Me in the 2013 MB SL 550c. Photo © 2012 Phil Shuyler.

The Rocky Mountain Driving Experience continued

As Day One of the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience progressed, we arrived at the next vehicle exchange well past Nederland, and bid a fond farewell to the 2013 Range Rover HSE Sport, moving from the land of luxury to that of practicality in the 2012 Nissan Juke.

During the 2011 RMDE, the Nissan Juke was a favorite vehicle on the offroad rally course and got a good write up when it came around as a media loaner. So it was no hardship to drive it on to Estes Park along with Nissan rep Steve Parrett.

We discussed the viability of the little hatchback and how well it fit into the lives of the young, active urbanite who works and plays hard but does it all with eye on the bottom line. It also stands out in the parking lot with its unique features that will become even more striking when the 2013 model comes out later this year.

Driving through the green of the Colorado foothills, a couple of ridges away rose the plume of smoke from the High Park Fire that has consumed 54,232 acres, 112 homes and one poor soul over the last week.

However, the effects of lightning on forests ravaged by voracious hordes of pine beetle are well known and were completely out of sight when we arrived at the beautiful and historic Stanley Hotel for lunch provided courtesy of Chrysler.

Chrysler representative Wendy Orthman presided over the presentation of “Dart” boards on a commercial model called “Viper” by the manufacturer to six to eight of those attending by way of a business card drawing.

Then the RMDE assembly followed representatives from Dodge out the patio before the Stanley Hotel where the 2013 Dodge Dart and Dodge Dart RT were staged for another presentation.

The Dodge Dart is notably the first Chrysler product truly benefiting from the alliance with Fiat, and is based on elements of the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The compact sedan is sleek, roomy and well equipped at an attractive price point.

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