This past July, we reported on some of the major new models planned for the 2018 model-year by the FCA group. But not all was revealed – an embargo prevented us from divulging some notable new models before the month of September. Now that the envelope can be opened, we’ve got all the juicy details for you!
The Chrysler 300 lineup of cars has been revamped for 2018 and now includes the Touring, Touring L, 300 S, Limited and 300 C models. The first is brand-new and comes with a cloth interior as well as 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. For its part the Touring L will roll on 20-inch alloy wheels. Consumers will also be able to order several different options packages that will allow them to heavily personalize their new 300. Among the possibilities, a Harman Kardon Premium Theater audio system and a number of comfort and convenience accessories. The top-end 300 C model will once again come with a standard 5.7L V8 HEMI engine.
For 2018, the Chrysler Pacifica will be offered in a new version called the L, which will target consumers who want a premium minivan without paying a luxury price. The hybrid lineup is supplemented by the addition of the Touring Plus model. All Pacifica models will feature an upgraded version of the Uconnect 4 system, while some will be fitted with newly-redesigned wheels and several tweaks to the body that will enhance the visual impact of the minivan. And as current trends dictate, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is now standard in all models.
The 2018 Dodge Journey family will include four members: SE, SXT, Crossroad and GT. All offer a standard third row of seating, making it the most affordable vehicle in its segment to do so. As well, 19-inch “Black Noise” aluminum wheels will support the Journey Crossroad. The Blacktop options package, meanwhile, will be available with the Journey SE, SXT and GT trims; it includes black roof rails, gloss black-finish side-view mirrors, a distinctive hood and, on the SXT and GT, 19-inch wheels. Lastly, several accessories are being offered on more of the model’s trims than before – which should make the Journey even more attractive to potential buyers.
The 2018 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sports a new grille and new decorative elements on the bumpers, though it will still be powered by the same 6.2L, 707-hp supercharged V8 engine. Plus, depending on the model, new options will allow buyers to increase the sportiness factor in their new sedan, several versions of which, it’s worth remembering, come with a Pentastar V6 engine. And there’s more: several of the Charger trims can be had with all-wheel drive incorporating an exclusively designed transfer case that disconnects the front axle in certain situations. Also worth noting is the availability of certain brilliant colours for some of the sportier versions.
Clearly, the keyword for the Dodge Challenger coupe in 2018 is: performance. First off, the Challenger SRT Demon is the first production car to produce an astounding 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque. It’s the most powerful muscle car ever made, and the fastest production car ever over the quarter-mile. Then there’s the Challenger SRT, now available in a Widebody version powered by the same engine as the Hellcat. That 707-hp V8 HEMI will be accompanied in 2018 by new 20-inch aluminum wheels that are 11 inches wide (when fitted with Pirelli 305/35R20 tires), while the electric power steering features a selection mode. Brembo brakes are included in some models as part of the performance package. Of course, several exterior esthetic elements will identify the more performance-minded versions of the model.
The venerable Dodge Grand Caravan is back for another year, this despite an earlier announcement that 2017 would be its last year of production. Its ongoing popularity, as well as the uptick in sales for minivans in general, has convinced Dodge to keep the Caravan moving. All models are driven by the same perfectly suited 3.6L Pentastar V6, able to generate 283 hp. Standard equipment is plentiful, and most 2018 models will benefit from a variety of upgrades both practical and esthetic. The most luxurious in the lineup, the Grand Caravan GT, comes with a sportier suspension, a monochrome exterior, special wheels, leather seating and a 9-speaker audio system.
No major changes are on tap for the Jeep Cherokee in 2018, other than some realigning of the models and a more-generous offering of standard equipment. The Cherokee Latitude is the entry model, while the Trailhawk remains the sturdiest and most likely to be taken across all manner of obstacle-filled trails. Among the features now offered standard in the majority of trims are the lateral and rear transversal object detection systems as well as a backup camera.
All-new last year, the Jeep Compass gets only minor improvements, notably in the Limited version which now has front-wheel drive. The small SUV has benefited from a radical transformation of its contours and now sports a more elegant and modern look; inside, the rustic character of the cabin has given way to a sophisticated and attractive (not to mention more practical) dashboard. Like any self-respecting Jeep, the Compass is able to handle itself equally well on the road (with its 2.4L 4-cylinder TigerShark engine producing 180 hp) and off it (independent rear suspension with 8.2 inches of travel and 8.5 inches of ground clearance).
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2018, the folks at Jeep are offering a Trackhawk edition, powered by a 6.2L HEMI engine with compression that delivers 707 hp and allows it to maintain a top speed of 290 km/h. Also new for 2018 is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility via the all-new version of the Uconnect system and its 8.4-inch touchscreen display. The lower trims now feature a 7-inch screen that replaces the older standard 5-inch version.
The Jeep Renegade sub-compact crossover, for its part, gets no major changes, its only new elements being Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and the 8.4 Uconnect screen (available in some trims; standard equipment is the 5-inch screen). A few formerly optional features are now also offered standard.
Finally, the Jeep Wrangler: the vehicle many specialists consider to be the best 4X4 on the market (in our market, anyways) also gets only a few minor tweaks, ranging from an upgraded audio system to the addition of some components. All models are powered by the same 285-hp Pentastar V6 that has proven its worth over the years. Buyers can, in every version, choose between different all-wheel drive systems to pick the mechanical setup that best suits their needs.
Sales of Ram trucks continue to be robust, inciting FCA to add new versions to meet the tastes and requirements of an ever-wider range of customers: Tradesman, Express, SLT, HFE, Big Horn/Lone Star, Lone Star Silver, Sport, Night, Rebel, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, Laramie Limited and Limited Tungsten. For 2018, a few minor adjustments aside, FCA is offering the same mechanics and suspension elements on the full range of 1500 models, the most likely to attract consumer attention.
Developed in collaboration with Japanese automaker Mazda, the Fiat 124 Spider is in essence an Italian-flavoured MX-5. The totally distinctive front end calls to mind the legendary 60s-era 124. For 2018 the model remains largely unchanged, and is once again offered in three versions: Classica, Lusso and Abarth. Consumers will however find it easier to choose many of the options. The Red Top special version will be available later on in the year on the Lusso model.
The Fiat 500L offers the same mechanics for 2018, but the exterior has been modified to make it more attractive to buyers; the interior also gets a major revamp, with particular attention paid to the elegance quotient and to ergonomics. The level of equipment is also upgraded in comparison with last year, for example with the introduction of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, displayed on a 7-inch screen.
The Fiat 500X, an Italian variant of the Jeep Renegade, has not undergone any major esthetic or mechanical changes, but it is now available in a new Urbana edition. As with most Fiat models, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems are now part of the equation. The 500X comes in three iterations - Pop, Trekking and Lounge - and of course there are those 12 different body colours to choose from.
As for the diminutive Fiat 500, no announcement regarding any modifications has yet been forthcoming. FCA has promised details will be provided when the 2018 edition arrives on the market.