Is the Jeep Patriot truly a Jeep? While the first-generation sported a 7-slot grille and a Trail Rated badge on some models, many Jeep lovers scoffed at the idea of a Jeep based on the Dodge Caliber. From the cheaper than Lego plastic interior, to the buzzy powertrain, the Patriot was everything you’d expect a Caliber-based Jeep to be – bad.
Being the Jeep guy that I am, I was actually quite delighted to have a new Jeep Patriot in my driveway for a week. How much better is the interior? Is the powertrain still buzzy? Does it deserve that Trail Rated badge? Lets find out. Read More…
As some of you know, I sold my Jeep. Funny thing is, when I put it up for sale no decision had been made on its replacement. Now that the dust has settled and my Jeep will be going to its new owners this weekend, it is time to get serious about what my next vehicle will be.
Over the past three weeks I have narrowed the choices down. Some were impractical, while some were going to just be money pits. In the end some clear winners have emerged – unfortunately they are all so different and I am having trouble deciding. Each choice has an upside and of course, like everything else, a downside. Lets get right to it. Read More…
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.
I want to give some background on this video. To be frank, I debated whether or not this video would ever see the light of day. By popular demand (by a very small, annoying group of people who just will not leave me alone about the darn thing) the decision has been made to post it. With that said, some background is needed before watching the video.
The goal when I had the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited was to take it off-roading. Unfortunately I do not exactly live by mountains. I was asked not to take it to the one place in Minnesota that is a true off-road park, mainly because it is known as the place you take to destroy your vehicle. I decided to take it through a muddy field that a friend of a friend’s dad owns.
The videos turned out more then boring. Though one hilarious gem of a clip did come through entertaining enough to post. When I entered the field, it was decided that we should test the Jeep to see how well it would do in two wheel drive. Then once stuck, I would move to four wheel drive, then if I continued to have issues, put it in four low and lock the differentials. I ended up in four low but never needed to lock the differentials. Once in four low, I never ended up getting stuck again. This video is a clip from the first part in two wheel drive. It took less then two minutes to get stuck in two wheel drive. I hope you enjoy. Oh and Ross, now you have nothing on me about this Jeep thing.
I had hoped to get this post out last week, but for those that followed my adventures at the LA Auto Show, I was running on four hours of sleep and many cans of Monster Energy drinks. Hence why this post is coming to you a little bit late.
The LA Auto Show is the kick off to the auto show season. Some say it sets the tone for the following auto shows. This year held a ton of promise as the auto industry gets back on to its feet and companies start churning out new product.
Infiniti Essence Concept
Highlights of the show ranged from Mazda Shinari concept car to new Ford Focus sedan and hatchback. Heck I was even excited to see the new Nissan Quest minivan. Yes, you read that correctly. I was excited to see a new minivan. Hey, in my defense, the teaser shots they leaked out were quite compelling, and I was not let down. The new Quest is quite stunning in my opinion. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Infiniti Essence concept that made its debut a while back. The car is as stunning now as it was when it made its debut.
I was also looking forward to finally seeing the new Dodge Charger in person. Sitting in the new Charger and feeling the materials, I was pleasantly surprised. While not all is fixed, this is a huge leap in the right direction. I look forward to getting to spend more time with that vehicle along with the rest of the revamped Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep line-up.
2011 Dodge Charger
2011 Toyota Corolla
The bad ranged from the “refreshed” Toyota Corolla to the “OMG they built that thing,” Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. The Toyota Corolla is more of a shock and awe. The fact that you can now only get it with a four speed automatic or five speed manual blows my mind. Let me repeat that, four speed automatic. You know, like from the 90’s and early 2000’s. This calls for a “lets party like it’s 1999” statement. Just shameful. Oh and they dropped the more powerful of the two engines. I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the fact that you can no longer get leather on any Corolla.
2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Moving along the bad portion of our trip down LA Auto Show lane we reach the “OMG they built that thing” section. We have heard rumors for years about a convertible Nissan Murano. Many outlets have comissioned drawings based upon insider knowledge. Well the time has finally come and Nissan took the sheet off the duckling. Is it ugly? Well, based on the gasp from the crowd, I am not entirely sure. I think the gasp from the crowd was a combination of, again, “OMG they built that thing,” and also a sticker shock when the price was announced at $46,390. I’m sorry, did you just have a slight heart attack? Because I am pretty sure the press at the Nissan press conference did as well. It was made slightly better when I learned later from a PR rep that the price is for the one trim model, which is a LE trim. This will come fully loaded with pretty much no options. Still, that is a pretty penny for this odd duckling.
Overall I would say the tone for the show was upbeat. The industry is clearly fighting to make its way back. Without question a nice foothold has been given, with sales up and profits finally being made, things are looking a little brighter. Here’s looking forward to seeing what is unveiled in Detroit in January.
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.
So Dodge has finally launched the new upcoming 2011 Durango replacement website. Guess what?! Turns out the Durango replacement will be in fact another Durango! That’s right folks. The rumors of the name changing to Magnum were apparently wrong. They have put up three full teaser pics which between these and the spy shots we can pretty much tell what the new Durango will look like. Remember this based off of the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a slight stretch. Powertrain will be the same as the 2011 Grand Cherokee. Check out the full teaser site here.