By on September 13, 2013

neontow

Dear fellow Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial/Dodge/DeSoto fans,

It appears that some of you are not happy with our man Derek’s review of the new Jeep Cherokee. I can understand that; like many of you, I wanted the Cherokee to be a solid if not superior product. Today, however, I saw that Allpar.com’s administrator has called for Chrysler to blacklist TTAC from future press vehicles. I thought I’d take a moment to discuss with you why an attitude like this is bad news for everyone, including the Mopar Nation or whatever the long-suffering group of Chrysler loyalists is being called at the moment.


If you’ll indulge me for a moment before we get to the meat of the discussion, however, I want to respond personally to allegations made on Allpar and elsewhere that we are “out to get” Chrysler, and the occasional allegation that I personally am “out to get” Chrysler. I bought a 1995 Neon new from the showroom floor. I factory-ordered a 2004 SRT-4. I bought and campaigned an original Neon Challenge ACR in NASA until I was put in the wall — and then my team and I built another Neon from a bare shell to logbook racer in twenty days. I’ve competed in Dodge and Plymouth automobiles from California, where we won ChumpCar in a Neon Coupe, to Ohio where my ACR was the only car to finish in the top five of both wet and dry NASA National Championship qualifying races. This f**king morning I bought a 2.4 DOHC engine to use for the 2014 NASA race season. I’ve seen more flags behind the windshield of a Mopar product than all but the most committed racers. I’ve voted for Chrysler with my own money again and again and will continue to do so.

Okay. End of rant. The objections brought up on forums regarding Derek’s review mostly fell into two categories, which I’ll cover separately below.

“These were pre-production automobiles. Why did Derek complain about the fit and finish on them?” On the surface, this sounds completely reasonable. If Derek was informed that the Cherokees he was being given to drive weren’t ready for prime time, so to speak, why not ignore the little stuff and focus on the important aspects of the vehicle? I’d suggest that he did focus on the important aspects of the vehicle. He and I discussed the problems he was seeing with the Cherokees multiple times. It wasn’t just fit and finish; it was a failure to ride, handle, and address NVH as well as the best competitors in the CUV field. Where the Jeep had “wins” — against the RAV4, for instance — he said as much. It wasn’t just a matter of mis-stitched steering wheels.

But what if it had been just a matter of mis-stitched steering wheels? Do you, the Allpar or Edmunds or whatever forum reader, want us to hide that from you? Do you want us to keep secrets from you about the fit and finish of vehicles we drive just because the pretty girl sitting next to us at dinner pats our arm and says “Oh, I know the steering wheels are all terrible, but I promise we’ll have them right in production”? Are you more comfortable if we just take the manufacturer’s word for this stuff? Or do you want us to report on what we saw truthfully and leave the determination about what the manufacturer might or might not do on the production line up to you?

Imagine, for example, that every Cherokee on the drive had a stalling problem. If we kept our mouths shut about that at Chrysler’s request, and then you bought a Cherokee and it had a stalling problem, wouldn’t you have suffered from our willingness to adjust our ethics to please the site administrator at Allpar.com? Is that guy going to come to your house and fix the stalling problem for you? “Oh, but,” some of you will say, “a mis-stitched steering wheel isn’t as important as a stalling problem.” Fair enough — but do you want to pay $37,000 and get something that isn’t up to par? I ordered my SRT-4 sight unseen, trusting that what I had read about the car was honest. Shouldn’t we extend the same courtesy to you? Should our loyalty be to you, or to the manufacturer?

“All the other early reviews of the Cherokee have been positive.” Undoubtedly. All the early reviews of anything nowadays are positive. There’s a certain amount of Freakonomics at work here. Derek will never meet 99.9% of Allpar readers, but he’ll be at dinner with the same Chrysler people at every press event. There’s a strong temptation to say nice things about the car, particularly if you can wind them back later in a comparison test. Many of the people who are currently lauding the Cherokee will call it a complete piece of junk as soon as the next Cherokee is ready. Some of the writers who are currently slamming the Patriot and Compass in their Cherokee reviews tripped all over themselves to say nice things about those same vehicles at the early launch events.

Let me look into the future for you. The new Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec just had its press event last week. It will receive positive reviews all the way around even though I’m already hearing grumblings about the car being underpowered garbage. Want to know why? Click here. Mr. Day had his resignation from MBUSA accepted with extreme prejudice recently, but in the words of the poet, one monkey don’t stop no show.

Two years from now, the E250 might get tossed to the back of a comparison test. Four years from now, it will be revealed to have been a bad car. If you want to know what the auto media really thinks of a car, you can read what they say when the next model comes out. Of course, new-car buyers do not find this to be helpful.

When the administrator of a major Mopar fan site calls for Derek’s voice to be silenced because he doesn’t like the review, what he is in effect saying is this: “I value the sales success of a Chrysler product over the individual experience of Chrysler owners.” He’s siding with the corporation, not the driver. I suppose that’s fine for some people. It doesn’t wash here. The English car magazines used to whitewash the failings of cars like the Rover Metro and Jaguar XJ6. Today the companies that made those products are in non-British hands. Because you cannot lie and whitewash your way to success in the automotive business. In the long run, the customer will find out. Every cheat, every slip, every cut corner, will eventually show. You cannot wallpaper a bad product forever. Eventually, the truth will come out and the manufacturers will fail. If you love Chrysler, then you’d better hope that they make a good car. That’s all that can save them.

TTAC will continue to give positive reviews of Chrysler products — when the product is good. When that is not the case, we will continue to alert our readers to problems. We do not apologize for that, we will not walk that back, we will not change. If that means that we are no longer invited to evaluate Chrysler products, we will rent Chrysler products. If that means that we don’t get to party with the cool kids, we can live with that. Our allegiance is to the reader. It was thus when TTAC was founded. It is thus now. Forever may it be.

Sincerely,

Jack Baruth
#187 Plymouth Neon, NASA Performance Touring “E”

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226 Comments on “An Open Letter To The Mopar Community Regarding Our Cherokee Review...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Hells yes you tow things with a Flex. That’s my only comment.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      +1

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        “The ZF ‘box is about as calm as Robin Williams at his most amphetamine-addled, “

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          “The ZF-sourced nine-speed transmission, the one that has been giving Chrysler engineers fits, aids the effort. Unless you’re hard on the throttle, shifts are imperceptible – it wasn’t until we started pretending the Cherokee was a Porsche 911 that we could get it swapping cogs in places we might not have chosen.

          An interesting feature of the transmission is Electronic Range Select. Unlike so many other gearboxes on the market, you can’t choose any gear for the nine-speed to be in; what you do is tell the transmission the range of gears it has available to it, and it will choose the best gear for the current driving situation and fuel economy. It’s for situations like towing, for instance, when you’re headed up a grade and you know you don’t want the transmission to shift above fourth gear. When you move the gear selector over to its ‘manual’ position and choose fourth, the transmission doesn’t take that gear – it will use any gear from first to fourth, and go no higher.”

          http://www.autoblog.com/2013/09/19/2014-jeep-cherokee-review-first-drive/

          Just saying

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I want that framed on my wall with a framed print of a late 60s Country Squire towing a mid 60s Plymouth race car.

    • 0 avatar
      Feds

      Yes Mr. Uhaul man, I am towing a 1984 Honda Civic. I own one, and it… er… Needs to be towed… Somewhere. To be worked on.

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      Ermagherd! It’s a Derge Peon on a trailer.Someone capture it in a photo!

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Allpar is a joke of a website and “Dave” has poorly hidden mental issues. If that site was anywhere near as close to Chrysler as they think it is Chrysler would actually endorse it, and not shun it as they do.

      The site has value in its historic data and op-ed pieces, but the forums, gay moderators that hit on SRT’s gay facebook guy (and owner) are only good for a laugh.

      Yeah, not kidding about the mod and the SRT guy either…lol

      • 0 avatar
        F1

        I agree..I lost respect for Allpar after this, since I believe the admin/owner Dave of Allpar created an account on this thread to respond to the users comments.. and NOT directly at the author of the article(s)?? Lets not forget that this has nothing to do with the Cherokee…heck, 95% of Allpar users didnt approve of the Cherokee 2 years ago(!) and still doesnt now! (they have a thread 50+ pages long called “The Death of Jeep”. It is required that you read the entire thread before making a comment).

        This whole back and forth is really about the phrase at the bottom of Dereks original article:

        “Chrysler provided airfare, meals and accomodations for the writer on this driving event.”

        Thats what ticked off Allpar/Dave, not the actual review.

        I believe the original article by Derek is fair and Jacks response is legitimate.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Making fun of gay people is so last century especially for a psychologist like yourself.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The truth has no agenda!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      This is the point, indeed.

      And there’s not really objective truth when it comes to rendering an evaluation of a vehicle overall, but rather, opinion based on preferences.

      While a reviewer can point to some objective truths about particulars, such as the types of materials on the dashboard, what type of transmission is being used, and whether the ride quality is firm or soft, rendering an evaluation that equals an objective truth about the sum of the parts of the vehicle, taken as a whole, is entirely more difficult (and likely not possible based on the number of preferences amongst consumers).

      This is why I applaud Jack’s steadfast refusal not to cave to manufacturers’ pressures to pump out incomplete, half baked or worst of all, inaccurate REVIEWS, EVEN WHEN I DON’T AGREE with the conclusions and opinions in the review overall!

      I’d much prefer to read a review which has an assessment I disagree with, that was the product of a good faith, sincere effort to communicate honest opinions by the reviewer, than a review having a conclusion that meshes with my opinion, but was the result of any manufacturer influencing the review or reviewer, regardless as to how they exert this influence.

      This is why Consumer Reports has such a loyal, large, core base of readers; they know that CR has taken every measure to ensure that the manufacturer can’t corrupt the review process, even if any particular reader agrees with some of the more subjective opinions as set forth in any given vehicle review.

      It’s also why manufacturers literally redesign or refresh models much earlier than they originally planned on doing so in many cases, if CR heavily criticizes a particular model; that’s how much influence CR has taken AWAY from the manufacturer, through independence (no advertisements, no junkets, no quid pro quo of any kind).

      Keep on keeping on, Jack.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      IF TTAC REALLY WANTS TO WIN THE TRUST OF AMERICAN CAR INDUSTRY FANS, PROMOTE TRUTH ABOUT CARS AND PUT THEIR OWN PROBLEMS IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR THE TAKE DOWN THE LINK IN YOUR HEADER BAR TO A ARTICLE WRITTEN BY B.S. THAT PROCLAIMS “Want To Save Gas? Don’t Buy American – Announcing The True Heroes And True Villains At The Pump?

      Detroit has routed Japanese trucks in gas mileage. Every domestic manufacturer now has a compact that gets over 40 mpg. Chevy now offers a diesel Cruze and Jeep a diesel Grand Cherokee. Chevy builds the Sonic gas saver in Michigan. Chrysler now offer 8 speed automatics that give astonishing gas mileage in full size cars and allow Ram to best Tacoma in gas mileage. Ford and Chevy have competitive hybrid cars. It’s unfair to blast the domestics fleet average because they have a stronger mix of trucks especially since their trucks beat Japanese trucks in gas mileage. Isn’t that what the public is buying? isn’t it their choice?

      That sort of a slogan on the top of your website isn’t really factual and hurts your credibility when you guys criticize domestic cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @billfrombuckhead
        Why do you want to bend the truth? The truth is the truth.

        Global pickups do have better fuel economy than their US counterparts. They can carry 3 000lbs or in some cases even more. Tow 7 800lbs and return a FE figure of above 30mpg on the highway and middling 20s around town/urban.

        The Truth About Cars is exactly that, this isn’t World Series sports, that is only played in the US.

        I’m not saying your pickups are bad, but the butter them up with by the exclusion and selective journalism is tantamount to lying.

        Do you understand integrity and sincerity?

        US pickups aren’t getting as good FE as the global Japanese pickups…………..period.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAFO – If there was something magical about global trucks, we would have them. When you cherry pick payload and FE examples, they sound amazing. But the truth is they’re the same old trucks we’ve grown tired of. We’ve moved on from mid-size trucks. We have too many better choices. Take away our full-size trucks and sure, maybe mid-size trucks would sell a whole lot better. Your global trucks sell good by default. What else is there?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DlM,
            Maybe they are that good, ever thought of why there is a chicken tax? What about all of the other protectionist measures that protect you full size trucks.

            Really, you must look a little deeper than trying to spruik your constant UAW agenda, and under different tags I see now on TTAC:)

            Some food for thought.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The chicken tax exists because it was a retaliatory measure taken when the Germans raised their tariffs on imported US poultry.

            The chicken tax wasn’t designed to protect Detroit, but to punish the Germans for harming US agriculture. It didn’t even target the entire German auto industry, but just enough of it so that the US’ retaliatory efforts would cost the Germans about as much as it was costing American farmers. The Germans were not major players in the segment, and the overall truck segment at that time was fairly small — back in the 60s when the chicken tax came into effect, most Americans still drove passenger cars

            I know that you really, really enjoy sharing your opinions, but it would be nice if you would base at least some of them on facts.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – When it comes down to it, there’s no difference. Stop with the fairy tales. The parts might be different, but global trucks go together just the same as our mid-size. There’s nothing magical about them.

            If full-size trucks had any kind of ‘real’ protection, the ’80s mini-truck craze/fad/invasion would never have happened. And the Tundra and Titan are just as “protected” as ‘Big 3′ full-size. They should thrive, right along side. More so, when you think about it…

            The difference is we have the full range of pickups and not handicapped by only one of many pickup classes. It’s like going to a restaurant that only serves vegemite sandwiches. That might be enough for you, but yeah whatever. I’ll eat elsewhere.

            Next you’re gonna say we’re “protected” from imported vegemite???
            In a way, I guess we are.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          But a Crown Vic can tow 10,000 pounds, get 47 mpg and hold 3500 pounds in the trunk.

  • avatar

    Derek and Jack, keep up the good fight!

    If I were interested in such cars, I’d go out and drive one for myself. If it passed my muster, I’d buy one without hesitation, none other in the segment interest me in the least. Well, maybe the Escape.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Your calling out a one word comment(that i think was a joke) from a 2 page thread written by a forum mod with no influence to black list anyone what so ever. This just kinda seems like your picking a fight.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe that “Dave” is Allpar’s owner, not just a “forum mod”.

      • 0 avatar
        Thatkat09

        As long as “Dave” doesnt have the power to black list people outside of Cloud Car meet ups, i think Derek and Jack have nothing to worry about. I appreciate why Jack wrote this and 100% agree with him on everything he wrote. I just feel like hes writing it because Allpar members didnt like his websites content and not because its the right thing to do.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Why should anyone be surprised that a Fiat/Chrysler abomination would be so crappy?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This letter isn’t necessary, you don’t need to justify your findings to anyone. Derek did the right thing by giving his point of view. The people over at Allpar should think about the issues he mentioned instead of the fact that he mentioned them.

    Pre-production or not, press cars are going to give the public their first impressions of these cars. If it were me in charge of them, I would do double duty to make sure they were perfect, even better than production models. No one should be making excuses.

    That being said, after reading Derek’s review yesterday, I went and drove and inspected several Cherokees and found that the things he had mentioned were better in the vehicles that I drove. The stitching was not perfect, but it was much better than in the picture. SO, people should take what they want from the review, he did disclose that they were pre-production cars and made some suppositions that this might be why the issues he saw were present. That is honesty.

    I am a fan of most current Chrysler products too, but I refuse to bury my head in the sand when an issue is present. Sweeping it under the rug doesn’t help anyone, and it doesn’t help Chrysler make better cars. I want to know that Doug Betts (Chrysler head of quality) knows about these issues and I want to know that they’re going to fix them. In an ideal world, they would never rear their head. In the real world they do, then you make them right ASAP.

    The new Cherokee is a fine vehicle, and I think the marketplace will prove that. But making excuses for a few real issues fixes nothing.

  • avatar

    This AllPar site, along with others in the past, must really find TTAC to be a very valuable, truthful and influential site for them to go to such extremes and voice their opinion so loudly against.

    Good work!

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Keep up the honest reviews. In both the MKZ and Cherokee review, I did not feel at all Derek was unfairly harping on any issues that I wouldn’t want to see in a 30+ (or 40+) thousand dollar vehicle.

    Fanboys whining because of something they like getting a bad review doesn’t help the industry or customers.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. I’ll just add that the price of the vehicle is irrelevant. Anything seen should be reported.

    • 0 avatar
      GulfGolf

      Exactly! Test driving a car isn’t something I do often, so if issues that I might not notice right away are brought up by someone more experienced in evaluating the vehicle, great. I can then look for the problem areas and make a decision if they are really important or a deal breaker. I’d much rather go through the car thinking “it’s not as bad as the reviewer made it out to be” than be disappointed when my experiences don’t mesh with the glowing reviews everyone dishes out at first.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    this highlights one reason I quit posting in their forums. Allpar is a great resource for pretty much anything Chrysler, but in their forums they seem to go unhinged if anyone says the “wrong” things. The only acceptable criticism comes from a select few insufferable “Real Jeepers.”

    • 0 avatar
      neonturbo

      I used to post there too. There is one person who turns everything into a Jeep whining thread. There are other members like the former engineer who is very ornery and aggressive and bullies everyone. Another member basically chased me off that site because I said not every car needs 750 horsepower and the horsepower race is out of control. Half the people are there simply to argue I think.

      I do go there and read the latest new car rumors, but I will be damned if I will participate in a toxic environment like that. They have such a good site in some ways, especially their historic articles, but with so many know-it-all and insufferable members it is painful to visit.

  • avatar
    walker42

    The way to solve this is to hold off on press events until you can use production cars. Danio said he drove a new Cherokee at a dealer (with no fit & finish issues) a day after Derek drove a rough prototype at a press event, or so it would seem.

    If the Jeep staff went over a list of specific things that were wrong on the pre-production cars, I don’t think it’s fair to comment on those items. If they said the whole vehicle is rough and will be “much better”, without giving details, I guess it would be OK to mention a variety of concerns but then why even have the event?

    The picture of the stitch on the steering wheel is probably what pushed people over the edge.

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t mention to us beforehand that they were pre-production. After I noticed the issues, I asked them about it. The VIN numbers seemed to be fairly low, and they indicated that they were pre-production/early build. At no point did they disclose any of these issues. I was the one who raised them.

      • 0 avatar
        walker42

        Then don’t worry about it. Jeep/Chrysler screwed up and can’t get mad at you for that.

        Information sharing like this is a great thing. There will be learning for all and improvements down the road, I’m sure.

        • 0 avatar
          yesthatsteve

          “Then don’t worry about it. Jeep/Chrysler screwed up and can’t get mad at you for that.”

          Tell that to FoMoCo-Canada about Derek’s review of the MKZ

          • 0 avatar
            walker42

            Thought the MKZ was a rental if so fair game and apples and oranges versus this Cherokee issue. One is about the car the other about press processes.

            Doesn’t mean I think the MKZ review was fair or that I agree with it, have not driven the car.

            If it was as bad as Derek said he should be able to say so. If it wasn’t Ford should be able to get mad. I like it when I can hear both sides of the story. The OEs need to be kept honest, but so do the journalists.

            Going unnecessary negative for clicks and comments should always be call out. Not fair to the OE. Likewise a puffy, discreetly placed wobble should also be called out, not fair to readers and buyers. Not saying all journalists do this, but it must be a temptation for some at one point or another.

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        I think that…

        It is okay to have small fit and finish issues on a preproduction vehicle.

        It is okay to criticize these things so that they may be fixed.

        But, it doesn’t make sense to mess up like this when they invite the journalists over to scrutinize it. I would expect them to be the best samples they can make, like the review cars for the Vega and Citation that won car of the year awards.

        Unless…

        Chrysler is not even expecting anyone to criticize these cars, due to the fear of being “blacklisted”. The idea that the quality of cars can be compromised, because “don’t worry trucks will cover us”, or “don’t worry incentives and rental fleets will push them out the door”, or “don’t worry, they will get good reviews no matter what”, is a terrifying display of shortsightedness, in which case you could have wrote an article that would tear Chrysler and the whole auto industry a new one.

        I really really hope its just the sensor in my tinfoil hat malfunctioning.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        Is that wheel Cherokee-specific? I would have thought it was standard-issue Mopar. I know from experience they can do better than that; did they grab these from the reject bin?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Why bother stitching stuff? It’s easy to fake it and the result is usually better.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      Nope, Danio said somewhere about here that he also drove the car at a press event. (Could have been after you posted the above; I just wanted to point this out for completeness’ sake.)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Have you thought about renaming the site “Auto Outlaws”

    I had no idea auto makers were so thin-skinned, I thought Derek’s review was fair and even-handed. If these auto makers can’t take constructive criticism maybe they should make something less complex, like douche bags

    Let me add a word about pre-production fit and finish. That’s a lot of BS. Chrysler has had fit and finish issues going back to the ’50s. That wobbly console is no pre-production issue, I bought a brand new Grand Cherokee Overland back in 2002 for about a buck under $40K that had a wobbly console from day one. If you buy this Cherokee, you’re going to have a wobbly console

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      Allpar is not affiliated with Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        7402

        This may be technically true, but it is irrelevant. I learned on a different forum (not Mopar) that efforts to tell the truth about defects were quickly either shut down or the threads hijacked by posters who were apparently compensated for keeping things positive.

        Forums (Fora?) are social media. We are far enough into this century that every major corporation has professionals either employed or contracted to maintain and promote the image of their products every place opinions are expressed.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          how is it “irrelevant?” Lie2me was complaining about automakers being “thin-skinned,” it’s very relevant to point out that the “thin-skinned” party is NOT the automaker in question.

          • 0 avatar
            7402

            My point, based on my belief from experience, is that the major fan sites are as in bed with the manufacturers as the typical auto journo. I concede the possibility that Allpar may be different than other forums I frequent that have clear and frequent manufacturer bias. Yes, there are lots of individual contributors and most of the valuable information comes from owners. But there is probably some consideration making the rounds for some “contributors” who are always defending and promoting the manufacturers.

            But don’t take my word for it. Read your favorite forum deeply and with a dash of cynicism–you’ll find the shills.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          “hijacked by posters who were apparently compensated for keeping things positive.”

          That’s interesting that you say that. On my Mustang forum, one the guys there (a member of the MCA) was talking about a story in their club magazine about how one of the contributors was approached by another manufacturer to bad lip Ford products on a Ford forum.

          After reading that, it makes you wonder about some of the comments you see, especially the truly rabid ones.

    • 0 avatar

      It was a fan site. Chrysler was incredibly gracious for the way they responded to my criticisms. Furthermore I think it’s admirable that they chose the RAV4, CRV and Escape Titanium as the competitive vehicles. They could have taken the easy way out with base models, or no competitive drives, but they didn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      In fairness, the replies here are from *fans*, not from Chrysler/Jeep/FIAT.

      Fans can be very … touchy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Then why bring this whole thing up?

      • 0 avatar

        It is worth bringing up because the touchy fans need to realize they are not doing Chrysler any favors by helping them to whitewash problems. LIke Jack said, “If you love Chrysler, then you’d better hope that they make a good car.”

        That goes for all of us and our chosen allegiances. Quality matters.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          That is it in a nutshell.

          I have an indirect but significant stake in how well GM does-not like a “my portfolio will lose a couple points if they don’t beat the Street’s estimates” type stake, more like people will be living in my house if they don’t flourish.

          It does me (or anyone else dependent on GM’s success) no favors when some corrupt reviewer glosses over the shortcomings of a mass-market vehicle like the Cruze just so that the General will give them a CTS-V wagon with fresh tires to turn in to smoke.

  • avatar

    Anyone with any questions can email me at derek at ttac dot com or leave a note on the TTAC Facebook page. Feel free to reference my reviews on the Grand Cherokee SRT, the Dart and the 300C if anyone feels I have an unfair bias towards Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Right you are Derek. Your Grand Cherokee SRT review had me chomping at the bit to buy one.

      Then I woke up from my dream, and checked the price out!

      The second “T” in TTAC means “truth” so far were sticking with that. I see no reason to change.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Unfair bias? Hardly. I just read the review after reading Jack’s story. I would say you were more than fair with your outlining of what was excellent/good, and what was not. One item, the stellar offroad capability, likely has a lot to do with the disappointing ride quality. Perhaps a design tradeoff, but I suspect the choices were made with an eye toward preventing criticism that this is not a true Jeep. Other items like the wheel stitching can be corrected pretty easily. The bigger problem is the cheap interior parts that not only look cheap, but they lack the structural rigidity to convey a feel of quality. That will not be addressed in “production” models because those components were built that way deliberately so as to “save money”. Of course they will not save anything because potential customers will see cheap parts, and some actual customers will grouse about them or they will break. Either way, anything saved will come out of the hide of the Jeep’s reputation which will cost sales. How the beancounters can be so stupid with these things for years on end is beyond me. And after the reputation of the product is trashed, they will likely have to spend the money anyway on the first refresh cycle to eliminate the complaints. Sound familiar? Keep it up Derek. You have nothing to apologize for. That was truly a fair and balanced report.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Die hard mopar fan here.. this is a non-issue. TTAC should take the high road and not even respond to that forum post. Any and every vehicle will have problems.. None are perfect. The fact the allpar guys are whining is pathetic. It’s criticism! Selling cars is a tough biz. Toughen up..
    And TTAC, by all means, keep reporting what you are seeing, that is the way it should be.

  • avatar
    old fart

    We are all here to hear the truth, the good AND bad not the B.S. There are plenty of other sites for kissing up.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Democracy is great, until we dislike those who are elected.

    Opinions are great, unitl they conflict too much with our own.

    Fanboys are not completely reasonable, by definition. Fans are fanatical, i.e. they have emotional attachments to things that are excessive. They’re whiny, that’s to be expect.

    That being said, it’s accepted practice in the industry to let journalists test vehicles that are prototypes. Prototypes will, by definition, not completely resemble the final product. One can question whether that practice is smart, but it is to be expected that there may be issues with some of the details that don’t end up in the production cars, and no one should be overly critical of those details any more than one should judge a published book by a draft copy.

    It’s fine to mention fit and finish, but I would avoid making any firm judgments, whether positive or negative, until the car is out on dealer lots. And at that point, I’d look at a few different cars to see how they turned out.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      There’s another angle to it: knowing that prototype vehicles will have these sorts of problems, I’d assume that the manufacturers would task a few folks with inspecting the vehicles closely. (And I’m fine with that, because it’s a prototype, not a production model.)

      The fact that they don’t tells me something about their overall attitude towards quality, or their attitude towards the press corps.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “There’s another angle to it: knowing that prototype vehicles will have these sorts of problems, I’d assume that the manufacturers would task a few folks with inspecting the vehicles closely.”

        No, the automakers don’t have to know that.

        It’s the automakers’ party, and they can invite who they want. If there is a critic who doesn’t appreciate the fact that a pre-production car will necessary have some flaws, then that person doesn’t need to be invited.

        You seem to be suggesting that it would be preferable for the automakers to game the publications with specially prepared cars, rather than providing the works-in-progress cars, warts and all, with the usual caveats. If you actually want the truth, then that would be a fine way to not get it.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    Here’s a crazy thought: I’ll put the blame on Chrysler for providing pre-production vehicles for journalists to review. To put an unfinished/unpolished version of your product in the hands of people who review and possibly shape the decisions of your customers fails the common sense test. Just because your competitors might do it doesn’t make it smart. Wait until you’ve got the bugs worked out and give them something off the production line to review.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I’ll put the blame on Chrysler for providing pre-production vehicles for journalists to review.”

      I’ll blame this compulsion to find someone to blame.

      Rightly or wrongly, it’s industry practice to provide pre-production cars for first reviews. (This satisfies the automotive writer’s desire to have advanced information that can attract readers, plus it provides automakers with a last-minute focus group who can help them to tweak the final product, so there is mutual benefit.)

      Those are the rules of the game. Those who don’t like it don’t have to be invited to play.

      On the other hand, it isn’t necessary to abide by the rules if you aren’t in the game, either. When Robert Farago founded this site, he accepted that he was doomed to be a perpetual outsider, which meant that this site would never be first, nor would it be able to access many cars to which others have access. Being banished provides a certain freedom, since there is no need to worry about losing access if you never had it in the first place.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I ordered my SRT-4 sight unseen, trusting that what I had read about the car was honest.”

    This seems like a bad idea. Even if a reviewer is being perfectly honest.

    I mean I’m really a fan of the Lancer Ralliart. Like two thumbs up- better than the WRX and Cobalt SS. I don’t think any publication ranked the Lancer in front of the Suabru or Chevy though. I don’t think it’s because people have it out for Mitsubishi, but if I just went with journalistic wisdom, I would end up with a car that I like less.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Allpar is hardly what I would call objective, it’s a fanboy site for all things Mopar related. They are definitely stuck in the “glass is half full” mode; they’d have to be to wax on about some of the crap that they have listed under a “Classic” category on their website. That said, I think they do a pretty good job of reporting what’s up and coming, as best as anyone can with a peripatetic Marchionne running the company.

    My point is, don’t sweat it as their comments or encouragements are truly meaningless; you need to call them as you see them. If Allpar wants to encourage Chrysler Group LLC to blacklist TTAC, well, I say the same to both of them that I did to Ford of Canada over the MKZ dress-down, F’em!

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    You are addressing Allpar. They are Chrysler apologists.

    They will accept stitching that calluses your hand because they drink the kool aid.

    Reading that forum thread made my head hurt. At least there are a few rational people over there. ‘Nit picking’ to them is criticizing a $60K MkZ with a fuel door that pops open over night.

    Excuse me while I leave work to crush beers until I’m numb to stupidity.

    At least Chrysler stopped trying to engineer transmissions. Now if they can only farm out their powertrain ops they’ll be all set!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Actually, its too bad that Chrysler stopped engineering transmission. The 904/727 rear wheel drive units were superb and better than pretty much any competing units. And their three speed FWD units were excellent as well. It was at that point that Mopar ceased real engineering on transmissions.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    If I was a Mopar fanboi all hot for a Cherokee, I would be saying “thanks” for the article.

    Then I could simply walk into a Jeep dealer with my huge cartoon sack of $37,000, and make sure my new car didn’t have a gimp console or steering wheel.

    I thought the article was complimentary anyway. A lot of these owners will spend thousands of miserable miles behind the wheel while driving on the street, at the same time being content that it’s “the real deal” off-roader.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    “There’s a strong temptation to say nice things about the car, particularly if you can wind them back later in a comparison test.”

    That is exactly why I NEVER trust a new car review from all the print mags. I always wait for the comparison tests before I feel like I can trust a review.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    A long suffering Mopar man, I’ve owned:

    1970 Challenger (totaled)
    1971 Plymouth (used)
    1976 Dart (used)
    1984 Daytona Turbo (New)
    1989 Caravan (new)
    1994 Intrepid (New)
    1997 T & C (New)

    I still want to know what is good and bad about a car review. If I only wanted the manufacturers drivel, I would just pick up the brochure from the dealership.

    Keep up the good work and call them as you see them.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Like PICKUPTRUCKS.com TTAC might also be targeted by Allpar fanatics.

    These guys are pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Allpar Guy

      What YOU said is pathetic.

      This is the quote from TTAC: “Today, however, I saw that Allpar.com’s administrator has called for Chrysler to blacklist TTAC from future press vehicles. ”

      This was what I posted, as a person, on Allpar, which admittedly is a bit of an over-reaction:

      “Maybe Chrysler will think twice about giving them access to the most important events in future… or am I just sour because we were not included?”

      Do you think that MAYBE there’s a bit of hyperbole in the reaction here? (And that is ALL I posted. No more. Not the other complaints.)

      Geez, you’d think I’d telephoned Sergio Marchionne or something.

      And yes, I am perennially pissed off that Autoblog, Jalopnik, and just about every other site on the planet, including some that still seem to treat Chrysler like dirt (the latter does not include TTAC), seems to get pushed ahead of us for such events, and yes, I could have phrased it better.

      But of course since we NEVER report on flaws in Chrysler products, which will be obvious if you read any of our reviews, and have watched our news stories, and have read our interviews, there’s no point in VISITING to see what we ACTUALLY say. No, just take TTAC’s word for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Egotistic hyper-sensitivity momentarily transferred from privacy issues to your meek, passing comment.

        Sorry, JB’s just casting about for a tyrant ’cause the black helicopters aren’t out today.

        • 0 avatar
          Allpar Guy

          So… you too will just take whatever is said in here as Truth and anything that might be outside as imaginary?

          Nice.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            How could you mistake my intent like that?

            I meant you did nothing objectionable, Baruth just needs something to rail against.

            Apologies, it occurs to me that you may not have witnessed his months-long jihad against government surveillance generally and it’s impact upon speeders specifically.

            He’s gotta have an oppressor to feel morally superior to and today he chose you.

          • 0 avatar
            Allpar Guy

            I am very sorry, Kenmore. I could mistake your intent very easily after reading some of the rather nasty comments in this thread.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            No prob… I wasn’t clear at all.

            And you are the injured party here. Ridiculous overreaction.

          • 0 avatar
            TEXN3

            I’d say that anyone with a Thrifty rental car offering next to their name has suffered from brain injury. Or is as high as the clouds that POS was named for.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Wow… I’m a talking refrigerator and all you notice is his Cirrus?

            Tough audience.

        • 0 avatar
          rushn

          You got something on your nose…

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        “And yes, I am perennially pissed off that Autoblog, Jalopnik, and just about every other site on the planet, including some that still seem to treat Chrysler like dirt (the latter does not include TTAC), seems to get pushed ahead of us for such events, and yes, I could have phrased it better. ”

        Dave, did you ever stop to think that maybe Chrysler doesn’t feel the “need” to engage Allpar (or its readers) on that level? As Derek’s review said:

        “Chrysler provided airfare, meals and accomodations for the writer on this driving event.”

        Media events cost a LOT of money to put on. I know, I’ve been to several (not on the journo side,) in fact I happened to meet Jack Baruth at one a few years back. Chrysler’s going to spend the money to get writers from publications/sites the average car buyer reads; your site consists of people already firmly in the MoPar camp. It’s not a good use of their marketing budget to preach to the converted. Sorry you feel slighted by that.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        “And yes, I am perennially pissed off that Autoblog, Jalopnik, and just about every other site on the planet, including some that still seem to treat Chrysler like dirt (the latter does not include TTAC), seems to get pushed ahead of us for such events, and yes, I could have phrased it better.”

        Dave, media events cost a lot to run. I’ve been to several (not on the journo side) in fact I met Jack Baruth at one a few years ago. Chrysler is going spend that money first and foremost on publications/sites the average car buyer might read. Spending marketing budget on preaching to the converted isn’t wise. Sorry you feel slighted by that.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Might be just me, but Neal’s writing style would be a great match for this site….

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s only the icon status of the Cherokee that draws out the defensive fans.

    In contrast, bad reviews of the Dart hardly stir anyone. Even Dodge/Chrysler fans can claim it’s really an Italian car, if they want to distance themselves from it.

    Truthfully, I’m not sure how much effect a bad or good review has on a new car’s sales, CR’s Fisker review being a very notable exception.

    Keep up the good work.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    The Allpar guys are confused. This site is “The Truth About Cherokees”.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Good response. Lets hope someone truly important at Chrysler reads it.

    • 0 avatar
      Allpar Guy

      90% of this response is wrong because it’s implied that an Allpar administrator made these criticisms, in some sort of official capacity. In fact, it was people on an open forum, plus one off-handed, tongue-in-cheek comment.

      So now everyone here can jump on and attack the people at allpar who DO try to keep it honest, not a fanboy site, and not a bunch of knee-jerkers who leap to conclusions and then pile onto one of the last independent (as in not part of a big-money corporate network) site and drag it into the dirt.

      So thanks, guys, for not bothering to look at what we do, what we work at, and how hard we try to fight our own bias and report the truth.

      Chrysler people get mad at us for reporting problems. You dismiss us for being fanboys. Maybe we’re striking the right balance, or maybe I should just start running it as a fanboy site… since apparently that’s all we’ll ever be considered anyway. I’ll just take out all our criticisms from the reviews, I’ll take out those places where we were the first to report and investigate common defects, I’ll remove all that. Will you be happy then that your world is as you expect it to be?

      Oh, and do you judge thetruthaboutcars.com from the quality of the postings in the forums? Do you blow any of them out of context and seize on them for a cheap editorial?

      • 0 avatar
        Thatkat09

        You go dude. Me and my 98 Cirrus are 100% behind you.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Somebody at work recently acquired a 97-00ish burgundy Cirrus all loaded up. This one has some severe paint peeling issues but otherwise is in good shape. Pity nothing like that is still made.

          • 0 avatar
            Thatkat09

            The cloud cars seem to hold up incredibly well. Especially compared to the Sebring and Stratus that replaced them. I keep mine around as a second car because its just been so damn reliable. V6 is a slug and gets crappy gas mileage but i love the thing to damn much.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Thatkat09 – The first domestic sedan that had a truly rigid chassis that I ever drove (at the ripe and of 18) was a 1997 Dodge Stratus that I was provided with as a long term loaner by my insurance company after an accident (not my fault).

            I will never forget driving that Dodge over incredibly bad sections of roadway in Michigan and being literally wowed by the complete absence of flex & twist anywhere jn the chassis. In this regard, at least, it was light years ahead of any GM or Ford product I had driven up to that point.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            “I will never forget driving that Dodge over incredibly bad sections of roadway in Michigan and being literally wowed by the complete absence of flex & twist anywhere jn the chassis. In this regard, at least, it was light years ahead of any GM or Ford product I had driven up to that point”.

            While I can’t speak for the rest of Ford’s 1997 and prior, but if most of your Ford drives involved a Fox or SN95 based Mustang, I could definitely see where your coming from. They were really flimsy. One of the de rigueur mods for those cars are sub-frame connectors.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          Hahaha, someone went there.

      • 0 avatar
        RideTheCliche

        Hang on a sec… So this dust-up is over a *forum* post on AllPar and not something on the front/news page? I really enjoy reading TTAC and AllPar but to begin stomping and posturing over a forum post seems dick-ish to me. Keep it in the forums where it’s OK to shoot from the hip. A butthurt response to a forum post doesn’t belong on the TTAC front page.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        @Allpar Guy

        I’m not sure if you’re angry with this article and it’s comments or just butt-hurt because you weren’t included in the press event.

        “Maybe Chrysler will think twice about giving them access to the most important events in future… or am I just sour because we were not included?”

        Yeah, looks like butt-hurt, but of course you had no way of knowing that we overreact to *everything* over here and so it goes

  • avatar

    If you love (or even like) a person, you forgive their flaws and get angry when someone talks badly about them. And I’m sure __no one here__ has ever personified a car.

  • avatar
    Allpar Guy

    In your recent Jack Baruth article, you claimed that “the Allpar administrator” demanded TTAC not get any more review cars.

    I don’t know who you THINK the Allpar administrator is, but we have one for the forums, nicknamed Stratuscaster, who is rather level headed and made no such demand; and another, which is me, who also made no such demand.

    Also, your “contact me” verification method is infuriating since it doesn’t seem to work at all, at least not from a Mac.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Apple hasn’t yet approved the app you need to buy to access him.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I don’t know who you THINK the Allpar administrator is, but we have one for the forums, nicknamed Stratuscaster, who is rather level headed and made no such demand; and another, which is me, who also made no such demand.”

      Well, Dave (who has the title of “administrator”) said:

      “Maybe Chrysler will think twice about giving them access to the most important events in future… or am I just sour because we were not included?”

      That sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking. Perhaps it wasn’t, but I could see how it would be interpreted as such.

      You are Dave, aren’t you?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      We don’t accept none of them darn commie apple products on this site!

      Posted from my iPhone.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I, like many, appreciate the honest reviews which keeps the articles interesting. Honestly even before reading the article, I was expecting quality issues to be mentioned since it is a Chrysler product.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Seems to me that Fiatsler’s recent new models have been less than overwhelming. But since the recent Grand Cherokee is by all reports, the segment leader (and very well developed) why are the Dart and, now, 500L and Cherokee “not ready for prime time?”
    With the bad quality reps for both Chrysler and Fiat, each and every new launch needs to be better than perfect. Just sayin’.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup, being a Mopar Man is just slightly more difficult and heartbreaking than being a Cleveland Browns fan your whole life (like me.) Chrysler needs to get it right as a gift to their loyal fans of the last several decades.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        As a Steeler fan I have to laugh. Today’s Chrysler is doing quite well. It almost seems like science fiction when not very long ago site like this one had the deathwatch out on Chrysler.

        If you go to USA Todays survey of surveys about truck reviews, Ram truck is first and Tundra is fifth(hardly middle of the pack)
        http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/Full-Size-Pickup-Trucks/

        Grand Cherokee and Durango sold 24,000 units last month and are considered industry standards.

        The 300, Charger and Challenger on the verge of going evergreen and many say they are the heir apparent to Ford’s popular Panther cars.

        Chrysler now has the most modern transmissions in the industry.

        The HEMI and Pentastar are industry legends.

        The Dart now has a 2.4L engine that now has the low end torque that customers like.

        Chrysler will soon offer light duty V6 diesels in Grand Cherokees and Ram trucks.

        Prototypes of a very promising d-class replacement for the present 200 are now driving around Auburn Hills and it looks promising that Dodge will get a rear wheel drive d-class based replacemt for the Avenger based on the coming Alfa Romeo Guilia.

        Chrysler is one of the most exciting car companies on the planet with a bright future.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Just this week TTAC gave a just-shy-of-fawning salute to Chrysler minivans. There was a general consensus that though they aren’t perfect, at the different trim levels they bring good value for the money, and they are good at moving people and things. There’s no prejudice against Chrysler. Go home, Allpar, you’re drunk.

  • avatar
    carguy

    “All the early reviews of anything nowadays are positive.”

    Ain’t that the truth. While the launch marketing money is up for grabs there is never a bad ting to be heard about any new car.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    mad_science
    “If you love (or even like) a person, you forgive their flaws and get angry when someone talks badly about them. And I’m sure __no one here__ has ever personified a car.”

    That is a bang on post. I’ve seen brand loyal guys have mechanical problems with their favorite brand and gloss it over but if the same thing happened to a rival brand they happen to drive, they will deride the “other” brand till the cows come home.

    Good work TTAC. The auto industry has been protected and coddled for way too long. A turd is a turd regardless of which badge is glued to it.

    @Big Al from Oz – agreed. PUTC is now PuckUpTrolls.Com. They posted a ” Let’s Get Back on Track” story and a troll still posted under my blog name.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      A perfect example of brand loyal guys are those on Bimmerfest. They gloss over stuff that just shouldn’t break all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Lou_BC
      Some are posting here on TTAC with different tags as well. Some even have multiple tags on this site.

      You like me have turned bitter after some of the trolls target you.

      My view on your average Allpar person isn’t very good after seeing the mayhem they have caused on Pickuptrucks.com.

      Allpar is fighting PUTC because they deem it pro Ford.

      If any manufacturer make rubbish the world should know.

      I praise the efforts here on TTAC.

      As most can tell I’m for the consumer first, not the manufacturers, unions, government, etc. It our money we part with, not theirs.

  • avatar
    walker42

    I noticed today’s TTAC includes a review of the new 4-Runner by Alex Dykes that runs under the title “Pre-Production Review: 2014 Toyota 4-Runner.” The review yesterday by Derek ran under the title “Capsule Review: 2014 Jeep Cherokee.”

    Both are new cars for 2014 with the Cherokee being more new in that it is a replacement vehicle where the 4-Runner is more of a refresh. But the titles are completely different.

    Does that come from a difference in how they were presented by their respective OEs or is that at the writer’s discretion? Does Alex have any comments about what happened here on the Cherokee?

  • avatar
    walker42

    I noticed today’s TTAC includes a review of the new 4-Runner by Alex Dykes that runs under the title “Pre-Production Review: 2014 Toyota 4-Runner.” The review yesterday by Derek ran under the title “Capsule Review: 2014 Jeep Cherokee.”

    Both are new cars for 2014 with the Cherokee being “more new” in that it is a replacement vehicle where the 4-Runner is more of a refresh. But the titles are completely different.

    Does that come from a difference in how they were presented by their respective OEs or is that at the writer’s discretion? Does Alex have any comments about what happened on the Cherokee?

  • avatar
    walker42

    The review of the new 4-Runner by AD runs under the title “Pre-Production Review: 2014 Toyota 4-Runner.” The review yesterday by DK ran under the title “Capsule Review: 2014 Jeep Cherokee.”

    Both are new for 2014 and in both cases the press vehicles were pre-production but the titles are different.

    Does that come from a difference in how they were presented by their OEs or is that at the writer’s discretion?

  • avatar
    shelvis

    And how are TTAC’s clicks doing the past couple days? Should we be expecting more hard hitting open letters designed to get the B&B feverishly hitting refresh?
    In no way did Dave suggest a blacklist but I think you guys know that .
    This Benghazi style faux outrage can get some of the B&B fanbois riled up much to the delight of whoever is in charge of your Google Analytics page but cooler heads can see the real truth about Cherokees.

  • avatar

    I thought it was a fairly positive review, so this missive comes as a surprise. Maybe Allpar people want nothing less than utter adoration, which isn’t going to happen even with best cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Yeah, those quality missteps seem like stuff that could easily be corrected by working with suppliers or going to new suppliers. Hopefully Fiat/Chrysler can work that out; the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler are impressive products. There’s no reason why the Cherokee shouldn’t be as well.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Somewhere is a third tablet on which is inscribed: “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. As a Mopar fan (NOT fanboi!) I really like this new Cherokee. I’m not 100% sold on the light treatment, but I saw it at the NY auto show and was very impressed. But there is no excuse for anything shabby on a vehicle you’re introducing to the people you KNOW are going to report on it to the public. Chrysler does deserve to be commended for delaying the launch until they get the trans programmed right as opposed to other makers (looking at you, Ford).

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Chrysler really hung their balls out on this new Cherokee with a new transmission, 2 new new motors, a unique new 4×4 system and all the electronics that go with all these new components. The Cherokee itself is groundbreaking for a transverse engines front wheel drive based crossover. It’s definitely a step up from the Patriot or the rest of the industry. If they pull it off, it will be a huge accomplishment and that needs to be talked about as well.

      Chrysler does need to work on their launches which have been quite ambitious but flawed. Maybe the 200 will be the perfect launch they need to convince the fence sitters and ideological pundits what a great company they have become. This time they will have the dealer network in place, all the drivetrains will be proven and no factories will have to be shut down. Hopefully the review the of the next 200 will make everyone happy with good reasons

      TTAC has come a long way lately, good luck to you guys.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I admire Chrysler as a company for responding to that review in a level-headed manner, they’re going about the whole thing in a decent orderly fashion.

    On the other hand, even though Allpar has oodles of useful information on even the most rarest of K-Cars (one that still works), I never really did care for their many inane claims like VW stealing from Chrysler with the Golf, Reliants that get 40mpg stock, etc. Now theres this.

    I’ve seen first hand Fit and Finish issues on fresh Chryslers, for the sake of future owners I hope they can solve this issue.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    “I admire Chrysler as a company for responding to that review in a level-headed manner, they’re going about the whole thing in a decent orderly fashion.”

    This. Isn’t the point of reviews such as Derek’s constructive criticism? I hope that Chrysler makes the Cherokee a better product. Who knows, I might even add a V6 Cherokee Trailhawk to my stable if they fix the irritating issues that Derek mentioned in his review. The 2006 Liberty CRD that my parents bought new (and still own, diesel FTW) during the cost-cutting DaimlerChrysler days didn’t exhibit quality defects like the ones present in the new Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The purpose of Dereks reviews are to point out flaws only to improve them, no where do I catch him needlessly exaggerating an issue on a given car for our entertainment. His reviews do more for a given product than all of the needless hype combined.

      Hype drives sales, but fixing faults keeps customers.

  • avatar
    Legally Brunette

    For the life of me I cannot figure out why anyone would NOT want to have every flaw, glaring or hidden, pointed out about a vehicle on a site that is supposed to be dedicated to telling the truth about cars (or in any car review upon which they choose to rely). I spent (wasted) a few minutes of my life reading all the comments on the Allpar “hit piece” link. Even the title was condescending, with the use of “truthiness” and “hit piece”. You know how the people who run the site feel without having to read any of the actual (often painful) comments.

    Jack’s piece is not addressed just to Allpar, but to everyone in the MOPAR-loving community who might have taken offense to Derek’s review. In my job, I have to tell my clients the truth about their proposals, and just like Jack, Derek, and all the TTAC folks here, sometimes what I have to say isn’t well-received. But what people believe about something has no affect on its veracity.

    I love Chrysler products. I have 2 parked at my house right now; a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and a Crossfire. My most recent previous vehicle was also a Chrysler product. I would love to be able to drive reliable, well-made, attractive Chrysler products for the rest of my days, but I will always want to know the truth about any vehicle in which I am interested. For their dedication to that narrative, and that narrative alone, even when it makes their job difficult, I thank (and applaud) TTAC.

    P.S. That Cherokee is hella ugly. I’m not sure I could have gotten past that in a review. The only pictures in which it isn’t totally hideous are the ones where it is covered in dust; then it’s just mostly hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      “I spent (wasted) a few minutes of my life reading all the comments on the Allpar “hit piece” link. Even the title was condescending, with the use of “truthiness” and “hit piece”. You know how the people who run the site feel without having to read any of the actual (often painful) comments.”

      Wasn’t an article, just a forum thread and posted by a frequent TTAC commentator who’s weird about Mopar at that. So the guy who made the offhand comment what started all this did nothing but pile on, and pretty lightly.

      In Jack’s defense though, the term “called for” is toothless, technically accurate, and only vaguely inflammatory and that first paragraph could be read as equally tongue-in-cheek as the original comment, which was clearly just, well, a forum post.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Wow that review was very fair and in no way would make me avoid the Cherokee. I will just make sure the updates to the transmission is acceptable and the supplier issues are worked out at the dealer. Supplier issues should be expected but you can’t ignore them since there is a small chance they make it to production. The big thing stopping me is if I wanted a Mopar that could hold 5 and was sat higher I would just get a Caravan or if I wanted a off roader I would get a Wangler.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    “Mopar Nation” got a chuckle out of me.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    allpar seems to be typical of the “one-make-forums”

    they are so caught up in their brand that cant see their own faults, their brand’s faults or the successes of their competitors

    if its a ‘one make forum’ take everything they say with a grain of salt

    i mean it seems even Chrysler stays away from them… it doesnt seem like courting their attention is worth the time since they’re just cheerleaders

    i agree that in 2013, there are not inherently bad cars… the MKZ is not ‘bad’ and this Jeep isn’t ‘bad’ – they are just plagued by faults that shouldnt be there in this day and age and its sad their fans and the companies cant see that

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      Automotive fanboys are some of the most insane and zealous people on the internet; the brand/model really does become almost like a religion.

      That’s why I like The Temple of VTEC. Maybe the other Honda fan sites are like this too, but at least half the people on that site do nothing but trash modern Hondas. It’s so refreshing.

  • avatar
    jdoee100

    “I saw that Allpar.com’s administrator has called for Chrysler to blacklist TTAC from future press vehicles,” Allpar administrator did not call for blacklist or even mention blacklist. Very disappointed with this article. I think Jack Baruth owes an apology.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I thought Derek’s Cherokee review was fine. Obviously Chrysler has issues with tuning the new 9 speed ZF tranny. I’ve read several places that nobody ever automatically gets it to ninth, even in the Dart, because it’s so high geared it cannot maintain road speed against wind resistance even when manually forced there. So, that’s a pretty big conundrum after investing hundreds of millions, and then you realize you gotta tool up for a new lower axle ratio too.

    Perhaps till then all new owners will need to emulate NormSV650 and live on top of a mountain where the wind always blows obligingly from behind, and Buick Encores and Saabs thrive in an alternate universe delivering out of this world mileage downhill. The new tranny in the Cherokee should hit ninth going downhill with a following gale as well.

    But I digress. TTAC always goes on about telling the truth, and I do believe it tries. However, not all testers are equal, nor are they equally annoyed by the same problem if they see it as a problem at all.

    I regard Alex Dykes’ reviews as generally laudatory in tone, for example. Derek is the most critical. Baruth just flat out loves cars and finds joy in all of them – to the point where we only find out his true rankings when he drives something better, later.

    Which is his criticism of the print mags, of course, and not particularly justified from my point-of-view. Take the C/D test of the Hyundai Azera in a comparison test this past July, for example. It came in dead last.

    “Everything about the Azera says ‘Yes!”. That is, until you move the gear selector to ‘D.’ …….. What lets down the Azera is its steering. Tuned too heavy, it feels leaden at low speeds, always jerking back to center with a peevish snap””

    Hey, real praise, right? Continuing:

    “And not enough body structure is asked to absorb the shock waves generated by too much damping resistance. The result is a continuous crash and reverb over the minutest of bumps. Call for the brakes and the answer is weak.

    “Hyundais have been improving, but we have to keep saying this: The company can’t be taken seriously by our crowd until it fixes its driving experience.”

    They then damn the Kia Cadenza with faint praise, saying “..and hard impacts still rattle the car’s relatively loose rafters.”

    I find C/Ds criticism at least as harsh as TTAC’s. Dykes was nowhere near as critical of the Cadenza as the print mag.

    So where does this leave me? I try to read as many road tests as I can, while learning each “tester”‘s secret code or manner of criticism, so that I can interpret what they say in my terms. I can then decide if a specific problem is likely to bother me personally.

    What I have not been able to do is to assign one site or one print mag my full trust, TTAC included. Don’t think that’s possible at all. So I read it all and weigh the pros and cons, already translated into my own mind’s eye.

    Of course, you do have to remain awake. For example, there is a thinly veiled advertorial in the latest October C/D, which overall is the worst issue they’ve churned out in a fair while. It’s on page 63 and yes, it’s on the new Cherokee! It’s called a “feature”, and I knew it would be absolute fluff, and it was, written by some donk name of Andrew Wendler, not even on their masthead as an unpaid intern floor-sweeper. Probably some Chrysler hack. So you have to keep your wits about you and disregard “features” – they did one on the Dart over a year ago, when it was regarded as the second coming, later retracted in a “road test”.

    Nobody is fully right or wrong, ever. It’s why I pity fanbois or folk who place their full trust in a single source. It’s also why I take with a grain of salt any criticism emanating from one publishing outlet against another. I’ll do the required filtering myself, thanks all the same.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      They don’t make a Dart 9 speed! So much for your credibility!

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        They were suppose to, Wikipedia says they do, it’s a an easy mistake to make, unless you know about Chrysler’s failure rate on promised anything

        Available transmissions for the Dart per Wikipedia

        Transmission 6-speed FPT C635 manual[2]
        6-speed FPT C635 DCT automatic[2]
        6-speed Powertech 6F24 automatic[2]
        9-speed ZF 9HP automatic

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          No where in Wikipedia or anyplace does it say that anyone has driven a 9 speed Dart.

          “I’ve read several places that nobody ever automatically gets it to ninth, even in the Dart,”

          Someday, all front wheel drive Chrysler products will have the ZF 9 speed but the Cherokee is the first.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You won’t find one on a dealer lot, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    It appears the TTAC platform has achieved stable orbit.

  • avatar
    jjf

    Let’s see:

    Alex rates the new Tundra and Fiat 500L as meh.
    Derek disses the MKZ, and disses the the new Cherokee a little less.
    At the same time TTAC counterbalances Derek’s MKZ review with one by a European guy who drove a rental across the country and liked it. Personally I thought this was over compensation, but others seemed to enjoy it.
    You rate a C class as meh while heaping praise on the Town and Country.

    Excellent truthful reviews in my opinion. Nothing to apologize for.

    I am glad you are touting TTAC’s integrity. This is far more valuable press events or other freebies. The reviews by yourself, Derek, and Alex have been great lately.

    Enterprise has you covered as evidenced by your last few reviews. I would would love a recurring series reviewing $8/day hotwire rental reviews.

    Keep it up!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @wmba – great points.
    Anyone who wants to learn anything needs to look at multiple sources. For a test or shootout to be credible, one needs to be able to ascertain the test criteria and understand how those results fit that criteria. If test results or faults/flaws are replicated by other evaluators, that corroborating evidence validates the previous results.

    Fanboys will hunt for tests that validate their assumptions and deride any result or opinion that is different from their own pre-existing beliefs i.e. Allpar. That sort of behavior is primordial in nature. It may work for cavemen looking for nuts and berries to feed their tribe or defend from another tribe’s cavemen, but it is a poor way to exist in the current millennia when one is looking at spending a large sum of money on a machine.
    A “test drive” often does boil down to how the particular evaluator feels about aspects of the product. I’ve done enough practical exams to know that some evaluators will nit pick a certain point whereas others will not even notice.
    I prefer to look at shootouts as opposed to individual tests. I like any evaluation or shootout that has clear test criteria with a logical scoring system.
    Allpar or any site can say what they want, but if I can’t validate what is printed(good or bad), it is poor quality evidence to me and I won’t base a major purchase on that sole source.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Lou_BC
      Part of my job for a while was working at our college as a courseware developer, many aspects of developing courseware is used daily by everyone.

      The first thing is to create a task analysis of what you want to learn, then you must assess, so assessment criteria is required.

      In the end you must evaluate your processes to ensure you get the best possible result using your assessment criteria, similar to sampling.

      This sampling must target and meet all of your outcomes.

      I will surprise many. Lot’s of people don’t know what to look for when evaluating, or as you pointed out blatant oversight of shortcomings by phan boi’s is a common practice to justify a positionn or paradigm you have.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Hilarious Big Al has a government job!

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @billfrombuckhead
          Yes, the taxpayers foot my bills. Subsidised, no. Unionised, no. Salaried, yes.

          My line of work would be the second oldest profession and the first global business.

          I don’t work to rip off the public, I work to serve the public.

          I’m not a civil/public servant, I don’t have a useless arts degree. I view most art degrees more or less as lifestyle courses.

          Real degrees involve science, maths, etc.

          My first specialisation was engines and tranmission, props, jets, etc.

          Now I cover all aspects of mechanical aviation systems (anything without free flowing electrons).

          I was offered to work at our college and I have written several engineering reference books and assisted in the developement of complete aviation courses.

          In the end I was responsible for our Maths and Physics and the remediation/counselling of our struggling members. Very rewarding and sad at the same time.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    I look at a Jeep forum and owners aren’t too kind either. Some have no problems, but many are having software issues with no fix in site until 2014 or later.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Keep up the good work guys. Allpar is a great site for history, but I’d not call them neutral in any sense. During the great meltdown of 2008 they were the puppy in the window, clueless as to the reality of the gift of Chrysler to Fiat and why.

    Chryslers I’d consider:
    300S
    Town + Country
    Grand Cherokee
    Wrangler

    That list is much longer than my GM list, mostly based on what I’ve perceived to be very fair reporting by TTAC.

    Rock on.

  • avatar
    shelvis

    Did anyone here read the thread? Obviously not!
    You had one admin as well as several posters agreeing with Derek and saying it wasn’t a negative review. I wouldxsay there’s more folks that support the review than those that don’t.
    Further, a quick look through other threads will show tons of critisicm of every facet of Fiat/Chrysler.
    The only fanbois are the ones piling on here.
    This is a manufactured contreversy for clicks. Nothing more. Jack owes Dave an apology.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Why?

    • 0 avatar
      jdoee100

      I agree. If you read the original thread, then you’ll see that Jack’s criticism is totally unfair(I’m not even a Chrysler fan, and never heard of allpar forum before this). I used to like Jack’s writings and opinions, but this has put Jack’s credibility to shreds.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      billfrombuckhead started the snarky thread, maybe he should apologize

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Apologize for objecting to characterizing the 9 speed as “Robin Williams on meth”? That’s hyperbole at best and opens the door to categorizing the whole article as a “hit piece”

        The Toyota article about the refreshed 4runner is clearly labeled preproduction in the title while Chrysler’s radically new, unique and controversial new Jeep isn’t given the benefit of the doubt. There’s other reviews out there from the same event with videos showing the Jeeps driving around getting praise for the transmission.
        http://www.tflcar.com/2013/09/new-2014-jeep-cherokee/

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        For what? Calling out this sites obvious National Enquirer/Fox News style of review?
        Some of you guys equate blood in the water to a truthful review. Those that understand things like journalistic tone and intent recognize it as sensationalism for clicks.
        TTAC readers want snark. When they get what they want, they comment and create traffic. No real mystery why TTAC is the only site pointing out these issues.
        It’s TTAC Classic all over again. Bertel would be proud of this advanced level of trolling.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Anyone making a $30k+ decision and using someone else’s opinions- as the determinant factor- deserves what they get. Information from outside sources, yes. Before I vote with my wallet, my own ass makes the final decision. No one else has to live with it like I do. Probably to my detriment. Besides, restricting access or information in any way has never been a successful strategy.

  • avatar
    prabirmehta

    Jack and Derek: I rely on the integrity of the reviews on TTAC and couldn’t agree with you more. This is the reason I stopped subscribing to the usual auto mags. They would writing glowingly about the new model X only to bash it as crap 2 years later. I recently rented a 300 with awful fit and finish similar to what Derek saw on the Cherokee. So, don’t let Mopar bully you. It’s not even about Chrysler. It about your readers who appreciate the unvarnished truth.

  • avatar
    Ron

    You wrote “Dear fellow Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial/Dodge/DeSoto fans”. As long as you are citing dead divisions, where is your Maxwell love?

  • avatar
    Shoemaker

    My expectation is if a review concerns a design study or a pre-production model, including non-US spec cars, that it be cited in the article so I can keep it in mind.

    What is more upsetting to me is when a well known print magazine decides to “kill a car” to get on the news or juggle their reliablity figure standard to keep one brand at the top.

    The Lexus dealer uses a Ford Transit Connect as their parts car. I don’t know what their tow vehicle is now.

    The new MKZs I’ve seen look impressive to me.

    On the dead MOPAR list, shouldn’t there also be Simca, Talbot, Rootes, Eagle, and maybe Darracq and Sunbeam?

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Derek is the writer who took the Ford Fusion badge job to task right? And then Jack seemed to really like the Ford Fusion..

    To be perfectly blunt while I read Derek’s reviews – I take them with a grain of salt. I don’t even think the writers here agree on the cars. Nor do they put them through some kind of exhaustive testing routine..

    No sorry but I put MORE stock in the big time magazine reviews at this point. I know the idea is that when Derek or Jack comes down ‘hard’ on the car that its the ‘truth.’ But the real truth is that some people are really upset about things that other drivers won’t notice or actually like and that the reviews are subjective opinions.

    No do I agree with the Jack’s theory that the press always gushes over a new vehicle as part of some secret deal. I subscribe to C and D and like always they come down pretty hard on some of the cars in the comparos..

    In general I guess I like to see the tests that TTAC just can’t seem to afford – the comparison tests. Let’s put a CR-V, RAV4, Cherokee, Sportage together and have BOTH Jack and Derek drive em around. And then lets here the opinions..

    That’s the kind of tests the big magazines do..And those are informative. In fairness to Derek – I don’t think he came down to hard on this vehicle when you consider its pre-production. The transmission is a bit off – but they can fix that. As for the on road manners – well almost all CUVs suck. So that’s why we need a comparison.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Chrysler is in a lot of areas that nobody else competes in. The Wrangler, Charger and 300 are absolutely unique in the market. And the Grand Cherokee/Durango and Challenger are relatively unique.

    It’s fine that Chrysler wants to make a cute-ute (i.e. transverse engine, unibody*, strut/multilink) Cherokee. An old school Cherokee would be redundant to the Wrangler Unlimited.

    But there is absolutely nothing unique about a transverse engine, unibody, strut/multilink cute-ute. This is probably the most competitive segment in the market right now. Details matter.

    If the interior is a bit off in your Charger oh well. What other 300 HP RWD sedan were you going to get for $27K. But the Cherokee’s market segment offers buyers a lot of opportunity for remorse. The Cherokee deserves to be reviewed with a microscope, as TTAC did.

    *Yes the old Cherokee was technically unibody, but only because the full length frame was welded to the body.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    The truth will out. The ONLY reason i read TTAC is cos it hasn’t been paid off by Detroit or Japan. Case in point: my K-Car. The “popular” magazines lauded it at introduction. I bought a Dodge Aires wagon. Cracked head. Peeling paint. Craptastic interior. MY hard earned money spent on a car which was half as good as the Honda Civic I looked at. So, as a buyer, I want THE TRUTH, not Chrysler’s sales spiel. End of rant.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I’ve been on the Internet since 1998, and Allpar was one of the first car sites I ever read. Even though I’m not big on Chrysler, I guess I’m just a sucker to see so much passion for generally unloved cars, and their articles bring a smile to my face when I see someone review their Dynasty in-depth, talk about lovingly restoring their Omni or fixing a vintage car radio actually made by Chrysler’s electronics division.

    I agree with the general zeitgeist of the thread, I want the reviewer to be as honest as possible with their opinion of the vehicle, but in the end, no matter how good or bad a car is according to the reviews, I’ll make the final decision since I have to live with it.

    To be frank, I wish there were sites like TTAC the last time I went car shopping, to tell the good parts and bad parts of living with a car. My 2005 Legacy GT was a mainstream car reviewer’s dream that was supposed to slay the Germans at their own game at an Accord price, but with over nine years of ownership, it has been a vehicle I have found charmless and uncomfortable with a litany of issues that reeks of incomplete testing. Just like with Allpar and the Cherokee, some Legacy fanboys attempted to crucify me for stating that though, even though buying the car new and owning it for nine years gives me that right.

    I might be one of the only people who genuinely likes the new Cherokee and would consider one. If I end up considering one, I would take Derek’s review into account but be open-minded enough to see if I experience the same issues he did and if Chrysler fixed them. I wish Chrysler luck, I thought the LH and cloud cars of the 1990s were some of the most beautiful products in their class at the time, definitely more advanced than GM and Ford, and better looking than the Japanese, even though I wouldn’t trust any 1990′s domestic FWD car.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @racer-esq. your comment “The Wrangler, Charger and 300 are absolutely unique in the market.” is based upon what facts?
    Seems to me that the midsized SUV market is crowded with choices. The Wrangler has taken off as the new Hummer since they added 4 doors to it. The Wrangler might be the only one that I might concede to you that point but if I had a choice between a side by side quad and a Jeep, I’d go with the side by side. It fills a niche that no one else really gives a sh-t about. Most Jeeps I see have seen less off road use than my 22 ft long 4×4 pickup truck.
    Charger? A muscle car with 4 doors, is that your definition of unique? Back in the day, I don’t recall any 4 door muscle cars having much respect.
    300? I’m lost on that one too.
    Seems to me that Mercedes and many of the Europeans have that part of the market covered too.
    As far as your “And the Grand Cherokee/Durango and Challenger are relatively unique.”
    Ummm …….no.
    Unless you consider being owned by both Germans and Italians in a 10 year span as unique or 2 bankruptcies as unique…..

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      So the Wrangler isn’t a unique product because of the Polaris RZR? And the Charger/300 aren’t unique because of German cars?

      Bro…

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        I think he mention that the Wrangler mightn’t be unique.

        “The Wrangler might be the only one that I might concede to you that point”

        Also, I think he was talking about 4 door vehicles regarding the link that you have with the Euro cars.

        Maybe you have screwed up what was written?

    • 0 avatar
      shelvis

      Lovely bit of contrarianism there.
      If you don’t understand why all of those products aren’t unique, then you must have zero knowledge of them and therefore aren’t even qualified to comment on them.
      Unless you were just posting to be a jerk.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’ll weigh in on this, FWIW.

    AllPar is an intersting site and I spent quite a long time on it years ago – mainly for help with various issues I was having with our 1992 LeBaron convertible.

    However, as a Chrysler customer from 1981 ’til 2002, I probably will never buy another one. We had a few good cars, namely a 1990 Acclaim bought new, owned for 10+1/2 years – a very good car. All others bought new and used had their share of issues. All non-Chrysler vehicles I have owned since have been vitually problem-free from a used 1996 Ranger bought in 1998,our 2002 CR-V bought new and still have, a 2004 Impala bought new and owned for 8+1/2 years (should have kept it), and my current 2012 Impala LTZ, bought new a year ago in July that hasn’t had an issue yet.

    As far as I’m concerned, the AllPar editor hasn’t a leg to stand on. If a product can’t sell itself, then it is a loser and the market will decide whether it survives or not.

    In truth, Chrysler’s offerings seem to have improved in the last few years, and I sure hope they are sustainable in the long term for their sake.

    TTAC, keep doing what you’re doing, just make sure you are accurate in praise or criticism, come what may.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I’d never buy the Cherokee – because I don’t believe in CUVs. But I read the popular mechanics review. They mentioned that the shifter is hyper – but works better in sport mode. And the ride on the more tame limited is smoother then the trailhawk (which I think is the one Derek drove). The also claimed that the difference in models was pretty big..

    Mainstream media – sure. But if you read between the lines you can usually get the picture. I am not sure Derek had access to different versions and such. Sounds like he just tried the trailhawk.

    I hope this is a hit for Chrysler – I like the company. But so far the Fiat platforms have not yielded any success. Maybe they should rehire the guys that designed the LX platform..

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    I expect the FIAT platform narrative to change. The Dart’s hardly been out long enough to get the right drivetrain (the 36 hwy mpg 2.4L is hitting dealers now) and has generally had good reviews with the less powerful drivetrains,

    This Cherokee hasn’t even hit the streets yet, has had good reviews except for this outlier TTAC review.

    Time will tell. I bet all the Team Marchionne haters will keep being wrong. It’s great to see the GM haters having to eat their humble pie nowdays

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Why are you so vested in ensuring everyone has a positive view of Chrysler? And do you really think posting “Truthiness About Cars Hit Piece” forum threads is the way to do it?

      You’re coming off as an obsessive weirdo, frankly.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        Speaking of obsessive, I don’t see the point of Bill bashing on Japanese companies that make cars in America while nutswinging on an Italian company that makes cars in America.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      “The Dart’s hardly been out long enough to get the right drivetrain”

      What? How long does a car need to be out before the experimentation is done and it gets the right drive train? I’m not trying to knock the Dart, it’s a very sharp car IMHO.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Hopefully the improvements never end. The Charger, 300, Grand Cherokee and Durango have all become much better cars with the addition of the ZF 8 speed to the Pentastar. The Wrangler became vastly better with the addition of the Pentastar. The Ram truck went from worst to first in gas mileage with the addition of the Pentastar and the ZF 8 speed transmissions.

        The Dart has been improved significantly with the introduction of the 2.4L Tigershark engine and will be improved again when the ZF 9 speed becomes available for it and again when the 2.0L Hurricane Turbo comes on line. I think calling the introduction of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta platform to Chrysler cars a failure isn’t true at this point and even seems propaganda driven.

        I see Fiat-Chrysler as a heroic business underdog that proves conventional wisdom wrong like Apple used to be, Tesla, Yuengling, Harley Davidson used to be, Costco for examples. These kind of companies generate evangelists and fan bases. I don’t think anyone can deny Chrysler has added a lot of excitement to the car industry and often proves conventional wisdom wrong.

  • avatar
    easytree

    Chrysler products have almost always had reliability problems. My personal experience with two Caravans was awful. I am amazed that people continue to buy any Chrysler product. Then the government gives one crappy company to another crappy company, Fiat, and now you expect better cars. Amazing!

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      All cars have had problems, even Toyota(sludge) and Honda(first CCVC and transmissions).Chrysler is a different company since Marchionne took over. Do you blame Mulally for problems with the Granada?

      What’s actually amazing is how good Chrysler products are getting with Ram the highest rated truck in the USA Today survey of surveys. The huge success of the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. The 300 and Charger taking over for the Panther………today’s Chrysler is doing a hell of a job, not perfect by any means but a hell of a job.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I’m kind of astonished. I am a real Jeepnut and often read Allpar and I never thought of them as this paranoid.

    In actual fact, your review did not seem at all unfair. Even the stuff you criticized, you made specific descriptions (steering wheel etc) so that anyone could either be concerned or decide that is not a deal killer.

    You seemed to like the offroad performance, not so crazy about the on-road (about typical for any Jeep I wwould say).

    Sorry you got so much flak.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    My take is that TTAC writers vacillate between bullies and wusses. The “open letter” is complete nonsense.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Alex is the best car reviewer I have read in a long time. I believe Alex. I do not believe manufacturer’s shills.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Let me clarify, what is unique about the Wrangler? Small 2 dr or 4 dr SUV’s are common. The top can come off and the Wrangler has a great reputation as an off roader. One can view that as unique. Point is, if you want a competent off roader, that opens the field to things that any hard-core off roader would consider as competent. In my case, I’d rather buy a “side by side”. If one wants to talk mods, then that opens the door even further. Most who buy the Jeep Wrangler, whether it be 2 door or 4 door are buying it for image. They want to look alive and adventuristic. Most small SUV’s and minivans portray the image of one who has given up on style. The 4 door is very popular with young couples. There are 2 on my street owned by that demographic and both have never been off road let alone down much of a gravel road.

    The Charger unique? Really… one feels that they need to ague the pro’s of that belief? Charger’s seem to be popular with guys in their 40′s and 50′s. They want something with performance but can sell a BS line to the wife that it is a 4 dr family car. There are plenty of 4 door cars around, a V8 all of a sudden makes it unique?

    The 300 isn’t unique by either. Like I said, there are plenty of 4 door cars around. Basically what I said about the Charger applies here too.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      How many brand new, 4-door, RWD, V8s can be had for about $30K?

      That makes them unique. I don’t know why you think they’re not

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Lou_BC doesn’t think the Wrangler is unique because it is a “small SUV” (and is also somehow mistaken that 2 door SUVs are common despite the Wrangler, LR RR Evoque and Murano Cross Cabriolet being the only 2 door SUVs for sale in the US, with those last two being crossovers and starting about $20K higher than a Wrangler). He gives the absolutely unique on the market choice between removable hard and soft top roofs a small nod, and glosses over the body-on-frame live rear (or front and rear on the 2 door) axle design. And he thinks the Charger and 300 are not unique despite being the only rear wheel drive sedans available at or under $30K (and having power and size that other companies charge $50 – $60K+ for in RWD sedans).

        I’m not sure what he is doing on a car site. Apparently if it has four wheels it is a fungible good. I think he got lost looking for floor mats for his Camry (make sure that they are designed so they don’t get stuck under the accelerator).

        This all started from me pointing out that, unlike the Charger, 300 or Wrangler the Cherokee is not unique. Who doesn’t sell a transverse engine, unibody, strut front/multilink rear suspension cute-ute in the $20s – $30s. Regardless of whether Lou_BC thinks the Wrangler, Charger and 300 are good, the people that do think they are good have no other similar choices. The opposite is true of the Cherokee. Which is why the details need to be absolutely perfect in the Cherokee.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Here in Australia we compare Landrover 110s against Jeeps, and a lot of the time the Landrover will outperform the Jeep.

          A Jeep would find it challenging competing against a 76Series SWB Landcruiser. Jeeps are just cheaper. There are other global products that could be deemed Jeep competitors.

          Just like the comment that DenverMike made…our midsizer are no different than yours, the only problem is there is only one midsizer in the US (Frontier) that is remotely close (there are differences).

          Also, I do know in the UK 4 door HSVs sold as Vauxhalls do compete against AMG and M Series.

          A four door is a touring car. Touring cars are most likely the most common car around. Whereas a 2 door is a coupe.

          The best 4 door car in the US will be the Chev SS. Trust me, they will compete against Audi, BMW, Merc, etc buyers.

          I think that some must look outside of the US and see what is available. Remember the US doesn’t have a selection of vehicles that is globally available.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            I wish we had the Defender and full Commodore line in the US, but we don’t. Giving Chrysler a monopoly on those kinds of cars in the US (and Canada, Mexico does get the Defender).

            We do get the Commodore coupe (AKA Camaro), and at the right price, about $22K. At $50K+ Chevy SS is going to cost way too much (because of Australian currency and labor cost issues Chevy only sees a market for the highest grade Commodore). I’ve read Chevy is anticipating selling about 1,500 – 2,000 per year.

            What I hear is that the next Commodore will be built in Canada or the US and imported to Australia. I anticipate the US will get the full line of that Commodore (whatever it is called as a Chevy), including any turbo-4 and V6 engines.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Let me tell you a story that I heard when I worked at Chrysler. Some time ago, Chrysler rushed the development of their four speed auto (the A604) so they could be early in the market with it.

    At the press launch for their minivans with the A604, the transmissions were so bad that several of them puked their guts before they left the garage!

    This was never mentioned in the press. Many folks bought the new minivans and got stuck with repair bills for their transmissions. They never heard or read anything but glowing reviews of these minivans.

  • avatar
    shelvis

    “the delay apparently stems from calibrating the much-hyped 9-speed automatic transmission that has so far been vaporware in the Dart.”

    “Between that and the highly polarizing styling and you have a recipe for a PR disaster should the Cherokee not be up to snuff in terms of QC or driving dynamics. There are certainly members of the press ready and willing to rip it a new one for failing to live up to their expectations, whether realistic or outlandish.”

    “What I’m curious about is whether this apparent commitment to quality will extend past the launch of the Cherokee and into regular production and future launches. Any future delays or holdups with future product launches won’t exactly inspire confidence in Chrysler’s ability to launch high-quality vehicles in a timely manner.”

    From
    Editorial: Chrysler Dodges Poison Pen Darts By Delaying Jeep Cherokee Launch by Derek Kreindler

    Derek had already started constructing his narrative in July. He pre-poo-poos the transmission, driving characteristics, and quality while getting you ready for journalists (namely him) ready to “rip it a new one”.

    This review was already written before the keys were handed off.

    The name of this site tells you everything you need to know about how they are going to report.

    • 0 avatar

      You just cherry picked quotes, taken out of context, from an editorial I wrote in support of Chrysler’s decision to delay the press launch.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        I pulled quotes that were relevant to the discussion. Here’s a link to it for anyone that wants to see the whole thing:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/editorial-chrysler-dodges-poison-pen-darts-by-delaying-jeep-cherokee-launch/
        You already outlined your talking points there.

        • 0 avatar

          You pulled quotes that were relevant to your windmill tilting regarding our apparent bias against Chrysler. Nothing about how I thought it was a smart decision for Chrysler to delay the press launch to iron out the bugs.

          • 0 avatar
            shelvis

            I never said you held a bias against Chrysler. I merely contend that you guys are in the business to write reviews that veer towards the negative. I think you guys will be pretty equal opportunity towards what fat kid you pick on at the playground as long as it fits conventional wisdom and doesn’t conflict with your credibility.
            Please read the thread at Allpar and understand that there are quite a few people that support your review. Also note what both moderators actually said. There’s no witchhunt or a call to blacklist there and very little accusations of an anti Chrysler agenda.

  • avatar
    sexyhammer

    I’m no Chrysler cheerleader, but I read the article in question and couldn’t find anything worth firing up the fatwah sirens over. In fact, the only thing that I really cared about concerning the new Cherokee was offroad performance. Everything else takes a backseat. I don’t care how it looks – yes it’s ugly, but so is everything else these days. My expectations of domestic build quality mean that a wobbly console and crap stitching on the wheel might as well be a line item on the window sticker. You just take these things for granted when you talk about Chrysler products, even when you’re paying $40k+ MSRP.

    The transmission issues he experienced were troubling, especially since putting the polish on the ZF box was part of the reason for the delay. Hopefully a reflash before they hit the lots will calm it’s erratic behavior to at least acceptable levels.

    The review of the offroad performance seemed light on substance to me, but if the overall feedback Derek provided ends up holding true then Jeep guys have nothing to worry about. I thought that there was a little bit of optimism throwing the bias TOWARD the Mopar side, I really don’t get why anyone would want to blacklist TTAC – whether they’re Marchionne himself or just some pissant on a message board. Unless it was some elaborate trolling attempt in light of the recent Lincoln debacle and Jack’s response.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    Durp-crowd-fanbois angered by review… news at 11. good riddance.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    It always amazes me how fans get all worked up over any criticism, especialy us car buyers.

    If yoiu read the chevy boys comments the c6 vette was the best sprotscar ever, well ever untill the c7 came out, and then yes the c6 seats were crap, the interior was crap, the build so so, the handling on the limit suspect and tactility still subpar.

    If we really want a good competitive indistry then criticisms should be lauded and corrected.

    Fortunatly the Germans are self destructing. The new ML has possibly the worsts eering of any car i have driven and the motor is no Gem. The GL has gone cheapo in critical areas and where did they get the idea thatw e wanted an expensive truck to sound like a cheap v8 from the 70′s. Tha Japanese have pretrty much anihilated much of what made theuir cars soi good. The Koreans reallys eem to have their game on.

    Yet you cant drive an American car without glaring faults, they types of which are so easy not to have. I mean who in GM thought the craptic controlls ona caddy would even be a good idea ona cheap chinese boombox, let alone acaddy. What about chevys that stay in lockup so long that when the tranny shifts its liek the motor stalled.

    And then there is my favorite the ford Taurus. thsi cart must do more dmamge to ford thanyhting you can imagine. After one weekend in this crapbox I ahave little faith that there is any ford product that can be decent. i mean if they make the taurus how could the possibly understand what makes a decent car without beinfg asshamed. Carp motor, harsh ride and cheap interior bits that shame anyhting. Compare a taurus to a Chrsler 300, its like a really good car compared to a Yugo.

    So GM you have some great bits, dits the crappy powertrain prgramming even if it cost 1 mpg on a epa cycle, and scrap craptic it hustrs you badly and is s adeal breaker.

    Ford the free ride from not needing a bailout will end, start making great cars, unless you think the dwindling pool of domestic buyer who knows no different is your natural marketplace.

    Chrysler, you make some great world class products, stop fumbling.

    Too all car manufacturers, make something that looks decent, has great NVH control, smooth tranny sterers propery brakes etc. in otehr words drive an avalon aor a genesis, benmchmark and add you own stying

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @racer-esq. – wow, bent out of shape over a different opinion. If it makes you feel better, okay……. the Wrangler is unique.
    Yawn, can we move on?

    The other 2 vehicles? Nope.
    So a cheap car with V8 is unique?
    Must of been born in 1990 to think that is the case ;)

    “I’m not sure what he is doing on a car site.”

    If that is the case, why mention the Jeep?
    It ain’t a car.
    If you consider it one, then it ain’t unique.

    But I digress, back to your original question “I’m not sure what he is doing on a car site.”

    Well, I prefer pickups, motorcycles and anything off-road oriented. I like this site because it does offer some interesting information.

    I started reading this thread because “Fiat fans” seem to be the most “fan”atical about their brand.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Most of the hardcore off road guys in my neck of the woods don’t use Wranglers, the “look at me” city types do. There are tons of older Toyota trucks (pre – Tacoma when Toyota only made a small truck), or Suzuki Samurai’s and SideKicks or similar. The rest run pickups and ATV’s or dirt bikes and sleds in the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Is there any end to the pecking order of what the “hardcore off road guys” think is the holy grail of 4X4 machines? So, are you saying that to be a true off-road purist you now must drive an old Toyota or Suzuki or run the risk of be pointed to and laughed at and be thought a wannabe for driving a Jeep? Sounds more like the have-nots twisting their envy to make their junkyard gems seem like a cool choice as opposed to a financial circumstance offering no choice

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Lie2me – I rarely see new trucks get turned into hard-core off-roaders. Most take an older truck/SUV, fix it up and add some simple mods. I rarely see Jeep Wranglers used with the exception of older Jeeps like the CJ5.
    If you have the deep pockets to buy a brand new off the rack vehicle and take it off-road, more power to you. Most like the build it yourself aspect.
    My comment had nothing to do with the reverse snobbery of those with less money.

    Off-roading is as huge as the great outdoors, yes, I know it is a cheesy metaphor but what works in the deserts of the USA south west isn’t going to work in alpine areas, or boggy areas of the deep south.

    Jeeps are a good platform to start with but this whole discussion started when @racer-esq. said that the Wrangler, Charger, and 300 were unique. That sounds like a case of brand loyal hyperbole to me.

    Why not say that the F150 Raptor, and Ram Power Wagon are unique vehicles?
    There are NO factory off the assembly line competitors to those vehicles but there are arguable some factory competitors to Wrangler.

    Is there a pecking order to hard-core off-roading. To be truthful, I’d have to say yes and it all depends on where you live and what you are into.

    Is there a pecking order to any motorsport?

    YES.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      From my original comment:

      “But the Cherokee’s market segment offers buyers a lot of opportunity for remorse. The Cherokee deserves to be reviewed with a microscope, as TTAC did.”

      Yes, I’m obviously a Chrysler fanboy to say that.

      1) Work on your reading comprehension.
      2) Figure out how to use the “Reply” function.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @racer-esq.- if you aren’t a fanboy, why did you pick 3 Fiat products to label as unique?

        ….As far as the “reply” function – thanks for the tip.

        ….As far as your Cherokee comment, I wasn’t questioning that comment, just your Wrangler, Charger, 300 as unique comment.

        If you aren’t a fanboy then I aplogoze for labeling you as such. I still don’t see your point on those 3 vehicles.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    CHEROKEES ARE NOW ARRIVING AT DEALERSHIPS! Go judge for yourself.

  • avatar

    What is wrong with people? Seriously, the “mopar community” is asking for someone to lie about a review? Reviews are objective. They want only to hear the good, and then bash the other guys product. I thought the review of the Cherokee was good, and honest.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      No one asked for a lie but saying the transmission shifted like “The ZF ‘box is about as calm as Robin Williams at his most amphetamine-addled, “ was wrong on several levels and unprofessional.

      • 0 avatar

        How it is wrong for them to paint a mental image? I for one thought it was a very descriptive, and gave me a good idea of how it was reacting. I drove an Avenger with the Pentastar and the 8 speed, and the trans was all over the place. Journalism is subjective, and there are many opinions out there. But the nice things about some of these sites is that they don’t have the pressure that the big magazines have, and they can be more honest/free about it. Car and Driver, over the years, have written some pretty racy comments, but that’s part of the charm they use to have. People just need to calm down, take a deep breath and if they don’t like it move on….

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Autoblog and Autospies have just given the Cherokee very positive reviews even the transmission. Just saying.


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