2019 New and Future Cars: Chrysler and Dodge
Dodge to soldier on, sort of; Chrysler relegated to people moving
A transverse-engine Chrysler 300 replacement was part of the company's last product plan, but that looks to be off the table, as does a Pacifica-based three-row SUV. Chrysler appears to be evolving into a maker of bland people movers designed for the latest autonomous tech, so we predict a bland commuter sedan to accompany the Pacifica. But we still hope a swoopy, aerodynamic 300 replacement similar to our rendering is in the cards, as today's 300 has no more than two model years left, if that.
FCA on June 1 held its Capital Markets Day, outlining its latest five-year grand plan; Chrysler and Dodge were conspicuous with no stand-alone presentations. During FCA's last five-year go-round, CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated Dodge vehicles would migrate to Alfa Romeo's Giorgio platform. Instead, the next Charger/Challenger (probably 2021 models) will premiere on an evolved update of today's platform—the same one with its roots in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, circa 2005.
The Challenger especially needs to be smaller and lower to rival the Mustang and Camaro. Expect the Pentastar V-6 to continue as the base engine, likely augmented by the 48-volt mild hybrid system offered for the Ram 1500. A 2.0-liter turbo-four option wouldn't be out of the question. The Hemi V-8 also looks to be soldiering on, though only in higher-priced, low-volume versions from Hell. Speaking of Hellcats, there's a new 2019 model dubbed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, with power now a staggering 797 hp and 707 lb-ft—good for a 10.8-second quarter-mile and a 203-mph top speed. There is also a new non-Hellcat trim offering, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Along with the same 485 hp and 475 lb-ft we've seen before, it comes equipped with a Drag Mode for its adaptive suspension, line lock, only a driver's seat (passenger seats are optional), heavy-duty halfshafts, and bespoke Nexen street-legal drag tires. The quarter-mile should happen in 11.7 seconds.
Given that Dodges and Chryslers are sold alongside Jeeps and Rams, a planned major expansion for Jeep probably spells doom for the Dodge Durango and Journey. On the plus side, enthusiasts within the company hope for the Viper's return.
Chrysler isn't quite dead yet: Autonomous powerhouse Waymo plans to buy "up to" 62,000 more Pacifica minivans for its self-driving fleet. The deal could also provide Waymo technology to FCA, which would allow its marques to offer advanced autonomous capabilities by 2022.
Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye (pictured): Late 2018
Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320: Early 2019
Chrysler 300: 2020 (est)
Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: $72,745
Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320: $50,000 (est)
Chrysler 300: $28,000 (est)