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707-HP Hellcat Priced, Nissan Trims Lineup, Crossovers Surge: The Week In Reverse

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Crossover utility vehicles have been surging ahead in the market; and the most powerful muscle car ever gets a surprisingly affordable price. It's The Week In Reverse, for Friday, July 18, 2014, here at The Car Connection.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat—has been priced. While its supercharged V-8's 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque might trounce all but the upper echelon of Italian exotics, it starts at a price that's actually quite accessible—around $61 grand. And that's not the only good pricing news for this revamped muscle-car line; with a new R/T Scat Pack, which lands under the $40k mark, the Challenger gets a 485-horsepower Hemi V-8 and lots of upgrades, some of which used to be exclusive to the SRT model.

Nissan officially discontinued two models in its U.S. lineup: the Murano CrossCabriolet and the Cube. While we'll miss both of these models for making the vehicle market more interesting, we're not surprised.

Among this week's newly announced recalls, BMW decided it's better to be safe than sorry, and opted to replace all passenger-side front airbags in 3-Series models from the 2000 through 2006 model years. That brings the total number of vehicles recalled due to potentially faulty, shrapnel-prone Takata-sourced airbags past the 12 million mark.

The shape of what's popular has been evolving, and sales numbers are confirming what we already knew—that the era of the family sedan is in the past. We learned that, for the first time ever, SUVs and crossovers are outselling sedans. So far this year, nifty utility vehicles altogether are making up nearly one percent more of the market than cars with a trunk. But there's still a big gap from sedans to the number-three contender, pickup trucks.

Volkswagen this week made it official, deciding to build its own upcoming mid-size family crossover in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Depending on where you get your news, it almost didn't happen; political scaremongering from all sides reached a fever pitch earlier this year, when workers at the plant voted to keep the UAW out—making the plant the automaker's only non-union plant in the world, except for those in China. With that decision in the rearview mirror—for now, at least—the company is looking ahead to the new SUV, which is previewed in VW's CrossBlue concept.

More carlike crossover utility vehicles, like what VW has in the works, are generally very capable for occasional towing use, but with peak family vacation time here, you should understand the differences if you're used to towing with pickups or body-on-frame SUVs. So as you get ready to haul the jet skis or the boat out to the lake, take a look at our tips on how to tow with crossovers.

And have fun out there this weekend.

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