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2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT review notes

Bold exterior and luxurious features


DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: So the way I see it, you've got a couple different ways you can spend $70K on a 15-mpg SUV. You want HUGE and luxurious? Go for something like a Yukon XL Denali or a loaded Suburban, and you'll have a big, cushy hauler for your entire family and the boat. Chances are you'll use all that capability about 15 percent of the time.

But what if your family ain't that big, and your boat is a jet ski? You can get yourself a Grand Cherokee SRT for about the same money (and with the same fuel economy) and get a midsized, high-performance SUV with a ton of luxury features and nearly 500 hp to play with when the right road is available. Chances are you'll use all that capability also about 15 percent of the time.

Examined through such a lens, the question of which vehicle is more practical or makes more sense suddenly comes down to whether you're a truck person or a performance enthusiast -- do you want your purchase and fuel dollar to buy you more girth and towing ability or more speed and handling? If it's the latter, you want the Grand Cherokee SRT.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat review notes

Hashtag Winning!


ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: The lame part of me is not quite sure why Dodge keeps sending us Hellcats -- what more can we possibly say about these visceral-but-tractable monsters? Are they just daring us to find something wrong with them? Do they want us to get in trouble with the law?

The non-lame part of me quickly tells the other part to shut up, and soon enough I’m enjoying one of the most improbably well-executed marketing gimmicks in Detroit’s history.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky when it comes to lining up Hellcats for special occasions, too. Last year, I snagged a supercharged Challenger just in time to sit in the gridlock that is the Woodward Dream Cruise. This year, I celebrated the Fourth of July behind the wheel of the most ’Merican vehicle to ever come out of Brampton, Ontario. Then I went and shot off some Chinese fireworks. It was a star-spangled weekend.

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat engine that produces 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat review notes

Monster in the garage


ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: It’s been a few months since I’ve been in a Hellcat. Yep, it’s still fast. Not much of a surprise there. What is frankly kind of a miracle is that, after a couple of turns behind the wheels of these supercharged Challengers and Chargers, I’m still alive and with no points on my driver’s license.

Part of that is my somewhat spotty ability to resist the urge to put pedal to floor and do something really, really stupid, but a bigger part is that Dodge has managed to make 707 stated hp (apparently, it’s a bit higher) feel downright tractable.

Oh, it’s never boring. From the delightful supercharger whine to the feeling of thrust when you get even a little bit into the throttle, Hellcat driving is a thrilling multisensory experience. Sometimes you forget to take your foot off the brake pedal before you step on the gas and the tires turn into smoke! It’s all very exciting.

The 2015 Dodge Charger gets the Hellcat treatment.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat first drive


If Dodge had its way, there’d be a 2015 Charger in every garage. The fresh-out-of-college kid commuting to his first big job would drive the 31-mpg, $28,990 Charger SE. His 38-year-old brother, with a little more cash in his bank account, also a fan of American sedans, would drive the $48,375, 485-hp SRT 392. And the crazy uncle, who owned a ‘72 Charger R/T would be behind the wheel of the $64,985 Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest, most powerful sedan the world has ever seen.

The number of different grille options alone is enough to put this car in the something-for-everyone category. We discovered as much when we entered a hangar at Reagan National Airport in Virginia and saw about 30 examples of the redesigned 2015 model before Dodge execs gave us the details on the new car. Four, by the way -- there are four different grille choices on the new Charger.

At the SE trim level, Dodge offers what it calls its best-equipped entry-level Charger ever. It comes with a 292-hp, 260-lb-ft 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a now-standard eight-speed automatic transmission. The SE also comes with a 5-inch UConnect touchscreen and a new 7-inch driver information display behind the steering wheel. LED “racetrack” taillights and bi-xenon headlights are also included, as are two USB outlets, steering wheel controls and electric power steering with comfort, normal and sport modes. The SXT model gets the same engine and adds UConnect Access with WiFi and personal apps, 18-inch wheels and LED fog lights, as well as a few other features. All-wheel drive is optional on the V6s, not available on the V8s.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat review notes


EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I see the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has two key fobs. The red one opens the gates of, um, hell; the black one kills the horsepower, while Valet mode locks out first gear, cuts more horsepower, disables the paddle shifters, etc.

I wouldn’t know. I never bothered with the black key or the Valet mode.

No, I went with red all the way, man, releasing the full mind-bending 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Good lord, it’s a rocket.

I just love the deep exhaust and slight supercharger whine. I could listen to it all day, no matter the rpm. The car isn’t nearly as scary to drive as I thought it might be, though of course there’s no way I could take any kind of advantage of the power on city streets. Still, I got into it enough to feel that the power comes on smoothly, no spikes or other weirdness. Sixty mph comes up almost literally in the blink of an eye, but use the throttle judicially, and the car is a pleasant around-town cruiser, thanks in large part to the big comfy interior. It would take a few hours at least to get into all the drive mode menus for adjusting power, traction, suspension and the like, but that just means I need more time in it.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat makes 707 hp from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat first drive


It was comical, really. A bunch of journalists, lined up on the drag strip at Portland International Raceway, waiting to take their turn in the 707-hp 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, one after the other, producing almost no forward momentum, just rubber and smoke.

“You have to roll on, roll on the power,” said one of the instructors, as another journalist spun the tires through third gear. The most powerful mass-produced American car ever is predictably stingy with the traction.

Chrysler’s new/old sporty brand, Dodge, now builds a car more powerful than the vaunted Dodge Viper, more powerful than the Mustang GT500 and even more powerful than the upcoming Corvette Z06. On the list of the highest-horsepower cars available in the U.S., the Hellcat sneaks in just below the Lamborghini Aventador and above the Z06.

The Chrysler 300 SRT lurks in the woods of New Jersey.

2014 Chrysler 300 SRT Premium

Race Organizer Review

06/25/2014 The 24 Hours of LeMons season is in full swing, which means that I'm traveling the country in carny fashion--though instead of hosing out the Tilt-a-Whirl and riding in a decrepit Winnebago, I'm applying strange punishments to bad drivers and subjecting new cars to the rigors of the
The 2013 SRT Viper GTS has plenty of power getting to the rear wheels.

2013 SRT Viper GTS review notes

11/15/2013 ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This is the best-looking Viper to date. It's jaw-droppingly fast on the street and looks like what a hyper-enthused grade-school student would draw as representing a fast car. The Viper maintains its raw brutishness and is also refined at the same time; it is an interesting dichotomy that should appeal to past owners who know this snake and future buyers who like some spunk with their performance. All that said, to its brutishness: I, personally, found the pedal box difficult to negotiate. Granted, I'm in the 65th percentile in height, so the clutch for me has a long stroke; to compensate, I slid the seat forward but noted there was no telescoping wheel, something I have come to expect in cars that should be adjusted for high-speed driving. Settling into the seat, I noticed a ton of support on the lowest part of my back, with little at the upper back and shoulder regions.If I were to own this car, I would take the time to customize i
We had hoped for a bit more power in the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 review notes

09/16/2013 ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I was really hoping this 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 would be a little wilder than it turned out to be.Don't get me wrong, it's a fun pony car. I still think it's the best of the three if just deciding on looks. The dark chrome wheels are a slick new trend that I hope continues, and the black with white stripes is a classic motif. Performance, however, is another story.It has 470 hp to the Ford Mustang GT's 420. Of course, the Challenger weighs in about 550 pounds more than the Ford. The power-to-weight difference isn't that much off, but the SRT8 feels way slower than the Mustang GT. The Challenger is still very fun, even with an automatic transmission -- a five-speed, by the way. Turn the traction control off, stomp it in drive and the tires will spin until it slips into second gear, maybe longer. But getting on the gas when the car is already rolling? Eh, it's just OK. The SRT8 is fun to throw around, the extra weight makes powerslides
In the supercar realm, the Viper remains the rawest and most physically demanding car available.

We flog three top performers on the track


06/05/2013 We hit Michigan's GingerMan Raceway with the 2013 Ford Focus ST, 2014 Porsche Cayman S and 2013 SRT Viper GTS performance cars to demonstrate the wide range of fun available at all price points.And boy, did we have fun.The Focus ST, our budget performer, is outfitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that churns out 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Our midprice entry, the Cayman S, was just right with a 3.4-liter, 325-hp and 272-lb-ft flat six at an attainable price tag. And the Viper GTS supercar tops out our test as we find its raw power as impressive as ever.Check out the video, and read "Pick your Poison" in the June 10 edition of Autoweek magazine for the full story.

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