Archive for December, 2015|Monthly archive page


When winter arrives, that’s when Jeep® brand enthusiasts proudly dust the snow from their Trail Rated® badge and set out in a 4×4 vehicle that’s built to perform. From off-road capability and towing, to comfort and safety and security, Jeep vehicles have you covered when you head out in even the harshest conditions. This is no time to warm yourself by the fire — let’s shake up the snow globe and head out on an adventure.

Enjoy the excitement but prepare for anything

Winter presents plenty of opportunity to roam in the snow, as well as challenges with slippery road conditions. One minute you’re on a snow-covered trail, the next you’re on an icy road. Whether you’re on an off-road adventure or navigating city streets, the capable 2016 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are ready to meet the challenge.

The standard Command-Trac® 4×4 system splits torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles for off-roading or for conditions where more traction is required, and the Rock-Trac® 4×4 system standard on Rubicon models helps deliver more control and more torque at the wheels to help you go virtually anywhere you point your vehicle.

In addition, standard high-efficiency fog lamps help cut through the weather, and heavy-duty, forged-steel front and single rear frame-mounted tow hooks come standard — in case you need to help a fellow motorist who’s stuck in the snow. The Mopar® Jeep roadside safety kit may come in handy on just such an occasion.

Drive with confidence on snow- and ice-covered roads

When road conditions worsen, it’s important to drive with caution. That means reducing speeds when necessary, and leaving extra space between yourself and other drivers. Once you’ve taken necessary precautions, you can drive with confidence in the legendary 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the available Selec-Terrain® traction control system, which gives you five modes to tackle weather conditions, including snow. Traction is also enhanced through the available Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® or Quadra-Drive® II 4WD systems, giving you control on slick or unclear surfaces.

Know your route and drive toward your destination

The Jeep brand knows a thing or two about maps. It comes with the territory when you make your mark going off the beaten path. When you need to find your way in blowing snow and winter weather, it helps to have a good compass — the 2016 Jeep Compass. Wherever your final destination may be, you can head out in the right direction thanks to the advanced available Radio 430N with Navigation by Garmin®. And should your exploration take you long distances, 2.0L World Engine (4×2) offers up to an EPA estimated 30 hwy mpg. This impressive performance helps the Jeep Compass attain over 400 highway miles on a full tank of gasoline,1 so you can enjoy your winter adventure even longer and reach your destination efficiently.

Safety and security are best when they come with comfort

When it comes to winter driving, nothing is more important than safety and security. That’s why the 2016 Jeep Patriot helps protect you and your family with six standard airbags.2 Further, Electronic Stability Control3 senses when you begin to over-steer or under-steer and puts you back on track, and a four-wheel Antilock Brake System helps decrease stopping distances on both dry and slippery surfaces. You’ll gain extra confidence with the Brake Assist System, which detects and applies maximum braking power during panic braking, and Electronic Roll Mitigation,3 which uses innovative motion sensors that determine when a rollover may occur and applies braking force to the correct wheel or wheels to help reduce the likelihood of such an accident.

Pack everything you need for a backwoods excursion or holiday party

Whether you’re going on an outdoor adventure like skiing in the mountains or snowshoeing in the woods, or driving long distances to celebrate the holidays with family, you’ll need room to pack all the necessary gear or gifts. Fortunately, the modern, sleek 2016 Jeep Cherokee has all the space you’ll need, with versatile 60/40 split second-row seats with fore/aft functionality. In addition, the innovative Jeep brand cargo management system adds handy hooks and a removable grocery bag holder, and the available fold-flat front-passenger seat with in-seat storage offers versatility and functionality. Once you’ve securely packed your larger equipment, the refined, covered top dash bin is perfect for keeping your smaller items like a wallet and cell phone within easy reach.

Accept a helping hand from the Jeep brand

Winter roads aren’t always the easy. That’s why the 2016 Jeep Renegade, the most capable small SUV ever,4 is equipped with Selec-Terrain® to help maximize traction on snow or in the mud, depending on where your winter adventures take you. To help you maintain full control, the available Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning System with Active Braking5 alerts you when your vehicle approaches another too rapidly and will adjust speed to help avoid a collision, and the available LaneSense® Lane Departure Warning-Plus system6 measures vehicle position within lane boundaries and warns drivers when the vehicle unintentionally drifts out of the lane. When the challenges of driving in inclement weather are at hand, the Jeep Renegade is ready to assist you in the city or take you off-road.

Winter is almost here. Are you excited to head for the trails and do some grown-up playing in the snow? Visit to discover the path to a 4×4 adventure.

1 Based on EPA estimated 30 hwy mpg and a 13.6-gallon fuel tank. Actual mileage may vary.

2 Always sit properly in designated seating positions with seat belts securely fastened at all times.

3 Always drive carefully, consistent with conditions. Always wear your seat belt and obey traffic laws.

4 Based on historical U.S. unibody B-SUV segment competitors as identified by Ward’s Auto Small Crossover and Small SUV segments (years 1985-2014). 4×4 capability based on Jeep B-SUV offering low-range power transfer unit (PTU) with 20:1 crawl ratio, low-range 4×4 capability.

5 The forward collision warning system is an alert system for the front of the vehicle. It is not a substitute for active driver involvement. The driver must remain aware of traffic conditions and be prepared to use brakes to avoid collisions.

6 This system is a driver’s convenience system, not a substitute for active driver involvement. The driver must remain aware of traffic conditions and maintain control.

Read more at:

Wrangler Sahara: old and new

Recently, Allpar road-tested the Jeep Wrangler Sahara, finding a mixture of old and new inside.

Older items included the hard-drive stereo, complete with a tilting screen to show a DVD reader; the basic design, one of the oldest in the FCA empire; and much of the underlying hardware.

Newer items included welcome revisions to the stereo, including better USB thumb drive handling, and top-removal and window-lowering tools in the glovebox (which was not quite large enough for the owner’s manual, oddly enough).

The 2015 model year ushered in a standard eight-speaker stereo with a new sound bar; the optional Alpine Audio Package had nine Alpine speakers with a new all-weather subwoofer under the cargo floor), while the 2016 Saharas will have an olive green interior option, body color bumper, and different wheels.

The 2014s had minor and mostly cosmetic changes, other than the launch of a Rubicon X and Freedom III. The five-speed automatic replaced an older four-speed in 2012, as the old 3.8 “minivan engine” was swapped out for a new Pentastar V6. There were also some aerodynamic improvements and off-road upgrades for the Rubicon. The interior had been redesigned in 2011.

A “completely new” Wrangler is due in 2018 or so, but it will most likely keep the basic body-on-frame, solid-axle setup of the current Jeep icon.

Read more at:

2018 Jeep Wrangler: Still steel, still capable after all these years

The next generation of the iconic off-roader will be the 2018 Jeep Wrangler “JL,” debuting in 2017, followed after about a year by a pickup. Buyers can expect eight-speed automatics and hopefully six-speed manuals; gasoline Jeeps will get the second-generation eight-speed made by Chrysler (850RE), while diesels will get the “pure” ZF 8HP75.


Jeep reportedly tried an independent suspension for Wrangler, based on the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer or the Ram 4×4, but Larry Vellequette of Automotive News wrote on February 15, 2015, that they would stick with floating solid axles (one insider said they would change the configuration somewhat). This will help Mopar and the aftermarket to keep selling modifications, and make it easier to keep the ground clearance high.

The Wrangler was allegedly to switch to an aluminum tub and use a tough hydroformed steel frame, but then, in May 2015, Sergio Marchionne said, I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum.” The Wrangler will likely follow Ram in using a strong hydroformed frame.

Changing the basic design of the top of the Wrangler could save even more weight. Cars without tops, such as convertibles and roadsters, need heavy bolstering, and the Wrangler is built to withstand abuse. This and possible new safety rules may have led engineers to replace the “safety bar” with stronger tubes over the top and reduce lower-body reinforcement. Weight remains the biggest factor in city mileage. Jeep could then also do a fixed-roof version with relatively little re-engineering and retooling.

An Allpar source claimed, “The traditional soft top is gone, [replaced by] removable soft panels over the substructure. The sport bar design is gone. It even appears to have built in grab handles.” This would be consistent with Bob Sheaves’ predictions. He also wrote, “The taillight design will change (my guess with an “x” design, such as the one used in the Renegade), and bumpers, tailgate construction, and the 5×5 wheel bolt pattern are mostly the same as the current ones.”

This does not necessarily mean there will be no soft top, no removable doors, or even no fold-down windshield, though the latter may be difficult to justify. Indeed, another Allpar source reported that there would now be four roof setups: hard + soft (over the front), non-removable hard, an update of the current Freedom Top™, and a complete soft top.

The Jeep Wrangler is a key vehicle for Chrysler, the “ring that controls all Jeeps,” and Sergio Marchionne has said many times they cannot reduce its off-road capability. Whether this means they will actually not reduce its capability remains to be seen.

The appearance of the Wrangler is not likely to change much, other the “roof replacement” structure, and aerodynamic improvements may be brought about mostly by changes in the windshield angle, side mirrors, and underbody covers.

Diesel engines, pickup trucks, and other changes

Many expect Jeep to finally issue a U.S. diesel version of the Wrangler, and a limited production pickup version (Gladiator? Comanche?).

A diesel could still provide a serious boost in both city and highway fuel efficiency while pleasing hard-core off-roaders (thanks to its low-end torque), and it’s likely that the company will attempt to do a light-hybrid version a year or two after the main launch.

Standard American engines would likely be a V6 — by then, upgraded with more power and efficiency — and possibly the upcoming Hurricane Four. Europe will continue to get a diesel.

Most expect Jeep to make the Wrangler more aerodynamic, with a slightly larger slant to the windshield. The fold-down windshield may be dropped; it is unique for Jeep in North America, but few seem to care about it. Removable doors are likely to remain.

New axles

Allpar sources generally agree that there will be a new Dana axle, with a larger bolt pattern (going from 10 to 12); the Dana 44 bolt pattern did not change even when they increased the ring gear size and pinion for the current JK. The 44 has been used for many years, and advances in the state of the art may have led to a major upgrade for economy and off-road performance alike.

Flip-up rear window

A new patent application shows a unique full folding back glass design. The Jeep Wrangler is used for the illustrations.

The current Wrangler has a tailgate/spare tire that swing sideways, then the backglass can open upwards. The patent application is different in that the backglass folds all of the way up to the roof, with clips built into the roof so it can be pinned down and left all the way open. There are clips inside, to hold the struts after they are disconnected from the backglass (so it can reach the roof).


Driving with rear glass open could cause exhaust fumes in the cabin, and can also draw in mud when used off-road. Still, there are people who would like to be able to keep the backglass of their Jeep Wrangler open while driving with the top on, so the next generation Wrangler may include this as an optional package. It could also just be a patent to cover research and development on something that will never get used.

Read more at:

How To: Adjust Your Mirrors to Avoid Blind Spots

For the past few years, various carmakers have been offering blind-spot detection systems for their cars’ side mirrors. Often complex, these systems employ cameras or radar to scan the adjoining lanes for vehicles that may have disappeared from view.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published a paper in 1995 suggesting how outside mirrors could be adjusted to eliminate blind spots. The paper advocates adjusting the mirrors so far outward that the viewing angle of the side mirrors just overlaps that of the cabin’s rearview mirror. This can be disorienting for drivers used to seeing the flanks of their own car in the side mirrors. But when correctly positioned, the mirrors negate a car’s blind spots. This obviates the need to glance over your shoulder to safely change lanes as well as the need for an expensive blind-spot warning system.

The only problem is getting used to the SAE-recommended mirror positions. The cabin’s rearview mirror is used to keep an eye on what is coming up from behind, while the outside mirrors reflect the area outside the view of the inside rearview mirror.

Those who have switched to the SAE’s approach swear by it, however, some drivers can’t adjust to not using the outside mirrors to see directly behind the car and miss being able to see their own car in the side mirrors. To them we say, “Have fun filling out those accident reports.”


Read more at:

Car Care: A New Year’s Resolution That Pays Off

In the New Year, why not resolve to perform regular vehicle maintenance? By spending a little time now on preventive maintenance, drivers can save a lot of headaches in the long run and make for a great year on the road in 2016, according to the Car Care Council.
“Many New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside pretty quickly,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Regular car care is a resolution that will pay off all year, every year. It’s relatively simple to implement and the results are demonstrated in a better performing vehicle and fewer unexpected repairs and breakdowns that can result from vehicle neglect.”
The council recommends the following service interval schedule to use when making regular vehicle maintenance part of your New Year’s resolution:
• Perform monthly checks of tire pressure and the condition of tires, lights and windshield washer fluid. The vehicle should also be cleaned monthly.
• Every three months or per the owner’s manual, check the engine oil and filter, check the levels of other fluids including automatic transmission, power steering and brake, and check battery and cables, belts and hoses. The exhaust and fuel filter should also be checked at this interval.
• Every six months or 6,000 miles, the chassis lubrication should be checked and windshield wipers should be replaced.
• Every 12 months or 12,000 miles, the brakes, spark plugs, coolant and steering and suspension should be checked.
If the “check engine” light comes on, vehicles should be immediately taken in for service to identify the problem.
The Car Care Council Web site has a Service Interval Schedule for vehicle owners to follow. Drivers should also consult their owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the carmaker.Read more at:

Driving at Night: 5 Tips for Driving Safety

Have you ever thought about the unique dangers of driving at night? If you’re like most drivers, the answer is probably no. But according to the National Safety Council, traffic death rates are almost three times greater at night than during the day.

Driving at night is more dangerous for several reasons. In addition to being able to see less at night, your depth perception and peripheral vision are also severely limited at night. All of these can have a major impact on your reaction time on the road.

In addition to limited visibility at night, most of us are usually more fatigued at night, which can make concentrating on the road more difficult. This driving reality, accompanied with the stress of your day-to-day activities, can also distract you and put you at a higher risk for a traffic accident.

Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself and minimize the dangers of driving at night. Here are 5 driving safety tips for driving at night to help you stay safe on the road:

1. Do a Quick Car Safety Check-Up

Before you drive at night, make sure your headlights, taillights and signal lights are clean and working properly. If you’re driving alone, you can back up to a shop window, press your brakes, and watch your rearview mirror for your brake lights to show in the window’s reflection. You should also consider taking your car to the shop and making sure your headlights are properly aimed. Mis-aimed headlights can blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.

2. Avoid Driving Distractions

While you should never use your cell phone while driving or engage in other distracted driving activities, these behaviors should be particularly avoided at night when your visibility is poor and already reduced.

3. Be A More Courteous Driver

Even if you are on a road that you are familiar with, you should reduce your speed and increase the distance between the car in front of you when driving at night. This will give you more space and time to react in case the car in front of you does something unexpected.

4. Use Your Headlights

Even if it’s dusk, it is always better to turn on your headlights. While headlights may not help you see the road better, they will make it easier for other drivers to see you. But remember to keep your headlights on low beams so you don’t blind the drivers in front of you.

5. Get Your Eyes Checked

As people get older, it is more important than ever to have your eyes checked every year for conditions such as cataracts that can affect night time driving. If you wear glasses, you should talk to your eye-care provider about special anti-glare glasses that can help you see better at night.

Read more at:

Wrap Up the Holidays with a Six-Point Vehicle Check

Why not wrap up the holiday season with a gift for you and your car?  A six-point vehicle check is a gift that will keep on giving, both in better vehicle performance and fewer unexpected repairs this winter, says the Car Care Council.
“Taking a few easy preventive maintenance steps now can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown later,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Regular vehicle maintenance is always more convenient when you’re doing it on your schedule. By inspecting these six key systems ahead of time, you will have more confidence when driving in severe winter weather.”
The Car Care Council recommends a six-point vehicle check before the new year arrives:
  1. Battery – Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  1. Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  1. Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  1. Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  1. Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  1. Wiper Blades – Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers, making the rubber hard and brittle and increasing the potential for cracks. Wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield should be replaced. Some manufacturers offer special winter blades that have a rubber boot covering the arm assembly to keep snow and ice out. When changing the blades, have the windshield wiper system nozzles cleaned and adjusted if necessary, and check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir.
During the winter, the Car Care Council recommends keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Finally, if you’re due for a tune-up, consider having it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information or to receive a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide, visit
As read on:

An Awesome New Class Of Cruiser Bike From Victory Motorcycles

Last month we met the Victory Ignition Concept, today the Combustion Concept follows up on the same themes. Big bike, dramatic angles. Not Harley-Davidson old-school, not Ducati XDiavel space-age either. If Victory’s production cruiser is close, it’ll be like the Eleanor Mustang of motorcycles.

With a second concept bike leaning in this design direction, (the third if you count Roland Sands’ crazy Pikes Peak racer) I’m pretty excited about where Victory might be going with this thing.

Swiss bike builder Urs Erbacher did the details on the Ignition concept, to give us an idea of what the “European take” on Victory’s new cruiser would be.

Californian customizer Zach Ness designed the Combustion to “Americanize” the idea.

At the heart of both the Ignition Concept and the Combustion Concept is the engine Victory will use in their prodcution bike; a 1200cc liquid-cooled four-valve 60º V-Twin engine. The crank case, rotating bottom end, transmission, and clutch will be the same as what we saw on the Project 156 bike. So the engine may be brethren to the slightly-smaller V-Twin in the new Indian Scout.

Victory and Indian are both subsidiaries of the Polaris powersports brand.

Motorcycle Product Director Gary Gray says “This new engine offers the most versatility in American motorcycling. Both of the concepts, Ignition and Combustion, are intended to show what this motor is capable of in very distinct, visual forms. While the bikes are different, the powertrain is capable of delivering the performance in both cases.”

Without much else being confirmed about the machine’s technical specifics, all we can do is stare. I see this style of cruiser as a contemporary middle ground between the retro look that’s dominated the scene forever and the crazy-futuristic stuff we’ve seen hints of before. What do you think?

Read more at:

2017 Chrysler Town & Country Spy Shots

The current Chrysler Town & Country has been with us since the 2008 model year but a successor, the nameplate’s sixth generation, is in the works and has been spotted again, this time with the least camouflage gear we’ve seen yet. The new minivan is due on the market next year, as a 2017 model, and will make its debut at next month’s 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

2017 town and country

Not much is known about the new Town & Country except its aforementioned arrival date, plus rumors it will offer a plug-in hybrid option. Though it’s not common for multiple powertrains to be offered in the minivan segment, it’s likely a non-hybrid option will be available as well, either a four-cylinder or V-6. The transmission is expected to be a nine-speed auto and buyers should be able to choose from front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

As for styling, Chrysler’s 700C concept from 2012 hints at what’s to come. The new Town & Country looks to be a bit wider and more planted than the model it replaces. We can also see the new front end which has a similar design to the Chrysler 200.

Inside, look for a number of tech goodies including the popular Uconnect interface with an 8.4-inch screen in the dash. It appears that Chrysler may even add a digital screen in the instrument cluster.

This time around, the Town & Country won’t spawn a Dodge Grand Caravan twin. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] has confirmed that the Grand Caravan will be phased out as part of Dodge’s transformation into a performance brand. However, the Detroit Free Press reports that the existing Dodge Grand Caravan will continue to be sold for some years still.

Key rivals for the new Town & Country will remain the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna. You can see that FCA engineers are using some of these rivals for benchmarking.

Stay tuned for the debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, which gets underway January 13. In the meantime, see what else will be appearing at the via our dedicated hub.

Read more at:

Wrangler: “best resale value”

The Jeep Wrangler has won Kelley Blue Books’s 2016 Best Resale Value award in the Small Crossover/SUV segment. Kelley’s analysts expect Wrangler to keep more of their value over five years than any competitors, including numerous Asian entries.

The Wrangler also came in at number five on KBB’s Top Ten list, with an estimated resale value of 66% of its original price after three years, and 55% at five years.

KBB wrote, “You could count on one hand the number of new vehicles that actually thrive by doing things the same way for decades, and the Jeep Wrangler is one of them. In fact, it could be the poster child for such an exclusive set… the Wrangler’s core mission hasn’t deviated far from that of its World War II-era ancestors: to affordably go where others can not.”

They pointed to its relatively low pricing, starting at $25,000. “No matter which Wrangler you choose, it will make you smile — even when it’s time to sell.”

Read more at: