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Should you Dodge Chryslers or not in SA?

2017-10-17 08:45

Image: Quickpic

Johannesburg - We all know that driving on the left is better but unfortunately right-hand drive (RHD) is a minority market globally. The world’s three largest markets, America, China and mainland Europe, are all LHD and due to scale, Chrysler has made a strategic decision to discontinue most of its RHD products. 

The consequence of all this is that South Africans will no longer be able to purchase any Chrysler 300s or Journeys, although Jeep continues as a brand locally. Similar to policy enacted in the wake of PSA’s decision to prioritise Peugeot at the cost of Citroen locally, FCA will honour the servicing and warrantee agreements that Chrysler or Dodge owners hold, serviced through a dealer network that is planned to expand to …

We’ve experienced it with Seat, Saab, Citroen and now Chrysler: is the risk of buying an ‘abandoned’ brand worthwhile? If you like American design, and big engines, Chrysler is most certainly the brand for you, with a V8-obsession and absolutely no pandering to anything remotely hybrid. 

If you desire to go really fast, for very little money, or would like something pseudo-SUVish, Dodge and Chrysler have legacy option in the local market. Let’s evaluate some examples and see if the deal is sufficiently enticing?

Chrysler 300C 5.7 - R154 900

No better big sedan V8 alternative to AMG’s E-Class cars than a Chrysler 300. Retro styling, an enormous cabin that characteristic 5.7-litre Hemi V8. With 525Nm, it’s good for 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds, a 250km/h top speed and considering that huge V8 runs pushrod valve-gearing, it will probably last forever too. 

Best of all: a very low threshold of control electronic, so you won’t be facing a nightmare invoice if a warning light starts illuminating. And with almost unbelievably, for a car which is ten years old, it has only 91 500km. That’s about 760km a week. Effectively, a car that’s never really been driven. 

Dodge Caliber 2.0 SXT - R99 950

Probably not an SUV, or a people carrier, but perhaps the best example of an American sourced crossover that South Africans got the opportunity to experience. Dodge’s Caliber was something which the American market would traditionally never attempted: a homegrown five-door hatchback of European size, powered by modest engines. 

With 18” alloys, heated seats and pretty much every conceivable comfort and convenience feature you could expect on a car from 2011, the Caliber proves that Dodge might not always have given South African customers the most refined driving experience, but it certainly delivered value. An immense level of standard specification equipment in a bodyshell that has age particularly well, with simple mechanicals and a two-litre naturally aspirated engine which is unlikely to generate any issues. 

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