Due to a couple comments by my Father, and seeing a few running around town, I’ve been thinking about Jeeps a lot lately. So I wandered over to Jeep’s official brochureware site to take a look at the line up.
Jeep doesn’t have one.
Jeep makes the WRANGLER, which is a stand alone icon of the brand. And then they make two others with two other slightly smaller versions. This isn’t a Line Up of Vehicles, this is a dramatic lack of imagination and vision for the Jeep brand.
You have the Jeep Liberty, and it’s slightly smaller twin the Patriot. Then you have the Grand Cherokee and the little brother “Compass”. None of these vehicles are explained. It’s up to you to figure out what they are for. I’ve owned a couple Jeeps. A regular Cherokee (Jeep XJ) and a full sized old Wagoneer with an Earth Gobbling V-8 engine that loved to overheat and explode. Very different vehicles that needed no explanation. With these new Jeeps, at best I can come up with is that these are for His and Hers kits.
I enjoyed our old Cherokee XJ. We drove that rig to hell and back and most everything under the hood was worked on by Yours Truly until my mechanical prowess no longer was enough.
“Huh, hitting it with this rock didn’t fix it this time.”
I miss that old Cherokee. It had Character. It was unique. It started out as a 4X4, then I put in a 4 inch lift and then broke the transfer case so it was only a 4X2… but that didn’t stop it. It was still a mountain goat. What a great little truck. You never questioned what it was… it was a Jeep.
Since that time, Jeep has come out with some odd ones… the original Jeep Liberty from 10 years or so ago, looked like a Wrangler and a Grand Cherokee did the Naughty and this little Baby thing crawled out… Like a hard top Wrangler, squished and rounded. I test drove one, with a Diesel Engine. I hated it. Not because it’s engine was truly guttless and just felt tired… but because the rig felt like it wanted to fall over. On it’s face. Especially under braking. I was grabbing on to things because I thought the Liberty was going to do a forward somersault.
Evidently the Liberty is the Spiritual Successor to the Cherokee XJ. It’s grown up from the little baby Jeep it was, into a more well rounded, and by that I mean Squared off and Squared Away Jeep. But then you have the Patriot, the smaller version of the Liberty that looks exactly the same, but you just parked it a little further away. The Patriot must also be a step child, being build on the same factory line that builds the Dodge Caliber, but it doesn’t get any of the Dodge Caliber’s Machoness. (Not that there was enough to share)
Okay, the Grand Cherokee… I like them well enough. There is the base version, the more comfortable version, and the “I don’t want it to get dirty” version. For Grins, there is the Evil Twin version that they call the SRT8. I have no problem with that, but where is the serious Off Road Oriented version? Where is the Grand Cherokee with the Lift and the bigger knobbier tires and the Lockers? A Grand Cherokee Rubicon if you will. Where is that version? Don’t talk to me about the TRAIL RATED sticker when the damn thing has 20 inch polished wheels and Street Tires.
Then there is the Compass. WTF? ”I wanted the Grand Cherokee, but not so Grand. How about a Trial Size?” This is a Patriot with a different face on it. It might look like a little Grand Cherokee, but it even has the same engine options as the Patriot. I don’t care if you have one and like it… it’s useless. You could have had the Patriot and at least got a little more room inside. This isn’t a Ute of any sort… Not a Sport Utility, not a Cross over, it’s just a Car. (spit after reading the word “Car”) Jeep branding on a Car. That’s just freaking sad. Do you know what they made on the line before the Compass? The Dodge Neon.
Jeep needs to bring back the Gladiator and the Scrambler. Actual Jeeps crossed with Trucks. Don’t think that would sell? AEV builds the Brute for 100 thousand dollars, and they sell every one they build. Why the hell can’t Jeep build this?
Even though the Jeep company has lost its vision and purpose almost entirely, I’d still love one. A Rubicon Unlimited… a real Jeep. And if I was going to get one, I’d have to get one before they are built in China. Jeep was once a proud American icon. And it could be again, if the Brand was to stay in the US and pull it’s head out.