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Charger SRT Hellcat, Safest Cars, And A Surge In Prices: The Week In Reverse

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There's already a faster Hellcat in Chrysler's lineup, we lay out safest vehicles of 2014, and we have some good news and some bad news about vehicle pricing in general. It's all part of the Week in Reverse, here at The Car Connection.

Perhaps the biggest product news of this past week came right from Detroit, where Chrysler revealed what it claims is the fastest, quickest, and most powerful normal production sedan in the world. The 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat does better with the same 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that's in the Challenger SRT Hellcat, hitting 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and a holy-rolling top speed of 204 mph. It goes on sale the first quarter of 2015.

2015 Cadillac Escalade

2015 Cadillac Escalade

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And the 2015 Escalade hasn't been at dealerships for long. But Cadillac this past week already announced some updates to this model that will be phased in by the end of this calendar year. With a new eight-speed automatic and revised four-wheel drive system, we're guessing that it'll get quicker and more fuel-efficient—but you'll have to wait a bit for the official numbers.

Land Rover launched a major recall for a potential issue with the passenger airbag system on its LR2 and Evoque models. Meanwhile, J.D. Power released the results of its annual seat satisfaction study, and those seats in the Evoque were rated right up at the top.

Hyundai had a bad news cycle to deal with this past week, paying the piper here and abroad. First, the South Korean automaker was hit with a $17.35 million fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for delaying a brake-related recall on its Genesis luxury sedan. Then the automaker was in the headlines just a few days later for trouble with another government agency—this one in its home country. Found to overstate fuel economy, much like what the company faced in the U.S. last year, it's paying a fine to South Korea, and payouts to owners—in all totaling about $55 million. But Hyundai did get some good news this week: Its redesigned 2015 Sonata mid-size sedan earned five-star crash-test scores from the federal government.

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

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Speaking of safety, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 earned a set of top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And then we pulled our focus back, looking at all the 2014 model-year ratings and singling out nine models that we've given a top score of '10' in the the Safety section of our full reviews. They're exceptional, but even among these top picks, like the Volvo S60, or Mazda CX-5, there's definitely room for improvement.

And then we had some good news and some bad news regarding vehicle pricing. The bad news is that car prices are creeping up faster than household income. Car sales are booming, banks are doing brisk business, and the finance industry, by the way, insists that there is no subprime bubble building up for auto loans. And then some further good news out of all this growth, if you happen to be on a tighter budget, is that all those new cars—and the surges of trade-ins they've brought—are pushing down prices on the used-car lot in some very pronounced ways. The good news, of course, is also that whether you're shopping for a new car or late-model used car, you can hit the car lots this weekend armed with the best information possible, simply by clicking around here at The Car Connection and reading our full reviews.

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