Chrysler’s renaissance under the watchful eye of new owner Fiat has helped the group of automotive brands flourish over the past several years. There are now competitive vehicles being offered by Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep in almost every segment of the market, with the company’s three-pronged attack providing drivers with a number of outstanding automotive choices.
The Chrysler family of cars, trucks and crossovers is well worth investigating if you are in the market for a brand new vehicle. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models that are currently available and quickly run down what makes them appealing automotive options.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 represents the very first redesign of one of the most iconic sedans in the Chrysler fleet. The Chrysler 300’s new styling softens some of the original models’ harder edges through the judicious application of smoothing curves, but the impact of the bold look remains the same. Under the skin, the 300 has seen a more thorough update that gives it a more comfortable suspension with improved road-holding as well as a passenger compartment that better matches the expectations of premium car shoppers thanks to a more comprehensive list of luxury features.
Also new for the 2011 Chrysler 300 is a 3.6-liter base V-6. Known as the Pentastar, this mill provides 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the new motor shows as 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. The 300C’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is of course still available, and its 363 horses and 394 lb-ft of torque are managed by the same automatic tranny, but with the option of either rear or all-wheel drive. Fuel mileage for the larger motor is rated at 16-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
The 2011 Dodge Ram stands apart from other full-size pickup trucks due to its unique chassis design. The Dodge Ram makes use of a coil spring rear suspension instead of a traditional leaf spring setup, and the result is a much more comfortable and compliant ride that doesn’t sacrifice either payload capacity or towing capability (with the latter checking in at 10,250 lbs).
The 2011 Dodge Ram, which comes in regular, quad and crew cab body styles as well as three different bed lengths, also offers three engine choices. First up is the entry-level 3.7-liter V-6 (215 horsepower, 235 lb-ft of torque), followed by the 310 horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 and the top of the line 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 (390 horses and 407 lb-ft of torque). The V-6 is matched with a four-speed automatic transmission, while both V-8s gain a five-speed auto and the availability of four-wheel drive. Fuel mileage for each engine is almost identical, with the V-6 and the Hemi offering 14-mpg city and 20-mpg highway and the 4.7-liter unit matching these city figures but dropping one mile per gallon from the highway rating.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country offers a premium minivan experience for families on the go who still have the time to appreciate the finer things in life. The Chrysler Town & Country offers the passenger room (up to seven) and cargo space (as much as 143.8 cubic feet) that minivan drivers need, but it also comes with advanced features such as Stow ‘n Go seating and available luxury equipment like HID headlights, heated leather seats (first and second rows) and satellite TV for those sitting in the rear.
Unlike last year, the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country consolidates its engine options into a single, powerful V-6. Displacing 3.6-liters, this motor is good for 282 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and its advanced six-speed automatic transmission also allows it to offer fuel economy numbers of 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler continues its reign as the best out-of-the-box off-road option available to 4x4 fans. The mid-size Jeep Wrangler SUV, which has seen its interior revised significantly for the current model year, can be had in two-door and four-door (Unlimited) editions, with each offering the option of open-top motoring. Part of what makes the Wrangler such a trail-driving icon is the availability of two different four-wheel drive systems (Rock Trac and Command-Trac), as well as heavy duty front and rear Dana axles, skid plates and a rugged suspension system that provides all the ground clearance needed to traverse whatever obstacles nature might throw in its path.
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler is motivated by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that offers up 202 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, and the Unlimited edition can be had with rear-wheel drive instead of the Wrangler’s standard four-wheel drive. Fuel mileage for the Jeep SUV comes in at 15-mpg around town and 19-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2011 Dodge Dakota provides mid-size pickup practicality and nips quite closely at the heels of its full-size cousins when it comes to tasks like towing, with the truck rated at a maximum of 7,250 lbs. The Dodge Dakota comes in extended and crew cab body styles, with the former offering a six-foot, four-inch cargo bed and the latter featuring a five-foot, three-inch cargo area.
The 2011 Dodge Dakota is initially outfitted with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that generates 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque while returning fuel economy of 15-mpg in city driving and 20-mpg on the highway. A four-speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties for this engine. More power is available in the form of a 4.7-liter V-8, which is paired with a five-speed auto tranny and is good for 302 ponies and 329 lb-ft of twist. Fuel economy for the larger motor shows as just one mile per gallon less for each respective measure, and both editions of the Dakota can be ordered with four-wheel drive.
The 2011 Dodge Challenger makes the most of its retro-macho muscle car looks, regardless of which engine option might be found under the hood. With more interior room than most of its domestic coupe competitors and revised suspension and braking systems debuting for 2011, the Dodge Challenger is an effective daily driver with a performance edge.
The 2011 Dodge Challenger’s entry-level engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that is tuned to provide 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque while offering up fuel economy of 18-mpg around town and 27-mpg highway. The Challenger R/T benefits from a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that churns out 372 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque and takes advantage of a cylinder deactivation feature to provide fuel mileage of 16-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. The V-6 is automatic only, but the R/T can be ordered with either a five-speed autobox or a six-speed manual.
The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger can be thought of as the Challenger for drivers who need a large sedan that can haul the entire family in total comfort. Based on a similar platform, and featuring a host of styling tweaks and chassis updates that make the vehicle much more aggressive in terms of appearance and handling, the four-door 2011 Dodge Charger hits all of the right notes in the full-size segment.
Matching its fresh duds is a new base engine, the same 3.6-liter V-6 that is found in the Challenger but this time in a 292 horsepower edition that also produces 260 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the V-6, which is shifted through a five-speed automatic, is listed as 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway. The Dodge Charger R/T blows past the competition with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that amps things up with 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed auto is also standard with the V-8 engine, and the R/T comes with the option of an all-wheel drive layout.
The 2011 Chrysler 200 convertible almost has the affordable mid-size convertible segment entirely to itself. Sporting new sheet metal as well as a revised interior that has done much to improve the vehicle’s comfort and style, the 2011 Chrysler 200 convertible is also unique in that it can be ordered with either a soft top or a retractable hard top. This makes the 200 a legitimate four seasons touring car, and an especially appealing choice for anyone who lives in a colder climate.
The 2011 Chrysler 200 convertible can be ordered in either four-cylinder or V-6 trim. The smaller of the two motors displaces 2.4-liters and offers 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.6-liter V-6 dramatically improves performance thanks to its 283 ponies and 260 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed autobox manages the four-cylinder’s output, while the V-6 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy for the entry-level Chrysler 200 convertible show as 20-mpg in stop and go driving and 29-mpg on the highway, with the V-6 posting almost identical numbers.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee emerges from an intensive redesign effort sporting its most impressive array of features and capabilities yet. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t skimp when it comes to off-road prowess, yet it has managed to further refine its on-pavement handling, making it a viable option as a daily driver. The five-passenger mid-size SUV also features an impressive tow rating of 7,400 lbs and the choice of three four-wheel drive systems that allow buyers to choose just how serious they want to get out on the trail.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee provides entry-level models with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that puts out 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, and fuel mileage is rated at 16-mpg around town and 23-mpg during highway cruising. A V-8 option in the form of a 5.7-liter Hemi upgrades output to 360 horses and 390 lb-ft of torque, maintaining the same auto tranny and lowering fuel economy figures to 14-mpg city and 20-mpg highway.
The much improved 2011 Dodge Journey joins the other fresh faces in the Dodge lineup with a flourish, competing hard against other mid-size crossovers and serving as an alternative to larger minivans for size-conscious families. The 2011 Dodge Journey is not only tighter to drive, but it also offers passengers much nicer interior accommodations, and with seating for seven and the availability of 68 cubic feet of total cargo space the crossover is loaded with practicality.
The 2011 Dodge Journey can be ordered in four-cylinder (2.4-liters, 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque) or V-6 (3.6-liters, 283 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque) editions. The former makes use of a four-speed automatic transmission and provides fuel mileage of 19-mpg city and 25-mpg highway, while the latter introduces a six-speed auto and a fuel economy rating of 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. The V-6 Journey can also be ordered with all-wheel drive.