Cherokee and the Rubicon test

Jim Morrison and Jeep Cherokees

Today, Chrysler’s Jim Morrison told an audience of automotive reporters that he had taken a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk over the full Rubicon Trail, without winching or towing.

According to ex-AMC people interviewed by Allpar, crossing the Rubicon was the primary test for a Jeep before the “Trail Rated” system was applied.

Jeep's Jim MorrisonWhile there are different levels of Trail Rating, there is just one for the Rubicon: being able to take the full trail without being towed or winched. The Jeep JJ prototype, an off-road vehicle based on the Plymouth Reliant platform (which presumably would have gone up against Suzuki Samurai), was reportedly rejected because it had to be winched in some spots.

According to Mr. Morrison, the KL Cherokee can “go toe to toe with the Cherokees of the 1980s. … it’s incredible what it can do.” Part of the reason is the ability to put all available torque onto a single wheel in front or back.

Mr. Morrison also mentioned that the tow hooks, painted red, could handle 1.5 times the gross vehicle weight; buyers “will use the tow hooks to pull the [Cherokee’s] competitors out of the snow.”  As with Wrangler, there are two in front and one in rear, because the rear hook can be angled to be available from both sides of the vehicle; having just one saves weight and money.

According to Mr. Morrison, they wanted to call the new vehicle “Cherokee” from the start, but given resistance from XJ fans, they knew that meant beefing up the car’s off-road capability; the XJ Cherokee is still common on the trail. The original Jeep Cherokee was a revolutionary vehicle, providing good enough on-road manners and utility that most buyers never took it off-road; yet it also had excellent trail capabilities even in stock form.

The current KL Cherokee is generally seen as being far superior to the XJ on-road, with car-like manners, cornering, acceleration, and fuel economy. It does have some shortfalls off-road versus the XJ: the Trailhawk is the only version of the new Cherokee designed for off-road use (one key issue being skid plates, which do not appear to be available on any lesser version), ground clearance is somewhat lower, suspension travel is not as generous, and there are no easy modifications to increase ground clearance or suspension travel. Jeep mainly compensated for these issues by using advanced traction systems.

Chrysler has run some videos about the Rubicon passage, but may be talking it up more now that Cherokees are arriving at dealerships.

[Read about our off-road run with Jim Morrison in a Jeep Compass.]

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Rendering the Grand Cherokee

DarkSky envisioned a somewhat Range Rover-influenced 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, keeping roughly the same body shape but altering the front. This design makes the front end both more conventional and more aggressive, while separating it from the Cherokee and Compass alike.

This goes along, somewhat, with the photos recently seen on a Jeep display, assumed by many to be a Wagoneer. Once the size is corrected for,

Read the full story: Rendering the Grand Cherokee  »

Where are Wranglers sold?

2015 Jeep Wrangler Altitude

The Jeep Wrangler is an American staple, but it’s sold around the world. Recently, as part of a recall, FCA revealed the sales distribution of the 2016-17 Wrangler.

The great bulk of vehicles — 182,743 — were sold or distributed to the United States. Around 10% of those, 18,011, were in Canada. Accounting for around 20% of the Canadian number were 3,087 in Mexico. Finally, 20,948 were sold outside North America — a bit over 10%.

Read the full story: Where are Wranglers sold?  »

Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?

The last few days have brought numerous photos to the fore; but which will we see?

The big truck-based Wagoneer, so far as it’s based on the photos above, seems least likely, at least in that form. Looking at it after the two images were set to the same scale, you can see that the “new Jeep” is likely closely based on the Grand Cherokee, which is in line with past company statements.

Read the full story: Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?  »

The Renegade-influenced Wrangler

Reddit member “arcsreddit” recently shared this photo of a Renegade-fronted Jeep Wrangler was photographed, in part-size clay-model form (which looks incredibly real).  While it’s hard to criticize on its appearance, it could send the wrong message — that the Wrangler has been “Renegaded” and lost capability.

Sources have told us that the next Wrangler will be as capable as the current one, if not more so;

Read the full story: The Renegade-influenced Wrangler  »

Could we see a Chrysler SUV?

Chrysler SUV

With the Warren plant soon to be emptied of mainstream Ram production, FCA will be able to create derivatives of the popular pickups without fear of disrupting production. The question is, will they do it? If so, what will we see?

There has already been some speculation about whether the Jeep Grand Wagoneer would be based on the Grand Cherokee, as statements from Mike Manley would lead us to believe,

Read the full story: Could we see a Chrysler SUV?  »

Rendering the Grand Cherokee
2015 Jeep Wrangler Altitude
Where are Wranglers sold?

Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?

The Renegade-influenced Wrangler

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