A year ago many experts called Chrysler a goner. Boy, were they wrong. Under Fiat’s leadership the Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler brands are roaring back with exciting changes at every turn of the key.
While a done deal before the Fiat rescue, the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is selling briskly with even more luxury and off-road prowess, and the first application of the high-tech Pentastar V6.
For the 2011 and 2012 model years, that 3.6-liter makes its way into more models, adding spirit to a widespread overhaul of interiors, a few fresh exteriors, and the first Fiat branded car sold in America in a quarter century, the 2012 Fiat 500. Molto bene.
Highlighting the group’s rear-drive hardtops, the brawnier-looking Dodge Charger adds the new 3.6, along with a thorough makeover inside.
The Dodge Challenger’s retro silhouette is unchanged, but the SRT8 392 adds a new 470-horse HEMI V8, and of course, a revved-up interior to match.
Changes were so extensive to the front drive Chrysler Sebring that it has a new name. The 2011 Chrysler 200 is beautiful, and the new 3.6 V6 means it performs that way as well. The classy interior is Chrysler’s best yet.
It’s hardly surprising that Jeep’s Wrangler doesn’t change externally. But inside, the new look is impossible to miss.
The 2011 Dodge Durango is all new, trading its body-on-frame for the Grand Cherokee’s unibody. It’s also larger inside, sleeker outside, and more economical than before.
The Dodge Journey crossover gets the new V6 for 2011, plus fresh front and rear styling, and more expensive interior trim.
Likewise, the people moving Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans gain a badly needed and more upscale interior treatment. Seats are also new and more comfortable.
Even with new management, no one expected Chrysler brands to come roaring back with such a broad product onslaught… so it’s great to see the Pentastar again on the rise.
lithium-ion battery pack
1.4-liter gasoline engine
Could be around $30,000