You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Our 8 Favorite FCA Cars Built Under Sergio Marchionne

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/25/2018 Motor Trend Staff

In 2009, led by CEO Sergio Marchionne, Fiat purchased a 20-percent stake in Chrysler. Over the next few years, Fiat continually acquired a larger share of the previously bankrupt American automaker. Five years later, in January of 2014, Fiat spent $4.35 billion to acquire the 41.5-percent stake still held by VEBA, the United Auto Workers' pension fund. With that agreement, Fiat gained full control of Chrysler, and a new company was formed: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Initially, Marchionne had planned to retire next year, but that all changed recently when he developed complications following surgery and his health took a turn for the worse. On July 21, Mike Manley replaced the Italian-Canadian as CEO, and this morning we learned that the man who saved both Fiat and Chrysler passed away. To commemorate Marchionne's leadership, let's take a look at some of the greatest vehicles built by FCA while he was at the helm.

The Hellcats

a red car driving on a road© Motor Trend Staff

Over the last decade, Ford and Chevrolet have both spent an incredible amount of money turning the Mustang and Camaro into bona fide sports cars. Dodge, on the other hand, supercharged a V-8. The first cars to get Dodge's 707-hp monster of an engine were the Challenger and Charger, but FCA didn't stop there. It later stuffed the Hellcat engine into the Jeep Grand Cherokee to make the Trackhawk, and soon you'll be able to buy a Hellcat-powered Ram pickup truck. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's hard to argue that the Hellcats (and their derivatives) aren't awesome.

Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

The 8C is beautiful, and the 4C is great in its own way, but they both appealed to only a small group of enthusiasts. In order for Alfa Romeo to break back into the U.S. market and establish itself as a legitimate BMW competitor, it needed cars it could sell in larger numbers. The Giulia and the lifted Giulia wagon that is the Stelvio are those cars. Reliability is still an issue, but from behind the wheel, you probably won't care. Even in non-Quadrifoglio form, these are two of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in their respective segments. In fact, we liked the two new Alfas so much that we named the Giulia our 2018 Car of the Year and the Stelvio an SUV of the Year finalist.

Chrysler Pacifica

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

It may sound crazy to spend $2 billion developing a brand-new minivan, but FCA's investment appears to have paid off. Through June of this year, the Pacifica has outsold both the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. The only reason it isn't the top-selling minivan in the country? Fellow FCA brand Dodge still sells the budget-priced Grand Caravan. The Pacifica also feels thoroughly modern and was competitive enough to be named a finalist in our 2017 Car of the Year competition.

Dodge Viper ACR

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

The Dodge Viper technically went on sale before Fiat bought the rest of Chrysler, but the track-focused ACR variant didn't show up until a few years later. Sold as a 2016 model, the Viper ACR was an absolute track monster. Not only did it beat the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Porsche 911 GT3 RS in a comparison test, it also laid down some incredibly quick lap times. Last we counted, the Viper ACR had more than a dozen track records, including one that our own Randy Pobst set at Laguna Seca.

Fiat 124 Spider

a red car driving on a road© Motor Trend Staff

We're fans of the Fiat 500 Abarth and its raucous exhaust note, but it takes more than one vehicle to bring back a brand in the U.S. It's also probably safe to say the 500L and 500X weren't going to do it, either. In 2015, though, Fiat introduced the 124 Spider. It's based on the Mazda Miata but gets Italian styling, turbo power, and an Abarth version of its own. There's no way to know what the future holds for Fiat, especially in the U.S., but the 124 Spider at least gives it a fighting chance by bringing customers through the door.

Ferrari 488

a red car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss the 488 GTB as little more than an updated 458 Italia. Drive one on the track, though, and it quickly becomes clear that's not the case at all. Thanks in part to its twin-turbocharged V-8, the 488 has a personality of its own. It also proved impressive enough to be named our 2017 Best Driver's Car. This year, Ferrari upped the ante with the Pista, a track-focused 488 that's also the most powerful V-8 road car Ferrari has ever sold.

Ram 1500

a red car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

It's no secret that full-size trucks are big business in the U.S., and after selling the fourth-generation truck for nearly a decade, Ram needed the fifth-gen 1500 to be a winner. The resulting truck is powerful, quick, fuel-efficient, packed with technology, and rides more like a crossover than the pickup truck it is. Based on what we've seen so far, the Chevrolet Silverado better watch its back because the 2019 Ram 1500 is one heck of a truck. The high-quality interior is just an added bonus.

Jeep Wrangler

a red truck driving down a dirt road© Motor Trend Staff

Under Marchionne's watch, Jeep grew from a niche player into a true powerhouse. Global sales are expected to cross the two-million mark this year, more than six times higher than they were back in 2009. So when Jeep redesigned the Wrangler, it had more than hardcore off-roaders in its sights. And somehow, it built an SUV that's even more capable than the outgoing Wrangler while also offering more on-road refinement and improved fuel efficiency. It's a recipe that can only help Jeep in its quest for global domination.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody front three quarter in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody front three quarter in motion
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon