Consumer Reports—one of the country's premier online resources for automotive quality and reliability data—recently put a number of new Chrysler Group products through its rigorous road-testing regimen and lauded both the Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango for their dramatic improvements in this key measure of customer satisfaction.
For David Champion, senior director of CR's Auto Test Center, "It’s clear that Chrysler is on the right path, but they still have a long way to go. We see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”
That sentiment is on full display with the 2011 Charger. Wholesale changes to the Dodge flagship—tested in its Rallye configuration by CR—included the addition of the award-winning Pentastar V6 engine that delivers notably high levels of refinement, power and fuel efficiency. Further helping to drastically improve the Charger's road manners is an all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture, revised suspension and a cabin that has been retuned for enhanced sound quality. As result, CR now notes that the Charger's road-test scores are now on par with those from rivals like the Ford Taurus and Buick LaCrosse.
The 2011 Dodge Charger also earned a spot on Ward's "10 Best Interiors" list and was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Two versions of the all-new Durango, both with rear-wheel-drive, one with the Pentastar V6 and the other with the automaker's proven 5.7-liter HEMI V8, were rated as "Very Good" in the CR road testing as well. The Durango was specifically designed to provide an exceptionally dynamic driving experience for its segment, and as with the Charger, much of this improvement can be traced to the vehicle's upgraded suspension, which features a short/long arm setup in the front and a rear multi-link unit with isolated front and rear cradles for optimum handling and comfort. In addition, aggressive shock and spring rates, and large sway bars, provide the Durango with ride and handling that has won praise from critics and customers alike. To put this into context, the publication now rates the Durango's road performance as comparable to that of the all-new Ford Explorer.
Other recents honors for the completely redesigned Durango include winning MotorWeek's "Drivers' Choice Award" as 2011's best large utility vehicle.
Note that a third heavily refreshed model from the Chrysler Group, the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, impressed CR with a "Very Good" road-test rating, too.
The Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango and Chrysler Town & Country are all on sale now.