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How many quarts of oil have you put into the car?
Remove the dipstick and wipe it off with a clean rag, stick it in and pull it back out again and then look at from an angle to try and get a glare on it, then feel it with your fingers to see if you can feel the oil on it and let me know.
This engine holds 5 qts. If you can not get the oil level on the dipstick to read after putting this amount or even with hte 4.5 it should be close, if not there may be a restriction in the head not allowing the oil to flow to the pan, this will also acount for the oil concern you stated after driving for a while and the engine started to tick and did not read oil on the stick it is collecting in one of the heads.Let it sit for a little and recheck the level.
If the oil is collecting on top of the engine it will fill the top of one of the valve covers.If you let it sit for a while and the oil level comes up then there is a restriction in the oil return. I don`t know how many miles you have but the base warranty was a 5 year 60,000 mile and this should be a covered repair.