Track-Ready Challenger Could Arrive Next Year

(Posted on Jan 17, 2020 at 02:43AM by Billy Kirk)
We’re still a few years away before Dodge unveils the next-generation Challenger. That means the automaker will need a few more top-tier performance models to continue enticing customers. According to Mopar Insiders, the company is working on just that. Citing close, anonymous sources, Mopar Insiders alleges Dodge is developing a track-oriented Challenger to celebrate the nameplate’s 50th anniversary for 2020. 

The road-racing Challenger could ravage the fifth-generation Dodge Viper ACR parts bin while stealing an ACR badge, too, according to the publication. The Challenger ACR could feature additional dive planes, an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, and a detachable front splitter for maximum downforce, according to Mopar Insiders. The publication also notes the Challenger ACR could feature just a driver’s seat with the passenger seat costing $1 – much like the Challenger SRT Demon and R/T Scat Pack 1320. 

With the Demon gone, the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody is Dodge’s top-tier performance model with a starting price of $77,945. The addition of a Challenger ACR model, even for one year, could give Dodge a brand boost like the 840-horsepower (626-kilowatt) Demon did a few years ago. Not that the Dodge Challenger needs it – it's 11 years old and still outsold both the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro during the third quarter of this year. 

The Dodge Challenger remains a bit of an anomaly more than a decade after its debut. For the longest time, it trailed the Camaro and Mustang in sales. While its crosstown rivals have released new, updated models with more power and technology in the last few years, the Challenger has continued on its own path unabated – and it’s working. Whatever Dodge has planned next for the Challenger, expect the large, two-door muscle car to continue marching to the beat of its own drum. Dodge built a drag version of the Challenger. Taking it to the track next makes perfect sense. 

Dodge Working on Stelvio-Based Replacement For Journey

(Posted on Jan 17, 2020 at 02:36AM by Billy Kirk)
It was 2016 when we first heard rumors about the next-generation Dodge Journey and the American company’s intentions to use the Alfa Romeo Stelvio as a foundation for it. Now, more than three years later, the speculation still persists and this time around MoparInsiders reports the brand is “hard at work” on a new five-passenger, five-door performance-oriented utility vehicle.

According to sources of the publication, the vehicle will be based on the Giorgio architecture that also underpins the Alfa Stelvio and Giulia, and can be used for rear-wheel-drive models with an optional all-wheel drive. The successor of the Journey – regardless if it continues to wear that name or switches to an entirely new moniker, will be roughly the size of the Italian crossover and will be influenced by the Charger sedan in terms of its exterior design.

Much like the rest of Dodge’s current models in the lineup, the new sport utility vehicle will be offered with a number of different powertrains, including a range-topping HEMI option. Previous reports suggested the base engine will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged turbo-four with 276 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Several trim levels, including a Scat Pack model, will be available for the performance-focused UV.

Take this with a grain of salt though as it is all preliminary and unofficial information at this point. Nothing has been confirmed but MoparInsiders’ assumption is that the Journey replacement will arrive in late 2022 as a 2023 model. Before that, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will launch the next-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee and a three-row variant of that SUV, also based on the Giorgio architecture. This should happen sometime next year.

It was previously speculated that the new Journey will be built in Italy.

Dodge Durango Likely Receiving Ram eTorque Mild Hybrid System

(Posted on Jan 17, 2020 at 02:26AM by Billy Kirk)
Just earlier this month, the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles tentative union agreement unveiled some of the new products the Italian-American automaker is planning. These included a new three-row Jeep model, a PHEV Grand Cherokee, and a Ram 1500 TRX scheduled for 2020. The agreement also briefly mentioned upgrades for the Dodge Durango built at the Jefferson Assembly Plant, and now we have a little more to share regarding the future of the SUV.

According to MoparInsider, a mild hybrid Durango will arrive at Dodge’s dealers sometime next year. Logic tells us either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or 5.7-liter HEMI V8 will be offered, since both the engines now have eTorque electrified versions in the Ram 1500. In fact, FCA could decide to further diversify the Durango’s range by offering both powertrains.

Our source believes adapting both motors for the Durango should be a relatively easy task for FCA engineers, since the Durango has an RWD platform, just like the Ram 1500, which already has the mild-hybrid 3.6 and 5.7 units. The company’s hybrid eTorque powertrain relies on a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) that replaces the alternator, connected to the crankshaft with a large drive belt. There’s also a 48-volt battery pack “the size of a suitcase” with the result of the system being lower CO2 emissions, better EPA ratings, and improved acceleration from a standstill. 

FCA’s route towards electrification will continue with plug-in hybrid variants of the Wrangler in 2020, plus the Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer in 2021. The biggest, $3-billion investment from the automaker in the next few years will go to the Jefferson Assembly Plant, and include potentially increasing the workforce there by 1,100 people. That’s the site that is responsible for the assembly of the Durango and will also produce the mild-hybrid version of the SUV.

Dodge Challenger Design Could Endure Until 2023

(Posted on Jan 17, 2020 at 02:21AM by Billy Kirk)
The Dodge Challenger hasn’t seen a significant redesign since Dodge introduced the model for 2008. It did receive a substantial refresh for 2015, which helped resuscitate sales, though questions remain as to when Dodge will introduce an all-new, fully redesigned model. Earlier speculation hinted that a new Challenger would arrive for 2023; however, that may not spell the demise of the current model. Mopar Insiders, citing “sources” within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, says the current Challenger will continue production through the 2023 model year.

The publication alleges Dodge is considering building the current- and next-generation Challenger models together, if only for a few months, at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. Mopar Insiders also says production of both the next-gen Challenger and Charger is expected to begin rolling off the assembly line in the fourth quarter of 2022. That coincides with an alleged Easter egg discovered in photos Dodge released earlier this year of the 2020 Challenger, which showed 2023 miles on the odometer. However, Dodge was quick to squash rumors that 2023 would see a new Challenger arrive. 

The Challenger has been a strong seller for Dodge, beating out the Chevy Camaro in sales for 2019. Over the years, Dodge has continued to refine and fine-tune the platform, introducing some of the car’s hottest and most powerful trims ever – the SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon. The 2015 refresh helped position the car with a better interior and improved performance overall.

Whenever the new Challenger debuts, it will likely retain the current model’s retro styling. There are also hints that the next-gen Challenger could receive some form of electrification possibly paired with FCA’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, though that would require a new platform, too. However, until Dodge reveals the new Challenger, customers seem quite happy with the current Challenger offerings.