It feels like just yesterday; I was in university with friends driving around Mom and Dad’s hand-me-down Grand Cherokees. Although those years are a bit hazy from all the 90s grunge rock, I have one fond memory of a ride home from a very cute blonde who drove a classic, green Jeep Grand Cherokee. As a young car guy at the time, that combo was equal to a royal flush in poker…..So it comes as no surprise that I have had a soft spot for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Jeep had incredible success with its 1990 Grand Cherokee models which went on to set the standard for the medium-sized SUV. More recently, sales of the Grand Cherokee model have provided significant help to Chrysler’s bottom line through a very critical time in its history. To this day, the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to build on its success as the benchmark in luxury and performance capabilities within the SUV marketplace.
To say the new 2014 Grand Cherokee is not your average soccer Mom’s ride is a complete understatement. This new model is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship and precision built on an outstanding legacy which Chrysler has carefully refined for the past twenty years. Today’s end product is something very special and as a result, we were excited about taking a closer look.
The new 2014 model has amazingly clean, sleek lines along with an aggressive 4×4 stance that’s ready to take on any type of road or weather condition. Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to use the selec-Terrain 4 wheel drive system but we can easily imagine how much fun it is for owners to select and go.
Throughout the week, friends, neighbours and car folks we ran into on our travels were all eager to chat about the new ride and many complimented its stellar good looks. Having driven in both city and highway environments we can say the Grand Cherokee was a real treat to drive in both situations. It has the power and rawness when you need it while also providing the creature comforts of a luxury car with its character and function.
Our tester came with the 3.6L V6 which has a posted fuel consumption rating of 12.4L/100 km city and 8.3L/100 km highway. The Grand Cherokee is able to get these stingy fuel numbers as a result of Chrysler’s newly developed eight speed automatic transmission and its Econ fuel saving model. This new improved fuel efficiency does not come at the cost of performance though as the V6 has a 0 to 60 time in the seven second range which is very respectable for a vehicle of approx 4900 pounds.
Our test vehicle came in the top of the line Summit trim which includes a range of extras which brought the sticker price to $62,085 CAD. This prices includes some out of this world features not even imagined yet back in the 90s.
Some of these new technology features include:
- 8 speed automatic transmission with E-Shift
- Steering wheel mounted shift controls (paddle shifters)
3.6L Pentastar™ VVT V6 – 290 hp – 260 lb-ft torque
Power 12-way driver’s seat with lumbar adjust
Memory settings function for driver’s seat and mirrors
7-inch reconfigurable in-cluster display centre
Exotic open-pore wood accents
- Dual-pane panoramic sunroof
Heated steering wheel
Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Adaptive Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with headlamp washers
- LED tail lamps
- Remote start system
Quadra-Trac I™ 4×4 system
Quadra-Trac II™ 4×4 system with Hill Descent Control
- Quadra-Lift™ Air Suspension System
- Select-Terrain™ with Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings
- harman/kardon® 19-speaker audio system with 825-watt amplifier
- SiriusXM Satelitte Radio
- UconnectTM 8.4AN multimedia centre with 8.4-inch touch screen
- 8-way power passenger seat
- Power liftgate
- P265/50R-20 All Season Tires
- Advanced multistage front air bags
- Seven air bags including driver’s knee blocker
ParkView® Rear Backup Camera with dynamic grid lines
Park-Sense® Rear Park Assist System
Park-Sense® Front Park Assist System
- Hill Start Assist
- Brake Assist
The interior is beautifully appointed with all seats covered in a high quality leather with the Summit trim branding (pictured above). A real attention to detail is noticeable as Chrysler continues to up their game in this area throughout their 2014 line-up. The combination of special interior features such as; heated steering wheel, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and wood trim sets the Summit model apart from its competition.
The storage capability is huge as you can see from the (above image) which illustrates how small one standard airline carry-on bag, a computer bag and two pairs of shoes appear in its cavernous rear storage area. With a very generous 36.3 feet of cargo space behind the rear seats it has space for all your gear and with the rear seats folded down you have access to a monstrous 68.3 feet of cargo room. Honestly, if you need more room than that just buy yourself a min-van.
As for its competition, many options are available for North American buyers in this market segment. However, the main competitors include; the Ford Explorer, Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, Range Rover Sport (significantly more money), and Hyundai Santa Fe XL. However, although some of these competitors can actually seat seven (Grand Cherokee only seats five persons) there is a range of varying levels in exterior and interior refinement, towing capacity and off- road capability of which the Grand Cherokee Summit all brings its “A” game.
After spending a week with our Grand Cherokee, I can seriously say if I was in the market for a mid-sized SUV this would be at the top of my list. And most importantly, my wife really liked the look of it since it’s always a good thing when your partner appreciates another vehicle parked in the driveway.
With the kids out of school and the pools all open, summer is now in full swing. And what is more representative of summer than a soft top Jeep?
Yes, the Jeep Wrangler is synonymous with summer so what better time to get behind the wheel of a beautiful Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 – 10th Anniversary Edition.
Whether it’s the charming Jeep wave, monster ride height, or the distinctive lines largely unchanged from its beginnings more than sixty years ago, one thing remains; everyone has an opinion about Jeeps. Although there is something very polarizing about the Jeep, it continues to be an endearing vehicle like no other. With its round curves and friendly grill, it truly is one of the most iconic brands within the automotive world. Market researchers routinely place Jeep a top of the list of the world’s most known brands. Still sold throughout the world it remains popular in many different locales resulting in top seller status globally for Chrysler.
Of course, what would a Jeep experience be without a little camping in the countryside. Our Wrangler Rubicon tester was totally at home cruising through the countryside northwest of Toronto searching for the perfect plot to pitch our tent. As well, with its large amount of rear cargo room it was very practical for heading out on a family camping trip.
The idea behind the Rubicon is to offer a model from the factory that includes a ton of off-road upgrades for the enthusiast. Beginning with Chrysler’s new 285-hp Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 the Rubicon is a treat to drive around town and the country. But the real goodies for the off-roader, lie in the guts of the vehicle with its 4.10:1 Dana 44 axles working through a Rock-Track part-time transfer case with a 4:1 low-range ratio and Tru-Lok locking differentials.
Beginning with Chrysler’s competitive 5 Year /100,000 km powertrain limited warranty the Rubicon offers the outdoor enthusiast an unmatched unique vehicle experience.
With a base price of $36,045 CAD and a total price as tested coming in at $48,680 our tester included all the bells and whistles you would ever want, or need, on your Jeep.
In addition to its standard equipment, the following are just some of the extra tricked out options that are available with the 10th Anniversary Edition:
- LT265/70R17E OWL On/Off Road Tires
- Rock Rails by Mopar
- Red Front and Rear Tow Hooks
- Steel Front and Rear Bumpers
- Radar Red Stitching Accents
- Quick Silver Interior Accents
- Chrome/Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob
- Uconnect 730N with 6.5″ touch screen, navigation and 20GB Hard Drive
- Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth
- Rear Window Wiper/Washer
- Trailer Tow with 4-Pin Connector Wiring
Our test vehicle came mated to a standard six speed manual transmission which was quite fun to drive in both city and highway environments. Although getting it into overdrive (sixth gear) was a little challenging initially, we got use to it quickly and found the transmission very smooth overall.
From the Jeep icon silhouette on the front windscreen to the simulated tread marks of the rear floor mats, to the red leather stitching on the armrest, Jeep brings a leading level of attention to detail to the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 10th Anniversary edition.
As for the Rubicon’s interior technology, Chrysler’s Uconnect system worked very well as it understood voice commands when spoken to the first time and navigation within the system was very intuitive overall. Our test vehicle came with a 6.5 inch touchscreen media centre with enhanced navigation and a solid stereo which included a subwoofer in the rear cargo area.
- There was an acceptable amount of noise coming from the tires considering they are LT265/70R17E offroad/onroad tires.
- Fuel economy is stated at 13.4 L/100 km (21 mi/gal) City 9.6 L/100 km (29 mi/gal) Highway. Considering its pedigree and what it’s built for this is solid fuel efficiency.
- As expected there is some body roll when taking sharp corners, or going over contoured surfaces on the highway.
- The split rear door was useful for passengers accessing the rear storage area easily.
- Placement of standard equipment such as power window and power mirror adjustments were located in the centre console and not on the doors themselves, which took some getting used to but quickly became familiar.
As expected rear leg room was slightly limited, but seriously who buys a Jeep Rubicon for rear leg room?
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon really is in a segment of its own since there is nothing available here in Canada that truly parallels all its offerings for an apple to apple comparison. That being said the main general competition are the following models.
- Toyota 4Runner
- Land Rover LR2
- Subaru Forester
- Nissan Xterra
- Ford Raptor * not in same class but target for off-road enthusiasts
While the the Rubicon is not for everyone, for those looking for a vehicle with a little luxury for the city during the week and the capability to go hard core in the country during the weekend, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 – 10th Anniversary edition is for you. Chrysler has hit a home run within this specialized market by blending every day practicality with unparalleled off road abilities.
Earlier this month, Team RedlineNorth had the amazing opportunity to drive the 450 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the ultimate of scenic highways – California State Route 1 also known as Highway One and in certain sections called the Pacific Coast Highway. And of course, as car guys, no such road trip would be done in a simple sedan. Our adventure began at LAX where we picked up our “Bumblebee” yellow Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible from the good folks at Enterprise Exotics.
Our first stop was to cruise along the 21 miles of LA’s infamous Mulholland Drive with its incredible curves and vistas of the Hollywood sign and downtown LA.
Later on, we ventured out to LA’s west side hitting Santa Monica and Venice Beach to catch some of LA’s lively beach scene. Along with the weekend crowds and beautiful bodies we saw some interesting rides which you would expect to see out this way.
In the posh, Marina Del Ray this Rolls Royce sits among ordinary trucks and sedans. Welcome to car crazy California!
Since 2009, China has been the world’s largest car market and what better place to experience China’s auto industry than to visit the Shanghai Auto show in all its glory. Last week, RedlineNorth had the incredible opportunity to attend China’s largest auto show and it did not disappoint.
Gone are the days when Chinese consumers mostly purchased fuel sipping compacts and subcompacts as their preferences have now shifted towards more luxurious and larger models including the ever popular SUV.
Here in North America we still do not fully know what to expect with the Chinese built models so it was extra interesting to see them up close. We were impressed with the wide variety of Chinese made products and the overall quality of their fit and finish.
In recent years, there has been wide criticism from some non-Chinese manufacturers that several of the domestic Chinese models look very similar to their models. At the show, we did see several examples that would likely fall into this category such as the above image of a Chinese made “Jeep” styled 4×4.
And yes, documenting the Shanghai Auto show would not be complete if we did not include some shots of the show’s models. It certainly takes a bit getting use to since the models are serious about their posing and do not leave the car’s side which for a car photographer is a bit of a pain nevertheless that’s the way it is.
Both camper style and conversion vans are becoming popular in the Chinese market since there is a serious desire to hit the roads and travel around their country like we do here in the West. With so much new infrastructure of modern roads and highways built over the last decade, RV’ing is now a reality in China. I can only imagine what the roads look like on their long weekends….
And let’s not forget the luxury brands of which China is now the world’s largest consumer. Here’s a glimpse of some purpose-built machines that would even get rap superstar “Drake’s” entourage excited. Of course, these ones are never coming to North America as they are destined for China’s “nouveau riche” super elite class.
Unfortunately, with all these new vehicles hitting the road, China’s oil import bill is ballooning to record levels along with its traffic congestion and air pollution. In fact, earlier this year in Beijing and Shanghai overall air quality hit record unsafe levels never seen historically. Throughout China, there is still an ongoing debate on this topic since many experts say the air pollution stems from industry and power plants that burn fossil fuels such as coal and not actually from its gasoline cars. Nevertheless having experienced Shanghai first hand, it makes you wonder if this torrid pace can be sustained and what the long-term impact is going to be on China’s environment.
Be sure to check out our second segment on the Shanghai Auto show in the coming days.
On an absolutely beautiful Sunday in September, Team RedlineNorth headed back to Gopher Dunes in Courtland, Ontario for their Fall Mudfest event. Having attended several times now, we knew what to expect and it lived up to the hype once again. It really is something you have to experience in person to fully “get”. At this season’s event, there were three large mud bogs for those ambitious folks as well as some amazing trails for the more conservative 4×4 enthusiasts.
We have attempted to capture the essence of these grassroots mud buggies.
Hitting the trails in the woods section
For more information about Mudfest, be sure to check out the Gopher Dunes fanpage on Facebook.
If you are in the market for a full size SUV be sure to check out the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. At the recent Toronto International Auto show it stood out as an amazing piece of North American manufacturing innovation and craftsmanship. From its sleek, rugged lines, award winning transmission and its European style leather and wood interior they sure have come a long way since the original 90s boxy design that won over the Yuppies and Soccer Moms.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a whole lot of engine options including the brand new European developed 3.6L Pentastar V6 which delivers 290 horsepower and 260 lb. ft torque and the 5.7L V8 engine with 360 horsepower and 390 lb ft torque. For those who really need crazy amounts of speed and power you can go for the ultimate powertrain option; the new available 6.4-Litre HEMI V8 engine that generates an awe-inspiring 470 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. The best thing about this option is it won’t kill you at the pumps, as it’s built with responsible power thanks to the innovative FuelSaver Multi-Displacement Technology (MDS). This smart technology senses how much power is needed and efficiently and smoothly shifts between 8 and 4 cylinders.
Check out all the details at Jeep.ca