On Sunday I posted that my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was for sale. Within ten minutes of posting this to Facebook my phone started ringing. Two different friends from out of state called inquiring about it. That is before the three people from Craigslist called. All this within two hours.
Everyone wants a Federmobile. The reason? It’s simple, I’m so ridiculously anal retentive about my vehicles. I fix crap that any normal person in their right mind wouldn’t even notice, none the less actually pay to fix.
So what happened? Well the short story is a friend from Michigan bought my Jeep. I am somewhat relieved to know it is going to a good home. I will be meeting them in Chicago sometime in the next few weeks to deliver the Jeep.
So what’s next for me? Frankly I have no clue. Karen (my fiancée) and I are in deep discussion about what will replace my vehicle. Over fifty percent of the vehicles I want just aren’t in the budget. Quite a few of the vehicles just aren’t approved by Karen due to the fact that she thinks I shouldn’t get a car (note actual car not SUV) that gets 13 mpg in the city. Of the vehicles that fit the budget, and I want, dear Karen feels about ninety percent of them are “ugly.” Girl thinks a vehicle like the WRX is ugly….
More to come on this topic as I try to figure out what will be the next Federmobile. Until then, if you see my Jeep wandering the streets of Michigan please do say hi for me. Or better yet, snap a picture and send it to me.
Anyone that knows me, knows how ridiculously anal I am about this thing. When it was purchased, I had new headlights installed, and immediately covered them in a clear shield. Along with the headlights, I also had a new windshield installed. At the time I didn’t own a carpet extractor, so I had the carpets professionally cleaned. Immediately Husky Liners were put in all four floor wells, and in the rear end. All four wheels were replaced with alloys from a Grand Cherokee Limited.
The oil has been changed every 4,000-5,000 miles with Mobile1 full synthetic. The exterior and interior has been detailed once to twice a year and the tires were rotated every 6,000 miles.
I have every receipt for everything done to this Jeep since I bought it with 68,000 miles. The tires are Michelin LTX M+S with more than 2/3 tread remaining. The rear differential was rebuilt at 150,000 miles. Both differentials, transfer case, transmission, and all other fluids were flushed every 30,000 miles, and I always used synthetic fluids. The brakes are slotted in the front with ceramic pads, while the rear rotors are slotted and drilled. All four shocks were replaced recently.
I also installed new HIDs for the low beams within the last few months. The HIDs are running off of a wiring harness connected to the battery. The high beams are Sylvania Silverstar Ultras.
It has an aftermarket cold air intake on it with a K&N filter. I cleaned and recharged the K&N filter yesterday.
The Jeep was just detailed (clayed and waxed) yesterday along with an oil change.
It currently has 172,xxx miles. It has maybe 3 door dings….literally the only thing it needs right now is two new hood struts.
You could say I am emotionally attached to this vehicle. There is no question that it is the best condition 1999 Grand Cherokee on the market, and possibly the best condition used Grand Cherokee of its generation. So spread the word.
This past weekend the Jeep Rocks and Road Tour visited Minneapolis. The tour is supposed to let people experience the capabilities of Jeep’s legendary vehicles. There is both on-road and off-road demonstrations provided, along with other fun-filled activities.
The tour in Minneapolis took over and transformed a vacant parking lot across from the Mall of America. The end result? A mud pit. Well it wasn’t a mud pit on Friday and Saturday. However, when I arrived on Sunday morning it was, due to rainfall Saturday night.
Though that did not make the event any less fun. The first thing I took part in was the Jeep Owner’s Playground. This was a course set up exclusively for current Jeep owners. If you brought your own Jeep you could take it through this course. The course had everything from a few high banked sand hills and rock trail, to a large hill with three humps to climb.
I was the first to hit the Owners Playground for the day. After about four runs, the large hill started to get too slick and the sides started to let me slide just a bit too much. The issue was all the rain from the night before. The entire course was becoming a sloppy mess. For safety, they shut down the large hill not long after my fourth run.
They also had plenty to do for non-Jeep owners. The main attraction was clearly the ability to drive the current line up of Jeeps on the main off-road course. Unfortunately the course had become so slick due to the rain that consumers were not allowed to drive.
Instead you were taken on the course with a professional driver. I was told a consumer did go first thing in the morning and walked away with eyes wide open. I took that to mean: “we could’ve had a problem, but we had the right staff on hand.” I was glad to see safety was the first priority.
I went for a ride in the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (Unlimited means four door). Naturally, the course was nothing this Jeep couldn’t handle – it took each obstacle in stride. Though the large 20 foot mountain was closed due to being too slick, I was told the Jeeps could make it up the mountain just fine. However, due to being so slick they might come down with more speed then they felt was safe.
Next up I visited the on-road course. This time I chose the new 2011 Grand Cherokee Laredo for the drive. The new Grand Cherokee handled the washboard section much better then my current 1999 Grand Cherokee would have, mainly due to the new suspension. The vehicle also had a decent turning radius. The steering was on center, though maybe too light? I would need more seat time to give that statement without a question mark.
For the kids Jeep had both a climbing wall and Jeep branded Power Wheels mini vehicles. This set up satisfied the different age groups. No matter what, families had something to do for the kids. Also on hand was a Jeep Wrangler Islander edition. The task was to see who could unlatch and take down the soft top the fastest. The last station/task was essentially a balancing act, literally.
They had a Jeep Compass on a wooden platform that was set on a log. The goal was to balance the Compass on the platform so either side of the platform was not touching the ground. I was informed only a few people have achieved the task, and it really is almost luck. I tried for over ten minutes, only to get severely frustrated. I failed, though for the record, I came close. Finally I gave up, but only because another person wanted a try.
Of course, other things were on hand to look at. The new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland was in a tent to sit in and play with. A very old Jeep Willys (?) was on hand, though no touching was allowed. Also on site were quite a few modified Jeep Wranglers, one with a regular 5.7 liter HEMI and another with a 6.7 liter HEMI. Both were quite beastly.
Overall the Jeep Road and Rock Tour was a very entertaining way to spend my Sunday morning. Even with some drizzling rain and the course turned to a mud pit, it was a blast.
Everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves, even the staff! You can tell many of the staff are true enthusiasts themselves. That really does add to the experience and energy level. Until the Jeep Rocks and Road Tour rolls through town again, drive safe and clean the mud off your undercarriage.
Recently, I had a conversation with a baby boomer about her vehicle. She drives a Honda CR-V and tells me she likes it. It came up during the conversation that she thought her CR-V was a truck. I started asking questions and digging into why she might think this. Apparently, it has to do with the raised ride height, all-wheel drive, and overall vehicle appearance. I then, as gently as I could, informed her that her “truck” was not really a truck, rather it was what many refer to as a CUV. CUV stands for crossover utility vehicle and these are not “trucks” in the traditional sense.
When SUV’s first came onto the market, they were little more then short trucks with four doors. They have since evolved, but many people in the general public see current CUV’S and traditional SUV’s as the same. A CUV isn’t like a normal SUV in many ways – starting with the fact that they aren’t body on frame vehicles. They are unibody and essentially based off car platforms. They aren’t designed for the same capabilities as a traditional SUV. The aforementioned baby boomer from earlier was shocked to learn that her CR-V is based off a car.
CUV’s still have all-wheel drive, but most do not have off-road capabilities or even a low range like a traditional four-wheel drive. However, there are some that have locking differentials for deeper snow and sticky situations. Interestingly enough, many CUV’s are more capable then most consumers will ever need. With all that said, towing capacities are much lower then that of a typical SUV. The current Ford Explorer is a typical SUV, being body on frame. That will all be changing though with the new version that is set to go on sale at the end of this year/beginning of next year. The next generation Explorer went more mainstream, being unibody. This trend is continuing to expand among other SUV’s, including the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (though the Grand Cherokee has always been unibody). The 2011 Grand Cherokee will also be unibody, though it will still retain hard core off -road capabilities in certain trim levels.
What this all boils down to is perception. People seem to want an “SUV”, but they do not want the many things associated with them. That list includes, but isn’t limited to, poor gas mileage, rough ride, sloppy handling and many other things. There are things people still want though – like increased ride height and the idea of off road capabilities. So what does this mean? It means that people want some characteristics of the SUV and not others – and that poses a challenge to marketers.
As many have reported the 2011 Jeep Wrangler will have an all new interior. Allpar had some terrific spy shots anonymously sent into them of the new interior. It appears a low sheen soft touch pad will be on top off the dash and on the door panels. The steering wheel is either lifted from the new 2011 Grand Cherokee or is very similar along with the shift knob. The 2011 Wranglers will also have the option of the hard tops painted to match the exterior color. For all the changes and details of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler head over to Allpar.
The numbers are officially in on the all-new Pentastar V6 and it will be pumping out 10 more hp then previously stated in the upcoming 2011 Grand Cherokee. That brings the grand total to 290 hp and 260 lb-ft channeled through a five-speed automatic. The optional Hemi will be rated at 360 hp and 390 lb-ft, also channeled through a five-speed automatic. Definitely notable is the estimated fuel mileage in the V6, which is expected to come in around 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. That is significantly better than the current generation Grand Cherokee’s 3.7 liter V6. The Hemi will probably be rated right around 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. For that kind of power the Hemi has a somewhat acceptable highway rating in my opinion. More news is sure to flow out on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee as it is anticipated to go on sale next month and arrive in dealerships shortly after.
UPDATED- The above sketch was recently added to Allpar and might give a better idea of what the Sebring 200C will look like. – Credit Jack Ratchett
It is no secret that the Chrysler Sebring and its platform mate, the Dodge Avenger, are colossal failures in nearly every sense. They were clumsy in their execution and, as a result, didn’t sell and became the dismal trailings of rental fleets. Sergio Marchionne informed us way back in 2009 (which seems eons ago almost) that the replacements were on the way and they would be much better. Well, let’s be real! They have nowhere to go but up. These sketches were done by Jack Ratchett and is supposedly a “dead ringer” for the upcoming 200C, which is set to start production November 18 and replace the Sebring. Word on the street is that the Avenger refresh will be much less drastic; merely a sleeker front end and a barely touched rear-end. The interior of both cars is supposed to be a huge improvement. One person heard that the interior of the upcoming Sebring replacement will be aimed at Lexus but not Toyota, which is particularly interesting because we have heard similar statements about the interior in the upcoming 300C refresh.
The engine line up will consist of the new Pentastar V6 launching soon in the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a four cylinder. The Pentastar V6 is capable of 280 hp and 260 ft-lb. It is unclear if a six speed automatic transmission will be used or a borrowed Fiat six speed dual clutch unit. The four cylinder will be the volume engine, which will be either a retuned version of the World Engine or, possibly a Fiat sourced engine, though this too is unclear at this point but the former is more likely.
We should get to see the Sebring replacement (200C?) in the fall so we will have to sit tight for the next six months and hopefully some spy shots will leak out.