New Dodge Viper Documentary Fights Winter Blues

The first week back after the holidays is always tough but this week’s extreme cold has not helped shake the winter blues. However, have no fear since our good friends at Dodge have out done themselves with a newly created 22 minute documentary titled “Viper: DNA of a Supercar.  The new online video showcases how the Dodge Viper is created like no other sports car – with a relentless attention to detail originality and handcraftmanship.

The film can be viewed at  After watching this video, I can guarantee you will want to order one of these 645 horsepower fire-breathing dragons.  And we are always ready to give the Motor City a shout out, so how cool is it that the Viper is built in Detroit?

We are especially looking forward to seeing what the manufacturers have up their sleeves next week at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

First glance at 2015 Jeep Renegade

At this week’s Geneva Motor Show, Chrysler announced the launch of the new 2015 Jeep Renegade, the brand’s first entry into the small CUV segment. This is a big deal for Chrysler for a bunch of reasons and its success is critical.  Although Chrysler’s overall sales are going very well in 2014 this is largely a result of record-breaking Ram and Jeep model sales. The 2014 Ram truck, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Cherokee have all broken sales records this winter.  However, all is not totally rosy since sales of the Dodge Dart are not nearly as stellar adding significance to the small-sized Jeep Renegade launch. However, even with the stakes this high, our bets are on Chrysler since its most recent joint Fiat design is the award-winning 2014 Jeep Cherokee which makes us believe things from a product perspective have never been better.

2015 Jeep Renegade


Designed in America, crafted in Italy, the 2015 Jeep Renegade highlights the Jeep brand’s global resources and focus on providing unique products to customers in more than 100 countries. It will be built at Fiat’s Malfi, Italy factory while its power trains will be sourced from the US, Italy and Brazil. North American availability will be announced at a later date.



The boys at have already published an exhaustive review of this new innovative entry so kudos to them for examining all the angles as the news is still hot of the press.  We can’t wait to get behind the wheel soon to do our own RedlineNorth review.

Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 Review

Living in Toronto’s east end, space is a premium so driving a full size pick-up truck is not exactly ideal. However, having recently spent a week testing the 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4 I have to stay it’s a marvelous machine.  With its eight-speed automatic transmission, backup camera, air suspension and smallish five-foot-seven inch box it was surprisingly maneuverable in the tight confines of Canada’s biggest city.

Ram 1500 Laramie

Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4×4

Having been named Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year five times in the last 20 years the Ram brings a stellar pedigree to the table.  With victories in 1994, 2003, 2010 and back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014, Chrysler’s Ram continues to have success with its winning platform.

In 2011, the Chrysler Group dropped the Dodge Ram model name, re-branding its line of trucks under the shorter Ram brand.  This new branding came with an amazing marketing campaign focused on the infamous “Code of the West” theme narrated by Hollywood icon Sam Elliott.  The hyper-masculine tone of these ads show the competition as being left in the proverbial dust with Elliott’s voice-over saying the infamous tag line, “Guts, Glory, RAM.” Here’s the original ad that set the creative campaign off.


The Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 model is the third highest trim level coming in at a starting price of $38,895 CDN  MSRP.  However, our demo model came equipped with a range of additional options pushing the “as tested” price to $59,985. But before you say anything about this being significantly more than the advertised price just hold on since this Ram came with everything you could ever want in a truck.

Our tester came paired with the 5.7L V8 HEMI (395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet) and new eight-speed automatic transmission. The power-train incorporates both variable valve timing (VVT) and a cylinder shut-off system making it quite energy-efficient overall. However, don’t fret, Ram has not gone all soft on you – the HEMI provides tons of muscular power and 0-60 mph times of less than 7 seconds.  All this HEMI power is harnessed through chrome exhaust pipes providing a strong but subtle throaty, V8 exhaust note.


The cabin of the Ram is comparable to the look and feel of any of today’s luxury cars or trucks with its rich leather bucket seats and high-end interior materials.  Along with the 8.4″ Uconnect Touchscreen with back up camera, 9 speaker amp and subwoofer stereo system, this truck has it all. Some other features especially useful in winter include heated second row seats, dual zone climate control and a heated steering wheel.


Having chauffeured around family and friends there were many compliments about the roominess and comfort of the Ram’s back seats.  Whether it’s people or groceries, the Ram provides tons of room with its crew cab model.

Ram Laramie with air suspension set at Off Road 2

Ram Laramie with air suspension set to Off Road 2

In spite of providing all the creature comforts associated with high-end vehicles, the Ram does not compromise on its truck characteristics.  The image above illustrates the increased wheel travel available using the air suspension system which provides drivers with the ability to raise the frame of the truck enabling more travel for off-road use. The air suspension system provides a built-in lift-kit at the push of a button which is a dream come true for the off-road enthusiast who does not want to suffer the consequences in ride quality and performance of a lifted suspension.  Land Rover has used this technology on their models for years, so way to go Chrysler!

There is one other significant feature which the Ram possessed, it’s called the wife quotient.  I have written about this before in past reviews and its utmost importance at the end of the day, since without a high number, the usual result means the vehicle does not stay in the driveway. To my wife’s surprise, she loved travelling around in the Ram over the week, she thought it was the most comfortable vehicle she’s experienced in my life as an auto blogger.  She also loved the superior ride height and wide range of luxurious interior features.  If my needs were different and I required a truck, the only missing element for a perfect score would be the optional running boards.

With its rugged good looks, stellar performance and keen sense of efficiency the Ram provides consumers with an amazing opportunity to buy a truck that can do it all.

Key competitors to the Ram 1500 are the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan, Ford F-150 and the Toyota Tundra.

Superbowl Car Commercials

This past Sunday’s Super Bowl was not the best of games that’s for sure as it looked like the Broncos may have thrown the game.  As for the Seahawks I congratulate you as your team deserved the win and winning your first Superbowl is a very big deal.
As a car guy, the best part of the big game is seeing the new car commercials of which there were 15 this year, the same number as last year. Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, VW, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Jaguar, Maserati, Jeep and Honda all splurged and spent the huge cash required for airtime during the big game. To check out all the ads see Autoblog Canada’s feature on the Top 10 Best Car Commercials from this year’s Super Bowl.  You can vote for your favourite one too.

2014 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD


The 300 is Chrysler’s roomy full size sedan offered in both rear wheel and all wheel drive versions. It was first introduced in the 2005 model year and underwent a major redesign in 2011. RedlineNorth recently had a chance to test drive the 300C Luxury Series AWD version. First impressions we noted were the nicely appointed interior and the bold exterior styling.  By the end of the test period we had a number of other reasons to like the 300C. Read on to find out why.

In Canada, the Chrysler 300 Touring starts at $34,295 with the base price of the ‘C‘ starting at $39,295 and the Luxury Series AWD version starting at $43,495.  Optional equipment in our test vehicle included an upgraded Harman Kardon audio package, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and the Uconnect 8.4N infotainment system among other extras. These options brought our test vehicle in at $50,955. The 300 comes with a 5 year or 100,000 km power train warranty, with basic warranty coverage for 3 years or 60,000 km. 



The 300C offers plenty of interior room

The stated fuel efficiency of our test vehicle with all wheel drive is a respectable, 11.4L/100 km city and 7.3L/100 km highway, for a full size all wheel drive sedan.  During our review we did exceed these estimates by a marginal amount with a combination of 50/50 city and highway driving.

The interior of the 300C is well refined with a leather trim throughout.  The analogue clock adds a nice touch, as does the blue backlighting to the instrument panel.  Additional nice to haves in our test vehicle included the heated seats and steering wheel, which warmed up quickly, along with the steering wheel mounted shifters.  While not a big fan of paddle shifters in an automatic car, they performed adequately in the 300C. The addition of the dual-pane sunroof which covers 70% of the roof gave the interior a very open and airy feeling.


Leather trim permeate the interior cabin

The interior cabin offers plenty of leg room both in the front and rear seats and provides a pleasantly quiet ride even at highway speeds. In addition, a technology feature standard on all models is the humidity sensor, which continuously monitors the windshield for risk of fogging and automatically adjusts the interior climate level to prevent the windshield from fogging up.  We thought this was a nice touch.

The 8.4 inch touch screen utilizes Chrysler’s Uconnect system and is one of the more intuitive menu systems on the market.  We also appreciated the ability to balance the audio in the vehicle through the touch screen allowing you to target zones within the vehicle. Overall, the sound system in the 300C was above average with very nice acoustics in the interior cabin.  This is thanks to the upgraded 19 speaker, 900 Watt Harman Kardon system GreenEdge speaker and amplifier technology.

Combined, these features and the interior fit and finish truly did make the 300C Luxury Series live up to its name. If we were to point to any improvement in the interior cabin it would be in regards to more usable storage space for every day items like smartphones and keys, along with larger cup holders but we’re bordering on nitpicking here.


Blue illumination compliments the instrument panel

Optional with the 300C is a number of safety systems including a forward collision warning system, a blind spot monitoring system and a rear cross-path detection system.  The latter providing a warning when backing out of a parking spot as to whether vehicles are approaching.  We found the systems worked very well in everyday traffic, identifying potential hazards and were a comfort knowing they were there and in use.

The exterior styling of the 300C is one of those love it or hate it type propositions for some. It has a some what stately look blended with boxy and squared off styling.  Combined with the jeweled C-shaped headlamps, chrome grille and bold wheels the 300 lives up to its Made in Detroit moniker.  We liked the unique styling which grew on us even more by the end of our time with the vehicle.
The 300C offers unique styling

The 300C offers unique styling

Although the 300C is a full size sedan, sight lines in the driver’s seat were surprisingly good and parking in a downtown environment was quite easy, especially with the addition of the rear view camera. Another nice feature is the Adaptive Forward Lighting which aligns your vehicle-to-road pitch, automatically turns the headlamps in the direction you’re steering and computes your speed and steering wheel angle to determine headlamp projection. This system both improves safety, but also adds to the driving enjoyment of the vehicle.
Overall, the 300C Luxury Series AWD is a worthy competitor in the full size sedan market segment.  The attention to detail in the interior with leather trim throughout really provided that sense of luxury usually found in vehicles at a higher price point. As a full size sedan it provides a roomy interior and significant trunk space, however, the performance of its 3.6L, 8 speed engine and suspension demonstrated that full size can still be fun to drive.
Key competitors to the 300C are the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, as well as the Hyundai Genesis and Buick LaCrosse.  We think Chrysler has a lot to offer with the 300C Luxury Series in this market segment.  Next week find out how the 300C stacks up against one of its key competitors, as RedlineNorth reviews the Chevrolet Impala LTZ.

Review of 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Edition

It feels like just yesterday; I was in university with friends driving around Mom and Dad’s hand-me-down Grand Cherokees. Although those years are a bit hazy from all the 90s grunge rock, I have one fond memory of a ride home from a very cute blonde who drove a classic, green Jeep Grand Cherokee.  As a young car guy at the time, that combo was equal to a royal flush in poker…..So it comes as no surprise that I have had a soft spot for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Then

Jeep had incredible success with its 1990 Grand Cherokee models which went on to set the standard for the medium-sized SUV.  More recently, sales of the Grand Cherokee model have provided significant help to Chrysler’s bottom line through a very critical time in its history. To this day, the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to build on its success as the benchmark in luxury and performance capabilities within the SUV marketplace.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit – Now

To say the new 2014 Grand Cherokee is not your average soccer Mom’s ride is a complete understatement. This new model is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship and precision built on an outstanding legacy which Chrysler has carefully refined for the past twenty years.  Today’s end product is something very special and as a result, we were excited about taking a closer look.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Driver’s view

The new 2014 model has amazingly clean, sleek lines along with an aggressive 4×4 stance that’s ready to take on any type of road or weather condition.  Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to use the selec-Terrain 4 wheel drive system but we can easily imagine how much fun it is for owners to select and go.

Throughout the week, friends, neighbours and car folks we ran into on our travels were all eager to chat about the new ride and many complimented its stellar good looks.  Having driven in both city and highway environments we can say the Grand Cherokee was a real treat to drive in both situations.  It has the power and rawness when you need it while also providing the creature comforts of a luxury car with its character and function.

Our tester came with the 3.6L V6 which has a posted fuel consumption rating of 12.4L/100 km city and 8.3L/100 km highway. The Grand Cherokee is able to get these stingy fuel numbers as a result of Chrysler’s newly developed eight speed automatic transmission and its Econ fuel saving model.  This new improved fuel efficiency does not come at the cost of performance though as the V6 has a 0 to 60 time in the seven second range which is very respectable for a vehicle of approx 4900 pounds.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Side rear view

Our test vehicle came in the top of the line Summit trim which includes a range of extras which brought the sticker price to $62,085 CAD.  This prices includes some out of this world features not even imagined yet back in the 90s.

Some of these new technology features include:

  • 8 speed automatic transmission with E-Shift
  • Steering wheel mounted shift controls (paddle shifters)
  • 3.6L Pentastar™ VVT V6 – 290 hp – 260 lb-ft torque
  • Power 12-way driver’s seat with lumbar adjust
  • Memory settings function for driver’s seat and mirrors
  • 7-inch reconfigurable in-cluster display centre
  • Exotic open-pore wood accents
  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
  • Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with headlamp washers
  • LED tail lamps
  • Remote start system
  • Quadra-Trac I™ 4×4 system
  • Quadra-Trac II™ 4×4 system with Hill Descent Control
  • Quadra-Lift™ Air Suspension System
  • Select-Terrain™ with Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings
  • harman/kardon® 19-speaker audio system with 825-watt amplifier
  • SiriusXM Satelitte Radio
  • UconnectTM 8.4AN multimedia centre with 8.4-inch touch screen
  • 8-way power passenger seat
  • Power liftgate
  • P265/50R-20 All Season Tires
  • Advanced multistage front air bags
  • Seven air bags including driver’s knee blocker
  • ParkView® Rear Backup Camera with dynamic grid lines
  • Park-Sense® Rear Park Assist System
  • Park-Sense® Front Park Assist System
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Brake Assist
Jeep Grand Cherokee


The interior is beautifully appointed with all seats covered in a high quality leather with the Summit trim branding (pictured above). A real attention to detail is noticeable as Chrysler continues to up their game in this area throughout their 2014 line-up.  The combination of special interior features such as; heated steering wheel, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and wood trim sets the Summit model apart from its competition.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Rear cargo area

The storage capability is huge as you can see from the (above image) which illustrates how small one standard airline carry-on bag, a computer bag and two pairs of shoes appear in its cavernous rear storage area. With a very generous 36.3 feet of cargo space behind the rear seats it has space for all your gear and with the rear seats folded down you have access to a monstrous 68.3 feet of cargo room. Honestly, if you need more room than that just buy yourself a min-van.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Side view

As for its competition, many options are available for North American buyers in this market segment.  However, the main competitors include; the Ford Explorer, Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, Range Rover Sport (significantly more money), and Hyundai Santa Fe XL. However, although some of these competitors can actually seat seven (Grand Cherokee only seats five persons) there is a range of varying levels in exterior and interior refinement, towing capacity and off- road capability of which the Grand Cherokee Summit all brings its “A” game.

After spending a week with our Grand Cherokee, I can seriously say if I was in the market for a mid-sized SUV this would be at the top of my list.  And most importantly, my wife really liked the look of it since it’s always a good thing when your partner appreciates another vehicle parked in the driveway.

2013 Dodge Charger SXT Review

A true urban warrior

A true urban warrior

2013 Dodge Charger SXT AWD

  • Base Price: $35,395 
  • Price as tested: $42,040
  • Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT Engine
  • Horsepower: 292 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Auto 8R45 Transmission
  • Fuel Efficiency Rating: 11.4L/100 KM City; 7.3L/100 KM HWY
  • Key Competitors: Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala

Although the industry as a whole is heading towards smaller vehicles there is still a significant market for large sedans however, the choice today for consumers is somewhat limited. We recently had the opportunity to test out one of these full-size contenders aiming to set itself apart from the rest of the large sedan crowd. Say hello to Chrysler’s 2013 Dodge Charger AWD SXT model.

A rear view

Spring afternoon in Toronto

Upon first glance, the aggressive stance and styling remind you of the infamous Dodge Charger muscle cars of the 60s and early 70s. The combination of its mean grill, chiseled hood and doors and unique LED tail light make the Charger stand out from the crowd. Selfishly, we were very excited about our tester’s “Redline red” paint colour which works well visually with our site.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Upon a close up, you can really see why North American police departments are clamouring for the new Chargers for their fleets since it just looks ready to throw down for law enforcement at a moment’s notice.

From behind

Even looks mean from behind

In spite of its large size the 2013 Dodge Charger is surprisingly easy to drive around town, thanks to a very efficient turning radius and solid overall visibility. The steering felt great at both slower city speeds and highway speeds, while the suspension easily soaked up Toronto’s abundant spring potholes. The Charger’s AWD drivetrain provides the added confidence for any type of weather, a truly nice feature to have in Ontario in early Spring.

Luxurious interior

Luxurious interior

Our 2013 Dodge Charger’s interior came dressed in a sporty red leather upholstery with slick, roomy front bucket seats. One very cool interior feature in the Charger you don’t see everyday is the cooling and/or heating of the centre console cup holders.  I mean seriously, how nice is it to keep your Timmy’s coffee warm on a long winter road trip.

The dashboard controls came in oversized, easy to adjust rubber-wrapped knobs situated well for both driver and passenger control. Our only criticism is the dashboard’s design and finish is not perfect, yet it does not look “rental” car either. Overall, Chrysler has done a tremendous job to reduce the number of interior assembly pieces, which results in a very quiet and luxurious interior.

As for technology, the heart of it all begins with Chrysler’s Uconnect Touch media centre which includes CD/DVD/MP3 capability and navigation. The Uconnect Touch system is well designed with its easy to use 8.4 inch touch screen display while the big icons and buttons make it a snap to use while driving. Compared to some of the other systems we have recently tested it is quite exceptional in both looks and functionality. In addition, our Charger SXT model included Bluetooth phone capability, SiriusXM satellite radio and a USB port.

The Charger includes all the latest safety features Chrysler offers and it’s a very safe car overall earning five stars in NHTSA crash tests and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Our tester came with a rear back up camera, adaptive cruise control and a very slick blind spot detection system with alert lights inside the side mirrors. In downtown traffic this feature is a bit overwhelming but you get use to it quickly and we saw the real value when we did our highway tests.  Since having a second set of eyes is always a good thing when going to pass on the highway. 

Rear seats

Rear seats

The back seats are equally as plush and roomy as the front seats, however, the transmission hump does take some leg room away for the middle occupant.

Storage is key for a large sedan and the cavernous 467 liter trunk delivers superior cargo space and includes grocery bag hooks, a nice convenience feature. Along with the trunk the rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 style so there is more room than most will ever need for hauling stuff.

Cavernous trunk

Cavernous trunk

Overall, we had an absolute blast reviewing the Charger and were actually quite sad to return it to Chrysler headquarters. The 2013 Dodge Charger AWD SXT provides consumers with a sporty AWD sedan that rivals luxury sedans priced well beyond its asking ” sticker” price. As well, in 25 years classic car collectors will not be bidding on today’s Accords and Camry’s but will be interested in these Chargers. 

Of course, for those focused on performance and not on a budget, the top of the line 470-HP $48,845 SRT would be absolutely amazing to have parked in the driveway, however, for most situations the Charger SXT suits perfectly. The SXT’s V6 engine provides ample power and torque for everyday driving and is fun to drive for a family sedan. With a zero to 60 MPH time of approx 6.4 seconds range the SXT is one of the faster grocery getters available. Since it was not that long ago when a 290+ HP family sedan was unheard of in North America further reminding me of all the under powered sedans I grew up driving in the 1990s.

2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8

The third and current generation of the Dodge Challenger was introduced in 2008 and has become a cult classic with Mopar fans around the World as it has sold quite well for the past four years.

In this review, we want to take a closer look at the top of the line model the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

Created by engineers at Dodge to compete with the other Pony cars of the day such as Chevy’s new generation Camaro and Ford’s GT Mustang, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 comes equipped to compete.  With a sticker price of $49,095 CAD plus applicable taxes the Challenger is priced well among its competitors.  With its full size rear seats, sports tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, fire-breathing, 470 HP Hemi engine and 20 inch wheels it is a true retro muscle car that captures all the excitement of the late 60s, early 70s era muscle cars.

There is a Standard Fuel Saver Technology (four cylinder mode) in automatic transmission equipped models that allows the engine to operate economically on four cylinders or use the power of all eight cylinders when needed. This technology does result in some very respectable metrics at the pump with the car averaging 20 + MPG. Unfortunately, with a 470 HP Hemi engine what do you expect?  And, yes, you don’t buy this car if mileage is your number one priority.

Specs are as follows:

  • 6.4L – 392-cubic inch HEMI® V-8 delivers 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 0 to 60 MPH – approx 4.7 secs
  • Top speed – 180 MPH
  • Braking is 60 MPH to 0 in 117 feet
  • 14/23 MPG (City/Hwy) ratings for the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
  •  Nappa Leather-faced seats with suede perforated inserts
  • 20-inch forged aluminum wheels
  • Brembo brakes
  • Heated steering wheel

Here is a recent US video review

On a very sad note, I wanted to highlight a recent article from the National Post written by the legendary auto writer Graeme Fletcher titled Chrysler’s Dan Knott: ‘His passion shone through’. It is worth a read and goes on to explain how Dan was a pioneer at Chrysler and essentially the “godfather” of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) which is the group that is behind the amazing technology that make these cars the ultimate road machines they are today.