Drive Type: 2 wheel
Model: Ram 3500
Sub Model: D350
Exterior Color: red and white
Interior Color: Burgundy
Mathiston, Mississippi, United States
Consumer Reports has released its Annual Auto Reliability Survey and the results are, in a word, interesting. While we already covered the score-damaging effects of infotainment systems, there's another big angle to the data that's getting some attention - the utterly dismal scores of the Detroit Three's small car offerings.
The turbocharged Dodge Dart and Chevrolet Cruze, as well as the Ford Fiesta were their respective brands' lowest-scoring models, a stat that's made worse by the fact that the American automakers finished 25th, 21st and 23rd, respectively.
That's not acceptable for The Detroit Free Press' auto critic, Mark Phelan, who has penned a scathing critique of the D3's small car reliability scores, arguing that GM, Ford and Chrysler are "out of excuses."
Watchers of the auto industry will notice a theme among the formerly bankrupted American automakers, General Motors and Chrysler. There are the post-bankruptcy vehicles, and the pre-bankruptcy vehicles. The former, in the case of Chrysler, include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 200 and 300. For GM, there's the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Impala and Buick Encore, among others. These vehicles have the freshest styling, with sharp exteriors and well-crafted interiors, as well as advanced powertrains and well-sorted chassis.
As for the pre-bankruptcy vehicles, they tend to be easy to spot. Most suffer from inferior driving dynamics, cheaper interiors, poorer fuel economy and often homely looks (we know, there were some decent cars before the bankruptcy, but they were pretty heavily outweighed by the bad ones). Think late, last-generation Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler 200. Increasingly, though, we're seeing vehicles that split the balance between pre- and post-bankruptcy. Vehicles like the Dodge Journey.
The Journey debuted in 2007 as a 2008 model year vehicle, meaning it should fall into the latter category. But heavily breathed upon in 2011, it now enjoys a new, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a big, critically acclaimed touchscreen display and in the case of today's tester, a new-for-2014 Crossroad spec.
Wards Auto reports the future of Dodge is looking uncertain. Fiat has more or less laid out it's game plan for the next few years, and while the Chrysler, Fiat and Jeep lines are set to receive plenty of love, Dodge isn't so lucky. Fiat has already hobbled Dodge significantly by splitting off the brand's trucks into a separate Ram line.
Wards says that after the Avenger rides off into the sunset early next year, Fiat-Chrysler won't replace the model, leaving a gaping midsize hole in the Dodge lineup. The report also cites unnamed sources as saying that at least two other current Dodge products will move to the Chrysler line.
One of those could very well be the Grand Caravan. Chrysler has already made it clear that it plans to trim redundancy between its minivan offerings, but it has yet to clarify which other vehicle could sail under the Chrysler banner moving forward. Either way, such changes to the product line would theoretically leave Dodge with just four models.