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Report: Chrysler killing off 200 Convertible, Dodge Avenger

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2015 Chrysler 200 Convertible rendering

When Chrysler rolled out the first-generation 200 to replace the Sebring range in 2010, it included replacements for both the sedan and the convertible. The Sebring Coupe, however, was left out of the mix. And now that the second-generation Chrysler 200 is descending upon us, Auburn Hills is paring things down even further. But this time, it’s the convertible that reportedly isn’t making the cut. Shame, too, since the rendering above shows what could have been quite an attractive droptop.

As our compatriots at Edmunds point out, sales of the convertible model accounted for less than five percent of overall Chrysler 200 sales, and at those numbers, the considerable cost of engineering a new drop-top couldn’t be justified. With the Toyota Camry Solara and Volkswagen Eos also gone from the market (well, the VW isn’t gone quite yet), the discontinuation of the Chrysler 200 Convertible leaves the affordable convertible segment largely to the sportier likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro and smaller European offerings like the Mini Cooper and VW Beetle.

The Chrysler 200 Convertible isn’t the only derivative being left behind with the new model: so too is the Dodge Avenger. That will leave a glaring hole in the Dodge lineup, with nothing to bridge the gap between the compact Dart and the larger Charger. Whether the Dodge brand has any plans to replace the Avenger with another model, not to be based on the 200, remains to be seen.

Chrysler killing off 200 Convertible, Dodge Avenger originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Feb 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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February 23rd, 2014

Report: Chrysler killing off the 200 Convertible, Dodge Avenger

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2015 Chrysler 200 Convertible rendering

When Chrysler rolled out the first-generation 200 to replace the Sebring range in 2010, it included replacements for both the sedan and the convertible. The Sebring Coupe, however, was left out of the mix. And now that the second-generation Chrysler 200 is descending upon us, Auburn Hills is paring things down even further. But this time, it’s the convertible that reportedly isn’t making the cut. Shame, too, since the rendering above shows what could have been quite an attractive droptop.

As our compatriots at Edmunds point out, sales of the convertible model accounted for less than five percent of overall Chrysler 200 sales, and at those numbers, the considerable cost of engineering a new drop-top couldn’t be justified. With the Toyota Camry Solara and Volkswagen Eos also gone from the market (well, the VW isn’t gone quite yet), the discontinuation of the Chrysler 200 Convertible leaves the affordable convertible segment largely to the sportier likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro and smaller European offerings like the Mini Cooper and VW Beetle.

The Chrysler 200 Convertible isn’t the only derivative being left behind with the new model: so too is the Dodge Avenger. That will leave a glaring hole in the Dodge lineup, with nothing to bridge the gap between the compact Dart and the larger Charger. Whether the Dodge brand has any plans to replace the Avenger with another model, not to be based on the 200, remains to be seen.

Chrysler killing off the 200 Convertible, Dodge Avenger originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Feb 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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February 23rd, 2014

Spy Shots: Chrysler’s completely redesigned 200 caught totally uncovered

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2015 Chrysler 200 spy shots

2015 Chrysler 200 spy shotsPreparing for a big debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 was out for a late-night photo shoot fully undisguised, and our spy shooters were there to capture its all-new design completely uncovered. While there’s no camouflage, the cover of darkness proved to be almost as effective, but we still get a good idea of what this former sore spot in the brand’s lineup will look like after its clean-sheet redesign.

The first thing we notice is the stylish four-door-coupe roofline doing its best to impersonate something like the Audi A7, or maybe the Volkswagen CC. The front-end styling is a departure from recent Chrysler designs with narrow headlights and an equally short, chrome-trimmed grille. In profile, the bullet-nosed 200 is somewhat reminiscent of the Tesla Model S. This new design language should definitely help the 200 get noticed in a segment filled with hot sellers like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, as well as more stylish offerings like the Ford Fusion and Mazda6.

Our spies also caught up with the 200 testing in daylight and got some good shots of the interior. The instrument panel design looks similar to what is found in the Dodge Dart, including the oversized instrument gauges and possibly even the LED accent lighting. We would have to assume – and hope – this prototype is a test model due to its small touchscreen display, as Chrysler’s 8.4-inch screen would look much better in its place. The center stack and console are clean with minimal buttons and knobs, but we do see a rotary gear selector, which may confirm reports from last year that suggested the 200 will use a nine-speed automatic transmission to help hit 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

There’s no official word yet on powertrain, but we’ll get our first up-close look at the car in less than a month. Until then, check out the naked 200 in all its glory by viewing our gallery above.

Chrysler’s completely redesigned 200 caught totally uncovered originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 09:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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December 13th, 2013

Chrysler recalls small number of 2013-2014 cars and trucks over engine debris

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2013 Chrysler 200

Chrysler is recalling a small number cars over issues with their 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines. The recall, which affects 522 examples of its 2013 Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 models, as well as 2014 Jeep Compass and Patriot CUVs has to do with potential debris in the balance shaft bearings.

The abrasive stuff can cause the oil pressure to drop, which could lead to the engine stalling or outright failure. This situation could at best leave drivers stranded and at worst lead to a crash.

Chrysler will begin notifying owners, who will need to report in to have the balance shaft module replaced. All repairs are naturally free of charge. Scroll down for the bulletin from NHTSA.

Continue reading Chrysler recalls small number of 2013-2014 cars and trucks over engine debris

Chrysler recalls small number of 2013-2014 cars and trucks over engine debris originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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December 12th, 2013

Report: Chrysler extending production of current Dodge Avenger, Jeep Wrangler, Grand Caravan

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2013 Dodge Avenger - front three-quarter view

Are you hesitant to pull the trigger on a brand new Dodge Avenger in hopes that a new one will be coming? Well, don’t hold your breath. According to The Detroit News, Chrysler will be extending production of the current Avenger sedan through the end of 2015.

Originally, we heard that the company would kill the Avenger to better focus its midsize sedan efforts on the Chrysler 200 replacement. But then new reports stated there would indeed be an Avenger successor, and that we could see it as early as next January. This Detroit News report cites supplier sources confirming the extension of Avenger production, though Chrysler has not released an official statement on the matter.

These same suppliers say that the current Jeep Wrangler will live on through mid-2018 – that’s right, another five years. The Detroit News reports that a replacement for the iconic, go-anywhere Jeep was due in mid-2016.

Lastly, the report mentions that the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan will remain in production through late 2017, though its Chrysler Town & Country counterpart will be replaced by an all-new vehicle for the 2016 model year. This only further backs reports that the Grand Caravan will be killed from the Chrysler Group portfolio, with the T&C remaining the only minivan in production at the company’s Windsor facility.

Chrysler extending production of current Dodge Avenger, Jeep Wrangler, Grand Caravan originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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July 24th, 2013

Review: 2013 Dodge Avenger

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Chrysler, which was on the brink of total collapse a few short years ago is finally in good health, thanks to majority holder Fiat. Turning a car company around is no small task, and at the core of the turnaround are the cars available for you and me to buy. With the Dodge brand, all eyes have been focused on the new, Alfa Romeo-based Dart, a compact four door sedan. In the mid-size department, Dodge continues to offer the Avenger, which is no spring chicken, having been around since 2008. Vilified by the press for awful interior quality, and crude drivetrains, the Avenger was an easy target. Things changed in 2011 with some refreshed sheetmetal, a vastly improved interior, and a brand new V-6. And consumers responded, with 2012 being the best sales year for the Avenger since it debuted, with close to 100,000 cars sold in the US.

Still, the improvements made to the Avenger, good as they are, still leaves it as an ‘also ran’ in the hotly contested mid-size sedan market. So, with an aging car and limited funds, what do you do if you’re Dodge? You make your mid-size car look mean. From the start, Dodge styled the Avenger to look like a little brother to the Charger. It’s butch, blocky, and undeniably American. Two years after a minor refresh, the Avenger still looks old school. However, our test car was equipped with the $495 Blacktop Package, and the reaction on the street astounded me. For that, you get 18″ gloss black alloy wheels, grille, headlight bezels and a rear spoiler. Pretty simple, right? Yet during my week with the Avenger, people would come up to me saying how bad-ass it looked. I was incredulous when an owner of a Honda S2000 came up to me at a car wash asking me questions about the car. I’ve driven every mid-size car available, and none generated the interest our Avenger did. When your competition has limitless funds, Dodge did the right thing by offering an option to make their car stand out. No, it’s not for everyone, but when I had a Toyota Camry, no one noticed.

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The Avenger’s greatest drawback was its interior, which rightfully drew immense criticism for dull as dirt design, poor quality and rock hard plastics. Dodge has gone to great lengths to improve the interior of the Avenger. I am happy to say they have succeeded, but still lag behind the competition. Our all-black interior made for a drab cabin, and the scant silver trim and white stitching on the seats and door panels did little to break up the monotony. That said, the Avenger’s cabin proved to be comfortable for four. Controls are clear and very simple to use-no need to consult the owner’s manual. Rear passengers did complain the Charger inspired kink at the rear fender severely reduced visibility, which is true, and the lack of a rearview camera or parking sensors compounds the problem. The absence of these and other features like a Stop/Start button are stark reminders that this is a car that has been on sale since 2008.

You can take your Avenger with one of two engines. The standard 2.4L four cylinder, rated at 173hp will get the job done. The base model is equipped with an archaic four-speed automatic, while higher trims get a six-speed automatic. For a mere $300 extra, I implore you to get the new 3.6L V-6, mated to a six-speed automatic. Rated at 283hp, the Avenger is one of the most powerful cars in its class. EPA fuel economy ratings are 19/29 MPG City/Highway. When pushed, the Avenger is very quick, and always composed. The steering was nicely weighted. Driver’s seeking an even more aggressively tuned Avenger should check out the R/T, which offers a sport tuned suspension and quicker steering. In the mid-size sedan world, the Avenger cuts a nice balance between the isolation chamber Camry and near-sport sedan Mazda6.

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When the refreshed Avenger arrived in 2011, it was offered in a staggering five different trim levels with funny names like ‘Express’ and ‘Main Street’. No more. You have the base SE, the SXT like our test car, and the sportier R/T. Our Avenger SXT has a base price of just $22,195USD. For that, you get the standard four cylinder engine with the six-speed automatic, auto climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, power driver’s seat, and LED interior lighting. Options on our test car included leather, heated seats, the aforementioned Blacktop Package, V-6 engine, and the Sun and Navigation Group (6.5″ touchscreen, voice command, Bluetooth, 40 Gig hard drive for your tunes, GPS navigation, power sunroof, and auto dimming rearview mirror. Including delivery charges, the total price rings in at $26,225, which is an incredible bargain.

The harshest critics will dismiss the Avenger as an ugly reminder of the neglect Daimler and Cerberus inflicted on Chrysler. I see it differently. Dodge engineers and designers were given an unpopular car with the directive to make it more competitive on a shoestring budget, and they delivered. It is not the most plush, refined and polished car in its class, but decked out as our test car was, it had an elusive quality called ‘character’, a trait almost never seen in a modern mid-size car. It isn’t like the rest of the herd. It stands out, and it got people talking. Isn’t that what we love about cars? Am I really saying this about an Avenger, a car our Founding Editor Gary Grant named the worst car of the year in 2009? Gary may have been right then, but since then, Dodge has cooked up a spicier Avenger with personality and a bargain price to boot.

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July 8th, 2013
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