KBB.COM'S 10 COOLEST NEW CARS UNDER $18,000: EDITORS NAME ALL-NEW DODGE DART NO.1
IRVINE, Calif., June 20, 2012 - The expert editors from Kelley Blue Book’s www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car and used car information, today name the 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000. In this annual list published by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, the editors ranked their top choices and named the 2013 Dodge Dart as this year’s No. 1 affordable new ‘Cool Car.’
The economy is at a near-standstill and gas prices are through the roof, but regardless of financial constraints or economic hardships, the simple fact remains that car shoppers want their new ride to be cool. That is why now, more than ever, kbb.com’s annual list of the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000 is in tune with the times, providing a great selection of cars that are not only affordable, but also fun.
“While there are many affordable new cars available today for less than $18,000, the list gets much more narrow and exclusive when you view it through the difficult-to-describe lens of what is cool,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. “When our kbb.com editors pooled their collective insight and opinions, the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart rose to the top of the list because of its unique combination of style, performance, features, and of course, value.”
Two criteria -- fun-to-drive and fun-to-own -- are critical among the deciding factors of what the editors freely admit is a very subjective “cool factor,” the over-arching number-one criterion for a vehicle to place on this list. Each vehicle is available for purchase at $18,000 or less, using Kelley Blue Book’s exclusive Fair Purchase Price as the yardstick.
The All-new 2013 Dart
First true collaborative effort between the Chrysler Group and parent company Fiat, the 2013 Dodge Dart’s ultimate combination of style, performance, technology and overall value has earned it the top spot in our 2012 coolest cars list. With exceptional interior space and loads of personalization potential, the all-new Dart will definitely make its presence felt in the ultra-competitive compact sedan segment.
Two of the major trends in car connectivity are to use a connected smartphone as the vehicle's infotainment system or for access to mobile service, or include a standalone system with its own wireless access that gains additional features when connected to a smartphone. Chrysler is apparently going the latter way with the overhaul of Uconnect, partnering with Sprint to provide wireless access so that owners will no longer need to use their own phones.
Called Uconnect Access, it will move to a subscription-based format and offer two levels, both with the 8.4-inch touchscreen. R3 is loaded up with the built-in Sprint cell service and still acts as a WiFi hotspot, and has a one-touch button for assistance services and voice-recognition for several operations including texting. R4 adds HD Radio, Sirius XM Travel Link and Traffic, and an enhanced navigation mapping. Internet searches will be handled by Microsoft's Bing, and phone connectivity will extend beyond the car with owners able to lock and unlock their cars and set the climate control.
Chrysler's press release indicates that Uconnect Access will first appear in the 2013 Ram 1500 and SRT Viper. An Automotive News report says Chrysler's head of Uconnect systems and services "hasn't yet announced" if the system will come to vehicles down the range, but our sister site Engadget has been tipped that it will be showing up in the Dodge Dart.
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 7:57 am by Jeep.
With automotive manufacturers from all over the globe trying their hand at making off-road vehicles, one can be forgiven for finding it increasingly difficult to wade through all of the offerings for the 2012 model year. Luckily, many automotive magazines and organizations can cut through the noise. We’re proud to announce that Total Car Score has named the Jeep® Grand Cherokee the Best Off-Road Vehicle for 2012.
A few things in particular stood out to the Total Car Score editorial team. They loved the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s available V8 engine, its superb off-road capabilities, and its excellent on-road driving dynamics. Whether it’s traveling over snow, rocks, mud, or the pavement, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is supremely capable while providing a luxurious, safe ride.
2012 has been a banner year for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. In addition to being named SUV of the year, receiving accolades from buyers and winning praise for its value for the customer, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has also been recognized with best in class vehicle satisfaction.
Ram is out to make both Ford and General Motors sweat with the Auburn Hills automaker's newest pickup, the 2013 1500. Debuting at the 2012 New York Auto Show, the half-ton pickup bows with less weight, an efficient new 3.6-liter V6 option and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler projects the V6 alone should help yield 20 percent better fuel economy over the old 3.7 lump, thanks in part to a start/stop system. While there are no solid EPA numbers as of yet, our estimations put the vehicle at around 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Throw in aerodynamic tweaks like an active shutter system that closes off the engine bay and a standard air-ride suspension that lowers the vehicle by as much as 1.2 inches for better efficiency, easier loading and load leveling and you have a force to be reckoned with.
The Pentastar churns out 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, besting the 3.7-liter V6 in the Ford F-150 by around three ponies. Chrysler has also increased the output of the optional 5.7-liter V8, from 390 hp to 395 and 407 lb-ft of torque. Engineers managed to free up the extra grunt by using an electronic power steering system in place of the old belt-driven unit. Interestingly enough, the V8 will also boast 20 percent better fuel economy thanks to an eight-speed automatic.
In addition, the new 1500 features a tweaked interior, complete with the company's excellent 8.4-inch UConnect touch screen interface. We love the system in vehicles like the Dodge Charger, and the tech should be right at home on the big pickup.
Chrysler also managed to trim a significant amount of weight from the 2013 Ram 1500. In V6 guise, the truck now uses aluminum control arms, an aluminum hood, a new bed and frame design as well as lighter bumpers for a combined weight savings of around 147 pounds over the previous generation. V8 models get away with a more modest trimming.