The Truth About Cars » Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:00:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Fate Of Jeep In Toledo Rests On Supplier Park, Partnerships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043698 The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park. The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park.

The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park came about when FCA US — then DaimlerChrysler — didn’t want to spend too much capital on building the then-new four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Thus, it struck a deal with suppliers Mobis North America and Kuka Systems to build the body and chassis, which would then be handed off to Magna International to be painted, and then onto Jeep for final assembly. FCA US bought the paint operations from Magna in 2012, and may wish to buy the rest of the process from Mobis and Kuka.

In the meantime, city officials have presented FCA US and its CEO Sergio Marchionne with a so-called “aggressive” incentive plan to keep the Wrangler in Toledo, which includes unspecified state and local tax credits and other financial incentives to expand or build a new facility on 100 acres of land purchased and cleaned by the city for over $7 million. The plan was presented in mid-March, and FCA US is expected to make the final decision on Toledo’s fate by June of this year.

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Jeep’s Extraordinary March 2015 Sales Performance Sets Records http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeeps-extraordinary-march-2015-sales-performance-sets-records/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeeps-extraordinary-march-2015-sales-performance-sets-records/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 12:22:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039409 Everything was coming up roses for Jeep in March 2015. During a period in which it seemed highly likely that FCA/Chrysler Group would fail to report their 60th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases – five years of growth without a pause – a slight 2% increase across the company’s large number of brands helped […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade redEverything was coming up roses for Jeep in March 2015.

During a period in which it seemed highly likely that FCA/Chrysler Group would fail to report their 60th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases – five years of growth without a pause – a slight 2% increase across the company’s large number of brands helped to propel the U.S. auto industry to a narrow 0.5% year-over-year gain.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US produced the company’s marginal gains despite a 24% drop in sales at Dodge, a 5% decline at Fiat, a 58% plunge in minivan volume, and the first Ram pickup truck decrease since April 2010.

The responsibility for growth was thus placed on commercial vans, a specific passenger car trio, and the high-flying Jeep brand.

FCA currently competes with three different vans targeted at the commercial market: the soon-to-disappear Grand Caravan-based Ram Cargo Van, the full-size Ram ProMaster, and the small Ram ProMaster City. Their combined sales increased by 1481 units, or 76%, to 3428 in March 2015.

FCA USA auto sales chart 2015 Q1The Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart reported best-ever monthly sales for the respective nameplates, and together with the Dodge Challenger doubled the trio’s sales to 34,872 units in March. This counteracted passenger car sales declines from the Chrysler 300, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Viper, and the Fiat lineup. (Combined 200/Avenger sales were up 19% in March but fell 5% in the first-quarter of 2015.)

Jeeps, however, were the real difference makers last month. The Cherokee and Patriot posted best-ever sales months, combining for 30,882 sales, a 39% jump compared with March 2014.

Last month also resulted in best-ever March results for the Wrangler and Compass. Year-over-year, that duo’s sales rose 16% to 22,944.

The Grand Cherokee’s March volume was up 5% to 16,815 – the Grand Cherokee is on pace to make 2015 the best year since 2005.

The Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex used to produce Jeep Cherokee in ToledoJeep also began selling the Renegade, which is expected to be a hot ticket in the near future. Only 943 were sold in its abbreviated first month, but inventory levels are rising rapidly. Expect to see a long period of Renegade growth before any levelling off.

Put it all together – the best-ever months for two nameplates, best-ever seasonal sales for two more, growth from the Grand Cherokee, an all-new model – and it’s not difficult to conclude that U.S. Jeep sales were at the highest level ever in March 2015. Not just the highest March level, but the highest level regardless of month.

March 2015 Jeep sales broke the previous brand’s record, set in May 2014, by 1381 units, or 2%. That record was set in a month, which in terms of overall auto industry volume, was 4% larger. Thus, Jeep’s market share last month, 4.6%, was a meaningful improvement compared with the 4.4% from the previous record-setting month.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Georgia Jury Orders Jeep To Pay $150M For Role In 2012 Fatal Accident http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/georgia-jury-orders-jeep-pay-150m-role-2012-fatal-accident/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/georgia-jury-orders-jeep-pay-150m-role-2012-fatal-accident/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039121 After two weeks of deliberation, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia has found Jeep liable for the 2012 death of a 4-year-old involving a 1999 Grand Cherokee. Reuters reports the decision puts the loss of Remington Walden at Jeep’s feet as a result of the automaker failing to warn consumers of a potential risk for […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

After two weeks of deliberation, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia has found Jeep liable for the 2012 death of a 4-year-old involving a 1999 Grand Cherokee.

Reuters reports the decision puts the loss of Remington Walden at Jeep’s feet as a result of the automaker failing to warn consumers of a potential risk for fire in a rear-end crash due to the positioning of the SUV’s fuel tank. The jury also ordered the brand to pay 99 percent — $150 million — of the damages to the Walden family, with the motorist who rear-ended the vehicle to pay the remaining 1 percent.

The decision follows a 2013 recall by FCA US — then-known as Chrysler Group — of 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees, a customer satisfaction campaign for 1999-2004 models, and a recall of 2002-2007 Libertys over fuel-tank positioning concerns.

FCA representative Michael Palese says the company was disappointed by the outcome — its lawyers putting all of the blame on the driver on the other vehicle — and is considering appealing.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-sahara/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1026617 In the darkest depths of the Cerberus era, nobody at Chrysler could have predicted how popular the all-new “JK” Jeep Wrangler would be. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the incredible cross-section of people buying the Wrangler. Everyone from suburban parents, white-collar upper management types and my own mother. This, by the way, is a vehicle that still […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara side yellow

In the darkest depths of the Cerberus era, nobody at Chrysler could have predicted how popular the all-new “JK” Jeep Wrangler would be. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the incredible cross-section of people buying the Wrangler. Everyone from suburban parents, white-collar upper management types and my own mother. This, by the way, is a vehicle that still utilizes a full frame and live axles!

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara front yellow

In my own opinion, the Wrangler’s success comes from several different factors. The most obvious is the availability of the long wheel base Unlimited model, which offers 4 doors and a proper rear seat. Second, the JK and JKU have been significantly improved over the TJ; in addition to a stronger frame and a better body, things like the roof options were greatly improved, while creature comforts like the heater were brought into the modern era. Third, it has been continually improved since its introduction; a new interior in 2011, an all-new engine in 2012, and various features, options, and trims over the years. All of this was done without taking away the Jeepness of it; removable doors, drain plugs, folding windshield, and unmatched off-road capability. Think about it, it has a freakin’ folding windshield! In 2015!

The JK is now in the autumn of its years, but it is as young as the day it was born. It can be configured as a base short soft-top model with steel wheels all the way up to a fifty thousand dollar four-door Rubicon with heated leather seats, Alpine audio, roof liner, climate control, and remote start. You can have half doors or full doors and three different tops in nine different trim levels. Take your pick of a proper six-speed manual or a pretty damn good five-speed automatic. There are catalogs thicker than 1989 phone books filled with accessories. AEV will drop a HEMI V8 and convert one into an awesome pickup truck for you. How much money you got?

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara interior seats trunk

One of my hard-core-ish Jeep buddies (clean TJ with 3” lift, wheeled in summer) said that it’s sacrilegious to have some of these options on a real Jeep and something about Jeeps being built not bought. My other Jeep buddy (fuel-injected ’84 CJ-8 on 33s, wheeled very often) loves how the Wrangler has evolved and would buy one if he had the money. Search any Jeep internet forums and it is evident that people who off-road their Wranglers love them as much as those who haul kids in them. 33s can be stuffed in without a lift kit, 35s with a $200 spacer kit. A winch can be hidden behind the factory bumper, and fenders can replaced for high clearance ones with a few hours of work. The Rubicon comes from the factory with Dana 44 axles, locking diffs, and electronically disconnecting sway bars for increased axle articulation. I don’t understand why idiots risk illegally importing Land Rover Defenders when the Wrangler is just so good.

There is no denying that the Wrangler drives like a truck on the street. It doesn’t like sudden maneuvers but it was not dramatic when I needed to avoid a moron who couldn’t see a huge yellow Jeep in his side mirror. The seating position is high, so look far ahead and drive defensively.  Respect the Wrangler, and it will make a fun daily commuter. Or you can go buy the idiot-proof Grand Cherokee. Highway ride is much less tiresome than it was in older Jeeps but ain’t no Range Rover.

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara interior dash steering wheel

Wranglers are a ton of fun, but they are not for everyone. The doors are small, the front seats lack lumbar support, rear seat backs are near vertical, and the hatch is kind of a pain. Wranglers are loud, tall, bouncy, and thirsty (16 city/21 hwy). None of that really matters, as you have either already stopped reading this or you are busy planning a weekend for the semiannual ritual of hard-top to soft-top swap. It’s a perfectly imperfect vehicle for winter snow and summer sun alike, and in my opinion all enthusiasts should own one in their lives.

The Wrangler starts at around $23,000 and the Unlimited around $27,000. The very Baja Yellow pictured Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, which comes standard with color-matched fenders, power windows and doors locks, and side steps starts at $32,295. The Sahara offers options that may not be available on other models, such as leather heated seats for $1300 and body-colored hard-top for $1895, remote start $495, Alpine audio, which sounds really good considering the fact that it is in a tin can, is $795. The Uconnect system with nav, hard drive, SiriusXM, and a USB port is $1895. Throw in a connectivity package, automatic transmission, and a destination change and you’re looking at $41,515. That is a lot, but it is still a lot cheaper than any beat up Defender 110.

2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara rear side yellow

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. His first vehicle was an ’84 CJ-7. One day he met a cute chick who was driving a black TJ with a manual transmission. He married that chick and now they have two kids who love Jeeps, but sadly don’t own a Jeep!

FCA US LLC provided the bright yellow vehicle for the purpose of this review. Seriously, the yellow body with yellow top and yellow fenders is a bit much. I tried to get it muddy but my favorite construction site was fenced off, so I only managed to get it salty. 

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Nissan Qashqai Points The Way For Next Jeep Compass, Patriot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nissan-qashqai-points-way-next-jeep-compass-patriot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nissan-qashqai-points-way-next-jeep-compass-patriot/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:15:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028057 With the arrival of the Jeep Renegade, the Compass and Patriot twins – awkwardly slotted above the Renegade in size, but lower in price – are officially overdue for a replacement. The Jeep twins have more in common with the Dodge Caliber than anything else in the brand’s lineup, and will be replaced with a […]

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With the arrival of the Jeep Renegade, the Compass and Patriot twins – awkwardly slotted above the Renegade in size, but lower in price – are officially overdue for a replacement. The Jeep twins have more in common with the Dodge Caliber than anything else in the brand’s lineup, and will be replaced with a single, all-new model.

Reports in auto media out of the United Kingdom have talked up the replacement CUV and how it will be positioned against the Nissan Qashqai. Nissan’s CUV, which has been wildly popular in Europe (some even credit it for kicking off the CUV trend on the continent, and rescuing Nissan from irrelevance in that market) has never been sold here, largely because the Rogue made it redundant.

At nearly a foot shorter than the current Rogue, the Qashqai would be awkwardly positioned between the Juke and the Rogue. But in Europe, it’s just right, nestled between those two vehicles in a market where a smaller footprint is actively desired. Since the Qashqai is about the size of a Compass or a Patriot, give or take an inch or two in each dimension, the new CUV will stay close in size to the current Jeep twins. Our Rogue, known as the X-Trail, is considered to be a full size larger, and comes with three row seating. Meanwhile, the Qashqai and its upcoming rival are considered to be the standard size CUV, the same way American buyers consider the Rogue and Cherokee to be an acceptable size.

There will also be a Fiat variant, similar to the shared platform of the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X. Expect a Trail Rated model to accompany the rest of the lineup, which will likely be similar to the rest of the Jeep models, with several trim variants increasing in content and price point. For Jeep, this will be a crucial product. Roughly three quarters of Jeep sales originate in North America, and FCA is keen to increase the brand’s reach in world markets. Currently, the EU makes up about 8 percent of Jeep sales – the replacement for the Compass/CUV will be just as important as the Renegade – and probably more important than the Cherokee – at increasing that figure.

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Jeep Unveils Concepts For Easter Jeep Safari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/jeep-unveils-concepts-easter-jeep-safari/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/jeep-unveils-concepts-easter-jeep-safari/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 17:21:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025281 The latest crop of Jeep concepts for the Easter Jeep Safari have dropped. My favorite is the Wrangler Africa, which should finally settle the question of whether it’s worth lusting after the Land Rover Defender when we get the Wrangler (my own feeling is “no”, but tell me why I’m wrong. Aside from the 2 […]

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The latest crop of Jeep concepts for the Easter Jeep Safari have dropped. My favorite is the Wrangler Africa, which should finally settle the question of whether it’s worth lusting after the Land Rover Defender when we get the Wrangler (my own feeling is “no”, but tell me why I’m wrong.

Aside from the 2 inch lift and Dana 44 axles, there’s a 2.8L diesel engine under the the hood.

001-2015-easter-jeep-safari-concepts

A close second is the “Chief”, which pays tribute to the 1970’s full-size Jeeps. Like the Africa, it has the lift kit, axles and Fox shocks, along with a 3.6L Pentastar V6.

For me, the combination of a modern chassis and classic looks is hard to surpass. But I’ve also only ever known fuel injection, power brakes and 5-star crash test ratings.

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FCA Axes Chrysler Brand In UK, Sheds Light On New Jeeps http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-axes-chrysler-brand-uk-sheds-light-new-jeeps/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-axes-chrysler-brand-uk-sheds-light-new-jeeps/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:30:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023689 By 2017, the Chrysler brand will no longer be offered in the UK, following a move by parent company FCA to pull Lancia products (largely rebadged Chrysler vehicles) from other European markets. While the Chrysler 300 and Ypsilon supermini never saw much fanfare in Europe, the Chrysler minivans did enjoy a following in Europe throughout […]

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1024px-Lancia_Voyager_2.8_MultiJet_16v_Gold_–_Frontansicht,_10._März_2012,_Düsseldorf

By 2017, the Chrysler brand will no longer be offered in the UK, following a move by parent company FCA to pull Lancia products (largely rebadged Chrysler vehicles) from other European markets.

While the Chrysler 300 and Ypsilon supermini never saw much fanfare in Europe, the Chrysler minivans did enjoy a following in Europe throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, though sales have tanked, down 21 percent from 2013 levels.

But FCA isn’t giving up on Europe for its American brands. The auto maker will be investing money into Jeep as it pushes for the brand to become a global player akin to an American Land Rover. According to Auto Express a Nissan Qashqai rival (presumably the replacement for the Jeep Compass/Patriot) and a full-size Grand Wagoneer are in the cards for introduction within the next three years.

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler To Have Diesel, 8-Speed Auto Combo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-diesel-8-speed-auto-combo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-diesel-8-speed-auto-combo/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016634 We’ve said the next Jeep Wrangler would have diesel power, as well as an eight-speed auto. Now, both will be paired with each other. Autoblog reports the specific combo is a 3-liter EcoDiesel V6 mated to a ZF eight-speed auto, following similar pairings in the Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. When asked for official […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

We’ve said the next Jeep Wrangler would have diesel power, as well as an eight-speed auto. Now, both will be paired with each other.

Autoblog reports the specific combo is a 3-liter EcoDiesel V6 mated to a ZF eight-speed auto, following similar pairings in the Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. When asked for official confirmation from the brand, however, representative Gabrielle Schulte said that her employer does not comment on speculation.

As for when one might be able to battle the Rubicon — or the Rubicon Outlet Mall — in a diesel-driven, eight-speed automatic Wrangler, Autoblog‘s source couldn’t confirm the model year such a beast would appear in showrooms.

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Chart Of The Day: A Decade Of January Market Share Improvement For Winter’s Auto Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:17:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009394 Subaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%. Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep? As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep […]

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Jeep Subaru market share chartSubaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%.

Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep?

As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep sales were up 23%; Subaru volume rose 24%. Together, they accounted for 8% of all new vehicle sales in America in the first month of 2015.

Since January may be the most Subaru and Jeep-like month of them all, the accompanying chart showcases their market share improvements in the month of January over the last decade.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Review: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude 4×4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/review-2015-jeep-grand-cherokee-altitude-4x4/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/review-2015-jeep-grand-cherokee-altitude-4x4/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008770 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, […]

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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?

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude front

The Pentastar 3.6-liter generates 290hp, which is more than the hot rod 5.9 Limited did in the late 90s, and 260lb-ft of torque. In this configuration it is mated to a new-for-2014 eight-speed transmission and the base Quadra-Trac I 4WD system with a single-speed transfer case. The EPA rates this combination for 17mpg in the city and 24mph on the highway, with 19mpg combined. Those numbers are very close to the ones I got real world driving, where I averaged about 18mpg with somewhat of a heavy foot around southern Florida.

This engine is surprisingly smooth, quiet, and has plenty of power on tap. Acceleration and highway passing are effortless and it loves to cruise. The transmission has a regular mode, which makes things a little lethargic until you really stomp the gas pedal, and a sport mode which magically quickens the throttle response and changes shift points to where they should really be. There also an evil Eco button which is suppose to save more fuel when engaged but in really it just makes things slower.

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The Pentastar-powered Grand Cherokees are rated to tow a maximum of 6200lbs. Unless towing is a serious buying objective, or you have a perfectly understandable diesel fetish, there is really is no good reason to select any of the other engines for the basic purposes of getting to work or hauling the kids around. The EcoDiesel and V8-powered Grand Cherokees, including the SRT, are rated to tow up to 7400lbs (7200lbs for 4×4 models).

The black twenty-inch wheels, which are wrapped in 265/50 GoodYear Fortera HL rubber, don’t exactly scream “Trail Rated” but the ride is surprisingly smooth and quiet. A tire’s side profile is the percentage of its width, so despite this being a dub, there is still a good amount meat to absorb potholes. I know a handful of people who own the JGC with twenty-inch wheels and none of them has bent a wheel yet. I reviewed the EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee with similarly sized wheels in the winter and that Jeep got through deep (6″-8″) fresh snow surprisingly well. The Altitude has the base coil-spring suspension with conventional shocks, unlike some other models that have the height adjustable air suspension. Like the V6 engine, for a vast majority of people this setup offers a very nice blend of ride comfort, handling, and payload.

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side profile

The dash is cleanly laid out with the minimum amount of buttons and just the right amount of knobs. The gauge cluster consists of center screen which is configurable in a multitude of ways via steering wheel controls. The seats are comfortable but could use more support overall, and the headrests have a nice tilt feature which can support your neck on long drives without putting you to sleep. The center console has a cubby for your phone with all connections, two cup holders, and a large segregated closed compartment. The rear seats recline and are split 60:40, but don’t have a center pass-thru. The rear window does not pop up like it once used to.

The touchscreen Unconnect is one of the most user-friendly systems on the market, with soft buttons for all major functions and auxiliary audio controls on the back of the steering wheel. If there is a downside, it’s that the heated seats/wheel controls are also hidden in it. The system streams music over every phone app imaginable, including Pandora and IHeartRadio. Your phone can be connected via Bluetooth, USB, or auxiliary input. There is also an SD card slot. The system even has a hotspot (subscription required) to stream music independently of your phone data program.

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude other details

The interior is not perfect, however. The visibility is not great and there are blind spots in the back as well as in the front due to a large A-pillar, big side mirrors, and mirror mounts. Being picky, I noticed some wiring and not covered metal body under the seats, visible when you drop something, for instance, and uneven trim around the sunroof when looking from the outside in. The biggest annoyance is the electronic shifter which toggles like a joystick, requiring a look down or at the gauge cluster for gear indication.

The Altitude is priced and positioned between a loaded Laredo and Limited with some options. For $37,095 the Altitude offers SRT-like body-colored claddings, fascia, and grill, glossy black badges, black light trim, and black wheels. Inside are black heated leather and suede seats (the only color choice) and a large 8.4″ Uconnect touch-screen, sans nav. The driver gets a power seat but it lacks the memory feature. Power hatch, 115vAC receptacle, and a remote start round out the Altitude package. Sunroof is $1095 extra, 506-watt audio is $495, back-up camera with sensors is $395, and the destination charge is $995, for a total of $40,075 as seen here.

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude wheel

The Altitude has many desirable features and it certainly looks good. It is priced well by skipping the features that the majority of buyers won’t care for, but it lacks some things, such as the roof rack. Some options are not available on it, specifically blind spot detection and the active forward collision warning and crash migration which can literally save your life – those are only available on the loaded Limited and higher models. Other versions of the Grand Cherokee provide some very impressive off-road hardware and/or road performance but no one will buy the Altitude for its power or off-road abilities but rather for the peace of mind and functionality that an all-wheel-drive SUV provides.

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side rear

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. In the past he has owned two Jeeps, a CJ-7 and a TJ Wrangler. His mother just bought a new Wrangler which he may have started modding. 

FCA US LLC provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review while I was thawing out in Florida. 

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Jeep Is Selling More Wranglers Than Ever, Needs Toledo To Build Many More Wranglers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jeep-selling-wranglers-ever-needs-toledo-build-many-wranglers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jeep-selling-wranglers-ever-needs-toledo-build-many-wranglers/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:32:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002946 After averaging 7500 Wrangler sales in the five Januarys leading up to 2015, Jeep sold 11,683 Wranglers in America last month, a January record for the nameplate. Record-setting figures are nothing new for the Wrangler, of course. Chrysler Group/FCA broke their annual Wrangler one-year-old sales record by 13,833 units in 2013 and then smashed that […]

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2013 Jeep WranglerAfter averaging 7500 Wrangler sales in the five Januarys leading up to 2015, Jeep sold 11,683 Wranglers in America last month, a January record for the nameplate.

Record-setting figures are nothing new for the Wrangler, of course. Chrysler Group/FCA broke their annual Wrangler one-year-old sales record by 13,833 units in 2013 and then smashed that with a 19,826-unit, 13% improvement in the 2014 calendar year.

Year-over-year, the pace of U.S. Wrangler sales expansion is even more impressive of late.
Over the last four months, Wrangler sales are up 17%.

The Wrangler was certainly not unpopular a decade ago, but with a more family-friendly four-door Unlimited now the Wrangler of choice, the jeepiest of Jeeps is now firmly entrenched in the mainstream.

The Wrangler was America’s 18th-best-selling utility vehicle in 2005; the 17th-best-selling in 2006. But with a four-door model, it became the tenth-best-selling SUV/crossover in 2007. It moved up to eighth in 2008, slid back to tenth in 2009, fell out of the top ten in 2010, moved back up to ninth in 2011, eighth in 2012 and 2013, and then claimed the ninth spot in 2014.

The big figure? Over the course of the last 109 months – January 2006 to January 2015 inclusive – 1,067,125 Wranglers were sold in the United States.

More than one million Jeep Wrangler sales in less than a decade.

Yet with growing global demand, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne demands greater production. The Toledo, Ohio, plant where Wranglers are assembled currently has capacity for 240,000 units, according to the Detroit Free Press, and very nearly that many were sold around the world last year.

U.S. Jeep Wrangler sales chartCanadians alone snapped up a record-setting 23,057 Wranglers in 2014 in addition to the 175,328 sold in the U.S.

We’ll know soon enough whether Toledo and FCA can come to an agreement. One thing remains more easily confirmable: every month, Jeep will continue to sell more Wranglers than they did in the same period one year earlier. Year-over-year, U.S. Jeep sales increased in each of the last 16 months.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler To Keep Its Solid Axles After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-keep-solid-axles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-keep-solid-axles/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002122 The next-gen Jeep Wrangler may have aluminum panels and hybrid power, but one more thing is now certain: the iconic vehicle will retain its solid axles. Automotive News reports the Wrangler will receive tweaks to its suspension for improvements in ride comfort and fuel economy, but the floating solid axles will remain to maintain its […]

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The next-gen Jeep Wrangler may have aluminum panels and hybrid power, but one more thing is now certain: the iconic vehicle will retain its solid axles.

Automotive News reports the Wrangler will receive tweaks to its suspension for improvements in ride comfort and fuel economy, but the floating solid axles will remain to maintain its ability to climb hills and rocks among those who actually do hit the Rubicon.

Other features for the upcoming vehicle include an eight-speed auto, fixed windscreen, and body-on-frame construction. Power will likely come from smaller turbocharged units instead of the current 3.6-liter V6, per FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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Editorial: Who Needs Quality? Or, the Myth of Brand Loyalty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-needs-quality-myth-brand-loyalty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-needs-quality-myth-brand-loyalty/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 00:24:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989858    Quick question: what was the number one factor in your most recent new vehicle purchase? Was it styling? Performance? Features? Financing? Price? Comfort? Practicality? Or that old stalwart, quality? If you answered in the affirmative to that last suggestion, you’re part of a shrinking bloc. There were a lot of winners in the 2014 […]

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Quick question: what was the number one factor in your most recent new vehicle purchase? Was it styling? Performance? Features? Financing? Price? Comfort? Practicality? Or that old stalwart, quality? If you answered in the affirmative to that last suggestion, you’re part of a shrinking bloc. There were a lot of winners in the 2014 auto sales race, but quality wasn’t one of them.

Consider the top 5 market share-gaining brands in the 2014 calendar year. They were Maserati (up 171%), Jeep (up 41.2%), Ram (up 27.5%), Mitsubishi (up 24.8%), and Subaru (up 21.0%). If we leave out the ultra-luxe niche brands and those purchased exclusively by the brain-eating undead, we have Jeep, Ram, Subaru, Lincoln (up 15.6%), and Audi (up 15.2%). If we re-organize once more and focus on groups with a wide variety of offerings, it’s Subaru at the head of the line, followed by Fiat-Chrysler (up 16.1%), Nissan Motor Group (up 11.1%), Kia (up 8.4%) and Mazda (up 7.7%).  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the results of J.D. Power’s 2014 Initial Quality Study.

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                Hmm, that’s interesting. Of the non-luxury brands that gained the most market share, only Kia beat the industry average for defects per 100 vehicles. Ram tied the average, Nissan slipped below it, and Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Jeep are all slumming it near the bottom. How about J.D. Power’s 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study, which looks at the number of problems experienced by owners of 3 year old vehicles in the previous 12 months?

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                Things are looking a little better for Subaru and Mazda now, who both beat the industry average by a statistically meaningless margin. Nissan and Kia slipped below it, and Ram, Mitsubishi and Jeep are again in the basement. So there you have it: 2014’s biggest market share gainers were solidly mediocre to poor in J.D. Power’s quality studies. Of course, there is bound to be an outcry here that J.D. Power can’t possibly represent everyone’s lived experience, and that’s fair. But perusing the likes of TrueDelta and Consumer Reports won’t poke any big holes in J.D. Power’s reports; they’re all more or less the same, with a few minor variances. More importantly, perennial quality mavens Honda and Toyota posted year-over-year sales gains of 1.0% and 5.8%, respectively. For Toyota, it was a solid if uninspiring year buoyed by strong performance at Lexus. For Honda, it was the kind of year that makes upper management start to look around for parachutes. What gives?

In the press release for the Initial Quality Study, there’s this interesting nugget about how vehicle defects impact brand loyalty:

Combined data from previous years’ IQS results and the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 57 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slips to 53 percent among owners who reported just a single problem and to only 48 percent among owners who reported two or more problems.

So according to J.D. Power, there’s only a 57% chance that owning a car with zero defects will lead to trading in your vehicle for the same make the next time around. If you have two or more problems with it (and keep in mind, we’re not talking about weighting these stats to reflect severity in any way), it slips to 48%. Those two numbers both have something in common: they’re F grades. The popular meme says that those who own ultra-reliable cars will return to dealerships like migrating geese, but the data says otherwise. Billions and billions of dollars spent on quality control, and the customer loyalty reward is little better than a coin flip. The Power data is the most compelling evidence yet that the “there are no bad cars anymore” chestnut has really penetrated the mainstream. If even the owners of the best-made cars are largely up for grabs, then what does that say about the conventional wisdom that quality conquers all?

Even if you don’t believe it, assume for the sake of argument that it’s true that it’s not that difficult to build a reliable car anymore. Even the most problem-plagued models are likely to have faults more of the annoying variety, with serious mechanical failures few and far between. Most consumers will have their expectations of reliability met, unless they get a statistically rare lemon. If’s that’s the case, then how long can quality endure as a selling point? This is analogous to the problem Volvo is facing right now in regards to safety. Safety has been a key selling point for Volvo for decades. But who makes unsafe cars anymore? Safety standards are stringent, and even cheap cars have an increasing number of whiz-bang safety technologies. Take away safety, and suddenly Volvo loses what little distinctiveness it had left. Volvo’s only hope now is to become the Chinese answer to Audi in the United States. Good luck with that.

There is at least one man in the auto industry who firmly understands that quality isn’t the make-or-break proposition it once was: Carlos Ghosn. As the other manufacturers choked on their passenger cars in 2014, Nissan grew sedan sales 15%. Of full-line brands including trucks, only FCA had a better year. All of this came on the back of a brand which, quite frankly, has shrugged its shoulders at quality for most of the last decade and a half. Nissan’s quality record in the United States is mixed, but looking back through the last couple of years of J.D. Power studies tends to support the conclusion that the company has been solidly below average since around the turn of the millennium. Clearly, there is something besides quality that is pulling people into Nissan dealers. Maybe it’s styling. Maybe it’s value for the money. Maybe it’s performance, or fuel efficiency. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter; all that it demonstrates is that it’s possible to build sales success on the back of supposedly subpar quality. FCA’s sales data says much the same thing. Inversely, the recent success of the brands with iffy quality means that Volkswagen’s sales disaster can’t be traced to reliability woes alone. Weak or missing product, poor marketing, and an infamous dealership experience are all more salient factors. Perhaps it’s time to question the value of endlessly harping on quality as the sole determinant of success. Or at least, devise better statistical tools to understand reliability. That last point is especially important, given how automobile technology has changed so much since the introduction of these surveys.

Like safety, quality is rapidly disappearing as an independently marketable category. The days where squishy, bland cars could be counted on to generate sales by virtue of quality alone are numbered. Toyota has certainly realized this, which explains the direction of much of their new product. The racy new Camry and the pseudo-premium flavor the Corolla both speak to a changed mentality. The FR-S is an attempt to bring some pizzazz back to showrooms, and even the “We ain’t got no room for boring” Highlander commercials are an attempt to push back against the brand’s staid image. Then there’s the un-blanding of Lexus, as that brand heads in a more Germanic direction. At Toyota, quality is still a priority, but in the marketing department it’s already taken a back seat to other virtues. And if Toyota won’t rest on quality alone to sell its vehicles, then who will?

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General Motors Discussing Jeep Wrangler Challenger For GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989898 Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too. The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has […]

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2015 GMC Sierra

Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too.

The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has been “kicked around real hard” according to one insider. The automaker’s growing interest comes as 150,000 units of the iconic vehicle left for the Rubicon or college in 2014, some of them going for as much as $50,000 fresh out of Ohio. The Wrangler also boasts one of the highest resale values around, second only to the Toyota Tacoma in 2015 per Kelley Blue Book.

As for what a GMC Wrangler would look like, GM said its Jeep would take cues from Hummer’s orphaned offerings; Hummer joined Pontiac, Saturn and Saab in the afterlife back in 2009 during the dark days of the Great Recession. The new model — still in the discussion phase without a name or a green light — would also help GMC capitalize on the brand’s own success, with sales rising 11 percent on the backs of the Sierra and Yukon in 2014 to 501,853.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Renegade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-jeep-renegade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-jeep-renegade/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987530 When the Jeep Renegade made its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, I initially described it as “… a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.” With a Fiat platform, powertrain and assembly plant, the Renegade isn’t the first CUV to come from the Fiat Chrysler braintrust – but […]

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When the Jeep Renegade made its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, I initially described it as “… a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.”

With a Fiat platform, powertrain and assembly plant, the Renegade isn’t the first CUV to come from the Fiat Chrysler braintrust – but represents the most ambitious attempt to create a global crossover suitable for all markets. And it’s also FCA’s best effort yet.

The Alfa Romeo – excuse, Compact U.S. Wide – platform underpinning the Jeep Cherokee ended up providing the mid-size Jeep with some sub-optimal packaging characteristics, namely inadequate rear seat space and a dearth of cargo room. While I happened to like the controversial styling, the Cherokee’s look polarized many observers. For the Renegade, Jeep has played it safe, with a slab-sided exterior that looks like a “super-deformed” version of a Wrangler Unlimited.

Although the Renegade’s footprint is about the same size as a Nissan Juke or Kia Soul (which FCA had on hand as competitive vehicles), the Renegade is far heavier. While the Juke weighs in on either side of 3,000 lbs depending on spec, the Renegade starts at 3,300 lbs, and can approach 3,500 lbs at its heftiest. And you feel every additional pound behind the wheel.

In a vacuum, it’s not such a bad thing. The extra el-bees lend a substantial feel to the car, which makes it feel like a more solid vehicle than a B-segment crossover that shares a common ancestor with the less-than-stellar Fiat 500L. Half of the drive route consisted of winding, Northern California backroads, which we tackled in a fairly simple 1.4T equipped Latitude FWD model. While the 6-speed Renegade is no speed demon, it felt as lively and responsive as a Nissan Juke – which is a pretty fun vehicle in its own right. The long, EPA-optimized gearing of the 6-speed box means constant shifting between second and third to keep the buzzy little 1.4 motor on the boil, but it only adds to the fun of whipping the boxy little Jeep through switchbacks. The clutch is easy enough to modulate and the shifter is decidedly mid-pack in the “transverse shift quality” sweepstakes.

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Driving the Renegade was such a hoot that I completely forgot to take pictures of the interior. The photo above, borrowed from Auto Express, shows what a well-equipped Renegade looks like on the inside. You will get a smaller version of UConnect, and Cherokee-like HVAC knobs and an electronic parking brake. Lower trim models get a more stripped down version of UConnect, with a less intricate display unit. Both of our demos had light fabric interiors which were quite handsome, especially when paired with the earth tone exterior colors. Avoid the black and heavier hues, lest you be mistaken for a Patriot owner.

The other half of the drive route was set up on an off-road course at California’s Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area. In addition to the 2.4L/9-speed Renegade, we also took out a Soul, a Juke, (both of which had been tested not long ago) and a Buick Encore. And holy hell does the Jeep feel like a porker. Despite handling the twisty roads with aplomb, the weight penalty over the competition (including the 3200 lb Encore) was immediately noticeable when getting out of the AWD 2.4L Renegade. Between the need for a diesel engine, a stout, Trail Rated 4×4 system, five-star crash test ratings on multiple continents and the appropriate “macho” looks, FCA engineers had to juggle numerous competing requirements that conceivably led to the Renegade weighing as much as 200 lbs more than a brand new Honda CR-V. Still it’s hard to wrap your head around such a porky figure for a B-segment CUV.

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While Jeep laid out two different off-road courses for us to test the Renegade Trailhawk on, it’s difficult to evaluate its prowess, namely because I’m a city kid who thinks that a gravel driveway calls for switching into 4WD. With a five-mode selector switch and a first-gear low range (ala the Cherokee Trailhawk), the automatic only Trailhawk version of the Renegade easily handled the rocks and whoops on the Jeep designed course. A more qualified off-road driver is a better source of impartial information. On road, the 9-speed seems to have become a smoother, more civilized gearbox than the frenetic iterations found in other FCA vehicles.

Starting at $17,995 for a bare bones Sport (and we’re talking A/C as an option), the Renegade slots in between the $16,995 Patriot and the $18,995 Compass, which are vastly outdated, less visually appealing both inside and out, and likely unable to match the Renegade’s off-road abilities. But they represent a greater hurdle for the Renegade, even more so than the Juke, the Soul or any of the upcoming compact CUVs from Honda, Mazda and Chevrolet. Just as the qualitatively inferior Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger torpedoed sales of the Dart, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where heavy incentives and a dealer body eager to move the older CUVs could push prospective buyers into a Patriot or Compass – especially if they want an automatic vehicle but don’t want to pony up for the 2.4/9-Speed versions. Assuming the two older vehicles are phased out (or replaced by a single model), volumes in the USA should rise from our initial estimates of between 60,000-70,000 units. FCA didn’t mention a number during their briefings, but that’s our best guess.

In any case, North America is hardly the most important market for the Renegade. China, India, Brazil, Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East…these are the locales where the Renegade must really make it happen for Jeep. The B-Segment CUV is the hottest segment in the world market, and the combination of Fiat diesel engines, Jeep styling and brand image and a global manufacturing base will help the Renegade achieve FCA’s long desired push to turn Jeep into a global SUV brand – and a premium one at that. Don’t bet against it.

 

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Jeep Renegade Pricing Leaked, AWD 6-Speed Manual Confirmed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-renegade-pricing-leaked-awd-6-speed-manual-confirmed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-renegade-pricing-leaked-awd-6-speed-manual-confirmed/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:01:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987314 Although driving impressions for the Jeep Renegade are still embargoed, pricing has leaked on a third party site, and we can confirm that a 4×4 model with a  6-speed manual will be available – but not on the top trim Trailhawk version. The 1.4T Multiair 4-cylinder turbo engine will be available with a 6-speed manual […]

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Although driving impressions for the Jeep Renegade are still embargoed, pricing has leaked on a third party site, and we can confirm that a 4×4 model with a  6-speed manual will be available – but not on the top trim Trailhawk version.

The 1.4T Multiair 4-cylinder turbo engine will be available with a 6-speed manual exclusively, while the 2.4L Tigershark I4 will come with 9-speed ZF automatic. Both configurations can be had in either FWD or AWD, while the TrailHawk gets an uprated AWD with 20:1 crawl ratio, five different modes and a low range mode in first gear, similar to the Cherokee Trailhawk.

Per the Jeep Renegade Forum:

Sport: $17,995
Latitude: $21,295
Limited: $24,795
Trailhawk: $25,995

4×4 adds $2,000

Our review will go live tomorrow.

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Manley: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Could Be A Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985490 Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards. According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks […]

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Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards.

According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks and improves its on-road prowess. Such a hybrid would be more focused on off-roading and the issues that could come up:

Where you have to be careful with the Wrangler is range. If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support. The way that combination is calibrated would be more unique for a Wrangler than it would, for example, a Grand Cherokee.

Other options for greater fuel economy include diesel power, as well as usage of aluminum and high-strength steel in the Wrangler’s construction.

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Manley: Jeep Wrangler Truck Perfect For Brand, Business Case Not There http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983761 The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch. According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every […]

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The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch.

According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every international market” would take a Wrangler pickup, and that the idea “fits the portfolio exactly,” the business case for the truck still isn’t there.

Part of that case involves Ram: a Wrangler truck would do gangbusters on the showroom floor — the Wrangler made up 25.3 percent of the record 692,248 Jeep products sold in 2014 — but at the expense of the designated truck brand, an issue that has persisted for some time.

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It’s A Jeep Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-thing-wouldnt-understand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-thing-wouldnt-understand/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974226 Better than the mid-engine Vette/Ute mule, it’s the Prowangler. (H/T David Gluckman)

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Better than the mid-engine Vette/Ute mule, it’s the Prowangler.

(H/T David Gluckman)

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Canada Auto Sales Recap: November 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/canada-auto-sales-recap-november-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/canada-auto-sales-recap-november-2014/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 13:41:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963210 Canadians registered more new vehicles in 2013 than any year in the country’s auto-buying age. Yet in 2014, that record was very nearly broken in the first eleven months of the year. Auto sales in Canada through November 2014 rose 5.5%, a gain of 89,000 units compared with the first eleven months of 2013. Despite […]

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TTAC Chart Canada recapCanadians registered more new vehicles in 2013 than any year in the country’s auto-buying age. Yet in 2014, that record was very nearly broken in the first eleven months of the year.

Auto sales in Canada through November 2014 rose 5.5%, a gain of 89,000 units compared with the first eleven months of 2013.

Despite a sharp 3.4% decline in the number of passenger cars sold in November, the Canadian auto industry was up 3.6% last month thanks to strong pickup truck volume (up 15% to 25,811 units) and continued improvement in the SUV/crossover category.

The overall passenger car market was let down by sharp decreases from the most popular cars in the country last month. The Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Jetta – Canada’s first, third, fourth, and sixth-best-selling cars – produced 3198 fewer sales this November than in November 2013, a 21% drop. The remainder of Canada’s available car nameplates, more than 130 vehicles, generated a 2.8% increase when those four top sellers are excluded.

The Civic’s 27% November drop presented an opportunity for the Honda CR-V to surge to the top of the Honda leaderboard. Indeed, the CR-V was Honda Canada’s best-selling model in November 2014; Canada’s top-selling SUV/crossover, as well. The Ford Escape was thus knocked into second spot on the SUV/crossover best seller list for the first time since December of last year. CR-V sales shot up 56% to 4461 units in November 2014. It ranks third among utility vehicles year-to-date, 15,803 sales back of the Ford Escape; 934 sales behind the Toyota RAV4. All three are primed to break the sales records they set one year ago, as is the fourth-ranked Nissan Rogue, sales of which doubled in November.

18.6% of the new vehicles sold in Canada last month were pickup trucks, up from 16.7% in November 2013. The four top-selling truck nameplates, full-size pickups from Ford, Ram, and General Motors, generated a combined 18.6% year-over-year volume increase to 23,580 units, equal to 91.4% of the overall pickup truck market.

In November and through the first eleven months of 2014, Jeep is Canada’s fastest-growing volume brand. Sales at the Chrysler Group’s SUV brand jumped 44% in November to 5887 units, 28% of the automaker’s total November sales during a month in which Chrysler Canada was the country’s largest manufacturer.

Through the end of November, the Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram) trails the Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln) by a scant 0.3% difference. By a wide margin, FoMoCo’s namesake Ford brand is Canada’s best-selling auto brand. Toyota is 94,504 sales back through eleven months. Among premium brands, Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW by 447 units in November, enough to spread the year-to-date gap to 772 sales. Audi, which has reported an 18.5% year-to-date sales improvement and jumped 30.5% in November, is Canada’s third-ranked premium brand.

Audi is one of 16 brands which sold more vehicles in the first eleven months of 2014 than in all of 2013. Nissan and Ram are the biggest brands to shoot past their 2013 sales levels with at least one month remaining in 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Cherokee Is Jeep’s Best Seller Three Months Running http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/cherokee-jeeps-best-seller-three-months-running/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/cherokee-jeeps-best-seller-three-months-running/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:28:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956922 In each of the last three months, the Cherokee has been the best-selling model at America’s fastest-growing volume brand. Jeep sales are up 44% in the United States through the first eleven months of 2014, an improvement of 191,895 units. Excluding the Cherokee, which wasn’t on sale until the fourth-quarter of 2013, Jeep sales are […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee LimitedIn each of the last three months, the Cherokee has been the best-selling model at America’s fastest-growing volume brand. Jeep sales are up 44% in the United States through the first eleven months of 2014, an improvement of 191,895 units.

Excluding the Cherokee, which wasn’t on sale until the fourth-quarter of 2013, Jeep sales are still up 10% in 2014 and 15% in November. Those Cherokee-less increases still far outpace the auto industry as a whole, which is up a little more than 5% this year; a little less than 5% in November.

Yet even before Jeep once again broadens its lineup with the subcompact Renegade, the Cherokee helped power the brand to new heights. The Jeep brand last topped the 500,000 mark in calendar year 1999. Jeep sold 629,074 utility vehicles during the first eleven months of 2014.

During the September-to-November period, however, the Cherokee’s importance was revealed with greater clarity. It led all Jeeps with 14,639 sales in September, equal to 26.5% of the brand’s total. In October, the Cherokee accounted for 28.5%, or 15,715, of Jeep’s 55,198 sales. Last month, the Cherokee rose to fifth place in overall SUV/crossover rankings with 16,945 sales, 29.5% of all Jeep sales.

So far this year, the Cherokee ranks third in Jeep sales with 160,793 units, behind the Grand Cherokee’s 166,610 units and the Wrangler’s 161,325. Grand Cherokee volume is up 6%; Wrangler sales are up 12%. Jeep sold 84,028 Patriots, a 21% increase, over the first eleven months of 2014. Compass sales are up 14% to 56,318. 33% of FCA’s U.S. sales are Jeep-derived this year, up from 27% in 2013. Jeep was the company’s top-selling brand every month this year except for February and March.

Together, the Jeep brand and Dodge’s Durango and Journey generated 772,504 SUV/crossover sales through the end of November 2014. That’s well ahead of Ford/Lincoln’s 681,670; well back of GM’s 896,371.

As for specific models, six specific SUV/crossover nameplates outsell the leading Jeep. Eight different utilities, including two Jeeps, outsell the Cherokee. For every Cherokee sold this year, Honda sells 1.9 CR-Vs. Keep in mind, however, that the CR-V is yet to be challenged in Honda’s own showrooms by the HR-V. The Cherokee, Patriot, and Compass combined for 301,139 sales through the end of November, very nearly on par with the CR-V’s 302,650-unit total. Then again, when Honda begins selling HR-Vs, Jeep will be marketing Renegades, as well.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler Confirmed For 8-Speed Automatic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-confirmed-8-speed-automatic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-confirmed-8-speed-automatic/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:48:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950225 A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some, but the next-generation off-roader will be packing an 8-speed automatic for those who don’t want to row their own. According to Automotive News, the next Wrangler is confirmed for the 8-speed auto, based on an SEC filing. The 8-speed will not only be used on the Wrangler, […]

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A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some, but the next-generation off-roader will be packing an 8-speed automatic for those who don’t want to row their own.

According to Automotive News, the next Wrangler is confirmed for the 8-speed auto, based on an SEC filing. The 8-speed will not only be used on the Wrangler, but all rear-drive FCA products, save for heavy duty trucks and the Viper.

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Grand Cherokee, Durango Going Grayscale Until February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949153 Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months. Automotive News reports […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-004

Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months.

Automotive News reports the grayscale look will be in until at least next February due to upgrades at Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North Assembly’s paint shop in Detroit. The upgrades would allow the shop to paint vehicles with more complex colors than it could prior to the changeover.

The changeover, which follows those at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ subsidary’s Warren Truck and Sterling Heights facilities, will also shut production down for three weeks beginning December 22, the first time the plant has been shut down for that long in several years.

Until then, shoppers can comb through the lot to find a red or maximum steel SUV of their dreams: around 19 percent of 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees and 8 percent of 719 unsold Dodge Durangos come in colors outside of the grayscale range.

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FCA CEO Ordered To Give Deposition In Jeep-Related Lawsuit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fca-ceo-ordered-give-deposition-jeep-related-lawsuit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fca-ceo-ordered-give-deposition-jeep-related-lawsuit/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946210 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been ordered by a Georgia judge to give a deposition as part of a lawsuit made against his company by a family whose son was killed in a rear-end crash involving a Jeep. Bloomberg reports the Walden family is suing FCA, stating the fiery accident that took the […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been ordered by a Georgia judge to give a deposition as part of a lawsuit made against his company by a family whose son was killed in a rear-end crash involving a Jeep.

Bloomberg reports the Walden family is suing FCA, stating the fiery accident that took the life of their four-year-old son, Remington Cole, was the result of a safety hazard involving the placement of the fuel tank in their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The judge asked the automaker to make its CEO available for a videotape deposition at a time agreed upon by both involved parties, per a decision on the case made last month.

FCA’s Chrysler Group stated said Jeep wasn’t defective, and that it met or exceeded safety standards that were in place when the vehicle left the assembly line. The automaker did offer its sympathy to the family, however:

Chrysler Group expresses its most profound sympathy to those affected by this tragedy, which resulted from a collision with a pickup truck driven in a manner police described as “erratic, reckless, careless (and) negligent.”

The statement follows a similar response made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June 2013, when the agency requested the automaker recall 2.7 million Grand Cherokees and Libertys over the vehicles’ fuel tanks, which posed a fire risk due to their location between the rear bumper and axle. FCA later applied a fix for 1.56 million affected units — the installation or repair of a trailer hitch to help minimize the effects of a low-speed crash — but not for the 1999 Grand Cherokee like the one cited in the lawsuit.

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Aldred: Jeep Wrangler-Style GMC Model A Possibility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944665 Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC. Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key […]

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Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC.

Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key to success. While only in the brainstorming phase with no plans at present to expand the lineup, he said there was “room throughout the range” if one were to segment it, with “plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy” to spare.

Thus, Aldred’s team could bring aboard an “active all-road, Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” to the lineup, as well as a flagship SUV above the Yukon, and an Encore-sized subcompact crossover. Aldred added that the brand could play around in “more big segments” if so desired.

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