2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4: Zombie apocalypse approved

It's no secret that I'm a zombie enthusiast--it's right there at the top of my Twitter profile. So, I tend to see things a bit differently. When tossed the keys to a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4, I saw the ultimate vehicle for keeping myself un-undead when the zombies rise and society falls.

Think about it. The Wrangler is rugged. It can traverse almost any type of terrain, but it's still small enough to creep through some fairly tight spots. The simple chassis and power train are easy enough to modify and maintain. And while it'… Read more

Chrysler slips out its new UConnect interface

LOS ANGELES--Wandering the floor of the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, we happened across a dashboard display in the Chrysler area. Attached to a wall, it lacked an actual car, but its touch-screen head unit showed off the next generation interface for Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system.

Unlike Chrysler's current system, there were no buttons on the sides of the touch screen. A row of icons ran across the bottom of the screen, allowing access to navigation, audio, climate control, and the phone system. These icons were attractively designed and easily readable.

On current UConnect systems, we've complained … Read more

2009 Jeep Compass disappoints at every turn

The 2009 Jeep Compass is available with a cabin tech package that we've come to love: Chrysler's UConnect system. With hard drive-based navigation and media storage, there's a lot to like about the UConnect suite.

Unfortunately, our Compass was equipped with none of this tech and without that UConnect package, there's not much to like about the Compass. Power delivery was pathetic as the Jeep's 2.4-liter engine struggled to keep up with the vehicle's heft. Handling was also disappointing, despite the fact that our Compass was an all-wheel drive model.

Suffice it to … Read more

2009 Dodge Nitro R/T: Great tech, poor performance (review)

Bathed in Sunburst Orange Pearl, the chunky 2009 Dodge Nitro R/T 4X4 looks like a child's Tonka truck toy. Hop inside and the SUV's cabin also feels very toylike, with low-grade plastic trimming on every visible surface and a general cheapness to the feel of things that implies disposability.

On the road, the Nitro's 4.0-liter V-6 makes a lot of noise but doesn't seem to back it up with performance. Adding insult to injury, the R/T's "sport-tuned" suspension did a better job of tossing passengers around the cabin than it … Read more

2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8: Big power and head-turning looks

Riding around in a bright red Dodge Challenger SRT8 is not the best way to go unnoticed. With its wide and low design and deep HEMI V-8 growl, all eyes were on us as we cruised the streets of San Francisco. But the kind of attention attracted in the Challenger was unlike most high-powered sports cars in which we've found ourselves behind the wheel. Everywhere we went, people--almost exclusively male--were giving us the thumbs up, approving nods, fist pumps, and, on one occasion, a full-on round of applause. Yeah, that last one surprised even us.

The attention didn't … Read more

Chrysler to offer in-car Internet connectivity, other tech 'firsts' in '09 models

Chrysler is hoping that a technology offensive will lure customers back to its brand with the unveiling of a number of connectivity and safety features that it claims are industry firsts. Most notably, the company yesterday unveiled details of an in-vehicle wireless system, which will combine Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity to turn its vehicles into mobile hotspots. According to the company, the new wireless technology will be available in future model-year vehicles and as an aftermarket option through Mopar, Chrysler's service arm, by the end of this year.

Other technologies announced by Chrysler for its 2009 models include:

Rear … Read more