By on June 13, 2019

2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport

A Jeep Wrangler owner has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of ignoring an alleged safety issue with the vehicle’s steering system; one that leads to the notorious “death wobble.”

The term is one Jeep fans are already familiar with and basically entails sudden, violent vibrations from front-end steering components, usually taking place on the highway. On Wednesday, a lawsuit filed on behalf of New Jersey resident Clair Reynolds claimed FCA delivered a “defectively designed and/or manufactured front axle and damping system” allowing for the dreaded wobble to occur after “encountering road variations” at speed.

While the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has never issued a recall related to the issue, it’s familiar with the phenomenon and has been pressured by safety advocates to investigate since before 2012. But previous studies into the wobble found it relatively difficult to replicate, and no serious injuries have stemmed from it. Reynolds’ legal council says that doesn’t cut it.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2018

“It’s a Jeep thing; you wouldn’t understand.” That phrase might be a breathtaking bit of cultural appropriation at a level that shocks even your aging and decidedly hidebound author, but it’s not wrong.

Consider, if you will, the vehicle pictured above. It’s the old “Wrangler JK” — a vehicle which has had a decade-plus run as talisman, touchstone, profit center, and Jurassic-DNA-in-mosquito-frozen-in-amber for Chrysler in no fewer than three corporate iterations. From the moment you touch the rough plastic of the pushbutton exterior doorhandle, it’s absurdly plain that everything on this vehicle was designed from the outset to cut costs, only to have more costs cut as the years go on. Not that the bones of the thing aren’t fit for purpose — they are — but my God has there been a Great Cheapening going on in Wrangler-land over the past few years.

“Listen, dummy,” you’re no doubt saying, “of course this is going to be cheaped-out. It’s the final form of the model, kept in production until recently for the rental fleets, the skinflints, and the people who are both allergic to change and unable to get themselves to a dealership during an entire year’s worth of new-for-2018 Wrangler publicity. What did you expect? A ‘Golden Eagle’ luxury model?” Well yes, I did expect that, and they did in fact make some, but that’s not the problem here. Nor is it the fact that Jeep ran the old model for an extra year. That was a groundbreaking practice in 1996 when Ford did it to hedge its bets with the jellybean ’97 F-150, but it’s become fairly common in the two decades since then. Birds do it, bees do it, Malibus do it. (A bit of trivia for you: Ford had planned to do that as well with the 1986 Taurus, by keeping the aero Fox LTD in production at the Atlanta plant, but as the zero hour approached they decided to go all-in on the new car. What a disaster that would have been.)

No, my beef with this coupon-clipper old-shape 2018 Jeep is as follows: It ain’t cheap.

(Read More…)

By on April 27, 2018

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited red

Today is a sad day for the most hard-core of traditionalists and an exciting one. As we told you earlier in the week, the last Jeep Wrangler JK rolls out of the Toledo Assembly Complex today, after which the line shuts down for retooling. But the end of 12 years of JK (and JKU) production heralds the introduction of a long sought-after model: a Wrangler-based pickup, possibly named the Scrambler, which should arrive next spring.

With death comes life, but in the automotive world, nothing’s eternal.

Now that the JK’s life has drawn to a close, perhaps it’s time to do a little reminiscing — not just about experiences in the Wrangler JK, but in any Jeep. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2018

Amid all the hoopla surrounding the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, you’d be forgiven for not realizing there are still versions of the old model rolling off Jeep’s Toledo assembly line. But not for long.

Assembly of the Wrangler JK, introduced for the 2007 model year, carried on alongside its updated near-twin after the JL entered production last November, but that line grinds to a halt on Friday, April 27th. The model isn’t wanted anymore, and there’s an awfully lucrative vehicle that needs the space. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

With every leaked detail of Jeep’s next-generation Wrangler, hardcore enthusiasts become a little more ravenous for information. But there has been one pressing question circling every shorts-tightening tidbit: when will it arrive?

The short answer is soon. The JL Wrangler may even launch as early as October, if a new report is to be believed. That would place it almost a full month ahead of its reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show — which Jeep CEO Mike Manley previously confirmed as the official debut.

However, there is a longer and more storied explanation of every major component addition as the 2018 model gradually takes shape. Entry-level variants appear to host a 3.6-liter engine with stop-start and a manual transmission. But production of the first round of quad-door hardtops will eventually open up to two-doors (and different engines) as previous-gen JK assembly ends sooner than expected.  (Read More…)

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