Archive for the ‘jeep grand cherokee’ Tag

Wrangler looks to aluminum suspension, not body

The Jeep Grand Cherokee may have shown the future direction of the Jeep Wrangler: using aluminum and other lightweight materials for the suspension and peripherals, but not for the frame or key body parts.

Cheap body repairs are important for Wrangler, because it’s intended to be taken off-road. However, if the company can use relatively light, “high-strength” steel alloy for skid plates and more aluminum in the suspension and other major components, it could still cut weight, or at least maintain weight in the face of higher safety standards (both Federal and insurance-industry).

Key design changes, including using permanent A-pillars and having the windshield itself slide down over the hood rather than folding down both the windshield and pillars at once, could help the Wrangler to have greater “natural” torsional stiffness, so that chassis reinforcement would not be needed, also cutting weight while letting the Wrangler meet normal rollover standards.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is also likely to have a hydroformed frame, as Ram trucks do, increasing stiffness without weight gains. Some reports claim the windshield and grille will only be a little more slanted than the current Wrangler.

This gives the company more time to develop aluminum-bodied cars. Scuttlebutt now has the Grand Cherokee as the first to go with the expensive but lightweight metal.

Read more at: http://news.allpar.com/index.php/2015/09/wrangler-looks-to-aluminum-suspension-not-body-29910

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2015 Dodge Durango – Full Review and Test Drive

Ever wanted a Jeep Grand Cherokee with three rows of seats and room for seven people? Is the extent of your off-road adventuring limited to farm roads, campground trails, and blizzards? Well then, I have good news!

The Dodge Durango is just the SUV you’ve been wanting. It just doesn’t have a Jeep badge on it.

Say what now?

Yep, under the sheet-metal, the 2015 Dodge Durango shares its heart and soul with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Durango sits on a wheelbase stretched five inches, is about a foot longer, and rides half an inch closer to the ground, negatively impacting its ability to travel as far off the beaten path as a Grand Cherokee.

Otherwise, the two vehicles overlap in terms of powertrains, infotainment technologies, materials, and even that all-important new car smell. No surprise, they’re built in the same Detroit assembly plant, too.

Of the two, I prefer the Durango. It is more practical, and it drives better on pavement, where 90-percent of typical SUV buyers spend 100-percent of their time. In fact, the Durango is one of my favorite family-sized SUVs, and except for a “Marginal” rating in an important crash-test assessment and a 3-star rollover resistance rating when it is equipped with 2-wheel drive, I have but one qualm about recommending one.

My test vehicle sure looks swanky with its blacked out grille, wheels, and badges, but this appearance, included in the optional Blacktop Package, isn’t really for me. I prefer my Durango blinged out, Citadel-style. This Bright White Durango Limited, though, attracted plenty of attention; usually from the types of guys that I hope my daughters never bring home to meet the parents.

A Durango Limited starts at $37,890, including a destination charge of $995. An all-wheel-drive system costs $2,600, and improves the Durango’s rollover resistance rating to 4 stars.

My test model had the standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine, but you can choose a 5.7-liter V-8 if you’ve got an extra $3,795 that you don’t know what to do with. Add the Blacktop Package, the Premium Group, the Safety/Security and Convenience Group, and a set of second-row captain’s chairs, and the price rises to $45,765 for the Durango I tested.

Good looking, and equipped with an interior featuring quality materials rendered in tasteful tones and textures, the Durango strikes me as a quality piece of work, even luxurious in some respects. Think twice about getting black leather seats, though, because they transform the cabin into a cave. Thoughtfully, Dodge makes the Black/Light Frost leather option available with nearly every paint color.

Comfort levels are high, especially for front seat occupants, and unlike many other 3-row SUVs, adults can actually ride in a Durango’s rearmost seating area for more than just a few minutes before committing mutiny.

My test vehicle’s Premium Group added a power rear liftgate, a premium sound system, a power sunroof, and a navigation system. The awkwardly named Safety/Security and Convenience Group installed a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-path detection, rain-sensing wipers, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and HID headlights with automatic high-beam control. The rear-seat entertainment system’s omission meant my kids looked out of the Durango’s windows and discovered the world around them, or took a much-needed nap.

Trailer towing equipment is optional for the Durango, and because this SUV is built on a more robust platform than your typical crossover SUV, it can tow a substantial amount of weight. My test model’s 3.6-liter V-6 engine – bumped from 290-horsepower to 295-horsepower thanks to the Blacktop option package – could tug up to 6,200 pounds. The optional 360-horse, 5.7-liter V-8 engine can handle up to 7,400 lbs. of trailer.

As far as cargo carrying is concerned, a Durango can haul up to seven people and as much as 17.2 cu.-ft. of cargo, but that last number is a bit misleading. You’ll be stacking stuff to the roof in order to take advantage of the maximum number, so what you’ve really got is about 12 cu.-ft. of space in combination with a full load of passengers.

Put the kids in the second-row seat, fold the third-row seat, and a Durango supplies 47.7 cu.-ft. of cargo, a generous amount of space. Maximum utility measures 84.5 cu.-ft. Compare those numbers to the 5-passenger Grand Cherokee, which comes in at 36.3 cu.-ft. and 68.3 cu.-ft., respectively.

Though my test vehicle did not have the optional V-8 engine, I never felt the Durango demonstrated a lack of power. Dip into the throttle, and the Durango moves off the line with authority. As revs climb, such as when entering a fast-moving freeway, the engine’s response fades somewhat, but you’re unlikely to wish for extra grunt unless you’ve got a trailer attached, and you’re heading up a mountain grade.

An 8-speed automatic transmission with a rather unconventional rotary shift dial fed the power to the ground on a continuous basis, splitting delivery in half with 50-percent going to the front wheels and 50-percent going to the rear wheels. This is perfect for dwellers of foul-weather regions, as you never need to manually engage the AWD or choose a specific type of program with regard to how the power flows to the wheels.

Does this negatively impact fuel economy? In combined driving, the ratings drops from 20 mpg for the rear-drive model to 19 mpg for the AWD model, so the answer is “not really.” I averaged 18.6 mpg, so the EPA’s official numbers appear to be somewhat accurate, for a change.

Despite the optional 20-inch aluminum wheels, the Durango’s ride quality is impressive, and this is a remarkably quiet vehicle on the highway. Handling is certainly improved by the bigger tires, and around town the Durango feels athletic. Don’t take this to mean you can toss it down a winding country road, though. Dodge programs the stability control system to step in early, which is fine given the type of vehicle and that 3-star rollover resistance rating for the rear-drive version.

The Durango’s brakes proved disappointing when driving in the mountains on a day with temperatures in the low 70s, fading to the point where I almost could not engage the ABS during a panic stop. For a vehicle designed to carry so many people and tow so much weight, this is flatly unacceptable. The V-8 engine option also adds larger front brakes and ventilated rear brakes. I would strongly urge Dodge to just make those standard on all Durangos.

Traditional hydraulic steering is also a part of the V-8 engine upgrade, and I’ll bet it is more satisfying than the electric-assisted steering that comes with the V-6 engine. Lifeless on center, the steering is too quick off-center for this size and type of vehicle.

Dodge definitely has a good thing going with the Durango. A structural upgrade to improve the Durango’s performance in the small overlap frontal-impact crash test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and additional attention to detail regarding the brakes and steering, would make this appealing and practical family-size SUV super easy to recommend.

Then, Dodge would just need to get the word out, starting with Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers who have no plans to venture far from pavement.

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-suvs/2015-dodge-durango-%E2%80%93-full-review-and-test-drive/ar-AAdfS5h

Unhacking the Hacked Jeep

We read about “hacks” every day. All industries are potential targets of a hacker and the automotive industry has been no exception.

Well-known hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek recently teamed-up with a WIRED reporter to publish a story that you may have read about or seen on the news. The story highlights how Miller and Valasek hacked into Miller’s 2014 Jeep Cherokee and remotely controlled some functions. Miller and Valasek have been working on intentionally hacking into Miller’s vehicle over the past year as part of their on-going research in the area of automotive cybersecurity and have communicated with FCA about some aspects of their work.

To FCA’s knowledge, there has not been a single real world incident of an unlawful or unauthorized remote hack into any FCA vehicle.

After becoming aware of the vulnerabilities in some 2013 and 2014 vehicles equipped with the 8.4 inch touchscreen systems, FCA and several suppliers worked to fix the vulnerabilities in model year 2015 vehicles. FCA also created a software update that eliminates the vulnerabilities uncovered by Miller and Valasek in their laboratory tests. This software update is available to customers right now and can be downloaded to a USB drive from http://www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/ and installed in a vehicle.

FCA will be contacting potentially affected customers with these details and has provided the software update to the FCA US dealer network for immediate customer installation.

Customers can enter a vehicle identification number (VIN) and find out if their vehicle needs the software update. If your vehicle needs the update, you can download the software update to a USB drive and install it yourself. Another option is to make an appointment with your FCA US dealership and have them install it for you at no charge. The update, if installed DIY, will take 30-45 minutes, and your vehicle needs to be parked throughout the software update/installation process.

In addition, FCA US has been working with its suppliers to implement additional protocols to block remote access. These changes will not require any action by our customers.

The vehicles listed below that have a 8.4 inch touchscreen radio system need this software update:

2013-2014 Ram 1500 Pickup

2013-2014 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis

2013-2014 Ram 2500 Pickup

2013-2014 Ram 4500/5500 Cab Chassis

2013-2014 Ram 3500 Pickup

2014 Grand Cherokee

2014 Durango

2013-2014 Viper

2014 Cherokee

Some 2015 Chrysler 200s

For any questions regarding how to complete the software update please call our Customer Care Center at 1-877-855-8400.

What will be the next Hellcat?

The 707-horsepower Hellcat engine, a supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi V8, has rewarded Dodge with much higher sales than expected, along with a great deal of publicity in both magazines and social media.

The engine, carefully set up so that it can be run “all day” at the track on hot summer days — unlike at least one competitive Camaro — seems to be a real winner, but it’s available only in two cars, the closely related Challenger and Charger. In the Challenger, buyers can get a manual or automatic; in the Charger, it’s all automatic, but that automatic responds far more quickly than even a well-trained human can.

As Chrysler and its suppliers work to boost production of the Hellcat engine (particularly the unique supercharger), the next question becomes, “Which car is next?”

There are two real possibilities, both of which have been rumored: the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep is the more credible choice, because the Grand Cherokee SRT has been a hit — and has been able to command a higher price than most FCA US cars. In addition, the suspension has already been tuned for performance with the 392 engine, which puts out 485 horsepower.

Jeep Grand Cherokee is a worldwide seller, and a Hellcat version would certainly be relatively popular in parts of the world where Rams are rare if available at all.

Ram, on the other hand, would be much harder to performance-tune; engineers would be starting from scratch, rather than building on work already done. Packaging might be easier, but would it sell more normal Rams, the way a Grand Cherokee Hellcat would sell more of the 6.4 SRTs?

All indicators, and our own long ears, are that the next Hellcat will be a Grand Cherokee. There’s no point in waiting for it to come out this year, though — demand for the hot engine means that it’ll be restricted to large cars for the moment, simply because orders exceed supply.

Read more at: http://news.allpar.com/index.php/2015/07/what-will-be-the-next-hellcat-29268

New Jeep Grand Wagoneer To Be Shown To Dealers This Summer

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] confirmed in its five-year strategy announcement made last year that it will launch a new Grand Wagoneer on the market in 2018. The vehicle, to be based on a heavily-updated version of the current Grand Cherokee platform, will be Jeep’s most expensive model, with high-end variants aimed at full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

While the vehicle is unlikely to be shown publicly for some time still, FCA is tipped to present the car at its biennial dealer meeting taking place in Las Vegas this August. Automotive News (subscription required) is reporting that FCA is teasing the new Grand Wagoneer to get more of its dealers to attend the meeting.

Work on the new Grand Wagoneer has actually been going on for several years already. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne first confirmed plans for the vehicle as far back as 2011, although at the time he said it will launch in 2013. The last Grand Wagoneer bowed out of the market in 1991. Expect the new one to be a large, fully-capable SUV with third-row seats. Powertrains should include V-6 and V-8 options, with a diesel unit thrown in for some markets.

Stay tuned for an update.

Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/jeep-grand-wagoneer-shown-dealers-summer-170000984.html

Jeep sales continue to impress

The Jeep sales reported yesterday may not have been as dramatic as they were last year, but they were definitely noteworthy.

Last month’s 21.1% growth compared to April 2014 is impressive considering last year’s sales were up 51.6%. That means Jeep sales have risen 82.0% in two years.

Jeep repeated as the top-selling SUV brand in America, easily blowing by Ford, which reported an all-time record for SUV and crossover sales. Jeep was over 9,000 sales ahead of Ford’s best. The Ford Edge set a new April sales record, which was beaten by the Cherokee, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. The Cherokee and Wrangler also outsold the Ford Explorer and the Grand Cherokee was just 555 sales behind.

April Jeep sales volume gave the brand the largest increase in market share of any brand sold in the U.S. as it set another all-time sales record.

Jeep has set records in every month since November of 2013.

The Cherokee, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee were all in the SUV Top 10 in April and for the first four months of 2015. The Cherokee and Wrangler also made the Top 10 among all light trucks in April as the Cherokee set an all-time sales record and the Wrangler set a new April record.

Ram also made the Top Ten list for trucks and the Top 10 for all vehicles. The Ram pickup added another month as the No. 3 best-selling vehicle in the U.S.

The Chrysler 200 made the April passenger car Top 10, coming in at No. 9. It was the third-best-selling American-badged car in April, outselling the Ford Focus. It was also the third-best-selling Chrysler Group brand vehicle after the Ram and the Cherokee. It edged the Wrangler out by one sale.

The Chrysler 300, despite a drop in deliveries, remained the best-selling American-badged upscale sedan in the U.S. It outsold its rivals from Buick, Cadillac and Lincoln in April.

The Dodge Challenger was just 138 sales behind the Chevrolet Camaro in April.

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/05/jeep-sales-continue-to-impress-28578

2015 Jeep Renegade First Drive & Review

Jeep had paraded the ’15 Renegade and Renegade Trailhawk in front of journalists and the general public for over a year. We snickered at it, leered at it, touched it, and even sat in it during that time. The new Jeep really began to pique our interest, though. Was it a real Jeep, or was it simply a rebodied all-wheel-drive Fiat 500L? To find out, we jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel and test drive the Jeep Renegade Latitude 4×4, Limited 4×4, and the top-tier Trailhawk 4×4. Sport and 4×2 models are also available. Our review took us over the streets and freeways, as well as in the hills and mountains, near San Jose, California. First and foremost, if you’re a Jeep enthusiast who’s into lift kits, oversized tires, and boulders larger than bowling balls, stop reading. Traditional off-road Jeep fanboys and fangirls scoff at any 4×4 that doesn’t have a ladder frame or at least solid axles front and rear and for good reason. These heavy-duty components are some of the last bits leftover from when the first Jeep rolled off of the assembly line over 70 years ago. But, a company like Jeep can’t survive in today’s competitive automotive marketplace by building only Wranglers. New segments are needed to broaden the brand’s appeal and bring in new customers looking for on- and off-road capability and efficiency to the tune of more than 30 mpg. And that is exactly what the ’15 Jeep Renegade is designed to deliver.

With an open mind, it’s hard to not like the sporty and fun-looking Renegade when inspecting the exterior. The round headlights, seven-slot grill, trapezoidal wheel openings, and overall utilitarian feel of the Renegade set it apart from the other seemingly more sophisticated, and frankly boring, vehicle lineup in the compact-SUV segment. By comparison, the Jeep Renegade is that unconventionally amusing uncle, the one that let you light fireworks in the house and shoot beer bottles in the backyard. We appreciate that the Renegade puts a smile on our face, even when it’s simply parked.

The interior of the Limited and Trailhawk models we drove were quite plush and felt similar to what you would see in a top-tier Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. We appreciated the use of soft-touch materials in places where other manufacturers might use less-impressive hard plastic. The Renegade is available absolutely stuffed with technology. Some of our favorite features include the built-in on-demand Wi-Fi hotspot capability and an available mobile phone app, which enables owners to start their Jeep and lock or unlock doors from their cell phones. The instrumentation is easy to read and most controls are intuitive in their operation. We absolutely love the split HVAC system and the real numbers on the adjustment knob, instead of an ambiguous blue and red line designed specifically to mock us while we incessantly fumble for a comfortable temperature.

We tested both the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo and the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir2 engines on-road. The six-speed manual used behind the 1.4L is a sporty, quick-shifting transmission. It takes no time at all to learn where the forward gears are and manipulate the clutch effectively. Shifting into Reverse requires that you lift up on the shift ring, similar to the shifter you might find in a sandrail or VW Baja Bug but much easier to engage. The 160hp 1.4L punches out 184 lb-ft of torque. You can keep busy shifting in the mountain twists or you can simply rev the engine to the moon by selecting the proper gear. Both options are fun. The naturally aspirated 2.4L produces 180hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine is coupled to the nine-speed automatic, which can be just as fun to drive as the six-speed when toggled through the gears manually. Overall, the Jeep Renegade handles crisply and is extremely confidence-inspiring on-road.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Jeep if it didn’t go off-road. Nothing else currently in the vehicle segment even compares to the off-road capability of the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. It has some off-road features, such as the large accessible bright red tow hooks, 20:1 crawl ratio, and Selec-Terrain traction system that we wish were on other vehicles considered to be more trail worthy by many 4×4 enthusiasts. Interestingly enough, the Renegade Trailhawk even has better approach, departure, and breakover angles than a Cherokee Trailhawk. An extracurricular off-road adventure took us to the sand dunes and rocky mountain trails in southern California. We were pleasantly surprised at how far up the trail we could take the Renegade Trailhawk, almost to the point of feeling guilty, while wondering “Should we be here in this?” It drives like a maneuverable side-by-side UTV. Rather than being forced to climb over rocks, ledges, and other trail obstacles, you can simply steer around them with ease if you choose.

The ’15 Jeep Renegade is not a Wrangler, and it shouldn’t be. Most new Jeeps never even go off-road. Think of it like this: without the success of the Renegade, the current Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler would not exist, and neither would the Jeep brand. As a Jeep enthusiast you don’t have to buy these new Jeeps or even like them, but you should thank someone that does. Ultimately, all Jeeps, including the ’15 Renegade, are offered in a model that is still best in class for off-road capability, and that’s really what the Jeep brand is all about, right?

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/research/2015-jeep-renegade-first-drive-and-review/ar-AAaXXEg

Compass: “Honey, I shrunk the Grand Cherokee!”

Today, artist SuzyQ044 provided a rendering of the coming Jeep Compass, following Allpar sources’ claims that it will look like a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee shrunk down to Jeep Renegade size.

We have been told by insiders that the coming “MP” Compass will share its underpinnings and drivetrain with the just-released Renegade. The cars are so close that Compass mules are reportedly out and about, except that you cannot tell that is what they are as they are all cleverly disguised as Renegades.

One insider said the rendering was close, but to make it even more Grand Cherokee-like.

The Compass name itself has not been confirmed, but does not appear to carry enough baggage (or connotations that could be an issue in a worldwide car) to justify a name change.

Theoretically, it could be built at any of the three Renegade/500x plants in the world (Italy, Brazil and China), but it could make more sense for to be domestically produced. If that happens, could the Renegade also find a domestic production line? There is room at the old 200 plant at Sterling Heights, at Toluca in Mexico, and, once the current Compass and Patriot stop, at Belvedere. The question is, which cars can be built on the same lines as each other — and which plants are ready for it?

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/compass-honey-i-shrunk-the-grand-cherokee-28086

Must-Have Car Features for Expectant Parents

There may be no greater joy in life than knowing a newborn is on the way.

Soon, you’ll get to experience all the excitement and bliss that being a parent brings. But with this wonder comes great responsibility. The entire well-being of another human will rest in your hands. It’s time to evaluate some things in your life and make a few changes.

Remember that car you bought fresh out of school that was some combination of being affordable, cool, unique and youthful? Now it’s deteriorating into a pile of scap metal in your driveway. You gamble with whether you will or will not make it to your destination or not on every trip you take. Getting stranded on the side of the freeway is one thing, but having it happen with an infant aboard will be a nightmare. Looks like it’s time for an upgrade.

So what should a new parent look for in an automobile? Well a lot of things, really. But to help any soon-to-be progenitors, we have broken down the new car checklist into three key areas. First, there are those things that need to be in a vehicle to make transporting a baby safe and easy. Second are things that aren’t quite a necessity, but would make your time behind the wheel as a parent a lot less stressful. Third, there are the items that are icing on the cake; the added perks that parents might not need, but will gladly take if offered.

Must-Haves

The most important thing you can do as a parent is keep your child safe. This is especially true when it comes to cars and driving. Regardless of how skilled you are behind the wheel, there is always the unknown factor of weather, road conditions and other motorists that could result in a crash. Modern vehicles have jumped leaps and bounds in terms of crash worthiness compared to older cars, even within the past five years. A modern car will keep its occupants much safer than models from the past. But some are still safer than others. To check and compare how well prospective new vehicle purchases rate in crash testing, visit the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety database or the one offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Act.

A newborn is going to spend the next several years in child safety seats, so a vehicle with a rear seat is essential. Although most four- and five-person coupes do come equipped with child seat anchors, accessing them and the child can be a nightmare because there isn’t a door opening directly beside the rear seat. When your child is an infant and in a rear facing child seat this can be quite the struggle.

It’s best to look for a four-door vehicle because the easier accessed rear seat area will be easier to deal with. If your rear facing child seat has already been purchased, take it along when new car shopping so it can be test fitted to the backseat area. Pay attention to a vehicle’s official rear legroom measurement as these safety seats are deceivingly long. Not all smaller cars can accommodate one without forcing the front passenger seat to be placed uncomfortably close to the windshield.

Rear doors are also important when it comes to size and operation. Vehicles like a Range Rover L with the extended wheelbase give parents all the space in the world to secure their bundles of joy to the back seats, but the rear doors also require all the space in the world to open, which is a challenge in parking lots. When looking at new cars, see how far out the doors open in relation to the access they give to the backseat area. As well, the angle in which they swing open is important as the closer to 90 degrees the better. Still, there is one champion when it comes to rear vehicle doors for parents: the sliding door. Not only does it give them full access to their kids, but it also takes up minimal space when opened.

Nice-to-Haves

With the essentials taken care of, many other automotive features can help ease the transition into parenthood. Chances are you’ll become more distracted behind the wheel now that an extra, highly demanding passenger is frequently aboard. Vehicles with the latest active safety systems like lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and collision detection could be a life saver if you stop paying attention, even for a split second.

Babies call for a lot of stuff like strollers, pack and play cribs, diaper bags and more. A car with a large trunk is good, but one with a lift gate hatchback is better. Not only is it easier to load odd-shaped items into a hatchback, by usually there is more cargo room in a hatchback and items placed back there stay as warm or cool as everything else in the vehicle. Taking things a step further, a power lift gate, power trunk or even power side doors

will further help a new parent whose hands will inevitably be full each time they approach the vehicle.

And when it comes to loading a child and their gear into a car, a vehicle’s height is important. Crossovers continue to gain popularity with new parents due partially to their load height. SUVs usually sit too high, requiring some people to have to step up into the vehicle to secure their child in a safety seat. What-to-Look-for-in-a-Car-with-a-Baby-on-the-Way-07.jpgRegular cars, on the other hand, sit too low and force parents to hunch over in backbreaking slouches as they secure the safety belts.

While discussing access, safety anchors that are easy to reach for the child seats are a huge plus. Some vehicles require a lot of work to uncover and use these clips. While you’re at it, try folding the rear seats down to see how easy it is to do when children are not occupying them for added utility.

Finally, keeping the sun out of your child’s eyes is important, especially ones too small to relate any discomfort to you. A vehicle with factory or dealer installed rear window tint is good, but one with built in roll-up sunshades is better. This isn’t as unusual as it once was either as several minivans, crossovers and sedans are now offering this feature.

Icing on the Cake

Of course, there are some other items that will make life even easier on new parents, like extra cup holders for kid’s snacks and food as well as excess storage bins for other random items. Some vehicles now include a secondary wraparound rear view mirror so a driver can take a quick look back on their kids without having to turn all the way around or moving the regular rear view mirror down.

Removable rear headrests are a nice bonus as they make installing child safety seats much easier and built-in rear video screens can help entertain little ones on longer trips.

Ultimately though, it all comes down to what is most important to you and what you can afford. There are many choices out there that are great, child friendly vehicles. As long as all the Must Haves are checked off as well as a good portion of the Nice to Haves, you should be fine. Happy shopping and good luck with the new baby!

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2015/01/must-have-car-features-for-expectant-parents.html

Jeep hauls in more awards

The Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel was named 2015 Green SUV of the Year by Green Car Journal. The announcement was made yesterday at the Washington Auto Show in the nation’s capital.

In making the presentation, Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com said, “The Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel delivers what today’s drivers really want in an efficient SUV. It offers a do-everything nature with exceptional comfort, power, functionality and driving range, plus surprising efficiency that delivers lower environmental impact.”

On Wednesday, January 21, the Grand Cherokee collected its “SUV of Texas” trophy at the Houston Auto Show.

The Jeep Wrangler received one of Kelley Blue Book’s 2015 Best Resale Value Awards. The Wrangler was No. 2 among the top ten honorees. This is the fifth consecutive year the Wrangler has made the top ten.

In their comments about the Wrangler, KBB.com’s editors said, “There are few vehicles that have remained as faithful to their origins like the 2015 Jeep Wrangler SUV. Despite decades of development, multiple iterations and even necessary nods to modern technology, the Wrangler remains true to its hard-earned and thoroughly deserved reputation as the universal standard for off-road vehicles.”

The Wrangler picked up a total of three Best Resale Value awards. In addition to the Top Ten award, the standard Wrangler also took top honors in the Compact SUV category, beating the new Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester, while the Wrangler Unlimited took the prize in the Mid-Size SUV category, beating the Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Highlander.

Dodge also picked up a Best Resale Value award: the 2015 Charger won its class, earning Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Award for full-size cars. The Charger beat the 2015 Toyota Avalon and 2015 Chevrolet Caprice.

“Dodge’s full-size sedan offering is more versatile than ever after being redesigned for the 2015 model year,” said the editors. “With a new look that includes a redesigned hood, front doors, spoiler, taillights and front fascia, the Dodge Charger still offers space for both people and cargo. That combination helps the Charger earn the top resale value in its category.”

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/01/jeep-hauls-in-more-awards