Bronxville, New York, United States
The Aficionauto host Christopher Rutkowski has a real passion for original and replica cars from movies and television, whether they are from James Bond, Jurassic Park, or incredibly obscure Japanese shows. However, he might have outdone himself this time because he hopped into one of the biggest automotive stars of contemporary cinema. This 1970 Dodge Charger appeared in Fast & Furious and came back in Fast Five, where Paul Walker actually drove it. The menacing, black muscle car will make its return to the franchise in the seventh film, too.
The Fast and Furious Charger is a real beast no matter how you look at it. The interior is nothing more than two seats and a roll cage, and as the video shows, this thing vibrates constantly like a coiled mass of muscle ready to strike. The camera can barely stay in place most of the time. Also, Dom's Dodge is more than happy to do a smoky burnout and leave the driver partially deaf afterward from its wonderful, ear-splitting engine roar.
The Aficionauto also interviews the man who controls the keys to this beast. Bob Hartwig was once an F-15 pilot, but he also loved Hollywood vehicles. Now, he's a partner at Picture Car Warehouse, a company with about 850 cars that supplies vehicles to film studios. This Charger definitely seems to be Hartwig's favorite in the collection, as it should be.
The Dodge Dart, Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS all failed to earn a "Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports. When it came to the compact Dart, the organization's testers thought the vehicle offered a quiet cabin, solid-feeling chassis and nimble suspension, but the new model ultimately fell short of the coveted rating due to powertrain issues. The institute's reviewers found the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to be underpowered and noted "drivability issues" when the available turbocharged 1.4-liter four was paired with the optional dual-clutch transmission (some of our editors disliked it paired with the six-speed manual). CR also dinged the latter powerplant for sounding "raspy." For what it's worth, we think the forced-induction engine offers an excellent and playful exhaust note, but that's just us.
As for the XTS, CR lauded the car for its luxurious cabin, but the vehicle's experience was dulled by its finicky CUE infotainment interface. Overall, the big Cadillac scored much higher than its cross-town rival from Lincoln. While testers found the American luxury sedan to offer a quiet ride and quality fit and finish, they felt the MKS delivered a "cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility." Ouch. At the end of the day, both cars fell short of rivals from Japan, Germany and Korea. Check out the full press release below with more details, along with CR's musings on the Chevrolet Spark and Lexus ES.
Even though Chrysler will reportedly discontinue the Dodge Durango after the current model's lifespan - said to be around 2016 - that isn't stopping the automaker from improving its full-size, three-row SUV. The vehicle won't debut at the New York Auto Show until tomorrow, but images are already leaking out ahead of the embargo lift, and they show that the 2014 model is getting even more aggressive styling to go with more technology inside and out.
Dodge limited its early press shots of the new Durango to just the R/T trim level, but this new look adds a meaner look to this model with more dramatic projector-beam headlights along with a "floating" crosshair grille and a restyled fascia. At the rear of the Durango, LED racetrack taillights show a family resemblance to the Charger and Dart, while a new rear fascia adds to the styling while also allowing for an integrated trailer hitch.
On the tech side, the instrument panel looks to have been redesigned to include a standard seven-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) gauge cluster, and it also appears as if Chrysler's well-liked UConnect system has been updated with the 8.4-inch touchscreen found in other Chrysler vehicles. The 2013 model's conventional console shifter has been replaced by a rotary knob for gear selection, suggesting that there are transmission changes afoot as well. We'll have more details when the silks slide off this big boy tomorrow, so stay tuned.