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Car Reviews

Jeep Proves Patriotism Can Pay Off

By Jim Bray

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Just as I was beginning to wonder if Chrysler had lost it, along came two weeks in two decidedly different – but worthwhile – vehicles: the Dodge Avenger and Jeep Patriot.

Dodge Avenges the Nitro

By Jim Bray

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dodge's Avenger is a conventional mid-sized four door sedan that looks kind of like a smaller and a bit more subtle Charger (not a bad thing). It's quite attractive, visibly a Dodge (if that's important to you) and gives reasonable driving pleasure for its price. Whether it's as good as, or better, than its competition will surely be settled objectively by the marketplace.

Easy to Dodge This Nitro

By Jim Bray

Monday, June 25, 2007

Maybe it's me, but I just didn't get this vehicle. In fact, it rubbed me the wrong way in nearly every way.

And yet, when I searched the Internet to learn how widespread my opinion may be, I seemed to be a voice in the wilderness among an automotive press that appears to think the Nitro is a step in the right direction for Dodge.

Dodge Caliber SXT -- a Little Wagon That Can?

By Jim Bray

Saturday, October 7, 2006

The Neon is dead and Dodge has come up with a car to replace it that's of a whole different caliber.

Or a different character, anyway.

The Dodge Caliber is a roomy and economical little wagon that appears to focus on "user friendliness", which is probably just what many people are looking for.

And from the way the Caliber is being marketed, Dodge seems to be aiming it at the youth market -- though I'm confident the fine folks at DaimlerChrysler are willing to take anyone's money.

Dodge Durango Limited - Powerful and Plush

By Jim Bray

Saturday, July 1, 2006

It's big and brawny, yet comfy and civilized. And though I think it lost something aesthetic in its super sizing from the original Durango, this current version is a heckuva SUV.

Redesigned in 2004, the Durango now also offers DaimlerChrysler's Multi-Displacement feature in its big, 5.7 liter Hemi V8. This shuts down four of the engine's cylinders when you have no pressing need for the extra oomph of the V8, such as when you're cruising on the freeway. It's supposed to give you better gas mileage, and perhaps it does.

The process is seamless; I never could tell if I was running a four banger or a Hemi V8, though the way I drive I wouldn't be surprised if all the cylinders were on duty all the time. It's called "The Curse of the Lead-footed Writer"….

Dodge Grand Caravan — Maxi Minivan

By Jim Bray

Monday, April 3, 2006

It may not be the most fun minivan to drive, but when it comes to hauling your stuff and making your life easier, the Dodge Grand Caravan is a real winner.

Dodge is credited with introducing the minivan more years ago than we of middle age would undoubtedly care to remember. They created the niche and, eventually, just about every marque worth its salt jumped into the market until now there are so many of the beasties around it can be tough to make a buying decision.

I find it a tad hard to review minivans, because I've only driven one other "garden variety" model in recent months: the Nissan Quest. But I've also spent some quality time in the Mazda 5 and Mercedes Benz R350, neither of which will admit to being a minivan, but which are similar enough in function to give me some benchmarks for comparison.

If you put the Quest and the Grand Caravan side by side for some "apples to apples" comparisons you come up with some interesting conclusions. For example, I though the Quest was much more fun to drive; it's more powerful, has better handling and imparts a more car like feel. But the Quest drove me nuts in other areas, including some of the most important ones for which you'd look at buying a minivan — storage, seating, and flexibility.

Dodge Dakota SLT Quad Cab 4x4 — a Bigger, more Brawny Beast

By Jim Bray

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Time was when Dodge’s Dakota was being marketed as almost a compact pickup truck. It was bigger than trucks like the Toyota Tacoma or Mazda B series, but not as big as the full sized trucks like the Dodge Ram, Ford F150 and the like.

Then it must have reached puberty or something, because it experienced a growth spurt that, while it didn’t shoot out to the size of those full sized trucks mentioned above, at least saw it growing farther away from those still compact trucks. It also "matured" aesthetically so that it now sports the look of the big Ram pickups, with a macho nose that looks as if it could double as a battering Ram in a pinch and a boxy exterior that’s all truck. It looks like it’s been working out with weights and now sports chiseled pecs, biceps and hips.

I liked the look of the older Dakota better, but DaimlerChrysler never asked me — and I’m not a truck guy anyway, so it’s probably just as well. But the new version is definitely identifiable as a Dodge, looking somewhat like a smaller scale version of the big Ram.

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