD

    Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6

    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,400

    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,800

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/24/19

    Curb Weight: 5,097 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan

    Base Price: $43,395

    As Tested Price: $50,570 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Technology Group - $1,995

    Rear DVD Entertainment Center - $1,995

    Trailer Tow Group IV - $995

    Second-Row Fold/Tumble Captain Chairs - $895

    Second-Row Console w/Armrest and Storage - $300

    Year: 2014

    Make: Dodge

    Model: Grand Caravan

    Trim: SXT 30th Anniversary

    Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 283 @ 6,400

    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,400

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21

    Curb Weight: 4,510 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario

    Base Price: $26,795

    As Tested Price: $32,475 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Dual DVD/Blu-Ray Entertainment - $2,295

    Customer Preferred Package 29P - $1,200

    UConnect 430N CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/NAV - $795

    Security Group - $395

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice write up, I love the current Durango and that they went back to mid size like the first generation. This CUV is a perfect auto for most people.

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    The Durango is a VERY well done and polished piece, taking the "guts" success of the Grand Cherokee to a bigger package, more useful for those needing 3 rows and not that much off road equipment.

     

    It just took 1st place in a Motor Trend comparo of Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Mazda, etc. 3 row utes too:

     

    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suvs/1408_the_big_test_2014_three_row_crossovers/

     

    As long as the reliability stays up, and they can work on resale, they may be getting somewhere. Durango still needs marketed more...reviewers love it, but still not everyone in the 3 row crossover/SUV class recognizes it as a choice since years back.

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    Our company vehicle is a dodge journey which I have put probably 4 or 5 thousand miles on myself. There have been times I pulled 28 mpg with it and the pentastar is great. First and second row room is not much different from this pair. It drives alright and is much cheaper than the Durango. I'd recommend to anyone looking at this pair to look at the Journey too. I still would buy one because it's a Chrysler but I would recommend it to others. I would also recommend the minvans because they are good and a great value. I have nothing I like about the Durango. It makes no sense to me.

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    Over $50k for a Durango seems like a lot, I'd think an Explorer or Lambda (though dated now) is a better value.  $30k for the van with the same engine and basically same people carrying ability seems like the deal, but people don't like vans.  Personally I don't see much difference between a van and a crossover, it is still a tall box on wheels and doesn't handle like a car.

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    Over $50k for a Durango seems like a lot, I'd think an Explorer or Lambda (though dated now) is a better value.  $30k for the van with the same engine and basically same people carrying ability seems like the deal, but people don't like vans.  Personally I don't see much difference between a van and a crossover, it is still a tall box on wheels and doesn't handle like a car.

     

    The refinement and driving dynamics are very different, as is the feel. The Durango is a different ballgame compared with the big & soft Lambda's and the 3.6L/6-speed that can feel lazy, and the Explorer that's all over the place, with a not overly comfortable interior. Small seats, big space, awkward feel. It's strange to say but back to back, the Durango is the premium feeling and performing offering. When the big reviewers say so...that's saying something. The only downfall of that is, like the 1st SRX, it doesn't mean buying public always notices if they don't know to test drive.

     

    I was looking at a few out of curiosity, and a "Citadel" or other high end AWD model loaded up is still not far from $40k. The 3.6L/8-speed is a great combo, I was very impressed by it on a test drive in a new Jeep GC and another friend's new 2014 GC.

     

    The Journey and Caravan, as in GM speak, are "old Chrysler" rehabs. Not that they are all bad, but they are not the same level of vehicles.

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    Over $50k for a Durango seems like a lot, I'd think an Explorer or Lambda (though dated now) is a better value.  $30k for the van with the same engine and basically same people carrying ability seems like the deal, but people don't like vans.  Personally I don't see much difference between a van and a crossover, it is still a tall box on wheels and doesn't handle like a car.

     

    No way on the Explorer over the Durango... just not even a contest.  The Lambdas aren't really that dated and they are the cargo kings of the segment... but they are more soft-roaders than the Durango.   The Durango you could take on a rutted country trail... the Enclave not so much.

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    Over $50k for a Durango seems like a lot, I'd think an Explorer or Lambda (though dated now) is a better value.  $30k for the van with the same engine and basically same people carrying ability seems like the deal, but people don't like vans.  Personally I don't see much difference between a van and a crossover, it is still a tall box on wheels and doesn't handle like a car.

    My Trailblazer SS AWD I would put up against anything the germans put out. My SUV it tight, handles amazing and blows most sports cars away. American LS V8 power with Driving Dynamics that eats up a curvy road! :metal:

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    Why buy a Durango over any other American midsize SUV/CUV?

     

    Hemi.  :wub:  Also has the most usable 3rd row between it, the Explorer (not even close), and the Lambdas (by a slim margin IMO).

     

    Funny how the Durango is called a CUV by a lot of people, even though it shares bones with the Grand Cherokee, which has never been a crossover...

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    Why buy a Durango over any other American midsize SUV/CUV?

     

    Hemi.   :wub:  Also has the most usable 3rd row between it, the Explorer (not even close), and the Lambdas (by a slim margin IMO).

     

    Funny how the Durango is called a CUV by a lot of people, even though it shares bones with the Grand Cherokee, which has never been a crossover...

    Grand Cherokee is a CUV also now. Once they dropped the body on frame, they left the SUV and went to CUV with the Auto Unibody. I consider both the Grand Cherokee and Durango to be CUV's.

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    Grand Cherokee is a CUV also now. Once they dropped the body on frame, they left the SUV and went to CUV with the Auto Unibody. I consider both the Grand Cherokee and Durango to be CUV's.

     

    Grand Cherokee has always been unibody.

     

    Now, unless we're going to retroactively add to the generally accepted crossover meaning of "an SUV built on a car platform with less SUV capability...."

    Edited by Lamar
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    Why buy a Durango over any other American midsize SUV/CUV?

     

    Hemi.   :wub:  Also has the most usable 3rd row between it, the Explorer (not even close), and the Lambdas (by a slim margin IMO).

     

    Funny how the Durango is called a CUV by a lot of people, even though it shares bones with the Grand Cherokee, which has never been a crossover...

    Grand Cherokee is a CUV also now. Once they dropped the body on frame, they left the SUV and went to CUV with the Auto Unibody. I consider both the Grand Cherokee and Durango to be CUV's.

     

     

    Grand Cherokee has always been unibody.

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    Grand Cherokee is a CUV also now. Once they dropped the body on frame, they left the SUV and went to CUV with the Auto Unibody. I consider both the Grand Cherokee and Durango to be CUV's.

     

    Grand Cherokee has always been unibody.

     

    Now, unless we're going to retroactively add to the generally accepted crossover meaning of "an SUV built on a car platform with less SUV capability...."

     

    Showing my age as Jeep used to make true SUV's that were Body on Frame. With the Grand Cherokee, it became from the very first generation a CUV.

     

    I think the only SUV Jeep makes is the Wrangler now.

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    Grand Cherokee is a CUV also now. Once they dropped the body on frame, they left the SUV and went to CUV with the Auto Unibody. I consider both the Grand Cherokee and Durango to be CUV's.

     

    Grand Cherokee has always been unibody.

     

    Now, unless we're going to retroactively add to the generally accepted crossover meaning of "an SUV built on a car platform with less SUV capability...."

     

    Showing my age as Jeep used to make true SUV's that were Body on Frame. With the Grand Cherokee, it became from the very first generation a CUV.

     

    I think the only SUV Jeep makes is the Wrangler now.

     

     

     

    Not really.  The term Crossover, when it came about, generally meant a SUV that was built on a platform originally meant for a car.  So, vehicles like the CR-V (Civic related), RAV-4 (Corolla related), Aztek (Chevy Lumina APV/ Venture related), and Lexus RX (Toyota Camry related).    The Grand Cherokee, from the start, was only ever built on its own platform.   Yet tiny SUVs like the Geo Tracker and the very first Kia Sportage were true small SUVs and not crossovers because they were body on frame and not based on a car. (The Sportage was very distantly related to a commercial Mazda van chassis).

     

    But just being Unibody doesn't mean the GC is a crossover.   The Range Rover has been Unibody since 2002 and no one would consider that "not an SUV"

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    Now, on the other hand, if we want to hold that "unibody = CUV," I move that we call the last B-bodies and Panthers "trucks."  For the sake of consistency.

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    I have never considered Land Rover a true SUV since they left Body on Frame. I also never see them off road around here or even on the mountain passes at ski resorts. They seem to be stuck in Seattle and the suburbs and along the highway as I always see them broken down. So Landrover is CUV's to me also.

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    So a tall wagonlike vehicle more capable off-road -- the exact antithesis of the definition of a crossover -- than any Suburban you've driven... is a crossover?

     

    Heh.  Wow.

     

    tumblr_lwru33NE821r803nno1_500.jpg

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    I have never considered Land Rover a true SUV since they left Body on Frame. I also never see them off road around here or even on the mountain passes at ski resorts. They seem to be stuck in Seattle and the suburbs and along the highway as I always see them broken down. So Landrover is CUV's to me also.

     

    Aside from the fact that most ride on Dubs these days, Range Rovers (not Land Rover, that's the entire brand) are still one of the most capable off-roaders one can buy that side of a Wrangler. Pretty much your only other choice that would equal the Range Rover off-road is a loaded Grand Cherokee with the height adjustable suspension.

     

    That means, yes, the uni-body Range Rover and Jeep GC are more capable off-road than a Trailblazer, Tahoe, or Suburban.

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    So a tall wagonlike vehicle more capable off-road -- the exact antithesis of the definition of a crossover -- than any Suburban you've driven... is a crossover?

     

    Heh.  Wow.

     

    tumblr_lwru33NE821r803nno1_500.jpg

    I see at the landrover dealership by my house they take people on their fake rock, wood and cement bump trail but that is the extent of ever seeing Land Rover any place other than in the city. You do not find them in the PNW 4x4 club that is for sure, but I see plenty of Tahoes, Suburbans, Especially Wranglers, trailblazers, Cherokees First generation. If it is body on frame, you find it on the mountain ski pass and off road clubs.

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    That's because no one goes off-roading with a vehicle that bases at $84,000.

    Range Rovers are at ski-resorts all the time...but perhaps you aren't allowed through the gates of those. :-P

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    Basically, just because a vehicle isn't used for the purpose it was built doesn't mean it's incapable of performing that task (re: Land Rover).

     

    RE: the Durango -- its Jeep bones allow it to still be more than competent off road, according to reviews.

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    That's because no one goes off-roading with a vehicle that bases at $84,000.

    Range Rovers are at ski-resorts all the time...but perhaps you aren't allowed through the gates of those. :-P

    :rofl:

     

    You crack me up, I see plenty of BMW, MB, Acura, Infinity, Lexus and Cadillac CUV/SUV's. Maybe the ski resorts just deny Land Rover access. :P

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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It has been about five years since a Cadillac V series model has graced either one the Cheers & Gears’ garages (if you’re wondering, that would be the 2011 CTS-V Coupe that our Managing Editor drove). It isn’t for our lack of trying. I can give you a stack of emails to the person who handles General Motors’ fleet in Detroit that list the ATS-V and CTS-V as a possible test vehicle. But if you keep bugging someone over time, something is bound to change. That is what happened this summer as a Cadillac ATS-V coupe rolled into the Cheers and Gears’ Detroit garage. Was it worth the wait? 
      The standard Cadillac ATS coupe is already a model that stands out in crowd thanks to an aggressive look. The V turns that aggressiveness up to eleven. The front features a dual mesh grille setup (a small one on top and a larger one below), a narrow slot between the grille and hood; and a new bulging hood with an air extractor. A set of optional eighteen-inch alloy wheels fill in the wheel wells nicely and show off the massive Brembo brakes. The back comes with a rear wing and diffuser with quad exhaust tips.
      Our ATS-V tester featured the optional Carbon Fiber package that adds an exposed carbon fiber weave for the front splitter, hood extractor, and rear diffuser. It also comes with a larger rear wing and extensions for the rocker panels. I’ll admit I found the carbon fiber package to be a bit much with our tester’s red paint at first. It’s like going into an important meeting wearing a zoot suit and alligator shoes. You’ll make an impression, but is it the one you want to put out into the world? I did grow to like this combination as the week went on. That said, I would skip the carbon fiber package. For one, you have to very careful not cause any damage to lower parts when driving over speed bumps and other road imperfections. For example, the low ride height makes it easy for the front splitter to be cracked. Second, this optional package is $5,000. There are better ways you can use that $5,000 such as getting a new set of tires or a plane ticket to get you over to Cadillac’s V driving school.
      Inside, the ATS-V is a bit of a disappointment. For the nearly $80,000 price tag of our tester, you would think that it would look and feel the part. In certain areas, the ATS-V does. Cadillac has appointed parts of the interior with carbon fiber and suede to give it a sporty feel. Our tester featured the optional Recaro seats which are the first set I actually liked sitting in. A lot of this is due to how you could adjust seat bolstering to make yourself actually fit into the seat, not sitting on top of it. 
      But this where the good points end with the ATS-V’s interior. Despite all of the premium touches Cadillac has added, it doesn’t feel like it is worth the price. Take for example the center stack with CUE. It is just a sheet of piano black trim and makes the interior feel somewhat cheap. You’ll find more piano black trim throughout the interior which reinforces this. The instrument cluster is the same that you’ll find in the standard ATS only with a different font. It would have been nice if Cadillac could have pulled the 12.3-inch screen setup they use on the CTS-V as it looks nicer and would provide the key details needed for a driver. CUE still hasn’t gotten any better in terms of performance and overall usability. Yes, Cadillac has added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to CUE. But we had issues with CarPlay with the system not recognizing our phone and apps crashing. The back seat? Just use it for storage. Trying to fit someone back there could cause you to be accused of cruel and unusual punishment.
      Power for the ATS-V comes from a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired with either a six-speed manual or our tester’s eight-speed automatic. Start up the engine and it delivers a meaty, if somewhat muted growl. Don’t let that fool you, this engine will throw you in the back of your seat with no issue. Yes, the turbos do mean you’ll have a moment or two for that rush of power to arrive. But once the turbos spool, hold on. Power comes on at a linear rate and never lets up. The eight-speed automatic delivers crisp upshifts, but it does take a second or so for it to downshift. If you’re wondering about fuel economy, the EPA rates the ATS-V automatic at 16 City/24 Highway/19 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 18 mpg.
      Where the ATS-V truly shines is in the handling. The first time I took the ATS-V down a curvy road, I was gobsmacked at how well it hustled around the corners with no issues. Enter into a corner and ATS-V hunkers down thanks to sticky Michelin Pilot Sport. There is little body roll and the steering provides quick and precise turn-in. The ATS was already a pretty decent handling car, but Cadillac knew that it could be better. The stiffness of the chassis has been increased by 25 percent and there is the newest version of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system that is faster when it comes adjusting the damping characteristics of the shocks. Three modes (Touring, Sport, and Track) can vary the stiffness of the shocks along with the behavior of the engine and steering. 
      When you decided that you had enough fun and it is time to go back to the daily grind, the ATS-V turns into a comfortable cruiser. With the vehicle in Touring mode, the ride is compliant with some bumps making their way inside. Road and wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels.
      One item that we were disappointed not to have on our test ATS-V was blind spot monitoring. This is part of a $1,500 Safety and Security package that also adds lane keep assist, forward collision alert, rear-cross traffic alert, and more. For a vehicle that begins that begins just a hair over $62,000, you think blind spot monitor would be standard. It should.
      Cadillac has been making great strides since the first-generation CTS-V and the ATS-V is the beneficiary of it. The powertrains will nail you to your seats and the handling can match or surpass the class leaders. But Cadillac is still stumbling over some simple things such as the interior materials and the infotainment system. It is an amazing driving vehicle, but it is let down by the interior.
      At the end of the week, I couldn’t deny this is an impressive vehicle even with the interior issues. It was very much worth the long wait.
      Cheers: Jaw-Dropping performance, Sharp handling, Looks that make it stand out from the crowd
      Jeers: Carbon Fiber package isn't worth the money or worry, Interior doesn't feel like it is worth the price, CUE
      Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS-V, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Cadillac
      Model: ATS-V Coupe
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 3.6L SIDI DOHC Twin-Turbo V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 464 @ 5,850
      Torque @ RPM: 445 @ 3,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 3,803 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $62,665
      As Tested Price: $79,205 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carbon Fiber Package - $5,000.00
      Recaro Performance Seats - $2,300.00
      Luxury Package - $2,100.00
      8-Speed Automatic Transmission - $2,000.00
      Performance Data Recorder - $1,300.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,050.00
      18-inch Polished Wheels - $900.00
      Dark Gold Brembo Calipers - $595.00
      Sueded Microfiber Steering Wheels and Shifter - $300.00
    • By William Maley
      For a time, the V6 was looked down upon in the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang because they were seen as lackluster. The engines didn’t match aggression that was being expressed by the exterior of the coupes. But rising gas prices and increasing regulations on fuel economy and emissions has the likes of GM, Ford, and FCA revisiting the idea of a V6 muscle car. We recently spent some time in a 2016 Dodge Challenger V6 to see if it is worth it.
      I will argue that the Challenger is still the meanest looking out of the three muscle cars on sale. Dodge’s designers were able to bring the design of the original Challenger into the modern era without making it look like a complete mess. The little details such as the narrow grille, quad headlights, fuel filler cap, and rectangular taillights are here and help it stand out. Our tester featured the optional Blacktop package that adds a blacked-out grille, black stripes, and a set of 20-inch wheels. The downside to bringing the original Challenger design into the modern era is poor visibility. Large rear pillars and a small glass area make it somewhat difficult to backup or making a pass. The good news is that a number of Challenger models like our SXT Plus come with a backup camera as standard and blind spot monitoring is available as an option. The Challenger’s interior hasn’t changed much since we last reviewed it back in 2014 with the SRT 392. It is still a comfortable place to sit in and controls are in easy reach for the driver thanks to the center stack being slightly angled. Still, the limited glass area does mean you will feel somewhat confined. Power for the SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, you need to step to one of the V8 engines. The V6 is quite surprising with how much performance is on offer. Step on the accelerator and the V6 moves the Challenger with surprising authority. Power comes on a smooth rate no matter what gear you find yourself in. The eight-speed automatic is one of best in the business with smart shifts. Only disappointment is the V6 doesn’t sound like it belongs in the Challenger. There isn’t that muscular roar when step on the accelerator. A new exhaust and some tweaking in the engine could fix this issue.  As for fuel economy, we got an average of 23.4 mpg. Not bad for a coupe that is rated at 19 City/30 Highway/23 Combined. One item that the Challenger is known for is its ride comfort and this hasn’t changed. Even with the optional Super Track Pak fitted to our tester, the Challenger was able to provide a cushy ride over some of Michigan’s terrible roads. Road and wind noise are kept at very low levels. Speaking of the Super Track Pak, this should be mandatory equipment on the V6 model. With firmer suspension bits, it makes the Challenger feel slightly smaller and reduces body roll around corners. However, it cannot mask the Challenger’s weight. Pushing it around a corner, the Challenger feels quite big and not as nimble the as the Chevrolet Camaro I drove afterward. The Challenger SXT Plus starts at $29,995. Add on a few options such as the Blacktop package and you’ll came to an as-tested price of $34,965, pretty good value for a muscle car. Going with the V6 option in the Challenger isn’t bad a choice. You get the looks of a muscle car and some decent performance. But as I drove the Challenger during the week, I couldn’t help but think about what if I had the V8. Six is good, but eight is even better. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: SXT Plus
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 305 @ 6,350
      Torque @ RPM: 268 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/30/23
      Curb Weight: 3,885.2 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $26,995
      As Tested Price: $34,965 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      SXT Plus 3.6L V6 Package 21V - $3,000.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,095.00
      Sound Group II - $795.00
      Blacktop Package - $695.00
      Super Track Pak - $695.00
      UConnect 8.4 NAV - $695.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      For a time, the V6 was looked down upon in the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang because they were seen as lackluster. The engines didn’t match aggression that was being expressed by the exterior of the coupes. But rising gas prices and increasing regulations on fuel economy and emissions has the likes of GM, Ford, and FCA revisiting the idea of a V6 muscle car. We recently spent some time in a 2016 Dodge Challenger V6 to see if it is worth it.
      I will argue that the Challenger is still the meanest looking out of the three muscle cars on sale. Dodge’s designers were able to bring the design of the original Challenger into the modern era without making it look like a complete mess. The little details such as the narrow grille, quad headlights, fuel filler cap, and rectangular taillights are here and help it stand out. Our tester featured the optional Blacktop package that adds a blacked-out grille, black stripes, and a set of 20-inch wheels. The downside to bringing the original Challenger design into the modern era is poor visibility. Large rear pillars and a small glass area make it somewhat difficult to backup or making a pass. The good news is that a number of Challenger models like our SXT Plus come with a backup camera as standard and blind spot monitoring is available as an option. The Challenger’s interior hasn’t changed much since we last reviewed it back in 2014 with the SRT 392. It is still a comfortable place to sit in and controls are in easy reach for the driver thanks to the center stack being slightly angled. Still, the limited glass area does mean you will feel somewhat confined. Power for the SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, you need to step to one of the V8 engines. The V6 is quite surprising with how much performance is on offer. Step on the accelerator and the V6 moves the Challenger with surprising authority. Power comes on a smooth rate no matter what gear you find yourself in. The eight-speed automatic is one of best in the business with smart shifts. Only disappointment is the V6 doesn’t sound like it belongs in the Challenger. There isn’t that muscular roar when step on the accelerator. A new exhaust and some tweaking in the engine could fix this issue.  As for fuel economy, we got an average of 23.4 mpg. Not bad for a coupe that is rated at 19 City/30 Highway/23 Combined. One item that the Challenger is known for is its ride comfort and this hasn’t changed. Even with the optional Super Track Pak fitted to our tester, the Challenger was able to provide a cushy ride over some of Michigan’s terrible roads. Road and wind noise are kept at very low levels. Speaking of the Super Track Pak, this should be mandatory equipment on the V6 model. With firmer suspension bits, it makes the Challenger feel slightly smaller and reduces body roll around corners. However, it cannot mask the Challenger’s weight. Pushing it around a corner, the Challenger feels quite big and not as nimble the as the Chevrolet Camaro I drove afterward. The Challenger SXT Plus starts at $29,995. Add on a few options such as the Blacktop package and you’ll came to an as-tested price of $34,965, pretty good value for a muscle car. Going with the V6 option in the Challenger isn’t bad a choice. You get the looks of a muscle car and some decent performance. But as I drove the Challenger during the week, I couldn’t help but think about what if I had the V8. Six is good, but eight is even better. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: SXT Plus
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 305 @ 6,350
      Torque @ RPM: 268 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/30/23
      Curb Weight: 3,885.2 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $26,995
      As Tested Price: $34,965 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      SXT Plus 3.6L V6 Package 21V - $3,000.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,095.00
      Sound Group II - $795.00
      Blacktop Package - $695.00
      Super Track Pak - $695.00
      UConnect 8.4 NAV - $695.00
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