Yesterday was opening day at the Dallas Auto Show but we were there early taking a look around the floor seeing what you should check out if you make it this year. We were able to look, feel, and sit in the new SRT Viper GTS, which basically made our day. You should go to the DAS this year if just to see this one car! Directly in front of the Viper is Ford’s new Atlas Concept truck which is a look into the future of trucks. This is another one that’s really worth heading over for. There are many more and we touched on a few in our new video segment we’re dubbing the Weekly TAN where we’ll be bringing some Texas Auto News in video format. Check out that video below and be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube.
Yes, you read the title correctly. If you haven’t heard yet, the Viper is no longer a Dodge Viper but owned solely by the SRT brand. The original Viper was based off an American icon conceptualized as the modern day Cobra. Since its launch in 1992 the Viper has become its own American status symbol all around the world. This doesn’t mean the Viper was perfect even towards the end of the last generation. Some of the biggest gripes of this car had to do with interior quality. The guys at SRT have stepped up to this challenge bringing out the Viper GTS, which is the model on display here at the Dallas Auto Show.
It helps that SRT is owned by Chrysler which is owned by Fiat which owns Ferrari. If you followed all of that you’ll be happy to know that the team working on the Viper had the chance to tour and get some sneak peaks into how Ferrari builds and develops their cars. It was flat out admitted that the interior of the new Viper GTS is a flat out copy of what Ferrari are doing with their cars in Italy. We’re definitely okay with that.
The powerplant, mid-mounted under the hood and behind the front wheels is an 8.4-liter V10 pushing 640-horsepower and 600-lb.ft. of torque. This is essentially the same engine packed into the last generation car with some technology advances and a few tweaks giving you an extra 40-hp.
This is definitely a car to be proud of as an American as it’s beautiful and powerful and really sits right up there with the best supercars of the world. If you’re in the DFW area or close enough to make it, come check this car out!
Another vehicle we got to play around in, literally, was the new Ram Promaster Van. This is a serious work van that the guys at Ram, Chrysler, and Fiat put a lot of work into. You may think that this is just a rebadged Fiat from Europe but the Ram engineers really did put a lot of extra work into Americanizing the Promaster.
There are several configurations this van can be twisted into including something big enough for a 6-foot 2-inch man to walk around inside of without ducking. It can be outfitted for any occasion or business and is a great addition to the market.
Chrysler 300 John Varvatos Edition
Chrysler has been focused on really trying to get in touch with different lifestyles with their special editions including a Motown Edition and Glacier Edition. The one on display and being marketed to the Texas are is the John Varvatos Edition. For those of you like myself that have no idea about fashion, John Varvatos is a fashion designer who took a new approach to the design of the 300. This is more than just wheels and trim, you also get completely custom gauges modeled off of John’s favorite watches, leather and stitching modeled off some of his favorite jackets, and a special edition plate that shows what build number you’ve bought as there will only be 2000 built and sold.
This is a clean looking 300 that is positioned to be the pinnacle of luxury from Chrysler. If you’re able to find one of the 2000 being sold you’ll have to pony up around $46k to get one.
Ford Atlas Concept
The Atlas is a concept truck that is made to show off some future tech and styling that Ford engineers have been working on. The truck market is a huge market, especially in Texas, and customers are not as up for change as most segments so showing off such a radical vehicle is a big gamble for Ford.
Some of the tech involved in the Atlas is based on fuel economy needs like active grille shutter, which you can expect to see in production soon. Another is active shutters on the wheels where you have open air wheels while driving normally down the road but at highway speeds they close up trapping the air from under the car to help reduce turbulence. This one seems like it’ll take a lot more work to perfect if it’s viable at all. As soon as you get some dirt or mud in your tires, and let’s face it that happens a lot when you’re driving a truck, I see them just failing all the time.
More tech is put into the tailgate where the pullout step has a dual purpose for creating a platform for storage. You get a camera system that gives you a 360 view around the truck as well as helps in assisting backing up with a trailer.
Inside is packed with tech as well including two touch screen monitors, one in the front and one for the rear passengers. There is so much technology and refinement in this concept that you really need to head up to the auto show and check it out for yourself.
Ford Transit Connect
Ford also has the new Transit Connect which they’re classifying as a wagon. This car can seat up to 7-passengers and has sliding rear doors like a mini-van. It’s based off the Transit platform but is smaller and much more fuel efficient. You can have this wagon with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. With the 1.6 EcoBoost you should be netting some MPG ratings better than any other 7-passenger vehicle on the road today, including hybrids.
Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle GSR, and Blue Concept
At Volkswagen they have some bugs on display including the new Beetle convertible and the Beetle GSR. The GSR is a limited production car that shows the bugs heritage from 1973. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine packs 10 more horsepower putting the number at 210-hp. It’s also equipped with some other ascetic goodies including the yellow and black color scheme, black floor mats with yellow embroidery, aluminum pedals, special shift lever, metallic doorsill plates, and metallic dash trim with a yellow GSR badge on the Kaeferfach glove box door.
Toyota recently showed off the updated 2014 Tundra and it’s here in Dallas. This truck has undergone some major body changes as well as interior changes. The redesigned Tundra continues to be a truck with true American roots that was once again engineered by Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and its new look designed by Calty Design Research centers in Newport Beach, Calif., and Ann Arbor. Finally, Tundra continues to be assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, in San Antonio, Texas.
Although the exterior and interior have been updated, the Tundra will still be running the same powertrains as the previous generation, which in our mind was a bad call. Toyota claim that they have no gripes from customers on their power or fuel inefficiency but upgrading and striving for better results is always good, especially with the advances by Ford and Ram this past year.
As far as the looks go, it’s almost hard to distinguish the previous model from the new 2014. The grille is noticeably larger and the designers were going for a more aggressive look, I’m just not sure yet if they pulled it off. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
The all new Mazda 6 has been shown at a few shows now including the Houston Auto Show earlier this year but here in Dallas we’re getting to see a lot more variants and details of the car. The new 6 takes on the SkyActiv technology making its way throughout the Mazda lineup. We’ll first see the 2.5-liter gas engine but coming soon will also be a 2.2-liter diesel engine that will improve fuel economy that much more.
With all the great technology put into this car to make it more fuel efficient without killing sportiness, it’s hard to look over the beautiful design. We’re genuinely excited to test drive one of these not just for the tech but for the looks. I think it’s a great looking sedan and it should do really well for Mazda.
Here’s a car that Chevrolet fans have been waiting for, for a long time now. The new Chevrolet SS is basically a re-boded Pontiac G8 but they’ve given it some much needed styling and interior updates as well. The Chevrolet SS is powered by the LS3 Chevrolet V-8, expected to deliver 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Also used in the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette, the LS3 displaces 6.2 liters, more than the 5.5-liter V-8 powering the Chevrolet SS NASCAR competitors.
The looks on the outside almost exactly match the lines of the new Chevrolet NASCAR as well. This helps bring some similarity between the race car and the road car, although it’s all body lines. We’re looking forward to driving this as well as the G* was one of the tragedies lost in the killing off of Pontiac.
Hope you guys enjoyed our wrap-up and video. If you make it out to the Dallas Auto Show hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you liked the most! Feel free to share some photos with us as well!