Chrysler Group has unveiled three brand new production cars at the Detroit Auto Show this week – and all three will be coming to the UK in right-hand drive during the next 12 months.
The first of these new vehicles is the Dodge Caliber which will be on sale at Chrysler Group dealers from July. The Dodge Caliber has a sporty coupe-like profile with the distinctive crossbar grille front end found on the Dodge Magnum and Dodge Ram. It will be available with 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre petrol engines or a 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group, said: "The family hatchback segment is very competitive, but our market research tells us that customers are tired of the bland offerings in this segment. The Dodge Caliber is boldly designed but will also deliver with affordable pricing, European-style handling and fuel-efficient engines."
Two brand new Jeeps were also revealed at the show and customers in the UK can expect to see both the Jeep Compass and Jeep Wrangler early in 2007.
Simon Elliott continued: "These two new Jeeps are designed to reach younger customers who may not have previously considered the Jeep brand. They will have diesel engines and will be great on-road cars as well as being able to drive off the beaten track. It’s really exciting that at last customers will be able to boast that they have a ‘soft-roader’ with a Jeep badge to compete with the Japanese brands."
A brand new all-wheel drive system is a key feature on the Jeep Compass as it offers on-road refinement with the performance, handling and fuel economy of a family car. The AWD system offers a full-time setting and will offer the driver tangible benefits in every day driving conditions such as wet and icy tarmac.
"The Jeep Compass reflects the new ‘Jeep-modern’ design theme and fulfils customers’ demands for a modern family car with the credibility and characteristics associated with the Jeep brand name. For customers who want more off-road style and ability, the new Jeep Wrangler reflects the more traditional ‘Jeep-rugged’ design theme. The Jeep Wrangler may be the icon of the Jeep brand but there is nothing old-fashioned about this all-new vehicle."
The new Wrangler will come to the UK with a diesel engine for the first time plus a new petrol engine that offers more power and more torque. The new Jeep also benefits from improved aerodynamics, reduced noise levels and a much improved and more spacious interior. ESP and side airbags also come as standard together with four-wheel disc ABS brakes. New innovative removable and convertible soft and hard roof options mean the Wrangler hasn’t lost any of its classic looks.
The engineers have managed to significantly improve the Wrangler’s on-road characteristics with a wider track and longer wheelbase, new steering and 100 per cent stiffer frame. These improvements have not reduced off-road ability - the Wrangler features improved live front and rear axles, extra ground clearance and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar.
These three new vehicles weren’t the only stars of the Detroit show. Chrysler gave a glimpse of possible cars of the future with two concept vehicles - the Dodge Challenger and Chrysler Imperial.
The Dodge Challenger is a modern view of the classic American muscle car. Inspired by the classic Challenger of the 1970s the concept is based on the same platform as the Chrysler 300C but boasts very aggressive styling with the signature crossbar Dodge grille and four headlamps deeply recessed into the front of the car. The engine delivers the mega-horsepower muscle with 425 hp from the 6.1-litre HEMI V8 petrol unit.
In contrast the Chrysler Imperial oozes luxury and was inspired by classic Imperials of the 1930s and 1960s. This concept car has a 123 inch wheelbase and is 17 inches longer and six inches higher than the Chrysler 300C. The four occupants sit nearly seven inches higher off the ground in their sumptuous individual seats surrounded by rich wood, leather, suede and satin-finished aluminium. The absence of a B-pillar means that the doors are hinged at the A and C pillar and open like French windows, permitting a dramatic view of the entire interior. A 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine provides a top speed of 160mph and a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds.Published 11 January 2006