2019 Jeep Cherokee First Drive - Refreshed Looks in Search of a Power Boost

Jeep loves to brag about how capable its SUVs are off-road, and the brand can back it up. But considering that most folks who purchase SUVs use them only on-road, does rock-crawling ability outweigh on-road performance?

For most buyers, I suspect the answer is no. That could be a bit of a problem for the refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

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Decision on Fiat 500-based Jeep Model Looms

The emergence of Jeep as a global brand with lofty sales ambitions means satisfying everyone, everywhere, no matter what the location or income of the would-be buyer. While Fiat Chrysler feels there’s definitely room to go bigger and pricier in the United States (we’re still waiting on that six-figure Grand Wagoneer), there’s also a desire to go smaller in overseas markets.

We’re talking sub-Renegade. And it just so happens Jeep has access to the platform underpinning the tiny Fiat 500 city car and plucky/adorable Fiat Panda that would make just such a model possible.

The question for Jeep is: does it really want to go there?

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Jeep Grand Commander: Sorry, This Three-Row Jeep Is Only for China

Despite being one of the first brands that springs to most consumers’ minds when “SUV” is mentioned, Jeep doesn’t currently have an entry in the popular three-row segment. The slapdash Commander occupied that space in the late Aughts and the company is making noises about a potential Grand Wagoneer but those plans, for now, remain hazy.

A three-row Jeep has finally appeared. It’s called the Grand Commander and is slated to appear at this year’s auto show in Beijing as a model exclusive to China.

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We're Not Offloading Any Brands to China: Fiat Chrysler CEO

Last year, following several fruitless attempts to find a merger partner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles found itself on the business end of a pretty shocking rumor. Apparently, several Chinese automakers were lining up for a chance to buy FCA. Not so, said those automakers, though Great Wall Motors mentioned it totally wouldn’t miss a chance to steal the Jeep brand away from its parent.

While the thought of such an acquisition no doubt inspired nightmares among Jeep fans (and FCA accountants), it was not to be. Not only is the automaker determined to keep a firm hold on its most valuable brand, it’s not planning on offloading any division, CEO Sergio Marchionne now claims.

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Spied: Jeep Scrambler Pickup, Still a Year Away

There’s never been a vehicle more difficult to camouflage than the upcoming Jeep Scrambler, the pickup version of the new-for-2018 JL Wrangler. Unlike the anonymous rolling blobs we call crossovers, Jeep’s insistence on a traditional, square-rigged design makes for easy spotting.

As we can see in these spy photos, the #PolarVortex didn’t stop Fiat Chrysler engineers from wheeling around in a prototype JT Scrambler. Production begins in 10 months, meaning off-road fans will have to warm themselves with photos of the conventional Wrangler until the wraps comes off later this year.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport

In what was possibly the industry’s worst-kept secret since the interminable striptease that was the Dodge Demon, Jeep finally introduced the new Wrangler at the end of this year. Future missives about the Jeepiest of Jeeps will need to be crystal clear, because there are, in fact, two 2018 Wranglers available at one’s local FCA showroom – the new one (JL) and the old one (JK).

Readers can be assured, then, of hearing hyper-caffeinated sales staff blaring in radio ads about ZOMG GREAT DEALZ ON 2018 WRANGLERS – only for frustrated shoppers to discover they are actually talking about the lame-duck Jeep and not the shiny new off-roader.

Nefarious dealer bait-and-switch tactics aside, what does the new Wrangler pack into its base trim?

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Older Jeep and Ram EcoDiesel Owners Won't See an Engine Fix Until at Least May

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles secured permission to sell 2017 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel models in late July, but it could be nearly a year from that date before owners of 2014-2016 models can breathe easier.

In its bid to satisfy a very angry Environmental Protection Agency, FCA agreed to remove undeclared auxiliary emission control devices from its 2017 3.0-liter diesel vehicles and offer a fix for the 104,000 already on the road. Satisfied that nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels would stay within legal limits, the EPA gave the automaker the green light. With certification in hand, new EcoDiesels began appearing on dealer lots by the end of September.

The story doesn’t end there, however. Numerous Ram and Jeep EcoDiesel owners want FCA to pay up, and it’ll be many months before FCA fixes any of their vehicles.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee - First Look at a New Face

Hot on the heels of a vehicle reveal most of us thought would occur in Detroit next month, another hot seller has officially broken cover before the January show.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has given the Jeep Cherokee a snazzy new set of duds just in time for the new year. Previously styled with an alarming mix of narrowed lights and Hannibal Lecter grille, the restyled 2019 Cherokee adopts the corporate look that first appeared on the Grandest of Cherokees before migrating to the Compass last year.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler First Drive - Finally Modern, Still Not Soft

It’s always risky trying to soften up an object that’s known for being badass in order to better please the larger market.

After all, who wants to see a movie in which Danny Trejo and Norman Reedus debate Wittgenstein over a game of backgammon while sipping on tea?

That’s the challenge Jeep faced with the 2018 Wrangler – how to modernize it in terms of on-road behavior and creature comforts while not losing any of its off-road capabilities. The company had to keep the toughness while also softening the roughest edges. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but based on a first drive, Jeep pulled it off.

Thanks to a seemingly never-ending slow drip of leaks, it feels like we’ve known the next-gen Wrangler’s official details for eons now. Never mind that I took my turn behind the wheel just about exactly one week after the official wrap came off at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Gets New Engine to Go With New Face

We know from spy photos that the refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee will (finally) ditch its awkward stacked headlamps, instead adopting a conventional setup that doesn’t make the vehicle look like it’s squinting. The look is more in keeping with the second-generation Compass and Grand Cherokee.

Expect very little outcry over this sensible and long overdue decision.

However, an updated fascia isn’t the only change in store for 2019. The midcycle revamp also brings a new powerplant sourced from the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, documents show.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler - Take a Closer Look

Jeep Wrangler fans are the type of enthusiasts who know and appreciate the history of the model, and Jeep knows that. Since we already knew just about everything about the 2018 Wrangler before the sheets came off in Los Angeles, we here at TTAC figured it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the smaller details that go beyond horsepower, torque, and transmission type.

One of Jeep’s PR folks walked me through the various callbacks to prior Wranglers that are evident, if not obvious, on the new Wrangler.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: Official Specs and Details [UPDATED]

Finally, after what seemed at times like the world’s longest striptease, the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL officially debuts today at the L.A. Auto Show. Our intrepid Managing Ed is live on the show floor to bring you all the details.

Until then, here’s all the official down-n-dirty, nitty-gritty details about Jeep’s new Wrangler.

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Drop a Top, Again: Upcoming Wrangler Pickup May Be a Convertible

The leaks concerning Jeep’s next-generation Wrangler have been like a screen door on a submarine, with FCA itself fueling the fire by releasing a couple of official images during the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas.

Rumours of a Wrangler-based pickup began swirling ages ago, with Fiat Chrysler eventually assuring us that one will appear at some point during the new Wrangler’s product cycle. Now, in a report from Automotive News, there is speculation the new-age, four-door Scrambler will be offered as a convertible.

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Here at Last: FCA Releases First Official Photos of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler

It’s been rumored and reported on for months, but we now know what the 2018 Jeep Wrangler will look like.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spiced up Halloween — and made Wrangler aficionados’ day — by confirming in photos the design of the two- and four-door JL Wrangler. Purists should breathe a sigh of relief.

FCA also released a brief press release late Tuesday, but it’s sparse on any details that can’t be seen in the photos. That means no confirmation of powertrains, transmissions, or specifications. The only truly key detail that’s been confirmed is the available fold-down windshield, but then again, that’s one feature that was almost certain to carry forward from the previous Wranglers.

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Waiting for a Turbo Jeep Wrangler With Insane Horsepower? No so Fast…

Last week brought quite a flurry of excitement for eager Jeep Wrangler aficionados. The long-awaited next-generation JL model has steadily revealed its secrets in dribs and drabs, but last week’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing appeared to reveal one of the biggest nuggets to date — a horsepower figure for the model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged “Hurricane” four-cylinder.

368 horsepower. Even from a unit expected to arrive with power in the neighborhood of 300 hp, this figure came as a shock. 368 hp isn’t “in the neighborhood” — it’s eight blocks over, past the train tracks, and in a better part of town.

Well, to all of you anticipating a real screamer of a Jeep, it’s time to hold your breath once again. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has updated its NHTSA filing.

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QOTD: Whose Lunch Will the Jeep Wrangler Pickup Be Eating?

Time to eat my words. Two years ago, I said the real reason there’s no Jeep pickup is this: A Jeep and a pickup are the same thing. I was wrong. The JL Wrangler Pickup is apparently a sure thing, although I’ll believe the existence of a two-door version when I see it in showrooms.

Let’s assume for a moment that Jeep will start by selling a four-door Wrangler with a 6.5 foot bed, pretty much like all the mules that have been spotted running around. Where will the volume for this vehicle originate? And how much of that volume will there be?

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Partial Next-generation Jeep Wrangler Engine Specs Leaked? [UPDATED]

Our resident document digger, Bozi Tatarevic, stumbled upon a document submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that may confirm at least some details about the next Jeep Wrangler.

The docs appear to confirm that the upcoming JL-platform Wrangler will offer two engines at launch – a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 368 horsepower. Yes, you read that right.

The other piece of news gleaned from the submitted docs is that the Wrangler will initially debut as four-door only. Just three trim levels were listed: Sport Unlimited, Sahara Unlimited, and Rubicon Unlimited.

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Midst Yet Another FCA Sales Decline, Jeep Shows Powerful Signs of Life

September 2017 sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decreased on a year-over-year basis for a 14th consecutive month, extending a stretch of declines that began in August of last year.

For much of that time span, the U.S. automobile industry was reporting declining sales, as well. And for much of that time span, even as total U.S. auto sales kept on sliding, SUV/crossover sales were rising. For much of that time span, Jeep sales were falling.

Technically, officially, Jeep sales kept on falling in September 2017, the U.S. auto industry’s first month of improved sales this year.

But if you’d just ignore the Jeep Patriot for a moment, we can look at a clearer picture.

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FCA Recalls Almost 710,000 SUVs Over Previously Fixed Rotting Brake Boosters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it is recalling nearly 710,000 sport utility vehicles to check on shields protecting the brake boosters. The shields were a new addition to a bundle of SUVs involved in a 2014 recall and FCA is worried they may have been installed improperly.

The company discovered that units exposed to water were subject to excessive corrosion, resulting in unacceptable brake pedal firmness. Affected vehicles also run the risk of degraded braking performance. FCA says it is aware of at least one accident associated with the problem but noted there were no injuries.

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Freaky Friday: When Your Free Jeep Cherokee Recall Costs $24,000

Lucky is the new car buyer who isn’t saddled with a trip to the dealer for recall work within the first few years of ownership. The modern age provides us with a great many wonderful things — avocadoes year-round, transmission cogs we can count on all 10 fingers, UberEATS — but it hasn’t turned the average vehicle into a paragon of reliability.

Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for 323,400 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokees, as well as 2015 Renegades, Chrysler 200s, and Ram ProMasters. FCA threw the 2018 Fiat 500X in there for good measure. The problem stemmed from the automaker’s finicky nine-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to insufficient crimps in the transmission sensor cluster’s wire harness (and the subsequent trouble code sent to the vehicle’s diagnostic system), some owners suddenly found their Jeep, Chrysler or Ram coasting along in neutral — a default position — instead of drive. Can’t have that.

The recall — a minor fix — didn’t seem like a big deal. The vehicles would normally be drivable (for a time, anyway) after the engine was shut off and turned back on again, making a trip to the nearest certified FCA dealership relatively trouble-free. For one Cherokee owner, however, the repair work stood to cost him $2,000 more than what he paid for the vehicle.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Has Now Been Losing Sales For 12 Consecutive Months

August 2017 represented the twelfth consecutive month in which U.S. sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined on a year-over-year basis.

FCA volume slid 11 percent in August, a loss of nearly 21,000 sales, as retail and fleet volume declined. The decreases were most keenly felt at Jeep and Chrysler, which tumbled 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively. But Dodge, Ram, and Fiat sales also reported losses compared with August 2016.

More troubling than the poor August results, however, is the predictability of August’s results. FCA’s disappointing trendline began in September 2016. Year-over-year, FCA lost 187,000 sales over the last 12 months.

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The Problem That Won't Go Away: Fatal Jeep Crash Puts Spotlight on Years-old Recall
It’s the same safety issue that saddled Ford’s Pinto with a notorious legacy that continues to this day, and Jeep can’t seem to put it in its rear-view.In 2013, at the urging of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for 1.56 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs to correct a serious flaw. The vehicles’ gas tanks, located between the rear axle and bumper, had proven especially vulnerable to rupturing in rear-end collisions. A total of 26 deaths were recorded at the time of the recall.After installing trailer hitches on each affected vehicle, FCA felt it had the issue well in hand. Unfortunately, the fires continued, as did the deaths. Now, it’s happened again.
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Spied: 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and Scrambler Pickup Undergoing Towing Tests

As part of a larger group of automotive publications, TTAC has access to a variety of content from a handful of other sites, and we wanted to bring you some of the unique content that we think lives up to TTAC’s standards and offers legitimate insight or a properly critical viewpoint to car evaluation. This story, by Off-Road.com’s managing editor, Stephen Elmer, showcases the upcoming 2018 Jeep Wrangler and its pickup sibling.

A new set of spy photos, exclusive to Off-Road.com, shows us that Jeep is getting the Wrangler JL’s towing dialed in.

In the photos, we can see the two-door JL along with the new Wrangler-based pickup truck, reportedly called the Scrambler, hooked up to different sized enclosed trailers.

Some rear-end squat is visible from the two-door Wrangler, a typical trait of a vehicle with a soft, off-road-ready suspension, much like today’s Wrangler. The Scrambler appears to be sitting flat with the larger twin-axle trailer, though it is using a weight distributing hitch to help it out.

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Wrangler Pickup Returns 'Scrambler' Name to Jeep Lineup: Report

In the early 1980s, the Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler was so cool, even Ronald Reagan owned one. A lengthened CJ-7 with a pickup bed just large enough to be usable, the Scrambler ended its six-model-year run in 1986, just as the more conventional Comanche was entering the market.

Jeep’s found itself without a pickup variant since the Comanche’s exit in 1992 — a grievous omission for hard-core Jeep aficionados — and no amount of four-door Wrangler Unlimited is going to satisfy the crowd until something with seven slots sprouts a bed.

Well, the reveal of the Wrangler-based pickup remains just over a year away, but a new report tells us what to expect. Based on the next-generation Wrangler arriving late this year, the pickup variant sports a longer wheelbase and a familiar name: Scrambler.

Satisfied?

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Great Wall Motors Does Want Jeep; Hasn't Done Much About It

In what is almost certainly going to be little more than a faint memory in the minds of devoted readers at AmericasJeepLovers.org, the potential relationship between Wang Fengying’s Great Wall Motors Co. and Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has taken a turn for the less likely already.

It seems like years ago — no, wait, it seems like yesterday — that Great Wall Motors Co. publicly declared its viability as a suitor for [s]FCA[/s] Jeep, the most important, highest-value, primary source of desirability within the FCA family. Jeep, you’ll recall, is likely worth substantially more on its own than the whole of FCA, Jeep included. This explains why it came as no surprise that Great Wall Motors or any other automaker would express an interest in purchasing Jeep from FCA. With huge global potential for a hugely popular brand that hasn’t yet tapped many open markets, Jeep has reach.

But does Great Wall even have the money? Would FCA even entertain the idea of selling off its most valuable component? And is there even any hope of negotiation?

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China's Great Wall Motors Co. Completely Open About Its Desire to Purchase Jeep, But Not FCA

In the week that’s elapsed since initial reports surfaced of a Chinese automaker planning a takeover of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Geely, Dongfeng, and Guangzhou Automobile Group have all taken themselves out of the running.

Automotive News now reports, however, that the seventh-largest automaker in China, Great Wall Motors Company, has a keen interest in FCA, which has long courted unwilling suitors.

There’s one outstanding issue. Great Wall Motors Co. is open about its desire to acquire Jeep as part of a mission “to become the world’s largest SUV maker,” but Great Wall doesn’t want FCA’s other, far less valuable entities.

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From the Bowels of the Internet Comes a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sneak Peak

Someone at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Toledo, Ohio, assembly complex might be in trouble. That’s assuming management pins down the person who whipped out a phone while a next-generation Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sat exposed on the plant floor. (We’re assuming it’s Toledo, for obvious reasons.)

A photograph posted to Reddit this morning, clearly shot in a hasty manner as workers line both sides of the vehicle, shows part of the 2018 Wrangler — a.k.a. the JL/JLU Wrangler. It’s a vehicle at the center of an expensive redesign and lightweighting process, and it’s also one of the most heavily leaked vehicles in years.

So, what does this picture show us?

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Specs, Options Leaked: Full-time 4WD on the Way?

Screenshots of preliminary information added to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer network computer system suggest the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, due for a late-November reveal, breaks with tradition in more than a few ways. The largest break involves how the 2018 Wrangler puts its power down to all four wheels.

The dealer system images, shared by JL Wrangler Forums, show the Wrangler adopting a Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system, among other drivetrain details. Is this a goodbye to the manly transfer case lever?

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Sergio Warms up to Electrification, Even As FCA's Light-duty Diesels Get the Green Light

It’s no secret that hybrids and fully electric vehicles are about as appealing to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne as a crisp, button-up shirt. The FCA boss once famously railed against his company’s sole electric offering — the tiny, money-losing Fiat 500e — for losing $10,000 for every unit sold. Placating California doesn’t come cheap.

Still, Marchionne isn’t alone in distrusting the plug. Subaru and Mazda have shown a similar aversion to electrification, though even those automakers concede it’s a losing battle. In a conference call with investors late last week, Marchionne admitted defeat, outlining a plan to add electric motors to a significant chunk of FCA’s fleet in the coming years. One division stands to go the way of Volvo, with electric motors planned for each new car introduced after 2019.

What prompted the shift in thinking? Diesel, and the public’s growing distrust in compression-ignition engines.

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2017 Jeep and Ram EcoDiesels Are Legal Again, Baby!

The light-duty Chrysler diesel is back. After a bevy of undeclared emissions control devices sank Fiat Chrysler Automobiles into a cauldron of hot water back in January, U.S. regulators have certified 2017 models powered by the company’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6.

Having spent the last half-year cooling their heels, unsold Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee oil-burners are once again legal for sale to torque- and economy-obsessed buyers.

FCA earned itself plenty of bad PR after the Environmental Protection Agency all but accused the automaker of a Volkswagen-like scheme to deceive the U.S. government and cheat on emissions tests. The undeclared software amounted to a violation of the Holy Grail of environmental legislation: the Clean Air Act. Software tweaks have now rendered the engine compliant, earning a certificate of conformity (also known as a thumbs up) from the EPA.

Too bad about that Justice Department lawsuit.

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Jeep's U.S. Sales Down 13 Percent This Year: Right Where We Wanna Be?

If the rate of growth FCA’s Jeep brand experienced in the United States in 2016 could be carried forward into 2017, Jeep would sell 1,000,000 SUVs/crossovers this year.

Count the zeros. 1 million.

For a company that sold fewer than 300,000 vehicles per year coming out of the recession, that’s an absurd figure.

Jeep earned 5.4 percent of the overall auto market in the first half of 2016, yet through the first half of 2017, Jeep’s market share has taken a dive to 4.8 percent. In a market gone mad for utility vehicles — where sales of SUVs/crossovers are up 6 percent, year-over-year, despite the market’s downturn — no-car Jeep is losing sales faster than every auto brand aside from Chrysler and Smart.

Worrying? According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, Jeep is, “exactly where I thought we would be in the U.S.”

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Report: Diesel Jeep Wrangler Still a Go After Dealer Meeting

As the next-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler draws ever closer to its debut, an anonymous source who apparently attended a cozy, invite-only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer meeting has spilled his or her guts.

The unconfirmed powertrain details leaked to JLWranglerForums shed light on what to expect under the slightly longer hood of the lighter, more aerodynamic Wrangler. It seems FCA’s battle with the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t squashed its desire for a diesel Wrangler.

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2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk Review - In a World Gone Mad for Crossover Cars, a Crossover That Wants to Be an SUV

This is the new, second-generation 2017 Jeep Compass, tested here in $35,200 Trailhawk guise, including $5,510 in options.

It’s two inches shorter than the old Compass but two inches wider. The new Compass offers 20-percent more cargo capacity than the old Compass and, according to the specs, marginally less space for passengers. The Trailhawk’s 8.5-inches of ground clearance is up by four-tenths of an inch.

Forget the specs, though. And for a moment, forget the price. This new Jeep Compass is better than the old Jeep Compass.

It would be difficult not to be.

But comparisons with the an old Jeep Compass that went on sale in 2006, while making for easy reading and easy writing, won’t take us very far. Rather, our goal is to determine whether the new 2017 Jeep Compass is a worthy compact utility vehicle today.

Because improving upon a vehicle that, in 2006, TTAC called “ an ugly, gangly, underpowered, mud-aversive half-breed,” a vehicle that “stomps all over Jeep’s reputation as America’s purveyor of authentic off-road vehicles,” wouldn’t be surprising, sufficient, or significant.

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Dial Down the Base: Troublesome Fiat Chrysler Models Due for a Trim Shuffle

Sure, there’s no vinyl bench seats and standard Slant Six engine, but this isn’t 1981 and Chrysler Corporation isn’t trying to boost sales by stripping down a LeBaron and calling it Special. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is, however, trying to make three models more appealing to the buying masses, meaning trim changes are afoot for 2018.

What models, you ask? Two very old sedans and a crossover. According to ordering documents sent to dealers, FCA plans to ratchet down the entry-level price of the 2018 Chrysler 300 and Jeep Cherokee, while also shaking up the bottom end of the Dodge Charger.

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When Will Fiat Chrysler Be Allowed to Sell 2017 EcoDiesel Jeeps and Rams? Possibly Not Until 2018 Models Roll Out

Ram and Jeep fans looking to get into a new 1500 or Grand Cherokee with the highest possible fuel economy picked the wrong year to embark on their search. While owners of 2014-2016 Ram and Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel models wonder whether their vehicles are polluting as the EPA claims, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 2017 EcoDiesels languish in legal limbo.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency held up the certification of 2017 models as it slogged through a backlog of extra-stringent testing prompted by Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Then, in January, FCA’s hopes of getting 2017 EcoDiesels to dealers hit a brick wall. The automaker was accused of violating environmental regulations after the EPA discovered unannounced emissions control devices on the models — raising concerns of a possible VW-type defeat device scheme.

Then came a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. So, when can diesel fans get their hands on a light-duty FCA oil burner? It could be a while.

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Jeep and Ram EcoDiesels Are Plenty Dirty, West Virginia University Tests Show, But FCA's Having None of It

The university that sparked the emissions wildfire under Volkswagen has turned its testing equipment on Fiat Chrysler’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel vehicles. The results aren’t pretty, especially for those with diminished lung capacity.

West Virginia University researchers who tested tailpipe emissions in real-world driving conditions claim the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels, singled out by the Environmental Protection Agency in January for excess pollution and unauthorized emission control devices, are indeed quite harmful to air quality. The university plans to detail its findings in a report to be published within weeks.

FCA, which proved unable to sidestep the EPA’s wrath or a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, has spoken out against the university’s methods.

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Ace of Base: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Jeep is fixin’ to launch a redesigned Wrangler as early as next calendar year, meaning this generation of the venerable off-road brute is slowly marching towards its best-before date. When we last looked at the base Wrangler ten months ago, we found it to be an agreeable steed whose Mohawk Vodka price point more than made up for any deficiencies compared to its snazzier cousins.

Has anything changed for 2017? Let’s find out.

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NHTSA Investigating Faulty Airbag System in Jeep Liberty; Preexisting Recall on Older Models

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting a preliminary investigation regarding the 2012 Jeep Liberty’s airbag system after numerous complaints of a faulty control computer, leaving the safety measure non-functional in the event of an accident. That particular model year has already undergone a 2013 recall that required dealerships to re-flash the brand’s Totally Integrated Power Module for similar problems relating to non-deployment of active head restraints.

Owners have reported airbag warning lights remaining on while driving. Several were informed the occupant restraint controller (ORC) needed to be replaced, but their vehicle was not among the model years recalled. Since many drivers elected not to pay to have the system repaired, the NHTSA is concerned a recall may be necessary.

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Cross-Border Jeep Wrangler Theft Ring Busted in San Diego

Jeep Wrangler owners in the city of San Diego can sleep easier knowing three men are behind bars and several more are on the run following a crackdown on thieves targeting the popular off-roader.

Since 2014, more than 150 Wranglers have disappeared from the driveways and garages of San Diego homes, often while the owners are asleep. Thanks to the city’s Regional Auto Theft Taskforce (RAT), law enforcement now knows how the theft ring operated, and where exactly those Wranglers went. Bad news for owners: they’ll likely never see their vehicles again.

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Mystery Jeep in Patent Filing Gets Everyone's Hopes Up

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t talking about future products, so all we’re left with is some drawings from a design patent and an undecided jury. Still, the images are intriguing, as they show a seven-seat utility vehicle a vaguely familiar face.

Jeep’s mystery vehicle could be one of two planned models, one of which could make FCA big bucks in the United States. At least, once it figures out how to build the thing.

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Justice Department Sues Fiat Chrysler Over Diesel 'Defeat Devices'

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, alleging the automaker violated the Clean Air Act.

At the root of the lawsuit is roughly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6, sold between 2014 and 2016. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency accused FCA of failing to disclose eight auxiliary emissions control devices during the certification process. The vehicle’s software allows for higher-than-permitted emissions at certain times.

Despite FCA’s protests — as well as attempts to head off a potential multi-billion-dollar fine — the parallels between this case and Volkswagen’s emissions saga are growing by the day.

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Let's Try This Again: Fiat Chrysler Attempts to Certify 2017 Diesel Rams and Jeeps, Avoid Fines

After being forbidden from selling 2017 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hoping for a little love from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA suspended the certification process in January after discovering eight undeclared auxiliary emissions control devices on the EcoDiesel models. The existence of the software, installed in those vehicles since the 2014 model year, earned FCA a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act. Since then, the automaker has attempted to work with environmental regulators to smooth over the controversy, even as its mailbox filled with subpoenas from federal and state authorities.

Yesterday, we learned the Justice Department was readying a lawsuit against FCA. With the potential for billions of dollars in fines staring it in the face, FCA has whipped up a new application in the hopes of placating the EPA and selling some light-duty diesels.

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What Car Did I Buy? Droptop Desires Got The Better Of Me, It's Time To Supplement The Family Minivan

Intending to ask your advice before I actually made a purchase, I was left alone with no family to entertain me last Friday night and, well, something happened. To go along with our long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey EX, I exchanged a large sum of cash for a new vehicle.

Tell people what you’re going to name your baby, and they will tell you what they really think. Tell people what you named your baby, and they’re more likely to say, “Oh, how nice,” even if you named him Dwayne.

Similarly, tell people what car you’re planning to buy, and they’ll be forthright with their opinions. Tell them what you’ve already bought, and they’ll be more likely to say, “Oh, how nice,” even if you bought a Outlander.

So we’re going back in time to last Thursday. The automotive universe is littered with options. My choices are limitless. Major life changes have presented our family with new opportunities, but also new challenges. Regardless, it’s time to double the size of our fleet.

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Engine Smorgasbord for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Or…?

Should you expect Ford Fusion levels of engine choice in the next-generation Jeep Wrangler? A new report claims yes, you should.

A source who claims connections at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant has told Jalopnik the upcoming 2018 model will host six engines, but a rational take on the matter would suggest readers not get their hopes up — at least, not in the U.S.

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Attention, Millennials: Jeep Wants You to Quit Your Job and Eat Meat

The only thing missing is Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way bleating from the speakers, but songs from 1977 often don’t play well with those born after 1980. (Or 1982, depending on your source.) Slow, maudlin hipster “rock,” if you can call it that, is how you reel in those youngsters these days.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, knowing exactly what it wants the second-generation Jeep Compass to mean to the most sought-after segment of car buyers, is placing its sales pitch to scruffy Millennials in a new ad campaign.

As Millennial automotive marketing is usually a cringe-inducing affair, each new product launch and ad campaign targeting this generation sparks morbid interest in cynical observers. Hence, this post.

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Jeep's 2018 Wrangler Might Add a New Way to Go Topless

If photos taken of a strange feature on a camouflaged 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited make it to production, expect an even larger smorgasbord of ways to let the sun shine in.

Many details of the next-generation off-roader remain unconfirmed, but we’ve seen spy photos of cloaked prototypes for what seems like forever. Each time, there’s (usually) something new to see, and these photos aren’t any different. The interest here lies above the driver’s head.

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NYIAS 2017: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Promises 707-horsepower Family Fun

Just in time for spring and dry pavement, FCA heeds the internet credo to Hellcat All the Things by dropping that model’s supercharged 6.2-liter mill in its Jeep Grand Cherokee.

This completes the trifecta of gonzo SUVs, with the Tesla Model X and fish-faced Bentley Bentayga already scorching the pavement. Think a Jeep won’t play in the same league as those rarified SUVs? Both of those vehicles lay claim to 0-60 times in the three-and-a-half second range; with 707 hp on tap, all-wheel drive, and an estimated weight of around 900 lbs more than a Charger Hellcat, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk should do the same.

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Stretched Chinese Jeep Concept Could Preview Chrysler Crossover

Chinese car buyers are big fans of stretched American midsize sedans, and extra-long crossovers are seen as the next logical way for U.S. automakers to woo buyers into the brand.

In China, where Jeep began production of the Cherokee in late 2015, a new vehicle has appeared online ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show. Rather than a longer Cherokee, the concept in the image seems to preview an entirely new three-row Jeep that could see a different body and badge in North America.

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There's a Little Bit of Patriot in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Sort Of

As Jeep super fans nervously await the official reveal of the next-generation Wrangler, images posted online suggest that deeply held fears of an unforgivably altered 2018 model might come to nothing.

Two images appeared on JL Wrangler Forums this week, claiming to show a 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While the site’s administration says the images are confirmed to be authentic, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn’t made a statement backing that up. So, we’re left looking at what could very well be the next Wrangler.

Several changes immediately catch the eye.

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Jeep Tries to Hide the Compass' Ugly Older Sister as New Model Bows

Thanks to the weird and inexact science of pinning down a model year for a new introduction, Jeep finds itself playing a game of “hide the Compass.” The old Compass, that is.

You know the one. Barely updated over its decade-long lifespan, hated by TTAC but loved by consumers? That Compass. Certainly not the larger, second-generation model, with its new platform, upgraded looks and carryover engine. That global model is the one Jeep wants everyone to know about and, of course, buy.

Unfortunately, the model year conventions found in some overseas countries means the global model launching this spring carries a 2017 designation. As does the final cohort of the old Compass.

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Hybrid Wrangler on the Way, But Jeep Boss Still Isn't Sure What Kind

Fiat Chrysler intends to make the upcoming 2018 Wrangler a Jeep for everyone — single adventurers, families, cargo haulers and those whose hearts bleed at the thought of environmental harm — but it’s the latter category of buyer that Jeep isn’t quite sure how to please.

While the 2018 Wrangler remains on track for production late this year, the automaker recently pushed back the introduction of the much-anticipated pickup version. It now looks like any hybrid variant is also a ways off. That means buyers who hoped to emit slightly fewer hydrocarbons while crushing saplings and insects will need to wait before they save the planet.

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You'll Have to Wait Longer Than Expected for That Wrangler Pickup: Jeep Boss

With the possible exception of the upcoming Ford Bronco, no automotive product has more Americans feeling giddy with anticipation than the pickup version of Jeep’s beloved Wrangler.

Dreamed of by wistful Jeep aficionados for years, the go-ahead given to the Holy Grail of Jeepdom seemed to signal that yes, your dreams really can come true. Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of “all good things come to those who wait,” because wait you will. Two and a half years, to be exact.

Some of that time will be spent figuring out a name that doesn’t offend people.

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Audi Returns to Top of Consumer Reports Brand Ranking, FCA Returns to the Bottom

The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.

In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid.

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Jeep's New Compass and Old Cherokee Are About to Step All Over Each Other

We knew that Jeep’s redesigned small crossover was going to be sized up, priced up, and niced up in order to avoid cannibalizing the Renegade. What we didn’t know was that Jeep would dump it into the KL Cherokee’s lap like a scalding cup of coffee. At $22,090, the base 2017 Compass is only a stone’s throw away from the larger model’s pre-destination price of $23,695 MSRP.

Worse still is that Fiat Chrysler’s inability to update or enhance the Jeep Cherokee in any meaningful way has helped sales implode in recent months. The KL was Jeep’s top selling model in 2015, with 220,260 units sold in the United States, but it took a sales hit of almost 30,000 vehicles the following year and saw a noticeably weaker beginning for 2017.

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Piston Slap: Cancelling Chrysler's Noise Cancellation?

Craig writes:

Hey Sanjeev, (*facepalm* –SM)

I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and I’m bit of a music buff. One of the first things I dispensed with was the factory Harman Kardon speakers. I replaced the sub with a JL stealth box. Now I have a pretty big problem with the factory stereo and its the automatic noise cancellation.

When the transmission is in normal D mode and or eco mode is on, it uses the factory stereo to cancel out the drone of the engine. Unfortunately, the noise cancellation is calibrated for the weaksauce factory sub. Now it sounds like one of those bass CDs from the ’90s as I hold speed or decelerate. I’ve asked the dealer how to get rid of this thing, to which they said “you can’t.”

I’m not so convinced.

Any ideas?

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Fiat Chrysler Announces 3,200 Extended Vacations in Toledo

To get its Toledo Assembly Complex ready for the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles needs to go dark for a little while, meaning extended vacays for thousands of employees.

The proper term would be “temporary layoff,” but in an autoworker’s life, a job you know you can go back to makes these hassles forgivable. In this case, Toledo needs six months to retool.

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Alfa Romeo and Jeep Will Share a Platform to Save FCA Some Dough

Relaunching Alfa Romeo has been an expensive undertaking for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the brand continues to hemorrhage cash while FCA scrambles to get the Giulia and upcoming Stelvio into driveways. While discussing the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa was a financial vortex last year and will remain that way until Americans see more than just the occasional 4C cruising down the boulevard.

It cost a fortune to develop the Giorgio platform that underpins the new Alfa models — Marchionne claims FCA spent $2.7 billion on the relaunch. To recoup some of those expenses, the brand is going to share its fancy new bones with Maserati, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Jeep J-4000, Used-Up Snowplow Edition

Most ’60s and ’70s Detroit cars I see in big pull-yer-own-parts wrecking yards show signs of having spent a decade or more sitting in a yard or driveway. This is not the case with pickups, because just about any pickup that can be made to work at not-too-great expense will be kept on the road. A 45-year-old long-wheelbase Jeep pickup with a snowplow will earn its keep pushing the white stuff around until something really expensive fails.

Here is such a truck, spotted in a Denver yard.

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Justice Department Launches Criminal Investigation Into Fiat Chrysler's Diesel Devices

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles started off the week in solid form. It deftly preempted the Detroit auto show by unveiling its futuristic Portal minivan concept at the youthful Consumer Electronics Show a week prior, then dangled a big Mopar tease in front of enthusiasts with its yet-to-be-revealed SRT Hellcat Demon variants of the Dodge Charger and Challenger.

Then, just like that, the Environmental Protection Agency held a media conference and FCA found its legs kicked out from under it. After Thursday’s accusation of emissions violations (via eight undeclared emissions control devices found on 3.0-liter EcoDiesel models), the automaker finds itself playing defense as controversy grows.

As the EPA’s investigation continues, the U.S. Department of Justice has now opened a criminal probe.

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Sergio Calls EPA Accusation 'Hogwash,' But Here's What It Could Cost FCA

The Environmental Protection Agency calls the emissions control devices found on diesel Jeep and Ram vehicles a “clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act” — something the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t very happy about.

In their morning announcement, EPA officials claimed the automaker hasn’t done anything to prove the devices found on 2014-2016 EcoDiesel models aren’t regulator-tricking “defeat devices.” According to Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne is mighty steamed, calling the insinuation of cheating “unadulterated hogwash.”

So, what are these eight auxiliary devices, and what penalty could the automaker face if found in violation of the law?

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  • ToolGuy @Matt, let me throw this at you:Let's say I drive a typical ICE vehicle 15,000 miles/year at a typical 18 mpg (observed). Let's say fuel is $4.50/gallon and electricity cost for my EV will be one-third of my gasoline cost - so replacing the ICE with an EV would save me $2,500 per year. Let's say I keep my vehicles 8 years. That's $20,000 in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.If the vehicles have equal capabilities and are otherwise comparable, a rational typical consumer should be willing to pay up to a $20,000 premium for the EV over the ICE. (More if they drive more.)TL;DR: Why do they cost more? Because they are worth it (potentially).
  • Inside Looking Out Why EBFlex dominates this EV discussion? Just because he is a Ford expert?
  • Marky S. Very nice article and photos. I am a HUGE Edsel fan. I have always been fascinated with the "Charlie Brown of Cars." Allow me to make a minor correction to add here: the Pacer line was the second-from-bottom rung Edsel, not the entry-level trim. That would be the Edsel Ranger for 1958. It had the widest array of body styles. The Ranger 2-door sedan (with a "B-pillar", not a pillarless hardtop), was priced at $2,484. So, the Ranger and Pacer both used the smaller Ford body. The next two upscale Edsel's were based on the Mercury body, are were: Corsair, and, top-line Citation. Although the 1959 style is my fav. I would love a '58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop sedan!
  • Lou_BC Stupid to kill the 6ft box in the crewcab. That's the most common Canyon/Colorado trim I see. That kills the utility of a small truck. The extended cab was a poor seller so that makes sense. GM should have kept the diesel. It's a decent engine that mates well with the 6 speed. Fuel economy is impressive.
  • Lou_BC High end EV's are selling well. Car companies are taking advantage of that fact. I see quite a few $100k pickups in my travels so why is that ok but $100k EV's are bad? The cynical side of me sees car companies tack on 8k premiums to EV's around the time we see governments up EV credits. Coincidence? No fooking way.