Friday, June 15, 2012

The Dodge Viper is Back and Ready to Bite

2013 Dodge Viper

The Dodge Viper has become one of those modern legends, a true great. Now in its 20th year, the Detroit bruiser is back after a long absence for a fifth evolution.

The story started back in 1989 with the prototype, before Dodge unveiled two pre-production models at the infamous Indy 500 in 1991, with both being used as pace cars during the race.

Less than 12 months later and the ‘RT/10’, as it was known, was available for purchase sporting Dodge’s own V10 that had been fettled with by Italian supercar manufacturer Lamborghini and made 400 bhp available at the touch of the right pedal.

Thanks to that surge of power and a massive 630 Nm of torque pushing the car along, the RT/10 managed 0-60 in just 4.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 164 mph.

However, the ‘genesis’ of the Vipers was far from perfect and its body design had flaws that came about by using cheaper truck parts instead of bespoke pieces that would have made for a much more capable motor.

The car was also particularly tricky to handle, had no roof, no exterior door-handles or side windows, so needed to be stored indoors at all times it wasn’t in use, but it did gain a US Environmental Protection Agency rated fuel economy of 12 mpg.

The second generation, the RT/10 GTS, is one we all know for its famous double-striped dressing and ran for six years as both a coupe and a roadster and boasted a power increase of 15 bhp for the base model, whilst the full-out GTS model offered 450 bhp on tap.

The latter made for an improved 0-60 time of 4 secs and a sturdier, more rigid suspension made the Viper 25% stiffer for better handling and the revised chassis made for a 60 lbs weight loss.

Dodge released the SRT/10 in 2003 as its third evolution and offered much sharper styling and another power increase to bring a total power output of 500 bhp that could challenge some of the top supercars of the time.

Initially released strictly as a roadster, the coupe was again added to the range in its final year of production and had 10 more bhp from its 8.3 V10 and a truly monumental 725 Nm of torque to get a sub 4 secs 0-60 time.

Simple styling changes were made in 2008 for the fourth incarnation, but the engine again was uprated to an 8.4 liter 600 bhp goliath that was faster than its rivals at the time that included Detroit local the Corvette Z06, Ford GT, Porsche 911 Turbo and the new boy Audi R8.

A brand new engine management system, aptly named VENOM, was also included, as well as completely revised electrics and an updated exhaust structure.

The CEO of Dodge announced that the Viper would end production in 2010 with a planned ‘Final Edition’ to be the brand’s swansong, with 50 examples to be produced, including the fearsome ACR model that was a true street-legal racer.

However, the Viper is now back from the dead with the now branded SRT Viper to go into production at the end of the year and promises to be quite the car.

It also looks to be a completely new beast from Dodge’s prospective, with an interior bordering on being described as plush and even some stability control for the very first time on a Viper in its two decades.

Even the CEO of the brand wants the new car to be a “more forgiving car to drive and accessible to people.”

The fifth installment was revealed at the New York Auto Show in April of this year and immediately impressed with its aggressive styling and staying true to its 20-year history, will feature a 640 bhp version of their 8.4 V10.

It was also announced that the Viper would be going back into racing and have a GTS-R model ready for the 2012 American Le Mans series, making for a true return for the legend.

About the author: Sam Bisby writes for fuel cards.     

More Guest Blog Posts from GRAutoBlog:
How to Get the Most Money for Your Trade-in
Tips for Driving in Unsafe Conditions
How to Get More MPG with Your Car
6 Steps to Carefully Buying a Used Car
6 Things to Consider When Selecting Tires
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced 
Top 5 Gifts for Car Enthusiasts 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

VW Beetle Fender Edition,TDI Versions Coming This Fall

VW Beetle Fender Edition

Volkswagen Meets Fender - A Bug for Music Lovers

Rock n’ roll is here to stay and so is the VW Beetle Fender Edition. Originally introduced as a concept last year at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Fender Edition of the redesigned Beetle caused such a buzz, Volkswagen will now produce the vehicle and bring it to the U.S. starting this fall.

Based around the high ‘Design’ trim level, the Fender Beetle packs the ultimate vehicle audio system, designed by, you guessed it, the experts at Fender. Controlled by the standard RCD 510 touchscreen, the sound system includes two high-end tweeters in each side mirror and rear side panel, and woofers with double voice coils in the front doors. The system’s subwoofer is located in the trunk and the center of the sound system is a 10-channel amplifier with class A/B power amps and an output of 400 watts. Follow along with us on Twitter and Facebook to keep posted on when a Fender Edition Beetle will be in a dealership near you.

 VW Beetle TDI Starts at $23,295

The 2013 VW Beetle TDI is the latest addition to the Beetle family with an estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway. The TDI is powered by a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged clean diesel with direct injection. With a starting price of $23,295, the diesel-powered bug will have a six-speed transmission, 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The Clean Diesel model is scheduled to hit showrooms this August and will come available in three trim levels: TDI, TDI with sunroof and TDI with sunroof, sound and navigation. Have questions or want to learn more about the TDI Beetle? Give our VW team a call at (616) 301-2100.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to: Chrysler UConnect System Video Tutorial

Whether it be navigation, Bluetooth for your phone or MP3 connectivity, the latest technology found in just about any new car's dashboard  is essentially meant to simply our lives, not complicate it.  Unfortunately, most people on the roads today are either confused by their infotainment systems or simply not getting the most out of them.

To ensure that you fully understand your vehicle's technology and can utilize it to its fullest, we've been making how-to videos over on our Youtube Channel. In this edition, Scott Baumgard, New Car Sales at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, demonstrates how to set up and use the Chrysler UConnect system in your new vehicle.

For Chrysler owners, the UConnect system is your technological gateway to everything from navigation and weather, to music and seat adjustment. Virtually all vehicle controls are now literally at your fingertips, with a simple press of your dashboard screen, or even better yet, at your voice's command. That's right: With UConnect, you can call up your friends, queue up your favorite songs and more, all with the convenience of hands-free voice control.

Chrysler UConnect:

  • Navigation: Directions, Traffic updates, Alternative routes

  • Interior Comfort: Seat adjustment, Cabin temperature and more

  • Music: Voice command for song requests, Sirius XM stations

  • Phone: Hands-free access to contacts

  • Media: Provides passengers with movies, games, weather and more

Learn even more about what Chrysler's UConnect system has to offer:

For more helpful how-to videos, visit our Youtube Channel: Want to request a video tutorial? Send us a Tweet to @Courtesygr or comment on our Facebook.

More on Chrysler from GRAutoBlog:
2013 Dodge Dart to Feature In-Car Wireless Charging
Courtesy Celebrates 46 Years of Business in West Michigan
"60 Minutes" with Sergio Marchionne: Resurrecting Chrysler
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
Best of 2011 from GRAutoBlog: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Edition
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger

Courtesy's 'Car of the Month' June: 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan

When you buy a minivan, you’re buying the whole package: A vehicle that is bursting with storage space, comfort, and above all, versatility.
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is the whole package and then some, with best-in-class towing stacked on top of best-in-class horsepower. With a 3.6L Pentastar  V6 engine under the hood, the Caravan gets 25 mpg, or 500 miles per tank and features a Fuel Economizer Mode that helps enhance your fuel economy.

The Caravan's sporty exterior and extremely versatile interior makes for a minivan that stands apart from the competition. The Grand Caravan boasts class-exclusive Stow 'N Go Seating and storage system with a one-touch fold-down feature, making it easier than ever before to customize your van's interior into various combinations for the ultimate way to transport people and cargo.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan:

  • 81 different seating configurations

  • 25 mpg, 500 miles per tank

  • Up to 3,000 lbs towing capacity

  • Dual power-sliding doors

  • Power liftgate

  • Available UConnect System

As we get into the summer season here at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in West Michigan, there are several great opportunities for new car buyers:

  • 46th Anniversary Sale - Help us celebrate 46 years of our family business, serving West Michigan!

  • Summer Tent Sale - Come see us under the tent on July 11th for amazing deals on amazing vehicles!

More Dodge Grand Caravan Walkaround Videos:
Scott Baumgard
Dave Neubauer

More from ‘Car of the Month’:
2012 Chrysler 300 – July

2012 Jeep Wrangler - May
2012 Chrysler Town & Country - April
2012 Dodge Charger – March
2012 Jeep Compass – February
2012 Chrysler 200 – January

2012 Ram 1500 – December
2012 Dodge Journey – November

2012 Jeep Liberty – October

More on Dodge from GRAutoBlog:
How to: Chrysler UConnect System Tutorial
2013 Dodge Dart Series: Part One - Interior
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Get the Most Money for Your Trade-In

Many people dread the prospect of trading in their car when they go shopping for a newer model. They fret over whether or not they’ll be given a fair value for the car without really taking any steps to help the dealership give them as much money as possible. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do during ownership and during the trade-in process that can help you get every penny that your car is worth.

What Dealerships Look For In A Trade-In:

It’s no mystery that a car dealership exists to make a profit, like any other business. They want to be able to buy cars and then sell them for more than they paid for them. They also want to treat their customers right, because they depend on repeat and referral customers to stay in business. They don’t want you to just be satisfied with the experience; they want you to have had a fantastic experience so you’ll tell all your friends and family how well they treated you. To that end, here’s how you can help a dealership give you more money for your trade-in.

#1 – Take care of your car – This should seem like common sense, but you may be amazed at how many people don’t change their oil on time, never rotate their tires, only wash their car by leaving it out in the rain, and in general, let their car slowly turn into a stinky, beat up mess. Starting from day one of ownership, take all the steps you need to keep your car looking and running smoothly. An advantage of buying from a dealership is that you can usually purchase maintenance plans at discounted rates to take care of your oil changes and regular maintenance. That can save you a lot of money over the course of ownership as well as make it very easy and convenient to make sure your car stays up to date on service, maintenance, and any recalls that need to be performed.

#2 – Keep accurate records – Only slightly less important than taking care of your car is keeping track of what you do. When an appraiser looks at a possible trade-in, he is figuring out what they would need to spend on a car to have it ready to sell. If you can show him that the maintenance is current that is one more thing he can check off his list of possible expenses. Again, an advantage of doing your maintenance at one spot, like a dealership service department, is that they will keep track of everything for you, and can give you a copy at your request.

#3 – Timing & Term – It is a cold hard fact that your car value drops as soon as you drive it off the lot, yet there still seems to be a group of people who think they can buy a car and try to trade it in two months later when they decide they need a car with the latest and greatest gadget. They are usually very disappointed in their trade evaluation, because only two months earlier they paid much more than they are being offered. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! When you buy a car, buy one that you will enjoy driving and that will meet your needs, and then keep it for the next 3-4 years.

#4 – Know your car’s value – There are a lot of sources that will tell you what a car is supposed to be worth, and unfortunately, they very rarely agree with each other. Your bank or credit union will tell you one thing, blue books, black books, market reports, etc, all will put different figures on your car’s value. The best way to see exactly what your car is worth in your area is to see what similar models are selling for. Go to websites like or and search for cars like yours – come as close as you can in make, model, miles, package, and condition. See what they’re being sold for. That will give you an idea as to what retail value on your car may be.

Now that you’ve taken good care of your car, have your maintenance records, have an idea as to what similar cars are being sold for, and have found the new car you want, you have a few options. You can find a private buyer for your car – you will almost always get more money than you would in a trade, but there are downsides. You will have to negotiate with any interested party; they may want you to do some repairs or touch up work, or replace tires or other parts, and they may delay your next purchase if they have to line up financing. What you need to decide is how much your time is worth. Is your time, effort, and stress worth the difference between what you can sell the car for and what your trade-in value is?

If you decide that trading in your car is the way to go, there is one last step. Finding a dealership that you enjoy working with will not only save you headache and hassles, but they will also be more inclined to give you more money for your trade-in if they’ve gotten to know you as a repeat customer. Buying and trading a car can be a fun, easy, and win-win experience!

About the Author: Natalia Jenkins is a writer for Osseo Auto. She loves writing on cars, history and reading classic books. She also is secretly a car aficionado. Osseo Auto is a leading Wisconsin car dealership that sells new and used Ford and Chevy cars in Eau Claire and La Crosse.

More Guest Blog Posts from GRAutoBlog:
Tips for Driving in Unsafe Conditions
How to Get More MPG with Your Car
6 Steps to Carefully Buying a Used Car
6 Things to Consider When Selecting Tires
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced 
Top 5 Gifts for Car Enthusiasts