By on June 22, 2010

I just returned from the Jeep Grand Cherokee event, which included a section of off-roading in the Hollister Recreation Area. (See photo above). I’ll provide a full GC review soon but it’s not telling tales out of school to admit that this new Jeep is utterly incandescent off-road, delivering capability and poise my hardcore old five-speed Land Rover Discovery never dreamt of possessing.

With that said… does it matter? Everyone else in the segment is running from the “4WD/off-road” image as fast as their little Accord-or-Camry-based platforms can carry them. Those of you who have purchased SUVs in the past: Does it matter if your trucklet can do the business off-road? Have you been off-road? If so, why’d you do it?

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93 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Who Gives A Damn About Off-Road Ability?...”


  • avatar
    Jason

    Everyone else in the segment doesn’t depend on off-road awesomeness as the core of the brand identity. In fact, everyone else running away from off-road ability just serves to make Jeep…Jeepier.

    • 0 avatar
      newcarscostalot

      +1 I agree. I owned a Suburban for a while, but only because I needed a vehicle. I sold it to someone who was going to use it for its intended purpose. I do think that most buyers of SUV or crossover vehicles have lots of reasons for their purchase, but using the off road capability in an off road environment would be low on the list. I’m basing this conclusion on people I know with SUV/crossover vehicles. They don’t go off road, and the few times I have been I have never once seen a large SUV or crossover. So in other words, this is just my uninformed opinion. :-)

  • avatar
    robert_h

    I off-road, and so do many people I know. It’s fun, and often it’s the only way to get to some interesting and scenic areas. I don’t know anyone who does it in a new, $40k vehicle, though…

    • 0 avatar
      newcarscostalot

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      We had some neighbors with clueless 20-something kids. They had an Isuzu Trooper that was seriously battered and not road-worthy that they’d regularly drive in their 50 acre “backyard”.

      One day they show up at 10am on a Saturday night; my wife and I were about to head for the bedroom — they asked if they could use our tractor to pull themselves out and I (foolishly) said “Yes”. Ten minutes later they ask us “how do we start this thing?” so I came out to help.

      They’d gotten the trooper stuck in a mud pit on a hill, and then they’d gotten a red pickup truck stuck trying to pull the trooper out. The pickup truck was a driver that they needed to get to work the next day so they were urgent about it.

      So I fired up my 1957 JD420, and drove up the hill. To get the tractor in we cut the barbed wire of the fence that kept their horses in. Pulling the trucks out was pretty easy once we remembered that it’s a lot easier to pull things downhill rather than uphill.

      We went at least a year without the horses escaping, but eventually we got our own horses so their horses finally had a place to go when they escaped… So they escaped constantly… They finally patched the fence in back, but by then one of their horses learned he could jump over the gate in the front and come around to our place that way.

      We got sick of dragging their horses back to their barn, finding no proper way to secure them, and tying them up with makeshift materials that would probably get the S.P.C.A. on our case. So one day I left a nice message on their phone machine, “Your horse is over at our place. Could you please come and get it?”

      This lady shows up. I offer to get her a scoop of grain (even an idiot can catch a horse with grain) but instead she chased the horse around the outside perimeter of our electric fence, an area infested with thorny Rosa Multiflora.

      That was the last time the horses came over to our place.

      The same people were irresponsible about animals in general. A flock of sheep escaped from their property and took up residence in my barn a few years before I bought it. Later on, I got by their pitbull, who took a whole year to work up the courage to take a chunk out of my ankle…

  • avatar
    ajla

    Towing and off-roading are to SUVs as 1/4 mile times and track days are to sports cars.

  • avatar

    If I didn’t have a 4X4 how could I enjoy uncrowded places such as this:

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4032/4682237183_6f689b36ff_b.jpg

    The fact that my Jeep doesn’t beat me up on the long trip out there is just gravy.

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    I just bought a 2010 Grand Cherokee last month. While shopping for my new vehicle, I was amazed at how far the class has strayed. Most so called SUVs only tow up to 3500lbs, and the so-called 4wd systems are a joke.

    Trading in a 02 Legacy for something that could also tow; I refused to take a step backward in the traction department. I had no idea that would be such a tall order. I don’t off road (yet), but I do need something that can take me to work after a Canadian snowstorm whether or not the plows have run yet. Would I be able to do it in a car based SUV with good winter tires? Probably. When the snow starts flying though, I much prefer a good 4WD drivetrain over 7 seats, especially for my little family if three.

    Also, a 357hp Hemi V8 makes a very convincing argument when compared to the torqueless V6s found in the car based SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      t8528sl

      Congratulations on your purchase. With the V8 you have at least Quadra-trac II (low range) and likely Quadra Drive (limited slip diffs front and rear). Quadradrive is simply amazing once you understand the detail behind the Dana axles. A computer controlled clutch pack able to lock the wheels left to right. It can’t overspin the like the light duty Acura systems, but it can take abuse those systems cannot. A limited slip diff in front! Who else offers that? (Answer: H3 special package, now dead). Alas, the 2011 Grand Cherokee quadradrive does away with the front differential for an open diff and traction control (which works well, but not as well). Trac control slows down the airbound wheels to even out the torque, not as good as a locking diff IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Blunozer

      Yep… It’s the Quadra-Drive II system. It can put up to 100% of the engines power to any given wheel at any given time. It also has a low speed transfer case.

      Love it.

  • avatar
    kol

    IT’S A JEEP.

    Jeep releasing vehicles that suck off road is every bit as damaging to Jeep’s brand as Toyota releasing vehicles with reliability issues and defects.

    • 0 avatar

      For proof, see the rightfully horrid sales figures for the Compass and Patriot.

      I agree with the others — Jeep’s best chance to move Grand Cherokees is to market the ‘jeepiness’ of the vehicle. As long as gas prices hold near current levels, that’s probably a very good play.

      Funny how the market Jeep invented, the compact-but-still-capable SUV, has come full-circle. As they were once the only game in town, Jeep is rapidly approaching that same status again.

  • avatar

    As always, it comes down to how you actually USE the vehicle. The bottom line is a standard crossover is never going to have the towing or off road capability of a traditional SUV. Most AWD vehicles never leave the pavement, relatively few are even capable of serious off road. So it’s pretty obvious most people don’t care much at all.

    But there will always be a market for Jeeps (minus the Compass) and other traditional SUV/Pickups because there are always some people who need and use the capabilities such vehicles possess.

  • avatar

    I’ve taken my Liberty all sorts of places that a CUV would have difficulty going. For a small segment of buyers of some SUVs it’s important.

    Off road is the reason de etre for the Wrangler; without off road its just a vehicle with piss poor economy and room. Even Jeep is becoming less Jeepier. With the exception of the Wrangler every Jeep model has been less capable off road than what it replaced.

    For the other 95% of the CRVLander purchasing public it is a unsuitable feature that adds weight, reduces interior room and drags down fuel economy.

    As Robert H observed, no one in their right mind takes their brand new $35-45k vehicle in serious off road. That is what the $2k Cherokee or Samuari from Craigslist is for.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    Bought a 2010 Wrangler recently, other than upgraded tires and a hard top it has no options.

    I alternate between sports cars and little truck type things with 4wd. I went back to 4wd because I got sick of not being able to go places I generally like to go. A sports car might be able to go down a logging road but it won’t last long doing it.

    My work takes me to some pretty extreme locations and I have to do it in a Ford Explorer, whatever I bought I wanted to make sure it was WAY more capable off road than the Explorer. The Explorer is a joke and somehow manages to get high centered or stuck in just about everything and is a pretty horrible on road vehicle to top it off.

    I have a sport bike for when I want thrills. It was either dump the bike (a VFR) and get a KLR650 or something OR get rid of the car and get something tough and capable of off road abuse to replace it.

    I couldn’t part with the bike and the repair bills on the car had worn out their welcome. So I bought a Wrangler, which can just barely tow the bike if needed. I was also looking at Rangers, but any potential relationship with the Explorer parts bin scared me off (would have been much more practical though).

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      It’s tough to compare today’s Ranger against the Explorer … they are two different vehicles from two different times, with two different missions…

      Ranger and Explorer used to be on common platforms (… UPN105, UPN150), that ended in 2001 when the U152 Explorer was released and the Ranger continued to soldier-on on its P150 platform. In the meantime, the Explorer got a 2nd new platform, the U251, while the Ranger got zilch. Now the Explorer will get its 5th or 6th new platform (this time Unibody, like the new Grd Ckee, but unlike the Grd Ckee, Explorer will be biased more toward the CUV-end rather than the TUV-end of the SUV spectrum, and old-friend Ranger will get the axe.

  • avatar
    t8528sl

    Features that were on the list for the 2011 Grand Cherokee that were left on the cutting room floor – heated and ventilated leather seats (now only heated), Fold down front passenger seat, dual view front Navigation screen (interesting technology where the navigation screen shows a different image to the passenger than to the driver, passenger can watch TV while driver drives). Good to see the subwoofer and large sunroof made the list. The glove box door still has the lock on it, and there are four grab handles (one for each person). These are typically pulled for cost considerations so it shows they’re not so worried about cost. A year from now they’ll be gone.

    • 0 avatar
      HeeeeyJake

      They’ll add content if they make money on it. Considering $54000 Ford Flex Titanium Editions, the FIAT overlords will add premium content. That’s how every car sells in Europe regardless of EPA equivalent size class. Like the premium hatchback, FIAT 500 et al., Jeep will be like Mini with niche marketing and premium content.

      Sergio Marchione has a passion for cars, and he’s putting in an insane amount of manhours making this work. The Italian Wizard’s FIAT empire depends on it, and they stand to make a lot of money. Jeep is global. Fill in the blanks.

      FWIW, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Italian military started purchasing the military Jeep J8, like the Egyptians use, with the VM Motori diesel, obviously made in Italy. You heard it here first, folks.

    • 0 avatar
      Anonymous Coward

      I have a Jeep Cherokee with leather seats. I love having the leather seats because mud, snow, sweat, etc remains right on the surface and can easily be wiped off and the seats made good as new. So in my mind, ventilated leather seats defeats the entire purpose of having leather seats as whatever liquid/semi-liquid substances immediately drips through the ventilation holes and becomes a permanent part of the seat. And foul smelling mud dripping into the interior of my seats to be heated and enjoyed over and over again every time I use the seat warmer just sounds like a really, really bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      holydonut

      lol … T-ID

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      According to the various press releases, the ventilated seats are standard on Overland and optional on Limited….from the release:

      “World-class interior features include real wood and leather, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-way power lumbar controls…”

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Jeep doesn’t pretend to be Toyota/Honda in terms of the motivations driving the purchase. 99% of people who buy the vehicle are looking for something more than a casual appliance. They’re not seeking outright speed – but instead utility and exploration. You want to be able to hit that difficult fishing hole that is sometimes flooded or go to Tahoe on a whim. The Jeep will never win a decision on pure pragmatism. It has less cargo room, worse fuel MPG, and rides more like a truck than the Japanese offerings.

    JD Power (yes, the JD Power you all hate) issues a lot of fun demographic data sets to go with the “quality” findings. One of these was a summary of the average income, education, and age of the survey results from the surveys that they didn’t throw out.

    I’m also taking a leap where I assume that the hundreds of people who reply to the JD Power surveys for the respective vehicles are as a general whole answering truthfully about themselves. But I’m sure Karesh will throw in something negative about JD Power respondents.

    Anyway, The last time I saw the results, there was something interesting in the pattern of buyer of JGC versus Honda Pilot and Toyota 4Runner. It’s not surprising to find that the average new Jeep Grand Cherokee buyer makes the same income as the average buyer of a Honda Pilot (vehicles in the similar price-class). The kicker is the JGC buyer tended to have less college education than the Toyota/Honda buyer. You don’t need to go to college to make money – it’s just a safer (often more pragmatic) route.

    Separate research (not JD Power) seemed to reinforce the notion that the JGC buyers want a vehicle that is capable in aspects that defy the conservative “intelligent” decision of fuel efficiency, comfort, and reliability. These factors were considered in the decision, but the Jeep attracts buyers who also valued utility, ruggedness, and vehicle character.

    The pragmatists often rue the ‘less intelligent’ people for wasting money on off road ability due to a perceived lack of value. But the irony is that the elitist mentality represents a character trait that the Jeep buyers intentionally want to separate themselves from. They want a fun car for a specific purpose, and those buyers have a great vehicle to research for their next new car purchase. To that end, the worse rating that Consumer Reports offered to the Wrangler, the happier the Wrangler buyers became.

    The tough part is that the JGC offers off-road ability wrapped with real-world benefits for daily family use. And because of that it is not exceptional in either regard and runs the risk of simply becoming the option no one can rationalize with their purchase. Either they go full-out and get a Wrangler-type-vehicle or they go conservative and get a CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      HeeeeyJake

      Isn’t this the guns/no guns argument in a nutshell? No one can rationalize a gun purchase according to the same mentality that can’t rationalize a JGC purchase.

      Rep vs. Dem? Right vs. Left? Maybe. But wearing kevlar vests and/or concealing a weapon are an uncomfortable inconvenience, and they’re the same as the ride/usability/efficiency compromise that is a JGC by default.

      Enough with analogies, when the snow hits and the only place open is the pizza parlor owned by the same guy as the snowplow company, the JGC will get you there and back, and you might end up de-ditching a Honda Pilot or two along the way.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    I worked for many years for NGOs all over the world. (And will again, once my bank account doesn’t read like it did back in school.) All over Africa, mid-East, SE Asia, desert, jungle and everything inbetween.

    I like 70-series Landcruisers and Unimogs for real work/general purpose utility vehicles when the situation requires “off-road” capability. Land Rover Defenders are okay and will get you where you gotta go, but tend to break down so don’t always bring you back.

    Everything else is a either a waste of time, or you really didn’t need 4WD in the first place.

    Well, there’s a certain class of vehicles (80+series Landcruisers, Hiluxes, Nissan Patrols, Mitsu Pajeros and the like) that provide a good balance of comfort and capability for light/medium and/or people hauling duty.

    The trouble is what people classify as ‘off-road’ here in the states. No four wheeled vehicle has true off road capability. If you’re going some place where there truly is no road, then you need to be on tracks or at least 3-4 axles, not a 4WD. What people mean by off-road is off-tarmac, which can mean a dozen different things but usually comes down to an ill maintained stretch that’s gone too muddy or sandy. Even in these situations, nine times out of ten, if the driver knows what he’s doing, a 2WD will go anywhere a 4WD can go because it’s about track selection and not vehicle capability (well, assuming it’s got enough clearance for the bumpies in the first place).

    Here in north TX, I see tons of 4WD Big3 pick-ups and for the life of me, I can’t figure out their purpose. I have yet to see a single stretch of regularly traveled road/trail, the purpose of which isn’t primarily recreational, that actually requires a 4WD. Every time I hear someone talk about a rough section of trail, when I actually see it, it’s either easily traversable with good driving in 2WD or it’s so so whacked that it’s not worth the risk of driving it alone without a partner/rescue/recovery vehicle. Very few in-between.

    So yeah, unless you literally live on a farm or a ranch and must get around, 4WD in North America is just silly. (And I suspect that most working farmers/ranchers are pretty good about keeping their dirt packs in good shape in the first place.) I simply don’t get the point.

    If you’re a recreational off-roader, I get it. Fun is fun. Everyone else who buys a 4WD is just plain delusional.

    I really don’t know much about snow/ice driving other than spending the winter through the three big snowstorms in the NE this past winter, so I can’t speak to that.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Here in north TX, I see tons of 4WD Big3 pick-ups and for the life of me, I can’t figure out their purpose.

      Steep boat ramps?

    • 0 avatar

      “Here in north TX, I see tons of 4WD Big3 pick-ups and for the life of me, I can’t figure out their purpose.”

      Status… and, in many cases I’d wager, overcompensation. Nothing more.

    • 0 avatar

      What Signal11 said.

      Forgive the nature of my analogy… I use the old water closet for maybe 1% of my waking life at most, but I don’t feel the need to carry 4 rolls of toilet paper and a magazine with me everywhere I go. By the same token, I’ve never understood why anyone would choose to haul around an expensive, complex and heavy 4WD system everywhere they drive if it only gets used less than 1% of the time.

      But, whatever floats your boat… or hauls it around on weekends, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      +1 Interesting comment. In the early 60’s, when I was a a mid-teenager, I worked on my cousin’s mother’s family’s working ranch in SE Colorado. A pretty big collection of vehicles– cars, pickup trucks, 5-ton truck, 10-ton truck (for hauling cattle to market) and farm tractors of various sizes.

      Not a 4wd among them. And the entrance to the main part of the ranch was 5 miles off US 50, on an “improved” dirt road.

      My uncle, who lived in the Rockies a couple hundred miles west of Denver had a 4wd — but it was just a WW2 surplus Jeep that he used to go in the high country and find good trout streams. He would usually drive to the limit of what the Jeep could do, then walk a mile or two. . . and go fishing. The family car was a Chevy station wagon, with snow tires for the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      ajla,

      Steep boat ramps?

      A much more economically and environmentally sound solution is a pair of traction mats/pads. They run from $30-100 and the nice ones are like rubbing Gorilla Glue onto your tires. I meant that in a positive way.

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      This is why I always thought that the Prerunner that Toyota built…2wd with a LSD (or maybe even locking in previous generations) plus some ground clearance/stronger suspension) always made a lot of sense.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    We bought a RAV4. I sought 2WD for better mileage. It is my wife’s car, she thinks Kroger parking lots are off road.

  • avatar
    twotone

    98% of my driving is on paved public roads. On the off chance I decide to go “four-wheeling” I’ll rent a Jeep and tear up someone else’s vehicle.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    I like 70-series Landcruisers and Unimogs for real work/general purpose utility vehicles when the situation requires “off-road” capability. Land Rover Defenders are okay, and will get you where you gotta go, but tend to break down so don’t always bring you back.”

    Exactly. Though you did leave out the Pinz, and the G-Wagen. Admittedly, not as common in impoverished parts of the world, but they are both capable of surviving ‘real’ off-roading.

    I would offer that there are scenarios in the US snowbelt where AWD is very useful.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Exactly. Though you did leave out the Pinz, and the G-Wagen. Admittedly, not as common in impoverished parts of the world, but they are both capable of surviving ‘real’ off-roading.

      You’re right on both counts there. I haven’t seen that many Pinzs and G-Wagens to be honest, though G-Wagens seem to be a popular choice among the embassy crowds. And Big Men types. Don’t know enough about them to say much about their reliability or capability.

      Most of the world where you need the capability, there’s Toyota, then there’s everyone else. Well, excepting the occasional oddball country like Pakistan where Mitsubishi seems to rule the roost.

      I would offer that there are scenarios in the US snowbelt where AWD is very useful.

      I love AWD. But then, most AWD systems are meant to used on-pavement, under bad traction conditions. That’s a fundamentally different condition from the question of ‘off-road capability.’

      Every once in a while, I read about or see some guy on TV who wants to do the Africa overland (invariably a Brit) and he starts out by kitting out a Land Rover. I’ve driven from Uganda to Cape Town in a Subaru and quite frankly I didn’t even need the AWD. These days, I’ll be you can do it in a Camry.

      Like I said, I find the notion of the average American needing 4WD off-road capability to be absurd bordering on the just plain asinine.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      If you are going to bring up the Pinzgauer, then you mustn’t forget the Haflinger! Although these are less like SUV’s and more like wheeled light duty-tanks!

    • 0 avatar
      jacksonbart

      The Pinzgauer and the Halfinger are too susceptible to mines to be considered real off road vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Signal11,

      They’re both seriously capable, but I wouldn’t take the Pinz to Africa without my own parts stash. The G-Wagen would be kinda a coin-flip. Both utterly reliable, but when you have to get a part, you have to get a part – and an FJ or a Mog are far more ubiquitous.

      Robert.Walker,

      I left out the Haflinger simply as I haven’t ever seen one road licensed. Not saying it couldn’t be/ hasn’t been done – just that I’ve never seen it. Pinzes and Mogs are for the 1%ers, but they aren’t hard to find if you know where to look. And most are street licensed in the States (gotta get to the action, to participate…).

      But I agree. The chance of needing 4WD in all but the most severe environs is almost nil. I’ve driven Civics and Accords into places that the koolaid drinking rednecks swore you’d die without a jacked-up F150/Bronco.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      I have a Pinzgauer 710K and with its full coil spring suspension it’s surprisingly cushy. Off road it’s never let me down, although most of the young ones will sneer at its sub-90 hp engine. It has a tighter turning radius than modern compact cars, so parking it tends to outrage the other guy who thinks that big box can’t fit into the spot (s)he’s eying.

      However, my licensed Haflinger (Series II LWB w/polyshell cab + PTO) is what I use most often as its fuel economy is somewhere in the 40-50 mpg range and it’s just enough when running around town chasing parts or picking up groceries. I even dragged a crate engine home with it a couple of years ago; the most difficult aspect of that job was convincing the guys at the loading dock that the tiny truck could handle the weight.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Felis Concolor,

      God love ya man.

      Do you have the Haflinger licensed in the US? Just curious, as it would be the first I have heard of. If you do, I’m impressed!

      I’m with you, ’tis always amusing that kids don’t understand that 90 HP is quite adequate for almost any task. We built most of the US infrastructure using giant trucks that were not much more powerful.

      I’m always amused by the contingent that thinks you need 400 HP to haul some drywall…

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    I use to go off roading. Back in 1959 my father set up rallies for the local VW club. With its light weight, 36 HP, and 15″ wheels the club members drove their beatles over logging roads, through creeks, and down dirt roads used by park rangers and utility crews.

    You guys with your 300 HP 4000 pound SUVs with A/C and MP3 players are a bunch of wimps.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    I once flew to Colorado to buy a Subaru Outback (which, I’ll admit, doesn’t buy me too much cred). I had a most enjoyable time on the way back home to Dallas doing some light off-roading down some state parks. Then I proceeded to take it everywhere but off the pavement right until I sold it for half its worth in order to buy a BMW. Sorry, guys, but I get just as much kicks out of doing my best JB impersonation on the mean streets of Suburbia, USA at 2am.

    I respect all the the true off-road enthusiats on here (who seem to unanimously be Jeep owners), but I suspect most of us get enough of our share watching TV commercials and reading magazines.

    Also, I’ve driven a 2wd Jeep Liberty, and damned if I didn’t hate driving another vehicle more. That was less inspiring than the 1985 Toyota Van I drove as a teenager (atleast I had dreams of puting a waterbed in the back of that vehicle).

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Most people will never use the off-roading feature of trucks and SUVs. I think a lot of consumers tend to get a vicarious thrill from the potential, even if they never use it. Sort of like an average Porsche customer owning a car that can go 190 mph, when most will rarely exceed half that speed.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      In Zurich, I never once saw a 911 demonstrating anything near its potential. (Could also be said for the GTO Judge I saw there a couple of years ago, but that pristine old Goat ragtop had so much more presence than any 911 or 959 had!)

      Even in the mountains, in Liechtenstein, folks with retired Pinzgauers and Häflingers use them mostly as weekend novelty cars for cruising to BBQ’s or out to the local club pub…

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Off road capability is irrelevant to my wife and I. We don’t really even want 4wd/AWD – except the city doesn’t plow our street until 3 days after a storm. Gotta be able to get to work. My wife’s CRV has enough capability to get through deep snow drifts -on road. In fact, if I also had a CRV, we wouldn’t even need to clear the driveway.

    To my mind paying slightly higher taxes so the City/County could take care of the roads would be cheaper than owning an AWD vehicle. But I live in a society with a “no taxes” mentality, and we need to get to work. AWD/4WD can be a useful feature, even for someone who doesn’t ever intend to go off road.

    Sine we don’t need the serious off road capability of a Jeep, that brand never pops up on our radar when it’s purchase time. Why would we settle for Chrysler’s poor quality when a Honda will do everything we need it to do?

  • avatar
    william442

    Fishing at Cape Point.

  • avatar
    findude

    I’m with Signal11 here. I knew an NGO worker in SE Asia who drove a Mitsubishi Pajero (called the Montero in the USA) for three years thinking it was in 4WD whereas it was really in 2WD all the time. They went “off-road” and forded streams and everything in 2WD.

    Those who REALLY go off road (no quotation marks) know that it is done on two or four legs, not in a wheeled vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      In many developing countries, Mitsubishi Pajeros and Toyota Land Cruisers are favored conveyances of the local elites. In Pakistan, they are a symbol of the ruling class/landed gentry that I got to calling them “wadera-mobiles” (wadera is a rural landlord).

  • avatar
    ronin

    Charley and the Mansonettes lived out of old schoolbuses in the late 60s, way the heck out in Death Valley (I’m NOT talking about the Spahn Movie Ranch). When law enforcement raided the joint, they expressed amazement. They had no idea how the standard yellow school buses were driven way out to such a remote Panamint location.

    Moral: Patience, enough time, ground spotters and walkers with tools, will deliver you a heck of a lot of off-roading capability.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’m into serious off-roading, but I use either my mountain bike, back country skis, or snow shoes. I get into places that even a tracked vehicle won’t go. For the road, 2 wheel drive and Blizzak WS-60s in the winter get me around just fine.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Comments like: “I find the notion of the average American needing 4WD off-road capability to be absurd bordering on the just plain asinine” and others like it just aren’t getting it. I live in Washington DC. I have a driveway and most of my neighbors have on street parking only. By all measures I don’t need “Off-Road” capability, right? However here are some scenarios where I needed 4WD/AWD: pulling my boat and trailer up the ramp (I got stuck with my 2WD van and it was the friend’s 2000 Explorer that got me up the ramp), getting compost from a horse farm for my wife’s garden (got stuck when pulling into his pasture where the compost was, the property owner pulled me out with his Suburban), making it to my friends house for the super bowl during the Feb. 2010 DC snow-ma-geddon (my wife and I walked 1.5 mi to get there, my friends comfortably drove 6mi in a Jeep), pulling down my old shed (neighbor’s F-250 did the work that would have taken my more time by hand), pulling out of my steep driveway in the winter (the van and pontiac can’t make it up the hill like the A4 or XC70 when there’s just 1/4″ of snow),and finally even “off-roading” it to traverse accidents is better handled with something with some ground clearance and more than 1 drive wheel (FWD or RWD really only have 1 drive wheel if they don’t have traction control).

    I understand the motivation for the statements however I’m not about to say what you do and don’t need. For someone like me who is bull headed and uncompromising (yet too cheap to buy a 4×4 Quigley Van) I’ll continue to do damage to the bottom of my car, get stuck on the boat ramp (or burn out my tires for 5 min inching my way up), or brood while I sit home when I could go out if only I had a Quigley 4×4 conversion done to my van.

    But, alas the question was whether “off-road” capability is needed. My argument was for 4WD/AWD. The usefulness of my argument is as a bridge between the 2WD is all you need argument and the I need to be able to compete in the Dakar Rally.
    That’s my ¢2.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Your post is a case in favor of my point.

      The boat ramp and the steep driveway are better solved with a pair of $30 traction mats (and maybe gravel).

      With two of the issues, you shouldn’t have been driving in the first place and is more or less exactly kind of situation where an unskilled driver places too much confidence in his 4WD and gets himself into more trouble.

      As for pulling a shed down, how is this a 4WD issue? You can do that with any 2WD pickup.

      I’d mentioned ground clearance in my previous post – you’d be surprised at what vehicles have more ground clearance than run of the mill 4WD. A lot of sedans have better practical ground clearance than many SUVs.

      Anyway, the issues you bring up that genuinely require more than 2WD are on-road traction issues, not off road 4WD capability issues.

      finally even “off-roading” it to traverse accidents is better handled with something with some ground clearance and more than 1 drive wheel (FWD or RWD really only have 1 drive wheel if they don’t have traction control).

      It’s funny you should mention this. I just pulled the skip-the-two-mile-accident-by-driving-off-the-highway-onto-the-access-road stunt last week in a Camry. I just used judgment – watched where the pickups and SUVs were going without their suspensions being jostled and took that track. I was noticeably the only guy not in a SUV/pickup to do this.

      And you’re thinking “drive-axle.” Motorcycles have a single drive wheel, which as it turns out is one of the best forms of motorized transportation when the road runs out. When I was working for MSF in the Congo, I used to do week long clinic runs on trails on Yamaha AG100s that no Landcruiser or Mog would ever have a chance of running. Once, another NGO decided to chance a particularly bad road in their Landcruisers, against my vehement objections/advice. Four days later, I was sending motorcycle teams out there with spare clutch plates and cash (to hire villagers to dig them out). Oddly enough, the guy who convinced us to drop our no-motorcycles policies in this case was a Dutch guy who’s run the Dakar several times (not much of a surprise there as my profession tends to attract the adventurer type.)

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      BTW, those Quigleys are great. My department used to have one back in grad school. We mostly used it to transport our drilling and coring rigs.

      The downside of the big Quigleys is taking them into the woods. The Environmental Engineering dept’s van was easy to recognize because of all the long groove/dents in the side from tight turns in the woods.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Quigs pop up rather regularly on eBay and CL. They usually go for 5-6K in decent shape.

      Personally, for any serious off-roading or EOTW scenarios, I have a KLR650. There are places even a Mog won’t get you.

  • avatar

    The last time I off-roaded on purpose was in a 1971 Cutlass that belonged to the good folks at Hertz. It was perfect for exploring the Arizona desert. ¶ Since then, the few times I’ve been off the road have been preceded almost immediately by the phrase “uh oh” or some equivalent. ¶Today my only traction-related concern is snow, and in that environment Blizzaks turn even an ancient Grand Marquis into a “how the snow plow driver gets to work” vehicle. On the other hand, chicks really dig giant knobby tires.

  • avatar
    fisher72

    I worked for a Civil/Survey firm in Nothern MI for years. Had about 6-7 survey crews outfitted with 2wd vehicles for a simple reason. You did not want them going places they should not. Getting stuck, causing trouble, damaging peoples property. If it was less than a solid 2 track, you got out, put the tripond on the shoulder and walked since a fit person can cover a mile in 15 min.

  • avatar
    moedaman

    I had a 1985 S15 Jimmy (4WD) and my wife had a 1985 Corolla (RWD) when we got married in 1989. That winter there was a huge snow storm. The streets were still a mess and the side streets weren’t plowed, but I made it to work no problem. And so did my wife! We sold the Jimmy in 1991 and haven’t owned a 4WD or AWD vehicle since.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I just bought a 2010 4Runner SR5 4WD. I have 2 FWD daily driver hatches for the wife and myself, so I opted to go a little more on the capable side when selecting our “utility” vehicle. It has a dual range, selectable transfer case, is body on frame, and has a live rear axle. I intend on getting 20 years out of it, so these were all things that seemed to work in my favor as far as that target (simply by the number of old 4Runners I see on the roads). I’m into outdoor activities (mountain biking, camping, hiking, and canoeing), so I wanted something that would get me anywhere I needed to go. Plus, I do enjoy the occasional trailblazing, so the 4Runner seemed to be a perfect fit. So, I do give a darn about ability… to do whatever I want to do, be it tow, offroad, go on vacation, take the kids to soccer practice, or get away from it all up an old, unmaintained logging road to the top of a mountain.

  • avatar
    flameded

    I used to have a 05 Grand Cherokee (a plenty of “problems” with that thing)…BUT when It was on…it was ON.
    I recall leaving work early (due to a snowstorm) had my wifes Nissan. The trip that usually takes me 25 minutes took almost two hours…and she still wanted me to stop at the store.

    So..Long story short ;) , I went home first and grabbed the JEEP…and the ride to the store was a piece of cake.I wondered how I ever lived without 4WD.(here in sunny Connecticut)

    Well..sadly I don’t have the Jeep anymore. while it was awesome in the snow…and very good off road…Mechanically ,the thing was a POS.Chrysler had managed to ruin the Jeep for what it once was.
    (eh…I guess it was a long time coming)

    Do people NEED 4WD? … (some people)
    Do people WANT 4WD? … (yes, alot of people)

    +1 on the BLIZZAKS.Anyone who knows -uses them.

    Sorry for the jumping, off topic, grammatical ,nightmare, trainwreck

  • avatar
    snabster

    This reminds of me of a story from some folks who were in Afghanistan.

    US Embassy has to buy US vehicles. They got stuck with Suburbans.

    Couldn’t take either the heat or dust. Constantly breaking down and had to be rescued by Brits driving Land Cruisers. Rather sad that the US can’t make a decent global off-road vehicle anymore. USG officials in Suburbans overseas is a real sign of decadence.

    • 0 avatar

      Meanwhile SOCOM has no problem with grunts riding Tacomas (not even Hi-Luxes), often in goofy colors like cherry. They are light, so you can take most stuff along when airlifting, and very reliable. Also since it’s a truck, you can mount M-240 on the roll hoop.

    • 0 avatar
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah. Our embassy folks always insist on driving around in black suburbans. Everybody else uses black audis or benzes. In places where security is a risk, this means our embassy people just sit inside the compound all the time because they can’t blend in. Trust me, in the rest of the world nothing says “oh, look, the Americans” quite like seeing a convoy of 3 or 4 black suburbans. They might as well just get huge flag poles for the bumpers.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Jack, my ’96 Disco was a 5 speed also, and along with on ’02 Disco II I owned years later, got me to some great fishing and swimming spots on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

    It wasn’t hard core off-roading, but hanging out on a stretch of Cape beach, playing wiffle ball and grilling steaks with a group of friends, it didn’t get any better.

    So, yeah, at that time, a capable 4WD was necessary.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Serious off-roading used to matter in our house, when my wife was a real estate agent. You’d be amazed how clients do not want to have to actually walk on a piece of property in a new development subdivision. Thus a line of two Jeep Cherokee’s and a Grand Wagoneer. And my wife, who’s an abysmal driver on the road (she no longer drives due to health reasons) became a pretty competent off-roader. And would show up at the local yuppie grocery store with the Jeep covered in mud on occasion. I’m amazed they allowed her in the parking lot.

    Now that I’m looking for something with four doors to supplement my long in the tooth pickup, the only terrain worry I’ve got it the cat4 climb that is our driveway. Which means AWD is desirable in the winter, four wheel drive is not necessary. I’m pretty much only looking at small CUV’s (Escape, Equinox, Patriot) unless we’re talking Jeep – I’ve still got a bit of loyalty to the brand, due to excellent product and service in the past.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Does it matter if your trucklet can do the business off-road?”

    Could care less. I buy my trucks for towing and that’s the only reason I buy them. In that respect my ’07 Tahoe is excellent. Take it off-road? You know what thing cost back in ’07!

    I don’t need 4WD so much for pulling boats although it comes in handy for number of reasons.
    It is absolutely neccessary for pulling loaded snowmobile trailers safely on snowy, icey roads.

  • avatar
    Syke

    After reading all the responses up to this point, a question:

    Why is it such a big deal when someone owns a 4×4 SUV and never goes off-road with it? Meanwhile, it seems to be no big deal if someone else owns a high-powered sports cars and never does a track day or race.

    Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      No one buys a sports car because they think they ‘need’ a sports car. It’s for fun, image, whatever. That’s great.

      Me, I don’t have a problem with people who buy 4WDs for purely recreational purposes. I think that’s great. It’s the disconnect with reality when folks start talking about how they ‘need’ 4WD that bothers me.

      Besides, you don’t need a track to get a lot out of a sporty car. People talk as if high end speed is all that matters when what I’m interested in for spirited driving is low end acceleration. And massive braking power.

  • avatar

    Offroading can be great fun. My old Toyota Hilux saw quite a bit of action off the road

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/3654774987/

    My current Lada Niva will for sure because lets face it off road ability is its strongest suit.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/4651454001/

  • avatar
    N Number

    I drive an 06 Wrangler Rubicon every day. I love my Jeep and plan to have it for a long, long time. It’s great in the Colorado winters. I take it to Moab at least once a year and usually do a few trails in the Rockies and up in Wyoming each summer. Most of its driving is on pavement and county maintained dirt roads, but I have used it to the extent of its capability and that’s a wide envelope. That said, I don’t feel that anybody should ever have to justify their purchase to anybody.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Never owned an SUV, but several 4×4 pickups. I need on-road ability to navigate in fairly deep snow where I live. AWD passenger cars tend to get stuck because the side roads sometimes dont see a snowplow for days. If I had a family to carry, an SUV with enough clearance would have to be in the fleet.

    As for recreational off-road, the fire roads around here in the summer are passable with almost anything except a lowered “ricer”.

  • avatar

    Jeep is supposed to give a damn: the brand’s raison d’être is to be the best off-road vehicle that an OEM corporation can make. If the new GC isn’t as off-road worthy as the old one, they failed. MISERABLY.

    Branding 101 here, people.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I think Sajeev has it right, the 2011 GC’s off road capabilities are about branding. And yes, almost none of the buyers will use that capability.

    But can’t the same be said about Corvettes, or even 268 hp Toyota Camrys? How many buyers will ever intentionally explore the performance envelope of their chosen vehicle?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Call me a party pooper, but I have some concerns about taking any sort of wheeled vehicle truly off-road “just for fun.” The problem is that the wheeled vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle) digs into the dirt which, when combined with rain, produces some nice erosion. Mountain bikes have made a mess of a lot of trails in West Virginia where I used to go frequently.

    For crummy roads (fire roads and the like), ground clearance and protection of vulnerable parts on the bottom of the car (like oil pans and transmission) is at least as important as 4wd. That’s my beef against “soft-road” vehicles. None of them have this kind of protection and, even if they have the ground clearance, their owners can get themselves in a lot of trouble on a crummy road that requires 4wd.

    I confess to owning an AWD Honda Pilot, mostly for its size and boxy shape. I got the AWD, because FWD models are very limited in availability. In the Great Snow of last year, where we got two record snowfalls of well over a foot within weeks of each other, the AWD was useful — but the true snow tires were even more useful. I still had to dig out my driveway because the snow had drifted to a height above the bumper. And I found the traction control/vehicle stability control an absolute hindrance in digging through the deep stuff at very slow speeds.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Jeep should have off road ability. If I want to get into off roading I’ll go buy an old Wrangler (not a new one.)

    The times I’ve been off road were all back in my teenage years and involved field parties and various pieces of FWD and RWD Detroit Iron. My fave for climbing embankments and blasting through snowdrifts was Chevy Celebrity.

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    I drive an FJ Cruiser. I take it on the trails to go mountain biking and camping, but nothing as extreme as Moab. Plus I live in Ohio, so there are no extreme mountain parks around me. I keep it in 2wd mode most of the time, except for snowstorms and when I’m out in the woods.

    I’m waiting for the comparo between the new GC and the new 4 Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I really like the new GC, but I don’t think the two vehicles really compare (I have a 2010 4Runner). I think the GC interior will be nicer than the 4Runner, and it definitely has some neat gadgets, but I wouldn’t want to own it out of warranty. The suspension is particularly scary due to replacement cost. The 4Runner is pretty straight forward, proven technology that shouldn’t break the bank when I’m 10 years into ownership w/ 100k miles. So, it really depends what you’re looking for. Looking to own for 5 years? GC might be the way to go. Looking to have it around for 10+ years, I put my money on the 4Runner.

  • avatar
    Bergwerk

    I have taken my Grand Cherokee Orvis on dedicated 4×4 trails for fun, but most of the time it gets more conventional duty. I can get my bike or kayak down barely serviceable Forest Service roads, to trail-heads or stream access, most soft utes would have trouble navigating. I have felled dead pine trees and drug them to the wood pile to be cut up. I have pulled logs and debris from the lake shoreline, and a 5,000 boat/trailer to the Lake. No vehicle can match the utility of a proper SUV.

  • avatar

    In my experience, cheapo asian compacts do well on bad dirt roads.

    I know a guy who feels perfectly safe [so far as one vehicle accidents are concerned] pseudo-drifting at highway speeds in winter ice in a Hyundai Elantra on a dirt road on which one often spies SUVs creeping at 5 mph in the summer.

    [of course, he’s had some undercarriage damage from this kind of driving, and won’t repeat the stunt because he’s worried he’ll cream cross-country skiers coming around a curve]

    When I was in college (1992 or so) my friends drove a Toyota Corolla up to an elevation of 8500 feet or so at night on dirt roads in the Magdalena Mountains of New Mexico. We cracked the oil pan on a rock; we ran the engine long enough to turn the car around, then coasted all the way to the highway.

    On the highway we figured we’d have to push the car a mile on the flats before coming to the 1000 foot drop to Socorro. We were behind the car and pushing when a redneck showed up in a pickup truck, tied a rope to our car, and towed us to the beginning of the slope. We rolled down the scope at a peak speed of about 65 mph or so, passing other cars on the way down.

    We ended up a few blocks from the house of the car’s owner, and within a few days we had a new oil pan with an armor plate welded under it.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Off road vehicles @ home (in British Columbia):
    ’03 4 Runner V8: tows 2 horse horse trailer, sees winter snow duty during ski trips. Takes kid to school. Goes grocery shopping. Goes to opera in Vancouver.
    ’95 Pathfinder SE: Sits in the garage for months at a time. Sees logging roads for hiking and photography work. Sometimes tows trailer with two dirt bikes. Used as winter snow car for ski trips when 4Runner is taken.
    ’06 F350 Diesel 4×4: sees towing duty on 38′ horse trailer. Carries dirt bikes.
    ’00 F350 Diesel 4×4 solid axles: carries hay, feed, concrete, dead animals, snowplows driveways and goes out in winter when conditions are just too poor or when someone needs a truck that won’t get broke-in or stolen in downtown Vancouver.

  • avatar
    carguy

    There is no doubt that off road adventurers need the all terrain capability but that doesn’t account for all the off road capable vehicles on the road. I guess, like sports car buffs, SUV buyers like to buy capability they will never need. Can’t blame them but for mw all road capability is enough and also saves some money at the gas pump.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    A better question would be, “Is it anyone’s damn business if you decide to own an off-road capable vehicle?”

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, if it means the chassis is so high that it’s going to crash right through my door panel.

    • 0 avatar
      crc

      I believe most states have height restrictions. Sure there is a height difference between someone in a small car and my lifted Jeep. It still is nobody’s business. I ride my Bianchi on the road a lot. Should I say people shouldn’t have a Yaris or Fit because they could take me out no problem?

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    We have an ’06 Suzuki Grand Vitara, with a low range.

    There are plenty of rough roads that are used for recreation and business. The former includes places of interest to fishpersons, hikers, mountaineers, cottagers, hang gliders, etc. The latter would include mining, utility, farming and other businesses. Some people, the 4×4 crowd, even drive the marginal roads as an end in itself.

    We replaced a first-generation Pathfinder with the current-generation Grand Vitara. The Vitara was chosen over other cuv’s because it is the right size and has a low range. We use and appreciate having the low range regularly. In our case, it’s for getting up unmaintained logging roads into the mountains so we can go hiking and backcountry skiing.

    While fwd sedans can get you to some of these places some of the time, there’s no question that the “4wd”, will get you farther. The low range gives control for avoiding damage, and saves brakes on long steep rough descents. In winter conditions in these same places, engine braking descents can keep you from rolling off the mountainside. While some claim skilled driving, snow tires etc. are full replacements for 4wd, I just know we can go places, and in safety, with the Vitara, that our fwd sedan simply cannot manage.

    As long as we can get a cuv with a low range, we are not potential customers for any other cuv/suv other than the Patriot and the Xterra.

    Admittedly more people buy vehicles with off-road trappings for image than for their real wants and needs. Although strangely the Grand Vitara’s off-road capabilities didn’t attract those posers. (Probably because Suzuki didn’t give the low range a buzzname like “quattro” or “Freedom Drive” and put a badge on the back.) This makes no more or less sense than anyone’s reasons for buying a convertible or something with 5000 horsepower. The silliest posermobiles are Range Rovers and Cayannes with low-profile tires.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Jeep survived American Motors because it was Jeep. They need to stay true to their heritage and continue building ultra-competent off-road vehicles. I don’t think we need 20 companies building off-road SUVs, but now that the competition is backing off Jeep should own that niche. As part of a larger corporation, they shouldn’t need to dilute their brand to go chasing every customer under the sun. I’d hate to see them pull a Subaru and try to make Camcords.

  • avatar
    Monty

    I’ve never been off-road in a 4WD vehicle. However, I regularly took my ’73 Catalina wagon off-roading (400 cid and th450 tranny, and well maintained suspension) and we took it a lot of places that weren’t exactly accessible.

    We take my ’01 Sierra (2WD 4.3 V6) off-road every time we go to our remote access cabin. Granted, I can only take it so far into the bush before the trail narrows so only an ATV can go on, but it’s never been stuck. Up in the bush in northern Manitoba, the terrain is always water logged and boggy. The truck gets us through every time.

    When I replace this truck, I’ll probably get a 4WD truck, but, like most people, I won’t really need it.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    My friend tried to convince me that you need 4WD to go on some part of the Sierra Nevada (which he only does a few times a year. The rest of the time, the worst his Cherokee sees is wet pavement). I’m not sure which part, but I think that my uncle traversed it in his 5-speed Honda Fit.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I for one want and need 4WD – I own 2 Wranglers and while I often enjoy them as fun summer “converibles”, I do off road them as often as my work schedule permits. Both of them have some degree of a lift on them, and both have several hundred pounds worth of skidplates or other underbody protection on them to keep vehicle-debilitating damage to a minimum. I may occasionally get high centered on something, but that’s what winches and tow straps are for.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Signal11, so what 2wd sedans have more clearance than most SUVs? I am fine in my Mazda Protege for 98% of my driving, even in Seattle (with cables on) two winters ago when the city didn’t get the 18″ of snow plowed for two weeks. But I like to go mountaineering, which involves Forest Service dirt and gravel roads that last saw maintenance in the Clinton administration. Two tracks, but big potholes and rocks that have damaged my suspension. I want good gas mileage, a compact vehicle, 2wd, manual transmission, reasonably fun to drive, and 7″ of clearance. What is available like that in the U.S.?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I once owned a ’98 Pathfinder with 31″ tires and a manual transmission and transfer case. I needed something that could handle a rough dirt/mud temporary road to get to the drilling rigs I was working on. An off-road capable vehicle was essentially a job requirement. The stereotypical vehicle for the people on-site was a lifted 3/4-ton diesel with 35″ or larger tires.

    Aside from that phase of my life, I have no need for off-road capability. 4WD/AWD is nice to have in winter though.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Off-road ability is usually much more important to an SUV’s second or third owner than its first. Similarly, positraction and dedicated snow tires would fix 99-1/2 percent of people’s perceived problems with snow traction. Only when it becomes a clearance problem does it really become a traction problem.

    I am one of those people who think that most 4WD SUVs are overbought by the vast majority of owners, but this is because I’ve had some training in getting the most out of your 2wd truck. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time on some really out-of-the-way trails all through the central and southern Appalachians–no real rock-crawling, but lots of uniquely steep and slimy terrain, some of it on my own family’s property–and can appreciate that some jobs really do call for 4wd. Just not as many as most people think.

    Do most people need it, though? No way. The technology eventually trickles down to the real beneficiaries of the SUV craze: poor rural folks who have NEVER been able to drive up to their own houses.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    being a motoring Journo, i usually do venture off the beaten path when i’m testing an SUV or even a CUV. i have a few trails i usually use, and i rate them depending how far up the trail they go and how easily the do it. nothing extreme, but with a Wrangler Unlimited, i did go over my usual comfort zone and found that it does it quite easily…

    i don’t think i will ever buy and SUV or CUV for that matter, unless i fall in love with goign on trails to camp with my family or something like that. but my wife hates camping, so no SUV in the future.

    but i will probably buy a (sport) station wagon as my next car, i just love the way they drive and the uber awesome extra space you get. thinking 5 series touring, or a merc C or e class. not a fan of German cars, but they are the nicest looking ones out there…

    perhaps the Mazda 6 qualifies as well, i just hope it’s available in the next country i live in.

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