Archive for the ‘cherokee’ Tag

How We’d Spec It: Yes, Basic Jeep Wranglers Still Exist in 2015

In light of Jeep’s recent forays into crossover-dom—see the Renegade and Cherokee, please—we’ve been hit hard with nostalgia for the brand’s good ol’ days. You know, the ones filled with solid axles, real four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, and manly stick-shift transmissions. So we moseyed over to Jeep’s online configurator to start building out a Wrangler, only to remember that, holy crap, the things are expensive. (Oh, and they’re huge.) That’s okay, our ideal Wrangler isn’t some gussied-up, $40,000 toy—it’s a beastly, featureless stripper model, and thanks to Jeep’s addition of a sweet new off-road tire option to the base Sport for 2015, that fantasy can once again be had for relatively little money. This is how we’d spec a Wrangler:

MODEL:

Jeep Sport Two-Door Manual 4×4 (base price: $23,790)

There are no fewer than 9 different Wrangler trim levels, two body styles, and—on most models—the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission. With the top-level, four-door Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock pushing $40,990, and even milder versions like the sweet-looking Willys Wheeler running between $27,790 and $31,590, we needed to stay toward the bottom of the pile to satiate our base-model fetish. It doesn’t get more basic than the Sport, which starts at $23,790 and comes with steel wheels, crank windows, manual door locks, manual door mirrors, manual seats, a heater, Dana axles, four-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes, a six-speed manual transmission, fog lights, and a folding soft top.

Air conditioning is optional, as is Bluetooth, a hardtop, and satellite radio. The interior is washable—there are drain plugs in the floor for evacuating water—and although there are wisps of decadence in the standard cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, eight-speaker audio system, and the 284-hp Pentastar V-6, this is as stripped as Jeeps come.

OPTIONS:

Sunset Orange Pearl paint ($0)

Air conditioning bypass ($0)

Half metal doors with manual locks ($0)

Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Tire Package ($995) (regular rims get 225/75R16 on/off road; black package brings 245/75R16)

Connectivity Group ($570)

As you might have noticed, our first three selected options are all no-cost. Free stuff is always good, but in the case of our dream Wrangler, it’s less a case of free stuff and more of a case of not paying money for things. For example, the paint is free, so we picked the brightest color we could find: Sunset Orange Pearl. Next, we chose not to add air conditioning for $1295; gotta love Jeep, the company actually has an option box for “air conditioning bypass,” which is really just a fancy way of saying “summer’s gonna be hot.” (Take off the roof and cruise, we say!) Finally, we shelled out zero smackers for half-metal doors with removable plastic side windows (not pictured above), which replace the standard full-metal doors and make top-down excursions feel even more open and more fun.

Now for the stuff we actually had to pay for. We’re fans of steel wheels, but the Wrangler’s standard steel-wheel/tire combo is a bit weak-looking. The tires are street-oriented and skinny, while the steelies are a boring shade of silver. Thankfully, Jeep introduced the $995 Black Steel and 31-inch Dueler Tire Package for 2015, which includes meatier, 31-inch Bridgestone Dueler white-letter tires and the base Wrangler’s same steel wheels—only they’re painted black. Sweet. Vanity and enhanced off-road capability taken care of, the only option left (to us—Jeep offers many more, including different axle ratios, hardtops, a towing package, and even an automatic transmission) was the $570 Connectivity Group that brings functional upgrades such as a tire-pressure-monitor display, Uconnect voice recognition, Bluetooth, and what Jeep calls an “electronic vehicle information center.”

Would we consider $25,550 “cheap?” Not exactly, but in today’s Jeep Wrangler landscape, it’s a steal. And besides, to most folks, a Jeep looks like, well, a Jeep—no matter if it is a back-to-basics Luddite like our Wrangler Sport or a fully loaded Rubicon. We almost don’t want a nice Wrangler, because then we’d have reservations about scratching its body-color fender flares on brush or soiling its leather interior with mud or snow. A Sport, on the other hand, is ready to be grabbed by the scruff of its neck—or its padded roll bar—and tossed down the nearest off-road trail without stress. Yep, basic Jeeps still exist, but they’re getting harder to find; we hope Jeep can keep some of that stripper spirit alive in the next Wrangler coming out in 2017.

As read on: http://blog.caranddriver.com/how-wed-spec-it-yes-basic-jeep-wranglers-still-exist-in-2015/

Next Jeep Wrangler Keeps Solid Axles, Loses Folding Windshield

Among the key design features of the Jeep Wrangler, we’d say the solid-axle suspension is several orders of magnitude more important than the cool-but-perhaps-not-critical folding windshield. To that end, a recent Automotive News report should be mostly good news for the Jeep faithful.

The report states that the Wrangler will keep its solid front and rear axles when the vehicle is redesigned for the 2017 model year. That will have true believers breathing a sigh of relief, as Jeep had already ditched the solid axles in its other models.

The Grand Cherokee switched to an independent front suspension with the 2005 redesign, and lost its solid rear axle with the arrival of the current generation, for 2011. Meanwhile, Jeep dropped the solid front axle in the transition from the XJ Cherokee to the Liberty, and then went to a four-wheel independent setup when the Liberty was replaced with the new Cherokee.

Although the solid axles stay on, weight savings and improved fuel economy are major goals for the next-generation Wrangler—not a bad idea, given the current model’s 17/21 mpg EPA ratings. To that end, the new Jeep will get an aluminum body; a smaller, turbocharged engine in place of the current 3.7-liter V-6; and will upgrade to an eight-speed automatic.

The good news on the axle front is tempered, however, by word that the Wrangler will lose its upright, folding windshield in favor of a fixed unit with greater rake. While it’s true that many Jeep owners probably don’t even how that their windshield can be folded down—or wouldn’t know how to do it—the folded-windshield driving experience is one of the things that makes the Wrangler unique. It’s up there with the removable doors and convertible top—both of which had better stick around.

Read more at: http://blog.caranddriver.com/report-next-jeep-wrangler-keeps-solid-axles-loses-folding-windshield/

Jeep Compass mysteries

New mysteries are appearing around the next Jeep Compass, which one source claimed would be produced in Toluca, Mexico, rather than its home of Belvidere, Illinois.

Another source said that, rather than being a CUSW car like the new Cherokee, it would be based on the Jeep Renegade. This is on the same platform as the Fiat 500X, which allowed Fiat to put in more engineering time for both vehicles — but many changes were made to allow Renegade Trailhawk to have the torsional rigidity and clearance needed for the Jeep nameplate.

Either body could be justified as a choice, and in both cases, Jeep was able to overcome many of the problems of using a car platform for off-road use. Renegade did disappoint many by not laying a claim to crossing the Rubicon trail, or Chrysler’s replication of it; Compass might or might not be able to do this. Cherokee has, according to both official and unofficial sources, passed this bar.

The new Compass, regardless of underpinnings, is expected to be a four cylinder only vehicle, most likely with a nine-speed automatic in the United States, and Grand Cherokee-like styling (echoing the current model, shown above). We believe it will use the 2.0 liter Hurricane engine, most likely as an option, along with the current 2.4 four-cylinder. For markets outside the United States, the usual insanely wide range of Fiat engines is expected — Brazilian engines based on the old Neon 2.0, MultiJet diesels, and the 1.4 and 1.4 turbo Fiat gasoline motors.

At this time, Allpar has no firm indication of Compass’ platform or factory location. The launch appears to be around two years away.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/jeep-compass-mysteries

Chrysler limits colors for Durango and Grand Cherokee

Chrysler is echoing Henry Ford’s famous quote: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

The only difference is that Chrysler is adding white, gray and silver to the choices.

Automotive News reporter Larry Vellequette writes that orders for new Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees will be temporarily limited to those four colors as the paint shop at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant is upgraded to allow tricolor finishes on the popular SUVs.

Even though the limitation will be in place until at least February 2015, it most likely won’t be too onerous. According to automotive paintmaker PPG,  the most popular color in North America in 2014 has been white, followed by black, gray and silver – 72% of all 2014 vehicles were painted in one of those colors. Silver, once the most popular color, has fallen from favor in recent years.

Vellequette notes that just 19% of the Jeep Grand Cherokees and 8% of the Durangos on dealer lots are painted in a color other than the top four.

Of more concern to dealers is the fact the plant will shut down for three weeks from December 22 to January 12. This is the first time in several years the assembly line has been halted for such an extended period. In October, the plant produced 38,241 vehicles, up 20% from a year ago. October NAFTA region sales of the Durango and Grand Cherokee totaled 22,017 and the Grand Cherokee was the second-best-selling Chrysler Group vehicle.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/11/chrysler-limits-colors-for-durango-and-grand-cherokee

Get a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Before it’s too Late

Back in May Chrysler made some announcements about their enthusiast-focused SRT brand. They had spun it off as a separate division but that didn’t work out so well so they decided to reconsolidate it as part of Dodge.

But this move resulted in a lot of questions, chiefly what would happen to other high-performance vehicles in the company’s portfolio including SRT versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 sedan? Answering part of this query, it appears as though the big, bad Jeep is sticking around, for the time being at least.

Model year 2015 Grand Cherokee SRTs can be ordered by dealers, but for how long is anyone’s guess. A few months back the company filed to trademark the name “Trackhawk,” which is rumored to replace the SRT version and go on sale in 2016.

The introduction of this and other special-edition models could coincide with the Jeep brand’s 75th anniversary, which takes place in the same year. The SRT Jeep Grand Cherokee starts at around $65,000 and features a 475-hp, 6.4-liter V8 engine.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/10/get-a-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-before-its-too-late.html

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Classification of vehicles in the auto industry has become a messy business. All sorts of new products blur the lines between SUVs and crossovers, compacts and mid-sizers and so on. But the SRT Grand Cherokee stretches into two categories that rarely cross, SUVs and sports cars.

This is the only domestic vehicle of its kind, and the only real competitors in this tiny niche segment come from Germany. Trying to wear many hats all at once, the SRT-tuned Jeep Grand Cherokee makes very few compromises in its goal of delivering tight-track handling along with the typical duties of an SUV, namely towing and hauling people and cargo.

STRAIGHT LINE SPEED

Powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm, the SRT Grand Cherokee is capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.8 seconds according to the brand, though our time with GC SRT at a drag strip elicited times just north of 5 seconds. The powertrain is responsive, and matched to an eight-speed transmission that doesn’t miss a beat. Downshifts come quickly, and hammering the throttle from a stand still is met with fast upshifts that are nicely timed, after the initial blast of torque rips you off the line.

The immense powertrain combines to make this Grand Cherokee feel much lighter than it actually is, carrying a 5,150 pound curb weight. Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not there however, and all those extra pounds being carried around prods the powerplant to drink an excessive amount of gas.

GAS HOG

Officially rated at 19 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg combined, we averaged 13 mpg, which is also the SUV’s city mpg rating. Now, if a fuel efficient SUV is what you are after, the Grand Cherokee can be had with a 3.0-liter diesel. If, however, you want the ludicrous speed of the SRT, dismiss all notions of saving fuel. Not that you can’t drive slow, of course, but the burst of speed and agility that comes when the throttle is depressed is so addictive that it is hard to keep out of it.

It seems that the folks at SRT were also having so much fun hammering the throttle, that they installed a feature specifically designed for straight line speed. A button located beside the gear shift initiates launch control, a system that optimizes the SRT’s all-wheel setup along with the powertrain to deliver the fastest 0-60 mph sprint possible and it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply hit the button, and the information screen provides step-by-step directions on what to do. Step 1: fully depress brake. Step 2: fully depress throttle. Step 3: release the brake, and try not to soil yourself when this mammoth jumps off the line like a jackrabbit.

STICKS LIKE GLUE

But that’s enough about speed because frankly, sticking a massive engine in an SUV isn’t this SRT’s greatest feat. That would be its handling. Coil springs along with a Bilstein adaptive damping suspension is found all the way around, along with front and rear stabilizer bars. Cornering is flat and planted while understeer is suprisingly minimal.

On the race track when speeds are higher, you can feel this sports SUV start to push a bit in the corners, but the speeds at which it can be flung around a track are mind bending compared to its heavy set nature.

Thanks to the Bilstein adaptive suspension setup, the Grand Cherokee SRT offers five different drive modes: auto, sport, tow, track and snow. Track mode, being the most hardcore, offers optimized performance for racetracks, but we found that the stability control system was still a little too intrusive.

LUXURY INTERIOR

Despite us gushing about performance, the SRT Grand Cherokee isn’t only about asinine speed. The insides of this beast are stylish and comfortable. Real carbon fiber accents along with soft-touch materials and real chrome adorn the dashboard and center stack, building on the already lush Grand Cherokee interior. The SRT model has a bit more of a business feel to it than some of the wood-trimmed cabins offered in the line. Importantly though, the sort of feeling you want from something that costs over 60 grand is well represented here.

One point of contention for us is the gear-shifter found down to the right of the driver, which can be finicky to operate. Attempts to go straight from drive to reverse almost always ended up with the SRT in park, as the motions used to control the gears must be precise.

Another complaint, albeit more of a personal gripe, has to do with the steering wheel. The button and paddle layout is well done, but the overall girth of the wheel is a little too chunky for our tastes.

GERMAN COMPETITION

As mentioned above, the only true competition for the SRT Grand Cherokee comes from German brands, specifically Mercedes-Benz and Audi. From Benz, we have the ML63 AMG with a starting price of $97,250, which makes 557 hp. Audi brings us the S Q5, which undercuts the SRT with a starting price of $51,900, but performance lacks with only 354 hp.

The SRT Grand Cherokee starts at $64,990, which actually makes it a fairly good value when you put it next to its competition. The interior is nice enough to make even Mercedes-Benz loyalists smitten, and the performance is not lacking in any area, with the ML63 and the SRT Grand Cherokee even sharing the same 4.8 second 0-60 mph rating.

THE VERDICT

While still expensive, the SRT Grand Cherokee offers good value in its segment and it is absolutely riotous to drive. It is truly a statement to what can be achieved against the odds. A small, sleek sports car already has a lot going for it when engineers set out to make it handle well, but a 5,000-lb goliath of an SUV has all of the traits that sports car buyers hate. And yet somehow, SRT merges two worlds that never should have met, defying convention to bring us a great product.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/jeep/2014-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-3753.html

Wrangler may leave frame, factory, steel behind

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler may leave its historic steel body-on-frame construction and Toledo plant behind, according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, as quoted by Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette.

The current Wrangler has good mileage for rugged four wheel drive vehicles, but poor economy overall, at around 17/21 mpg (depending on model and transmission).

Mr. Marchionne said the Wrangler will need to lose weight and might need an aluminum unibody setup; previously, he had implied that Wrangler would be Chrysler’s first car to make extensive use of aluminum since the Plymouth Prowler, whose team was largely hired by Ford.

The 3.6 liter V6 would likely be swapped out for either a Hurricane 2.0 turbo and/or the smaller 3.2 V6. Many believe a diesel will be optional.

Mr. Marchionne said that the Toledo South plant could not handle an aluminum body, but that any solution would not affect local employment. This means that a new plant might be built, or that the plant could also be repurposed (or closed) and the Wrangler moved to Toledo North, Sterling Heights, or Belvidere, though this would mean that the aluminum-bodied Wrangler would be made with steel-bodied cars, which seems unlikely.

The current Wrangler plant was created under Daimler and is enclosed by a “supplier park,” making expansion difficult at best and reducing flexibility.

There has also been considerable talk of using an independent suspension. While there has been an innovative long-travel independent-suspension Wrangler prototype, one suspension engineer said he suspected the company would adopt a version of the Ram 4×4’s setup instead.

Mr. Vellequette pointed out that a unibody setup would “effectively be a modern-day version of the popular Cherokee XJ,” and pointed out that the massive changes could be too much for dedicated Jeepers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/10/wrangler-may-leave-frame-factory-steel-behind

Stop, Start, Save – Fuel-Saving Technology Standard on Jeep Cherokee

Chrysler Group is offering fuel-saving Engine Stop-Start (ESS)
technology as standard equipment on certain models of the award-winning
2015 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV and all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size
sedan.

Jeep Cherokee customers who choose the available 3.2-liter Pentastar
V-6, and Chrysler 200 customers who opt for the 2.4-liter Tigershark
I-4, and will experience estimated fuel-economy improvements of up to
three percent, compared with the conventional vehicle-engine pairings.

“We’re taking highly efficient engines and upping the ante to further
benefit our customers,” said Mike Duhaime, Global Director-Electrified
Powertrain Propulsion Systems. “ESS leverages intricate control
strategies to deliver a superior driving experience, as well as the
expected fuel-savings and emissions-reduction.”

ESS applications in the Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200 and will
account for an estimated C02 emissions-reduction of up to three percent.

Availability in the popular Jeep Cherokee is scheduled for third
quarter. ESS arrives the following quarter in the all-new Chrysler 200.

ESS works this way:

– Engine controls constantly monitor vehicle speed

– When the vehicle brakes to a stop, fuel flow is cut and engine turns off – events that save gas and reduce emissions

– Beefier batteries maintain other vehicle systems so in-cabin comfort is unaffected

– When the brake pedal is released, the engine automatically restarts and the nine-speed automatic transmission, the segment-exclusive
nine-speed automatic transmission is engaged – all within 0.3 seconds

If a driver chooses to forgo the benefits of ESS, the feature can be
deactivated with the push of a button, and then reactivated.

Efficiency and refinement are hallmarks of the Tigershark and Pentastar engine families. ESS just complements these attributes.

The Cherokee’s available 271-hp 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 is derived
from the acclaimed 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, named three times one of
Ward’s 10 Best Engines. The smaller-displacement V-6 helps the Cherokee
deliver fuel-economy improvements of up to 30 percent, compared with the
model it replaces.

Individual exhaust-manifold runners are integrated into the aluminum
cylinder-head casting, a key Pentastar-family differentiator. This
design feature reduces weight and affords packaging benefits.

The 24-valve engine’s 10.7:1 compression ratio aids in lowering fuel
consumption and improves performance while its variable-displacement oil
pump further reduces parasitic losses to maximize fuel economy. The
pump is programmed to operate as needed, staying in low-pressure mode
below 3,500 rpm, and then bumping up pressure as demand follows
engine-speed.

The high-tech transmission – which also comes standard in the Jeep
Cherokee – dispenses power smoothly for elevated refinement. Such
performance is made possible because the ratio steps between its gears
are smaller than those of other transmissions.

The Jeep Cherokee has earned multiple media accolades, from Rocky
Mountain Automotive Press Association’s SUV of the Year to 2014 Canadian
Utility Vehicle of the Year, courtesy of the Automobile Journalists
Association of Canada (AJAC).

As read on: http://www.chryslergroup360.com/featured_news/stop-start-save/

2015 Jeep changes: power boost, more

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT will get a minor power boost to match the Challenger and Charger — going up to 475 hp. So far, there is no Hellcat, and while it was reportedly considered, Allpar finds it unlikely that the 707 horsepower beast will make it into the luxoJeep.

All prices in this article including a $995 destination charge. Hawaii residents have a $1,045 destination charge.

In addition to the power boost, a new Red Vapor Special will be available to Grand Cherokee SRT buyers (and, despite some odd speculation by other publications, yes, the name will remain Grand Cherokee SRT.)  Grand Cherokee Summit buyers will also find un-named “enhancements” to the top of the line model, which will start at $49,590 without all wheel drive. (The base Laredo runs $30,590, in rear wheel drive form. The SRT makes even Summit look inexpensive, with a price tag of $65,390.)

Wrangler has stereo improvements and a new, optional “black steel” 31 inch wheel setup.  It starts at $23,590 for Sport (two-door), and runs up to $36,190 for Rubicon Unlimited. Generally, moving from the two-door to the extended-wheelbase four-door Unlimited adds $4,000 to the price.

All Wranglers now have a 4×4 setup, and mail carriers (and presumably anyone else who likes the steering wheel on the “wrong” side) can opt for a right-hand-drive Sport Unlimited at $36,190. That’s around $5,000 more than the usual Sport Unlimited.

Cherokee adds a backup camera and automatic headlights to Latitude and Trailhawk models. It will start at $23,990 for the Sport FWD and run up to $31,190 for the Limited AWD; AWD adds $2,000 to the price. Trailhawk is the only model with skid plates and is the base model for those who really intend to go off-road, beyond gravel and dirt roads.

Compass and Patriot Latitude gain a navigation system option, but remain otherwise unchanged as they soldier on. The little Jeeps, made in the same plant as the Dodge Dart, start at $17,490 for the Patriot Sport FWD and end at $28,990 for the Compass Limited AWD. Generally, AWD adds $2,000 to the price, and Patriot is  $1,500 to $2,300 cheaper than equivalent-level Compass, though it has more space and looks “more like a Jeep.”

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/08/2015-jeep-changes-power-boost-more

Five Tips for Off-roading on Sand in your Jeep

To many Jeep® brand fans, the summer season means one thing: finally taking a long-awaited off-roading trip to a sandy spot.

Whether you’re taking your Jeep brand vehicle to the beach for the day or attempting to climb to the top of a sand dune along the shoreline, it’s important to understand how your vehicle performs in sand. For all the beginners out there, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you prepare for your next sand-filled excursion. As always, remember to drive consistent with your experience level and the conditions.

1. Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped.

Before your vehicle’s tires even touch the sand, it’s important to make sure you have all the proper equipment. When driving on sand dunes, this may include a tall antenna with an attached flag to help make your vehicle more visible to others in the area. Make sure to check with the park’s guidelines before heading out for a full list of requirements.

2. Drop your tire pressure.

Dropping your tire pressure 10-12 pounds below normal can help maintain traction in sandy conditions. Just don’t forget to air up before you hit the pavement again.

3. Understand the consistency of the sand.

The consistency of the sand can affect how you drive your vehicle. You may need to alternate between high (for softer sand) and low (for harder, wetter sand) four-wheel-drive settings, depending on the consistency of the sand.

4. Keep up your vehicle’s momentum.

Maintaining momentum while driving on sand can help prevent your Jeep brand vehicle from losing traction. Try to keep a forward movement going, especially when climbing up large dunes.

5. Avoid tight turns.

Along with maintaining forward momentum, it’s important that you make large, wide turns in your vehicle while on sand. This will help prevent your vehicle from slowing down and getting stuck.

Read more at: http://blog.jeep.com/adventures/five-tips-roading-sand-jeep-reg-brand-vehicle/