Auto News and Information

At The Road Best Traveled, we navigate your way to the most interesting and relevant auto news and information.

Taking a backward glance as we continue our drive forward

Five years ago this month I was training to be a Chrysler Capital credit analyst. I’d already been an analyst for our parent company, but this was different. We had signed an agreement with FCA US LLC (formerly known as Chrysler Group), and a new division was about to be born – Chrysler Capital. I remember feeling so lucky and so nervous at the same time. I knew how to buy deals, but this was different. This was big. And I wanted to do the best possible job I could for the people that believed enough in me to make me a part of it. Of course, I wasn’t alone – either in the process or what I was feeling at the time. Another credit analyst, Mindy, was one of the first to approve a deal. In order to test all of the new systems that had been built, we onboarded a few dealers at a time to approve and fund deals before our official kickoff on May 1, 2013. She recalls feeling honored to be part of such an important chapter of our company’s history and that “it was crucial to ensure Chrysler Capital got off the ground running and was a success.” Today, Mindy takes pride in what she does every day. “My favorite part of what I … Read More

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vying for World Green Car of the Year award

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a star no matter what happens at the New York Motor Show later this month. But the highly regarded minivan from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) now is in the running for recognition as the 2018 World Green Car of the Year. Which might be expected for a vehicle U.S. News and World Report called “a great minivan.” The Pacifica Hybrid is competing against the Nissan LEAF and BMW 530e iPerformance in the World Car of the Year (WCOTY) Green Car category, based on evaluations and a secret ballot by a panel of 82 jurors from 24 countries who tested vehicles over six months starting last September. Two other vehicles, the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and Hyundai FE also were considered. Other WCOTY awards categories in which finalists were named at the Geneva International Motor Show are Car of the Year, Urban Car, Luxury Car, Performance Car, and Design of the Year. “The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a one-of-a-kind vehicle: the sole seven-seat minivan with a plug-in hybrid powertrain sold in the U.S. this year,” reported The Car Connection, where an expert review also touted the vehicle’s comfortable interior, infotainment system and family friendliness. Car and Driver’s verdict: “Forget the SUV; long live the minivan – especially this one.” The Pacifica Hybrid, which was introduced for … Read More

Trail leads to Geneva auto show, European debuts for three ‘rugged, sophisticated’ Jeep® SUVs

The Jeep® brand put its stamp on the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show this month with three major premieres and a flurry of other product presentations. The new Wrangler and Cherokee models took the spotlight with their regional debuts – comprising Europe, The Middle East and Africa – while the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, “the most powerful Jeep SUV ever,” appeared for the first time at a motor show in Europe. Other highlights included the new Compass Night Eagle special-edition and new Grand Cherokee S. But the Wrangler was the star of the brand’s Geneva presentation and display, introduced as “the vehicle that started it all,” by Mike Manley, global head of Jeep Brand. “There are only a few vehicles instantly recognizable around the world, vehicles that can be called true icons – and this is one of them.” In this case, the Wrangler was a gleaming, Steel Blue-Metallic Sahara model, which made its way to the stage via a short sky bridge and ramp, and heroic background music and applause. (A pair of Rubicon models followed a little later – one of them via the sky bridge and ramp.) The all-new Wrangler is a fourth-generation vehicle that remains true to the original – which was launched as a civilian vehicle in 1945 and since has sold more than five million … Read More

Autotrader names 2018 Ram 1500 to Best Interior List

I love my Ram truck. I’ve said it a million times. I love how it looks. I love how it sounds. I love the four-wheel-drive and the fact that I can help when someone needs help getting pulled out of a tough spot. And I particularly love how comfortable it is, even on long drives halfway across the country. It turns out, the editors at Autotrader concur, as they recently named the 2018 Ram 1500 to their Best Interior List. “What’s on the inside of a car is arguably as important as what is on the outside, since drivers and passengers spend all their travel time here,” said Tara Trompeter, managing editor for Autotrader. “Although there’s an all-new, fully redesigned 2019 Ram set to debut soon, we’re still smitten with the interior in the outgoing 2018 model. As you escalate through the Ram’s trim levels, the interior improves, with some top-end models offering luxury car levels of comfort and sophistication.” But there’s more to this story. On a list of what would primarily be considered luxury or sport vehicle brands, the 2018 Ram 1500 is the only truck. You may wonder, in a sea of sophistication, how does a self-proclaimed workhorse earn a spot on the “best dressed” list? Careful consideration to every inch, that’s how. The Ram truck design team … Read More

Kathryn Hahn turns up the volume in the Chrysler Pacifica S

As teenagers, we were all embarrassed by our parents a time or two. Now, as a parent myself, I feel like I’ve earned the right, on occasion, to be THAT parent and carry on the tradition. Evidently, the same holds true for actress Kathryn Hahn. In her latest role, starring in a series of commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica S, Hahn is the go-anywhere, do-everything mom in her blacked-out Pacifica S. From soccer practice to the school pickup line to a night out on the town with the girls.   Watch the five-part series of Chrysler Pacifica S ads, starring Kathryn Hahn on the Chrysler YouTube channel.

Jeep® brand is first automotive brand recognized as “Cult Brand” Honoree

If something reaches ‘cult status’ or has a ‘cult following,’ it gains an aura of prestige and intrigue. Last week, the Jeep® brand accomplished the latter as they were recognized as a 2018 “Cult Brand” honoree at the annual The Gathering (Society of Cult Brands). Founded in 2013, The Gathering is an exclusive summit focused on exposing the principles and practices employed by the world’s most successful brands. Past honorees include the Make-A-Wish Foundation (2017), Airbnb (2016) and the Disney Channel (2015). With this recognition, Jeep brand will stand alone as the first and only automotive brand to be recognized by the summit. The Gathering wanted to honor Jeep® for its “outstanding courage, and unconventional thinking, in achieving enviable brand engagement and reaping the benefits of cult-like status.” “Other automotive brands have been nominated over the years, but it’s so fitting that Jeep is the first Cult Brand Honoree,” said Chris Kneeland, co-founder of The Gathering and Chair of the Brand Selection Committee. “Their marketing, product innovation and customer engagement are best-of-breed and represent exactly how cult brands foster internal and external brand engagement.” This honor comes on the heels of the new 2019 Jeep® Cherokee release earlier this year. “The global Jeep community is like no other,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA. “There is no … Read More

Ram 1500, shining star of DFW Auto Show

A thing of beauty. That’s how one might describe the 2019 Ram 1500 Lone Star edition. The Texas-exclusive pickup took center stage when it was unveiled over the weekend at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas during the annual DFW Auto Show. FCA US LLC vehicles consistently have an impressive showing at the auto show and Ram is a big part of that attraction. Not only is February (one could stretch it to the whole year) considered by many to be “Truck Month,” Texans in general love their pickups, and this Ram is all about embracing the spirit of the Lone Star State. Included in the 2019 version are 18” aluminum wheels, bright grille surround with billet inserts, chrome front and rear bumpers, 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine and fog lamps According to Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand, “The hard-working appeal of the Ram Lone Star has made it a favorite among Texas truck buyers. Trucks are an important part of Texas life, and Ram trucks are proven to last. Ram’s long-lasting reliability has helped the Ram 1500 cement the highest owner loyalty of any half-ton pickup.” At previous auto shows in Dallas and around the country, Ram has had other notable versions of their vehicles on display. In 2015, for example, they introduced a special Texas Rangers concept … Read More

Awaiting Super Bowl Sunday … alive with anticipation

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Somewhat of a holiday in our home, we look forward to it every year. We carefully prepare, getting game food and drinks ready and arranged in advance within eyesight of the television, so not a minute will be missed. The dog is walked, fed and ready to go for kickoff. We have and know our “spots” in advance. My husband will pace. Our daughter will curl up in the corner on her phone, looking up whenever my husband yells at the television. (She’s 11, what do you expect?) Then there’s me. I sit quietly and watch, commenting occasionally and explaining what just happened that caused the outburst from across the room. It’s game time. Not a moment will be missed. Because, after all, this is the Super Bowl. And that means, at a rumored $7.7 million for a 30-second spot, we’ll be watching closely to see what kind of comic relief the advertisers have to offer this year. Of course, I’ve already been scouring the internet, doing my best to find whatever I can regarding sneak peeks, teasers, etc. This year has been more challenging than previous years and I have to admit that, while it only makes me search harder, it also makes me happy. After all, there is a significant … Read More

Drive thru — Taking dining to a new level when on the road

We recently traveled to Dallas for a few days to spend some time with friends. Now that we’re back home, we joke that we ate and drank our way through the city and a few suburbs. According to the scale, this is not altogether untrue. Of course, we stayed at a hotel, which meant eating at various restaurants during our stay. When we travel, we make an effort to partake at local establishments. If we do go to what would be considered a “chain” restaurant, we make sure it’s not one that we can go to where we live in New Hampshire. Likewise, when we lived in Dallas and made our northward treks, we also chose local fare. We don’t make a “no chains” choice because we’re against the large, corporate food organizations. We simply like to experience something we don’t have the opportunity to have when we are at home. And, it feels good to support small business owners. As it turns out, we are not alone in our quest to experience something new and different on our travels. According to AAA, 75 percent of Americans consider their dining experience an integral part of their travel experience as a whole. So much so, in fact, that some have started planning culinary-inspired vacations that include winery and/or brewery tours, cooking … Read More