Category Archives: Jeep

2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4

2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

“Faint hearted men are the product of a luxurious society; the same soil produces neither luxuries nor heroes.”

Early pioneers and those that followed up until 1960 were get ‘er done solid citizens of America. Most of the rest of the world is still in the stone ages while the good old USA prospers with the last vestiges of freedom that exist only in America. Don’t let it slip through your fingers or you will be flipping the finger to those great men and women who made this country great.

Overview:

This is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4X4. For starters there really is no competition in this area of off road vehicles. But we will throw in a few others that are AWD and could go off road but if you’re looking for special, Jeep is unbeatable.

I’m biased because I have a special love affair with Jeep from my Navy days in the South Pacific and elsewhere. The image of Jeep is that of raw and basic transportation. WWII days relied on those no-frills Jeeps that played a major role for the free world to win that war.

I also have tooled around the back country in an original 1942 version with a friend who owns one. Whether forging streams, going fishing or just rock climbing in the High Sierra’s it holds an aura of history and heritage where bonds between man and machine cannot be broken.

And finally, today’s Jeep is my intended next vehicle to tow behind a motorhome. It’s a dream I’ve had for a long time so when I get to my destinations, no matter the terrain I’m good to go.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Toledo, Ohio, USA; Parts- US/Canada 60%, Mexico 22%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – USA; Classification is- Small SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

This short wheel-based Jeep has great turning radius and is a super sure-footed SUV I have tested in tough off-road conditions over many years. This 2018 is state of the art off-road and in today’s world it is my first choice for the adventurous.

In the process of testing all off-road vehicles, my first shot at the Humvee military version to replace the Jeep was not impressive. For personal use, the roads are just not conducive with the Humvee, while the Jeep will go where Humvee’s can’t. Our road systems and trails in the outback have been developed over hundreds of years to accommodate typical vehicles of the day which are far too narrow for the “Desert Storm” type of venue where the Humvee would be used.

Styling:

Traditional Jeep design has been retained from the first ones produced. That design has been mimicked by others but still the look and feel of Jeep is king.

Fit and Finish:

Jeep is as good as it gets for a serious off-road vehicle. It is the fluffy SUV that is a fish out of water off road. Jeep is most comfortable where ever it is asked to go. It is beautiful out there, but the roads are generally far from pretty.

Cost:

Not cheap, but when it’s the only game in town it is worth the price of admission. Plus, you must consider all the skid plates etc. to outfit it for rugged use, is what makes it special and that costs more.

Conveniences and comfort:

Jeep has continued to improve the ride on highway. It is surprisingly smooth and comfortable.

Consumer Recommendations:

Look at the video and although it will seem a bit extreme I have to tell you, I’ve been in extreme off-road conditions I didn’t believe possible for any commercial vehicle. Jeep made me a believer. If you’re looking for Bear Grylls kind of adventures, you’ll want to have the best. That is Jeep in my experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

Pricing is up to you: Consider how you’ll be using this vehicle. Will you be traversing the hills of Beverly Hills or Rubicon in and around Lake Tahoe, CA? The way this Jeep is equipped I doubt you need all the options which are numerous but available. And if you want all the comforts of home I doubt you will be camping and trail blazing anytime soon. Then you will want the $12,000 of options to cruise Beverly Hills, Malibu or brave the summer heat of California. Let’s face it, you don’t need air conditioning in the Sierra’s at 9,000 feet. You won’t need keyless entry because you will probably be leaving the keys in the ignition. You know, those kinds of things that are unnecessary in the wilderness. Just say’s.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Wrangler 28,000 18 4 2 USA USA 4WD
Hyundai Tucson 31,000 25 5 4 Korea Korea AWD
Ford Escape 34,000 23 5 4 USA USA AWD
Kia Sportage 35,000 21 5 4 Korea Korea AWD

Good News:

The best off-road vehicle hands down.

Bad News:

A little pricey and fuel economy continues to be extreme.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter VS 24 valve VVT engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, front and side seat airbags, rear back up camera, 4-wheel drive, 3.45 axle gear ratio, front and rear solid axles, fuel tank skid plate, transfer case skid plate and transmission skid plate, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, stability control, electronic roll mitigation, trailer sway damping, hill start assist, keyless enter and go, sentry key theft deterrent system, tire pressure monitor, Uconnect 3 with 5” display, 8-speakers, media hub for USB and Aux, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, 12-volt aux power outlet, tilt and telescopic steering column, steering wheel mounted audio controls, manual seat adjustment and door locks, rear folding seat. This standard equipment is covered for the below listed MSRP.

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. July 27, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,995.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4

2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4. You can get into this Jeep for about $25,000 but if you want all the bells and whistles you may find yourself at $35,000. Either way it is a great, historic off-road capable SUV. This will appeal to the out of doors active folks from 20 to 102. Much older than that you’d need oxygen and a walker. I’m a ways from the top end but that is my planned next vehicle. The Wrangler is my choice to tow behind the motorhome to see, not only the highways and byways of much of the country, but take in the adventures of getting off the beaten paths.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Toluca, Mexico; Classification is- Small SUV; Cars from Jeep- Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Wrangler JK Unlimited and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Multi-air is relatively new technology to hydraulically actuate the variable valve timing (VVT). That technology was first available from the Japanese and now is becoming more common. The US companies dragged their feet much longer.

Selec-Terrain is one of Jeep’s solutions for increasing the off-road abilities. It allows the driver or the vehicle to choose a suitable setting to travel on various on and off-road terrains. There are five settings: Auto, Snow, Rock, Sand/Mud and Sport.

Styling:

Thankfully the styling has been true to the look and feel begun in the early 1940s, and it continues to ID the vehicle more than 75 years later.

Fit and Finish:

Before Jeep found new homes of ownership over the past few decades the quality was not as good. Today it is Very Good but it retains that rough and ready, tough and tumble image as well as it does in action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

Cost:

It is very competitively priced for the basics but you can spend another ten grand if you want the available options.

Conveniences and comfort:

I found the new adaptation of the electric park brake an annoyance initially, but I eventually got used to it and appreciated the addition of safety. When you put the car in park the parking brake automatically sets. It is a great convenience that I think will be seen on more cars over time.

Every once in a while, the test car I get is equipped with the cap-less fuel filler. This simple addition is bound to catch on more in the future on more cars.

Consumer Recommendations:

You gotta love off-road excellence. Look at this YouTube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

There is a large field to choose from so the consumer wins when you take the time to find what tickles your fancy. For an off-road option Jeep is my choice because I have engaged Jeep up close and personal on Jeep Jamboree’s and was blown away at how agile Jeep is off road. Most people don’t go off road so the other contenders listed would do just fine for those who only need to negotiate the speed bumps around town.

Again, as I remind my readers, it is important to identify what you will use a vehicle for and find which one fills that need the best. Subaru is my second choice because it is the recognized specialist when it comes to AWD that is standard on all their models. I think they do it best.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Jeep Compass 30,000 22 5 4 USA Mexico 4WD
Chevrolet Equinox 30,000 25 5 4 USA Canada FWD
Subaru Forester 30,000 28 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
GMC Terrain 31,000 26 5 4 USA Canada AWD
VW Tiguan 27,000 23 5 4 Japan United Kingdom AWD
Infiniti QX30 35,000 25 5 4 Japan United Kingdom AWD
Subaru Crosstrek 27,000 29 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
Audi Q3 36,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany AWD
Mercedes-Benz 36,000 26 5 4 Germany Germany AWD

Good News:

Great off-road champ, comfortable on the highway.

Bad News:

Fuel economy is not the best attribute of Jeep and never has been. That thought reminds me of the Will Rogers quote: “Things ain’t what they used to be and never were”.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 Liter Inline Multi-Air Engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, remote Keyless entry with proximity entry, Push-Button start/stop, cruise control, speed sensitive power door locks, rear back up camera, rear window defroster, front, side curtain front and rear airbags, front seat mounted side airbags, deep tint sunscreen glass, selec–terrain system, stability control, electric park brake, Roll mitigation, capless fuel filler, air conditioning, Uconnect with 5” display, Bluetooth streaming audio, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

Options are available for some of the hot features you will want to add: Cold Weather and Navigation Groups, including Power heated front seats, Nav and Car Play, climate control and other upgrades ($1,700), Advanced safety features like Lane sense / Lane departure warning and forward collision warning ($895), Safety group – blind spot and cross traffic detection ($795).

Gas Stats:

$3.89/ Gal avg. May 24, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $24,295.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2019 Jeep Cherokee SUV

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee in Trailhawk and Limited trim feel equally at home in the great outdoors. Inside, you can expect all the comforts of home. Photos courtesy Jeep.

By Vince Bodiford

Legendary Cherokee is reworked into a package that is authentic Jeep

The new 2019 Jeep Cherokee is among the most capable mid-size sport-utility vehicles, and they are arriving at select dealers early, including Monroe Superstore locally. It boasts a new, authentic and more premium design, along with the addition of an all-new, advanced 2.0-liter direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine.

The Cherokee name has a storied and long history with Jeep. My family owned one of the early models back in the 1970’s. I drove this newest model recently for a week-long test drive, and found it to be a worthy keeper of that same Jeep brand identity. The new Jeep Cherokee’s evolution offers more interior comfort and convenience, delivering everyday practicality with outstanding ride and handling characteristics.

“A stunning, more premium design and the addition of our new fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbo engine make the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee even more desirable in the mid-size SUV segment,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4×4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide.”

Available in five different trim configurations – Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and the rugged Trail Rated Trailhawk, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee production has moved from Toledo (so they can make more Wranglers) to the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

The new Cherokee features an extensive new exterior design that highlights a completely fresh appearance and includes a major restyling of a number of signature components.

Drivers and passengers will command road presence with an all-new front exterior that is consistent with classic Jeep design. The Jeep design team has created a distinguished new look that aligns on the premium side of the Jeep family, along with iconic Jeep styling.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee stays true to its heritage with a wide and commanding stance and an aggressive wheel-to-body proportion for a distinctive identity.

The updated interior of the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee receives a fresh touch while remaining a practical and comfortable environment. Premium hand-sculpted forms tie signature Jeep design cues and high-quality materials together with precision craftsmanship.

Powered by the all-new 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, it’s rated at 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a high-efficient nine-speed automatic transmission. Two additional high-efficient engines options are available in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee: the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 and 2.4-liter PZEV Multiair2 Tigershark I-4 – both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee highlights a choice of three innovative 4×4 systems that have been enhanced for unmatched 4×4 capability for all weather conditions. Available on the Cherokee Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited and Overland models, Jeep Active Drive I features an all-new design for Cherokee.

I’ve long been a fan of the Jeep brand and product. Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.

The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler.

for more information, see your local Jeep deale, or visit Jeep.com

2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk 4X4

2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk 4X4

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joseph Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk 4X4. I’ve been looking to revisit and review all Jeeps because I have a personal reason – I’m looking to buy one. I’m looking more to the Wrangler to tow behind a motorhome. If you have experience with that application your thoughts would be appreciated.

In the meantime, this new DesertHawk keeps with the tradition of the Jeep image. I have attended “Jeep Camps” and “Jeep Jamborees” and that has influenced my decision to renew my opinion of the product and is why it fits into my travel plans..

General Information:

It is assembled in Melfi, Italy. Parts – US/Canadian 22%, Italy 62%, Engine and Transmission – USA; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and on my Jeep Jamboree in Northwest Massachusetts on the Mohawk Trail I found this picture explains what is possible because I did it.

Styling:

Jeep stayed true to what make Jeep a classic all the way from WWII military days up to today and it remains an image of can-do and wanna do.

Fit and Finish:

Built for the out of doors so it is necessarily basic and as good as it needs to be.

Cost:

2017 MSRP of this Renegade is under $27,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

For the road ahead, it has many more features than necessary for the rough and tumble guys and gals who choose the out-of-doors lifestyle. But it incorporates most of the mechanical safety features that will give added safety to operation and keep the average driver out of trouble.

Consumer Recommendation:

I always recommend that you consider attending one of the 26 venues around the country where they hold Jeep Jamboree’s. They are rated according to level of difficulty of the venue from 1 to 10, where 10 is the most difficult. Visit the link for more – https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/tripsregister/

… and for real action try this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5AWZvB1FuU

Most people will likely never be in the most difficult venue like Rubicon (10) but the video will give you an idea of what these Jeep’s can actually do.

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Renegade $28,000 (Italy), Chevrolet Trax $28,000 (Canada), Fiat 500X $28,000 (Italy), Nissan Juke $28,000 (Japan), Honda HR-V $27,000 (Mexico), Mazda CX-3 $27,000 (Japan).

Good News:

Affordable, good fuel economy for 4-wheel drive, great off road equipped sport utility.

Bad News: n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder multi-air engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, 4X4, front and side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, keyless pushbutton start/stop, park view rear camera, fuel tank, transmission, front suspension and transfer case skid plates, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, roll mitigation, traction control, cruise control, capless fuel tank fill, daytime running lights, hill descent control, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, rain sensitive wipers, Uconnect, 5” touchscreen display, voice command with Bluetooth, 6-speakers, Sirius XM Satellite radio, steering wheel mounted audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Tilt and Telescopic column, air conditioning, remote USB port for Charge, USB and Aux hub, ambient LED interior lighting.

Gas Stats:

$2.89/ Gal avg. August 20, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

Average MPG: Jeep Renegade 24, Chevrolet Trax 27, Fiat 500X 24, Nissan Juke 28, Honda HR-V 29, Mazda CX-3 29.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,895.

2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4 (1156)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4.  Well, I need to admit I have been testing a lot of Jeeps lately because I’m looking to buy one and wanted to look at all Jeep options. I want a good all-around vehicle to tow behind a motorhome. I understand Jeeps are easy to tow and gives great off road capability. If you have a first-hand experience and you care to share your information, I’d be interested in your thoughts. joe@atthewheel.com

I was interested to see this Jeep Renegade is made in Italy. I have to say it brings up an industry shift over the past half century to a ‘cooperative’ global industry. But it is not just international responsibility.

It has been my experience, first-hand, that the goodwill developed from trade between countries is a good thing. I have visited factories in Japan, Mexico and Europe and found that mutually beneficial relationships break down barriers between people.

So the point is that I’m encouraged to see this Jeep and other cars being manufactured, in part or total, in cooperating countries around the world. This link shows those car companies that manufacture their cars in the US. It will surprise you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automobiles_manufactured_in_the_United_States

Likewise, U.S. companies manufacture some of their brands in other parts of the world as they share the car market in today’s world. They also share ownership of each other and that adds to the fact that we see more and more assembly of all car brands being done everywhere and anywhere.

General Information: It is assembled in Melfi, Italy. Parts – US/Canadian 22%, Italy 62%,Engine and Transmission – Italy; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade & Wrangler.

Handling & Performance:

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4

2016 Jeep Renegade Sport 4X4_1

Styling:

Thankfully there has been little change in styling in the Icon that Jeep has become. And from my military days up to today it remains an image of can-do and wanna do. This is a mechanical buddy in good days and in tough times, as well, that you can count on. Yep 75 years old and counting. Nice job Jeep.

Fit and Finish:

This SUV is built for endurance so it is necessarily basic and quite frankly as good as it needs to be.

Cost:

The renegade is a good value at an MSRP of $20,000. The only way it becomes more is when you add things unnecessary for effective off road use.

Conveniences and comfort:

Yep – basic is good. Too much high tech stuff is not only unnecessary, it detracts from the practical use so likely un-wanted by serious outdoorsmen as well.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you have never been on a Jeep Jamboree somewhere on the two dozen venues in the USA and you are an outdoors lover and you own a Jeep you should look into it. If you don’t own one you’re missing the experience and education of a lifetime.

Jamboree’s are rated according to level of difficulty of the venue. Visit the link for more –https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/tripsregister/

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Renegade $20,000, Chevrolet Trax $25,000, Nissan Juke $29,000, Honda HR-V $24,000, Mazda CX-3 $22,000.

Good News:

Affordable, good fuel economy for 4-wheel drive.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter inline 4-cylinder turbo engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 4X4, front and side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, LATCH child anchor system, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, electric park brake, remote keyless entry, electronic roll mitigation, traction control, capless fuel fill, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, front and rear 12-volt power outlet, 3.5 inch monochrome display, radio with 4-speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, tilt and telescopic steering column, USB hub, Manual 6-way driver seat and 4-way passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, 16” steel wheels, rear wiper.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. September 4, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

24 City 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $19,995.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4X4 75th Edition (1154)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4X4 75th Edition. On the Dashboard handhold passenger side is proudly stamped 1941 to recognize the heritage. In fact, they should refer to Jeep as the Heritage Series. And no question about it, Jeep has been blazing trails ever since WWII.

Although it is classed as a Small SUV the first words out of Ilona’s mouth was “this is a big car”. She says that, most likely, because it sits high as an off road vehicle must. So like big trucks it sets as high as most trucks and SUV’s. It also sports big tires for the purpose intended.

I tested the Automatic transmission instead of the 6-speed manual that comes standard on the 75thEdition. Automatic 5-speed transmission adds $1,350 to the price and for me that would be the way to go. It also has a soft top that gives it more flexibility than the hard top which is a costly option. If you like the open air out in the wild it is easier to put down than removing that heavy hard top. Tradeoffs to be sure. The major negative to the soft top is the more difficult access to loading gear into the cargo area.

General Information: It is assembled in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Parts – US/Canadian 73%, Engine and Transmission – USA; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade & Wrangler.

Handling & Performance:

1154 jeep-jamboree- on the rocksJust as you’d expect from an off road master, it is a little rougher riding on the highway but not much different around town as any other small truck. Fuel economy is not all that great but the V6 is pretty powerful and I like that. Overall it is acceptable on highway because on a long ride I found it to be very comfortable aside from the added noise because of the soft top and the knobby tires.

If you have never been on a Jeep Jamboree somewhere in the USA and you are an outdoors lover and you own a Jeep you should look into it. What a ball and the education on driving off road is fantastic and the like-minded people are fun too. That is where you really get the performance off road. Difficulty of the venue goes from 1 to 10 being most challenging. That would be like the Rubicon Trail in Northern California. Awesome. https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/tripsregister/

1154 jeep-jamboree-10-1300x300

Styling:

Jeep has remained so consistent for 75 years that the styling is simply “Jeep”. Everyone knows what that means. They wrote the book for off road look and feel and image.

Fit and Finish:

Fit and finish is as good as it needs to be for a rough and tumble outdoor capable trail blazer. Naturally it gets more refined over the years, but people who drive these things don’t want them for negotiating the speed bumps on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Jeeps are as tough and ready to rumble and as adventuresome as those who drive them.

Cost:

If you will only be using a Jeep for commuting on pristine roads of the city, don’t waste your money and frustrate the personality and performance of Jeep. BUT, if you are doing some serious outdoor trek-ing you’ll get your money’s worth.

Conveniences and comfort:

Wrangler is not loaded down with Highway gadgets like adaptive or smart cruise control or sensors to warn you of traffic around you. This Wrangler is more comfortable in the outback or woods and wilderness venues. The money is put into strong shift on the fly 4WD, heavy duty rear axle and solid front axle, fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, electronic roll mitigation and trailer sway damping. You know, practical things.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are an RV / Motorhome advocate the Jeep is the best tow vehicle you can have, in my opinion. Ease of disconnecting the drive train is simple. Further information: One source is at  www.bleepinjeep.com

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited $34,000, Chevrolet Traverse $40,000, Toyota 4Runner $40,000, Nissan Pathfinder $39,000, Honda Pilot $38,000, GMC Acadia $40,000, Kia Sorento $41,000.

Good News:

Amazing off road vehicle, relatively comfortable ride on road.

Bad News:

Although it has improved over the years the fuel economy is still only 20 mpg.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 literV6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, shift on the fly 4X4, solid front axle, heavy duty rear axle, skid plates on fuel tank and transfer case, 22.5 gal fuel tank, front airbags, stability control, 4-wheel disc brakes, traction control, electronic roll mitigation, hill start assist, trailer sway damping, sentry key theft deterrent system, security alarm, tire pressure monitor, cruise control and radio.

Gas Stats:

$2.39/ Gal avg. August 15,  2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

16 City 20 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $33,695.

2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4 (1152)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4. I believe consumers attach themselves to a particular brand very early on in their lives. But many factors change how the car buyers move to other brands along the road. The cars they buy in their family years means they buy utility or convenience as they take care of responsibilities of children. A commuter, a family mini-van to shuttle the kids off to soccer or little league, and all the rest.

I’m guessing, like me, budget influenced your early decisions on what car to own and of course your need at the time.

But then when people get older they tend to become kids again and get back to their youth that so impressed them. They, necessarily, have a different motivation in later life. Consider that older generation who accumulate a stable of classic cars that impressed them early in their lives. One restored Chevy or Ford or Pontiac or whatever all the way to larger collections that were simply impossible in their youth.

Go to any car show, car night at drive-in restaurants, and the like and you find auto lovers proudly parading their cars with that gleam in their eyes remembering those Happy Days of youth. Then they return their show pieces to their garages, not so different from Jay Leno’s Garage which, of course, is extensive. Then they get into their daily driver for the usual, knowing they still have the exceptional parked for that next drive down memory lane.

Yes, to one extent or another many of us have an Automotive Love Affair for our own reasons. But surely it has little to do with ‘transportation’.

General Information: It is assembled in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Parts – US/Canadian 69%, Mexico 18% Engine and Transmission – USA; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade & Wrangler.

Handling & Performance:

Outstanding … (not exceptional, but outstanding)

Styling:

Consummately Jeep.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. Jeep has been improving over the many years I have been driving them… and nearly all other cars made for human consumption.

Cost:

I’m wondering if there isn’t a good explanation for pricing in most segments of the market to be nearly identical. You might think there is price fixing going on, but my take on the reason for the closeness in pricing is that all cars today are made by way of CAD (computer aided design) systems. That leaves very little to chance in the creation to significant cost differentiation. Thus the only reason why some will be more competitive falls on how efficient the company is; how good the management is, how in touch with the consumer demand they are and of course how much advertising they do to communicate the value. Such matters are what make pricing variations possible for one company over another.

Conveniences and comfort:

Smart cruise is good on this Jeep, but I have tested cruise versions on other cars that operate more smoothly and seamlessly.

But Jeeps version does include a stop and start feature in traffic and that is very cool. You literally can set the speed and just monitor conditions while touching neither the brake or the gas pedal. It reduces stress for me and that is worth the price of admission (for me). That was one of the options that was on my test vehicle, and I always appreciate having the feature and miss it when the next car doesn’t have it.

Instrumentation and electronics generally are all very good and Bluetooth is super easy to set up.

Lane assist and blind spot detection are special and two of my favorites.

Consumer Recommendation:

Smart cruise included in the Technology Group should be considered. I believe it will one day soon be standard on all cars. It has many benefits and one of better utilizing the highway space. I’ll give the details in a future Opinion segment of the column.

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Cherokee Overland $39,000, Audi Q3 $40,000, Acura RDX $43,000, BMW X3 $40,000, Lexus NX $40,000, Land Rover Discovery Sport $47,000, Lincoln MKC $50,000, Mercedes Benz GLC $42,000, Volkswagen Tiguan $37,000, Volvo XC60 $39,000.

Good News:

Priced right for the standard features and affordable extra safety features, comfortable ride.

Bad News:

Only average fuel economy in class.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 literV6 engine with stop/start, 9-speed automatic transmission, front, side curtain front and rear and supplemental rear seat side airbags plus driver and passenger knee airbags, hill descent control, hill start assist, off road suspension, rear back up camera, parksense rear park assist system, blind spot and cross path detection, keyless enter and go passive entry, remote start system, traction control, stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc braks, leather wrapped shift knob and instrument panel, heated wood and leather wrapped steering wheel, Uconnect Nav and access, 7” color display, HD radio, SiriusXM satellite radio with 9-speakers, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, A/C dual zone climate control, power driver and passenger seats with power 4-way lumbar support, heated and ventillated front seats, 18” polished aluminum wheels, Bi-Xenon High intensity headlights, LED tail lamps, fog and cornering lightspower liftgate and heated power mirrors.

I recommend the ‘Technology Group’ that includes: forward collision warning with active braking, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive (smart) cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake assist, rain sensing wipers, auto high beam headlights, lane sense lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. All this adds $1,495 to the MSRP. A bargain.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. August 7, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

19 City 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $38,395.

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 (1143)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4. I make no apologies for being devoted to Jeep. It has proven itself to me for many years. I have tested other off road vehicles but they just don’t measure up. I tested all the Hummer models but the memory that remains is how I was got stuck in the original $100,000 Hummer and an old Chevrolet Blazer.

The clincher that reinforced my trust in Jeep came with the Jamboree and Jeep Camps I attended. It was there I learned how amazing Jeeps perform over unbelievable terrain that we were able to traverse.

General Information: It is assembled in Wentzville, MO, USA. Parts – US/Canadian 62%,Mexico 20%  Engine – Italy; Transmission – Germany; Classification is Standard SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade & Wrangler.

Handling & Performance:

All the Jeeps have a great off road prowess and on road comfort and performance except for the only fair fuel economy, thanks to 4X4 capability. You can’t have both off road 4X4 and high economy. But 28 Highway mpg isn’t bad.

Styling:

Styling is a very traditional Jeep with a rich history for 75 years. The brand has matured from a warrior vehicle of WWII to an out-of-doors adventure vehicle owned by men and women who love the challenge of rough and tumble adventure.

Fit and Finish:

Very well assembled… thanks in part to the Daimler Benz years of ownership and influence. That speaks to how much better we are when we share and work together. Another example of that fact can be seen in how much Jaguar advanced under the ownership and influence of Ford for a time.

Cost:

Grand Cherokee is a little pricey, but it is the top contender of the brand. If off-road is your thing this is just too pretty to get into the weeds. But it is capable if you need it to go where others simply can’t go.

Conveniences and comfort:

When comfort is important the Grand Cherokee is the cat’s meow with the benefit of off-road capability when needed.

Consumer Recommendation:

My next car will be a Jeep Wrangler to tow behind a Motorhome, because I know first-hand how handy they are off-road as well as an ‘easy tow’ vehicle. As a reminder – I recommend Jeep owners consider attending a Jeep Jamboree. It is an experience you won’t regret as you meet some great folks.

Notes regarding the competition listed below: Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Land Rover LR4 seat 7 – others seat 5.

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Grand Cherokee $53,000, Cadillac SRX $53,000, Acura MDX $53,000, Mercedes Benz GLE $53,000, Volkswagen Touarag $64,000, Lincoln MKX $57,000, BMW X5 $57,000, Land Rover LR4 $62,000, Lexus RX $50,000.

Good News:

Equipped well for off road if you must while providing on road comfort and great safety features, competitively priced and decent fuel economy,

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter V-6 ECO Diesel engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, Quadra-Trac II 4-WD with Selec-Terain system, Quadra lift Air Suspension, blind spot and cross path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop, park view rear backup camera, full speed forward collision warning , advanced mustistage front airbags, side curtain front and rear airbags, and seat mounted and side curtain front and rear airbags, driver knee airbag, keyless entry and go, Uconnect 8.4 Nav, Harman Kardon speakers, 20” polished aluminum wheels, active noise control system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, 8-way power driver and passenger front seats with driver an d passenger 4-way lumbar adjustment, dual zone climate control, 7” LCD instrument cluster with Tachometer, wood and leather wrapped heated steering wheel with shift levers, Remote start system, dual pane panoramic sunroof, rear sunscreen acoustic laminate glass, acoustic windshield, daytime running lights, fog lights, power liftgate, power folding multi-function mirrors and rain sensing wipers.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. June 4, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $52,595.

2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4X4 (1141)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4X4 small SUV. Happy 75th Anniversary to Jeep. The most impressive part of the Jeep product includes the memories for me that began in my Navy days. We drove the WWII Jeeps and developed a bonding that has lasted for my life thus far. Secondly I had the great opportunity to experience a “Jeep Jamboree” when I was invited by Jeep to join them on the Mohawk Trail in Northwestern Massachusetts.

Anyone who has attended a Jamboree will attest to the amazing off road capability of Jeep. For those who don’t know what they are you can find details at the Jeep Jamboree USA website:https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/tripsregister/. When my wife and I attended the Mohawk Trail there were 26 venues in the US and there are a few more today.

Jeep® Jamborees are off-road adventure weekends that bring together the outdoors, down-to-earth people, and their Jeep 4x4s. These off-road treks have a long tradition dating back to 1953 when 4×4 pioneer Mark A. Smith organized the first ever Jeep Jamboree and voyaged across the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the old Rubicon Trail. In 1954, Willys Motors — then manufacturer of Jeep vehicles — became involved with the adventure, and Jeep Jamborees have been an off-road tradition ever since.

1141 Smith founder of Jamboree USA

Mark A. Smith

General Information: It is assembled in Wentzville, MO, USA. Parts – US/Canadian 22%, Italy 62%   Engine & transmission – USA; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

All the Jeeps I have driven have been a credit to the brand ever since the early models of the 1940’s. I have a great confidence in their off road prowess.

Styling:

Traditional consistency for 75 years.

1141 Function over Form Steve JobsFit and Finish:

Obviously they have evolved since WWII and in fact are more luxury then they need to be. Jeep devotees don’t care all that much about how pretty they look. I believe they are more interested in Function over Form.

Cost:

Cheap – if off-road is your thing.

Conveniences and comfort:

Okay, so comfort is important, but so is getting places where other cars and trucks just can’t go.

Consumer Recommendation:

My next car will be a Jeep Wrangler to tow behind a Motorhome to visit many places in the US I have not yet seen. I know first-hand how handy they are off road as well as an ‘easy tow’ vehicle. I highly recommend attending a Jeep Jamboree if you own a Jeep. It is an experience of a lifetime. Our experience was in October 1995. There were 120 Jeep owners plus 18 of us from the press. Really fun and you meet some great folks.

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Trailhawk $27,000, Chevrolet Trax $28,000, Mazda CX-3 $27,000, Honda HR-V $27,000, Subaru XV Crosstrek $26,000.

Good News:

Equipped well for off road use with many safety features, competitively priced, good fuel economy,

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, 17” aluminum wheels, two front tow hooks and one rear hook, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes, parkview rear back up camera, front, side and side curtain front and rear airbags, front suspension, transmission and transfer skidplates, stability control, remote keyless entry, electronic roll mitigation, select – terrain with rock mode, traction control, cruise control, capless fuel fill, hill decent control, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, rain sensitive windshield wipers, Uconnect, 5” touchscreen, Bluetooth with voice command, Sirius XM sat. Radio with 6 speakers, tilt and telescopic   leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, remote USB port for charge, media hub with USB and Aux., manual 6-way driver and 4-way passenger seats, rear 60/40 folding seat, height adjustable rear cargo floor.

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. May 22, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

20 City 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,495.

2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4X4 (1130)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4X4 SUV. Over the past two decades and more I have been in love with Jeep. Drove them in the Navy and since with a high degree of confidence I could go where and when I wanted. I’ve attended Jeep Camps and Jeep Jamboree’s and was amazed at what you could actually do in a Jeep. My experiences gave Off Road a whole new meaning. Literally we climbed over boulders and through the mud. One Red Jeep photo going through a muddy river had my other love at the wheel. She hates driving the freeway but had the nerve to pilot through a river of mud. Go figure.

After my driver training off road in Jeep schools I decided to take original Hummer off road on a course in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. Of course you must, as I did, think Hummer had to be the pinnacle of off road vehicles. Desert Storm and all that, so off I went. I wasn’t in the canyon 15 minutes when I watched all the macho guys kicking up mud and dirt and rocks as they went fearlessly around the course. Naturally I thought I could do that with this hundred thousand Hummer. But noooo, I approached a somewhat muddy patch of riverbed and proceeded as if this Hummer was invincible. Result was to get bogged down up to the floorboards and was unable to lose my trusted steed. I was helplessly embarrassed.

A rickety old Chevrolet Blazer was kind enough to pull me out with his winch. Humility is a humbling thing. Later I was able to laugh at myself.

General Information: It is assembled in Toledo, Ohio. Parts – US/Canadian 69%, Mexico 18%; Engine and transmission – USA; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Jeep: Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler unlimited.

Handling & Performance:

Confident and solid. Lots of power as equipped with a V8 HEMI power plant. By the way, power is not as important as using gearing while in off road driving.

Styling:

Jeep – that really says it all.

Fit and Finish:

Too pretty for a King of off road.

Cost:

As expected, and competitive in class this segment of the market.

Conveniences and comfort:

Off Road standard features on this Trailhawk.

ACTIVE DRIVE 4X4

The Jeep® Active Drive 4×4 system features a Class-Exclusive+ rear axle disconnect feature that only engages when necessary for improved fuel efficiency. A Selec-Terrain® traction management system gives you all-weather capability in four modes: Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud. A standard Brake Lock Differential works with the advanced 4×4 system to provide outstanding capability for anything Mother Nature sends your way.

ACTIVE DRIVE LOW 4X4

The Jeep® Active Drive Low 4×4 system includes all the features of the Jeep® Active Drive I 4×4 system and adds a low-range for added capability. The 4WD Low mode is great for low-speed traction and works well for low-speed use, like pulling your boat trailer out of a lake. A remarkable 20:1 crawl ratio+ allows a more controlled throttle response at lower speeds. The Selec-Terrain®traction management system includes: Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock modes for added all-weather capability.

Consumer Recommendations:

I like them all, but some will be interested to know the Mitsubishi has the best warranty. Best fuel economy is the Subaru.

Jeep CargoJeep Cargo Management system adds handy hooks and a removable grocery bag holder as well as many available innovative and thoughtful add-on solutions including a first aid kit, pet kennel and cargo mat. In addition, the fold flat passenger seat allows for long items to be carried.

Recognized Competition:

Jeep Cherokee $32,000, Mitsubish Outlander $28,000, Kia Sorento $32,000, Dodge Journey $27,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $28,000, Subaru Outback $27,000.

Good News:

Granddaddy of Off Road vehicle experience.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter V6 engine, 9-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, Jeep active drive II, select-terrain system, hill start assist, hill demand control, off road group and suspension, selec-speed crawl control, rear back up camera, Keyless entry with panic alarm, all speed traction control, stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, front, side and side front and rear curtain airbags, rear seat side airbags, driver and passenger knee airbags, 8.4” touchscreen display, Cluster 7.0” color display, voice command with Bluetooth, audio jack input for mobile devices, front passenger fold flat seat, leather seating and leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, tilt and telescopic steering column, power wineows, cargo management system.

Gas Stats:

$2.30 / Gal avg. March 5, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

19 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,595