2015 Dodge Viper

Last week Chrysler made our Reality Check segment for achieving a bounding sales boom. One car that wasn’t invited to that party was the Dodge Viper, selling only 38 copies last month.

To spur slow sales of the Viper super-car, Dodge announced they are lowering the starting price of the Viper’s by $15,000, now starting at $84,995.

Additionally, all existing 2014 model year dealer inventory will be reduced by $15,000, effective immediately and issued new window stickers reflecting the price change.

2015 Dodge Vipers will also now be sold throughout the entire Dodge dealer network instead of just a small handful of select dealerships, making the selling process more competitive and accessible.

Dodge says this change puts it in line with pricing of the original Viper introduced in 1992 when adjusted for inflation. That car was $50,700 or equivalent to about $86,000 today.

While potentially pleasing many new prospective buyers, Dodge knew this would likely upset those who recently bought a 2013 or 2014 Viper at $100,000 plus.

So they’re offering them a $15,000 coupon to be redeemed toward the purchase of a new Dodge Viper. Note that this $15,000 coupon is in addition to the $15,000 price reduction, for a total discount of $30,000.

Production of the 2015 model year Dodge Viper will start at the Conner Avenue Plant in Detroit late this year and be in dealerships this January.

Toyota Urban Concept Car

Toyota shows they are looking forward at addressing holes in their product line with the Urban Utility or U2 Concept vehicle unveiled this week.

Signaling they are contemplating what to replace the aged Scion xB with, as well as how to compete with utilitarians Nissan NV200 and Ford Transit Connect, the new U2 has several new ideas afoot.

Inside is a versatile utility rail system configurable to hold everything from baskets to bike stands and the passenger seats can be folded or removed.

The exterior is ruggedly designed to resist the bumps and bruises of urban traffic warfare with generous plastic cladding at the ends and underneath.

To aid in hauling oversized items the roof panel can open and the rear glass can roll down into the tailgate. That tailgate can even fold down as a ramp for loading bikes or other gear.

The U2 Concept is nothing more than a design study at the moment, but shows where the company could be going in replacing Scion xB which goes out of production next year.

The concept car will make its first public appearance at World Maker Faire in New York City this coming weekend on the 20th and 21st.

2015 Lincoln Navigator

The significantly freshened 2015 Lincoln Navigator launches this week with a new EcoBoost engine under the hood to go with its new face.

While not all-new, Lincoln made the long-in-tooth Navigator look as new as possible with a re-designed front clip featuring headlamps with LED accents and a bolder grille.

New wheels and tail lamps round out the exterior changes, which go with a body shell that is carry over from the last decade plus.

What is all-new for the Navigator is the infusion of power and economy. Now sporting a 3.5 liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6, buyers now get a healthy dose of 380 horsepower.

And with 460 ft-lb of torque, the Navigator’s towing capacity soars to 9,000 lbs which passes the Cadillac Escalade despite it having a larger and more powerful V8.

Lincoln says with the new engine, the Navigator can achieve up to 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway which again is class leading when compared to the Escalade.

The interior of the Lincoln Navigator gets a few updates in materials and trim. The latest infotainment systems and MyLincoln Touch are now part of the game.

Navigator is now is available with an adaptive suspension called Lincoln Drive Control which like the Escalade’s optional suspension can adjust response and ride to the driver’s wishes.

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator goes on sale very soon starting at $62,475 and will be available in both standard and extended length versions.

BMW 2 Series

BMW unveiled their 2015 2 Series Convertible, the entry level Ultimate Tanning Machine.

It will be available as the 228i with a 240 horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder and M235i with a 320 horsepower in line turbo-charged six.

Both engines will be available with an 8-speed automatic but only the larger six-cylinder gets the option for a manual transmission.

A standard power cloth soft top folds down in 20 seconds and hides level underneath a hard tonneau cover quite neatly.

Opened up, that interior brings all the BMW goodness of high-quality materials with leather, wood, and aluminum along with the latest generation of BMW Connected Drive.

Sport Line and M Sport packages will be available on both models, allowing them to be dressed both visually and in spec.

In a first BMW will also offer the Convertible with all-wheel drive known as the 228i xDrive. New safety and driver assistance technologies will be also available in the Driver Assistance Plus package.

We will see the all new 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible ourselves when it makes its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show in December,

Test Drives

In our test drives this week we had the ever popular 2015 Subaru Outback…outback here in the Sonoran Desert.

All-new for 2015, the Subaru Outback proved its mettle with its combination of space, utility and grit with the traction of its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Inside and out, the Outback shows a solid build quality that was unfazed by the vibration and shocks given by our wash-board back roads.

The Outback made our I’d Buy It list for 2014, impressing with its overall value and feeling of quality, in addition to the comfort of its interior.

This week we are driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T on the desert back roads too, though keeping it on the pavement.

Dodge freshened their Challenger with a new higher quality re-designed interior and a few visual updates on the outside that set it apart for 2015.

Under the hood of ours is the latest iteration of the 5.7 liter HEMI V8 with 372 horsepower mated to a new for 2015 8-speed automatic.

We’re having fun seeing how well the new 2015 Dodge Challenger stacks up to its competition from across town in the Mustang and Camaro now.

For these and many other test drives, log into TestDrivenTV or our YouTube Channel.

Reality Check: Nissan project Titan

In Reality Check this week we bring you another cool story with Nissan’s Project Titan.

Completed this week the crowd-sourced, custom-made Project Titan was delivered to two Wounded Warrior Project Alumni outfitted for a journey into the Alaskan wilderness.

Starting with a 2014 Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X fans voted on 10 different areas of customization to help the Titan conquer Alaska’s challenging terrain.

A camo wrap as well as larger wheels and tires give it a new look along with a huge bank of LED lights. It has a matching all-terrain camping trailer with a kitchen, tent, water/fuel storage and a spare tire.

With the truck fully decked out with mods, equipment and gear, Iraqi war veterans David Guzman and Kevin McMahon this week embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The two are taking the Titan across Alaska on an trek being documented online in a YouTube series launching this fall.

To follow the team’s journey visit the Nissan Trucks Facebook page: Facebook.com/nissantrucks

Money Shot:

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT in bright red sits stark in the back drop of an aging and defunct track overgrown with mother nature. The photo captures the attractive curves and proportions of the new AMG GT as well as those of the old banked track.

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