Auto News for Aug. 14

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Now the Challenger Hellcat has company. Chrysler has rolled out the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat just in time for the famed Woodward Avenue Cruise weekend. This is 707 horsepower in a four door sedan and Dodge claims the Charger is faster – a quarter mile in 11 seconds – an eye blinking two tenths faster than Challenger.

The Mazda 3 and the Honda Fit top the list of the most tech-savvy cars for under $20,000, as compiled by Kelley Blue Book. The Honda Civic, Dodge Dart and the Nissan Versa Note round out the top five on this year’s list. KBB noted that the Mazda is the only compact car to offer a head-up display and the only model under $30,000 to offer a controller in the center console.

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Toyota has revealed a second interior styling and exterior color for its FT-1 sports car concept. The graphite exterior is new with a saddle leather interior. Will they ever produce this eye catching car? Enthusiasts can only hope.

In the “Ya Gotta Wonder” department, the local news here in the Washington area carried a story the other evening about a woman that had to be rescued by boat when her car flooded out in high water caused by a major storm. On camera she said was following another car that appeared to get stuck in the high water. So she drove around that car and got stuck in the same flood water! Ya Gotta Wonder.

Deaths from motor vehicle accidents during the first six months of the year are down four percent, according to preliminary data released by the National Safety Council. It said that were 16,180 deaths this year compared to 16,860 a year earlier and “definitive reasons behind the decrease are not known.” Yet that is a large number of fatalities.

British sports car maker Caterham has revealed two new models that are bound for the U.S. – the Seven 480 and the 360. Both are powered by a Ford Duratec engine with the 480 getting a bit more power than its bro – 237 horsepower and a 0-62 run in just 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 140. The 360 reaches 62 mph in 4.9 seconds with 180 horsepower and a top speed of 130 mph. Prices start at $44,900 for the 360 and $52,900 for the 480.

The car pictured on the dock is the 360. Both are rather basic wheels, especially for a North American audience, but gangs of fun to drive.

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