Jeep is spanning the performance gamut these days. On one end of the spectrum there is the emblematic Wrangler and its steadfast off-road prowess, with a next-generation model on the way. On the other is the upcoming Trackhawk, with all the on-road performance a juiced-up, tarmac-tuned SUV can give.
Both vehicles are highly anticipated and, while we may not know all of what we’re waiting for, we at least know how long we’ll have to bide our time.
As a six-and-a-half-foot tall red-blooded male who’s driven in demolition derbies and owns John Deere machinery, I naturally gravitated to a big, rear-wheel drive, future Junkyard Find sedan when it came time to replace our family car four years ago. Settling on a Pentastar-powered 2012 Dodge Charger, one non-negotiable item was FCA’s 8.4-inch uConnect screen. The other was ZF’s eight-speed automatic.
As we know, hapless drivers have failed to put their ZF-equipped cars in Park, confused by the spring-loaded shifter’s design, which always returns it to a central position no matter what gear those drivers select. The NHTSA started an investigation and FCA voluntarily recalled over a million 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees and 2012-2014 Chargers/300s.
I got my recall notice in the mail yesterday, which provided me with two things: a “Visor Tips Card” and a good belly laugh.
If you didn’t know it was Jeep’s 75th anniversary this year, it’s your fault for not paying attention. Pretty much all of the automaker’s SUVs are rolling billboards for its “Since 1941” branding, and now Jeep is officially doing something to celebrate.
Jeep launched its 75th Anniversary lineup Wednesday, which includes special editions for all its models. All of the Jeeps are candied in some sort of “macho” green — Jungle Green, Sarge Green or Recon Green — with bronze wheels, some sort of opening roof, and available cloth.
Oh, and there are a bucket-full of badges everywhere so you can feel special edition too.
I used to have an ’84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. When it died, I replaced it with a new ’99 Dodge Durango. It seemed to be a fairly solid, updated replacement for the Wagoneer. My mechanic, who was a master Jeep mechanic, said that Chrysler came up with the Durango to fill the gap in the market created after the Grand Wagoneer stopped production in 1991.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced this week that they would be recalling nearly 500,000 SUVs — including more than 350,000 in the U.S. — for a vanity mirror wire that could potentially overheat and increase risk for a fire.
The affected SUVs are model year 2011-2012 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos made before Sept. 2, 2012. Those cars were the subject of an earlier recall that, if conducted improperly, could leave those cars more susceptible to a short circuit.
FCA said it was unaware of any injuries.
Editor’s note: This review originally ran February 27th, 2015. It’s the most read review of the last 12 months. You should read it again.
The current Grand Cherokee has been a huge success for the Jeep brand. The handsome vehicle is available with four engines, five drivelines, and in many trims, best of which can give the Range Rover a run for its money. The Altitude, introduced for 2014, is an interesting model, where Jeep takes many desirable features, wraps them in a monotone exterior with sporty black wheels, and prices the package well.
In the past I have reviewed Grand Cherokees with V8 and diesel engines. The Overland V8 felt like a hot-rod with tons of instant power but the fuel economy was predictably poor. The EcoDiesel is a smooth operator with a ton of torque and great gas mileage, but it comes at a high price. Could this nicely optioned V6 model be the happy medium?
The value of a first-generation Grand Cherokee that’s even slightly rough crashed hard quite a few years ago and has remained just a hair above scrap value ever since, so junkyards here in SUV-crazed Colorado tend to be packed with these trucks. XJ Cherokees are plentiful as well, but I tend to notice them more than the bigger and more Chryslerated Grands.
This ’97, however, is one of the (presumably) super-rare Orvis Editions, and so I broke out the camera when I saw it in a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Friday that it would recall nearly 900,000 cars worldwide — including more than 550,000 cars in the U.S. — for defective airbag and brake systems.
The company said some 2003 Jeep Liberty and 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee models were fitted with faulty airbags that could deploy. The automaker acknowledged that seven injuries had been caused by the airbags, which were not made by Takata. In all, 284,089 cars are affected by that recall.
Additionally, the company said more than 275,000 Dodge Journey models from 2012-2015 may have defective anti-lock brake systems that could fail due to excess moisture.
Dodge may drop a 6.4-liter V-8 into a Durango before the current generation model goes away, executives told dealers in Las Vegas this week, several media sources are reporting.
The Durango was last redesigned in 2011, so a SRT version could be a victory lap for the three-row SUV. Jeep may take over three-row crossover duty with its Grand Wagoneer.
If you’re pressed between a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk or a Durango SRT — there is a third option, this Kia Sorento with an LS engine swap.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that gear selector handles on Jeep Grand Cherokees may slip out of park and cause the car to roll away, Automotive News is reporting.
Owners have detailed several complaints to NHTSA who said their Grand Cherokees rolled away while parked, including one person in Michigan who said a child was injured exiting the rollaway vehicle.
A similar transmission selector was used in the 2014 Chrysler 300. An owner complained of a similar problem in that car, where it rolled away and crashed into two other vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have only one new model built in North America over the next 18 months after executives pushed back development of others due to brisk sales of current models, Reuters is reporting.
The redesigned Chrysler Town and Country minivan may be the only new car built stateside that FCA plans to launch in the next 18 months, sources told Reuters. The company is planning to bring to the United States three Italian cars — the Fiat Spider, Maserati’s crossover and the Alfa Romeo Giulia — in the same timeframe.
This is the part where we would like to mention that a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are seriously overdue.
The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and the Explorer while at the same time being the spiritual successor (in modern form) to the Bronco and two-row Explorers of yesteryear. Although Ford says the Edge is a complete redesign, you could be forgiven for thinking this is more of a refresh, and that’s not a bad thing since the Edge was already one the most appealing options in this phone-booth-sized segment.