Posts from ‘Jeep’
I’ve driven some pretty refined vehicles in my day. In an earlier blog post, I noted my affinity for the Mercedes S-Class. When it comes right down to it, I’ve grown intolerant of vehicles that make noise—or ride too harshly—while offering little real performance in exchange.
Around the office, I’m the guy who complains about engine quake at idle and road noise at speed. I appreciate precise and accurate shifters (Acura TL), quality AM radio reception, and smooth-opening center-console lids. In my opinion, cars cost way too much these days for anyone to put up with less than excellence. Still . . .
Being a man means answering to chromosomal urges that defy logic. So while I would like to spend most of my time driving fast luxury sedans, there’s a part of me, say 13 percent of me, that aches for something more fundamental—something more, dare I say it . . . honest.
For me, now, that honest ride would be a Jeep CJ-7.
There are a lot of great cars on the market today. They go about the business of transporting people with surprising performance, impressive fuel economy, and historically high levels of refinement and creature comforts. But for the most part, you could wring every drop of personality out of them and there wouldn’t be enough to coat the bottom of the ashtray that the Fiat 500 doesn’t have.
Certainly any number of high-end sports and luxury cars have personality (some might say a snobbish one), but what we’re talking about here are cars could substitute for what the majority of people would otherwise buy.
Although the 500’s price of entry is now up to a little less than $17,000 including destination, that’s for a nicely outfitted car and not much more than you’d pay for a similarly equipped subcompact—that’s not nearly as endearing. The automatic transmission will add a stiff $1,250, but if you’re on the fence, the slick-shifting manual is the better choice. Also offered is a convertible version (it’s really more of a very large sunroof) that starts just over $20,000. Sure it’s small, but the 500 is great fun to drive and delivers most of the positive attributes of a typical subcompact competitor.
You hear often enough that ugly vehicles are the product of “design by committee” thinking. I can’t help but wonder, in the case of the five cars and trucks listed here, why no one on that committee raised his or her hand and noted, “Dude, that thing’s nasty.” But, be it too many or too few decision-makers in the design studio, these are some unpleasant-looking machines.
I certainly didn’t mean to pick on General Motors here, but the truth is unavoidable. America’s biggest car builder is responsible for three of the five ugliest vehicles built in the last decade. Sure, you can poke fun at Toyota for building cars and trucks that err design-wise on the pedestrian side, but to their credit, few would call the vehicles ugly.
General Motors bounced back, however, as the replacements for each GM vehicle listed here was decidedly better-looking. Likewise, the Kia Amanti would prove to be the last odd-looking ride from that maker. Jeep, too, quickly made amends for the Compass, fixing what ailed it and picking up buyers in the bargain.
Got your own list of ugly cars of the last 10 years? Let’s hear it.
Whether you’re “old money” with funds that have ripened for generations or you’re “new money” and your ship has just come in, you’re faced with the same need to secure motor vehicles that reflect your ability to experience the good life. It turns out that for a portion of the “smart set,” that just-right ride is a Jeep that hasn’t been made for more than 20 years.
According to the gearheads at Vanity Fair magazine, the Jeep Wagoneer has become a fashion accessory for the well-turned-out driveway. In the conspicuously consumptive “Fanfair” section of VF’s March 2013 issue, there was a Wagoneer, pictured amid organic hair products, retro Cartier jewelry, pricey casual clothes, and a Bernese mountain dog. Stated the caption, “The first true luxury S.U.V. There’s a high rate of Internet trading for low-mileage, refurbished models. Popular markets include Nantucket, the Vineyard, and the Hamptons.”
The Wagoneer pictured in Vanity Fair was a 1990 model—by then it was known as the Grand Wagoneer—replete with old-school, station wagon pretend wood on the bodysides along with alloy wheels, the Selec-Trac four-wheel-drive system, leather upholstery, and power assists for just about anything a driver would care to adjust. By then, though, the Wagoneer was a relative old coot, with a basic design decades old. And it certainly didn’t end up where it started.
Cool is a pretty ambiguous word. While some folks might think it’s cool to visit Denny’s daily during that chain’s Baconalia promotion, others might reserve the term for activities more akin to successfully scaling Mount Everest without gloves, or being stuck in an elevator with the surviving members of The Bangles.
Here, we’re leaning more toward the Mount Everest/Bangles thing. We’re using cool in same sort of emotive, “heck yeah!” sort of way that an eighth-grader might after finding a copy of last year’s swimsuit issue hidden away in his dad’s sock drawer.
To that end, the 10 vehicles we present here are the current American-brand rides that have us screaming “heck yeah!” There’s nothing especially nationalistic about our list, as we intend to follow this missive up with similar posts featuring the coolest European and Asian vehicles. Got a car in mind you think we should have included? Let’s hear it.
Reading blog posts by Consumer Guide’s esteemed Publisher Tom Appel makes you really think about the cars of your past. Again, I will borrow a page from his book and reminisce about the cars I most greatly desired in 1998, my senior year at the now-closed Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison, Illinois.
During those formative high school years, I probably thought about cars more than the vast majority of my 109 classmates. Most had their own cars, but they really only valued them as basic transportation. This applied to the kids who received their cars as hand-me-downs or as brand spanking new courtesy of well-to-do parents. I would argue that right around this time was the start of a rather disturbing trend of folks my age really not caring about cars at all.
I cared, though, as I do to this day and will continue to do so until I die. While you can say that the 1990s was a decade of bland homogeny in the automotive world, you could still find some real gems from rather unlikely sources.
Chrysler’s Ralph Gilles is a busy guy these days. He is both the president and CEO of the SRT brand and Motorsports and the senior vice president of Product Design. Consumer Guide recently sat down with Ralph for a conversation about the relaunch of the Viper and the SRT brand in general.
Consumer Guide: It seems like the new Viper has moved upscale with this new generation. Is that where that market is going? Is there still a place for a raw, bare-bones sports car?
After a 13-year absence, Cherokee is returning to Jeep’s model lineup.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be a midsize SUV, likely positioned below the company’s Grand Cherokee midsize SUV. The company claims the new Cherokee will boast “best-in-class capability,” which we interpret to mean a certain amount of off-road prowess. Also mentioned were good on-road driving dynamics. Jeep touts a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy “versus the outgoing mid-size SUV model,” which we assume refers to the Jeep Liberty, last produced for model-year 2012.
It will be built at Chrysler’s Toledo, Ohio plant. That plant has been used in the past for Jeep’s body-on-frame vehicles, such as the Liberty and Dodge Nitro. The plant now builds Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models. From this information, one could assume that the 2014 Cherokee will be a body-on-frame vehicle, but it is also understood to borrow Fiat architecture, suggesting otherwise.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will arrive in dealer showrooms in the third quarter of 2013. It will debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show, which we will cover on March 27 and 28.
Most automakers have aftermarket parts divisions, but few put theirs as front-and-center as Chrysler does. At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Chrysler’s Mopar brand was out in force, with a separate section set aside and plenty of wares on display. For Dodge, SRT Viper, Fiat 500, and Jeep fans, it’s kid-in-a-candy-store time. Check out the pics below. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
So far, this has been a mild winter in Detroit. But a cold snap just in time for press days at the 2013 Auto Show reminded everyone in town just what January normally feels like.
And like this cold snap, after half a decade of industry turbulence, this year’s auto show has a refreshingly normal feel—albeit normal in a very new sense.
Superficially, nothing. But let’s dig a little deeper.
The new Corvette is more powerful and arguably better looking than its predecessor. But, it’s not that much more powerful. Chevy could have shot for the moon and brought us a 500-horsepower base ’Vette, but the car we’ll see on lots later this year boasts a more modest 450-horse rating. Instead, thanks to a new all-aluminum substructure, the new Corvette is 100 pounds lighter than the car before it. It’s also more aerodynamic. This careful balance of power and restraint proved to be a theme woven throughout this year’s show.