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Jeep is hard at work on the next-generation Wrangler, though the truck is still a few years from hitting the trails. The new model will still be aimed at off-roaders, but rumors suggest it will be a little more comfortable than previous versions to appeal to more people.
According to Road and Track, Jeep is developing a power-retractable top as an expensive option for the Wrangler. There is no word if the top in question is a sliding canvas rollback like the ones found on many European vehicles or a full convertible hardtop or softtop, nor do we know whether it would be made available on two- or four-door models. It might be a nice feature for some buyers but would certainly add complexity to a truck already known for its ruggedness. We asked Jeep for confirmation, but Jeep spokesperson Todd Goyer could only remind us that the company "can't comment about future products."
In news that is likely to irk the faithful, R&T reports the next model may also ditch its folding windshield for improved safety and possibly even get rid of its rear-mounted, full-size spare tire. The new Wrangler won't go completely soft, though, and will reportedly still feature removable doors and solid axles.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Students and teachers at a Washington community college are up in arms following an order from Chrysler that it must destroy the pre-production Dodge Viper that was donated to the school's automotive technology program ten years ago.
The Viper in question is said to be the fourth off the production line, based on its VIN, and has had its emissions controls disabled, allowing its ten-cylinder engine to produce 600 horsepower, according to a report from Yahoo! Autos. As one of the first Vipers ever produced, the school's AT instructors claim it could be worth $250,000 in a museum, while a local news report purports that Jay Leno once tried to purchase the car, but the sale was prevented by Chrysler.
As pointed out by our friends at Autobytel, though, there are a lot of things in this story that don't quite add up. Immediately noticeable from the news report embedded below - which shows the car at South Puget Sound Community College - is that the car in question is not a 1992 model. When the Viper went on sale in 1992, it was only available as an RT/10 with a (flimsy) soft top, like the red car shown above. But the car featured in the report from KING5 News (inset image) is clearly a hardtop Viper GTS, which didn't enter production until 1996. And even if, as reported by a local newspaper, the hardtop featured is a prototype, it doesn't explain the lack of another iconic feature of the first Vipers - their distinctive side pipes. This kind of pokes holes in the school's argument that this is the fourth Viper to ever roll down the line. At best, this appears to be a pre-production Viper GTS.
Regardless of the significance of the Viper, let's talk about why Chrysler is demanding it be crushed. First, the car was donated for educational use. It's fair to say that a nearly 20-year-old car - especially one that lacks traction control or anti-lock brakes - isn't really the best instructional tool in today's high-tech, automotive landscape for budding mechanics. In fact, according to the Chrysler press release we've included below, the college is under contractual obligation to return the car to Chrysler once it's outlived its educational usefulness.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Hidden amidst the overall very positive sales figures that Chrysler released earlier this week were a few disappointments, the biggest of which may be the Dodge Dart. While Dodge sales in general were down 11 percent from a year ago, the Dart's poor figures stood out from the rest - with 4,888 units sold, the Dart was down 37 percent in February.
It comes as little surprise, then, that the automaker has announced layoffs at its assembly plant in Belvidere, IL. According to The Daily Herald, Dodge will temporarily lay off 325 workers "to balance vehicle supply with current sales demand." Put more simply, there are more Darts than buyers at the moment...
We don't think the Dodge Dart is a bad car, but it's playing in a market that offers a few standout sellers, like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. According to AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan, as quoted by The Daily Herald, "great incentives on the Dodge Avenger" are also partly to blame for the Dart's poor showing.
In any case, these layoffs are supposed to last for a week, after which all three shifts of Dart production will presumably resume.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Some combinations seem natural immediately like chocolate and peanut butter, but others take a little more consideration before they begin make sense. That is exactly the situation with the new partnership between Ram and heavy equipment-maker Case to build a one-of-a-kind Ram 3500 with a matching, customized Case 580 Super N Wide Track Backhoe. The unique combo is currently on display at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 show in Las Vegas, NV, and afterwards will go on tour for the rest of the year at Ram- and Case-sponsored events.
While it is undoubtedly odd to see a modified backhoe, it almost gets cool when you se the interior. Both vehicles the same two-tone gold and black paint scheme, and the backhoe's cab has been refinished to match the truck with shades of brown leather, Laramie badges and chrome trim. If you have to be in a backhoe, this one looks like the one to choose. Plus, this might be the first backhoe ever with chrome wheels.
The truck that the backhoe is attached to a Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 with a 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel with 850 foot-pounds of torque, plus an improved transfer case and heavy-duty transmission. Like its matching heavy equipment friend, the truck is also supposed to offer a mix of luxury and working ability. Scroll down for the full press release on this very curious combo.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The jig is up, the noose is out, we finally found it: the Renegade that Jeep has made, retrieved for a bounty.
Okay, enough of that. Meet the Renegade - Jeep's cute little compact crossover that makes its official debut here at the Geneva Motor Show. We recently brought you a massive Deep Dive into what makes the Renegade tick, and we're now getting our first live look at the tiny Jeep, live from its coming out party in Switzerland.
With the exception of associate editor Jonathon Ramsey, who doesn't know what he's talking about, we at Autoblog are kind of smitten with the little Jeep - it's a really unique package, featuring details that really make it kind of special (notice that jerry can pattern in the taillights, for example). Jeep will offer the Renegade with either a 1.4-liter turbo-four (from the Fiat 500L) or a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four (from the Dodge Dart), with either a six-speed manual transmission or a nine-speed automatic. There will even be a Trailhawk version with four-wheel drive - properly trail-rated, to boot. The Renegade also features a nifty new My Sky removable roof panel system, giving this little cutie sort of a baby Wrangler feel.
Check it out for yourself in the gallery above, and be sure to let us know what you think of the Renegade in Comments.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Episode #370 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Michael Harley and Craig Fitzgerald of BangShift and Boldride talk about the 2015 Jeep Renegade, the Consumer Reports list of Cars to Avoid, and the Geneva Motor Show, which opened today. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #370:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley
Guests: Craig Fitzgerald
- Intro and Garage - 00:00
- Jeep Renegade - 27:28
- Cars to Avoid - 41:46
- Geneva Motor Show - 59:54
- Q&A - 01:11:04
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
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It's no secret that the midsize crossover segment is one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in the automotive industry. Long have vehicles like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 duked it out for those ever illusive consumer dollars. For many customers, though, even something like a Nissan Rogue is too big, whether in terms of price, fuel economy or just plain size.
For those customers, a growing market segment seems poised to fulfill their needs. Compact crossovers and tall wagons like the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul offer the high-riding driving experience with all the utility that comes from their two-box layout. It's an underrepresented segment among manufacturers, with big names like Toyota, Ford, General Motors and Honda lacking a true competitor.
To capitalize on this growing class, Chrysler's Jeep brand has readied this: the Renegade. That's right. Not Jeepster - Renegade. This diminutive off-roader, which rides on Fiat Chrysler's new small-wide 4x4 architecture, represents Jeep's first foray into the subcompact CUV segment as we know it, and it's making its official debut this week, on the floor of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Join us as we take a close look at one of Jeep's most important products in some time.Permalink | Email this | Comments
We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #370 this evening, and you can check out the topics below, or drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #370
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This post was written by guest blogger Matt McGee. Please note that Matt was not wearing his Google Glass while operating the vehicle.
Recently, we took several Glass Explorers out on the trails of North Carolina for a chance to check out the 2014 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk for themselves. Below is a firsthand account of Glass Explorer Matt McGee’s adventures with the Trailhawk.
It was about 11:00 AM on a recent Tuesday morning. I was behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle, driving it on an unfamiliar road in an unfamiliar state park in an unfamiliar state.
With me were several unfamiliar video production team members who were all nice people, fun to work with and obviously experts at what they do for a living. Our video shoot with the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk had already been a big success. We were getting some great shots of the Cherokee in action – the kind of footage you see on those TV commercials where some stunt driver is tackling roads that shouldn’t be tackled by normal drivers in normal cars.
But here I was. A normal driver sitting in the 2014 Cherokee.
Gary, the guy in charge of the shoot and the primary videographer, had come on the walkie-talkie with a new set of instructions for me as I sat behind the wheel of the Cherokee. He was a few hundred yards up the quiet road and had another idea for a shot he wanted to get.
“Okay, Matt,” said Gary, “I’m in this intersection and I want you to drive right at me. Try to get about two or three feet from the camera and then veer off to the left up the road. Okay?”
Did he really just say two or three feet away?
I asked how fast he wanted me to take this intimidating turn. Did I mention that we were on a loose gravel road? I don’t remember the exact reply, but it was along the lines of “not too fast, but not too slow.”
I immediately became nervous. What if the back end of the Cherokee gets away from me as I make the turn? Was I ready to do this in a vehicle that I’d only been driving for three hours? I was hardly an expert when it came to controlling little things like speed, acceleration, deceleration and turn radius. Surely we should find an actual stunt driver for this, right?
But there was no backing out now, so off I went – up the gravel road and around the corner. There was Gary, right in the intersection. I think I heard him say over the walkie-talkie that my speed was good. I got closer and closer and closer, and you know what?
The Cherokee handled it perfectly.
It held tight on the gravel as I decelerated and steered to the left. It handled the turn like we were on freshly paved asphalt. It was one of the most exciting moments of the day for me.
Gary was pretty excited, too. I could tell when he yelled into the walkie-talkie, “Yes! That was beautiful!”
With the 2014 Cherokee, I was able to handle whatever was thrown my way that day.
To see more of Matt’s adventure, check out our latest videos on the Jeep YouTube channel.
The post Exploring the Jeep® Cherokee through the Eyes of Google Glass with Matt McGee appeared first on The Jeep Blog.
Meet the Renegade - Jeep's new baby crossover that's set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week. The folks at Jalopnik got their hands on a small batch of photos of the new little cutie, showing what appears to be a Trailhawk (read: trail-rated) version, as well as a more civilian-spec Renegade, complete with a new removable roof system, reportedly called My Sky.
Details are slim, though in addition to the exterior images, one photo of the interior has also been leaked, showing what appears to be a small, yet functional (and nicely appointed) cabin. Early reports suggested that the new small Jeep would be based on the Fiat 500L platform, though Jalopnik rightly points out that the Renegade looks an awful lot like the Panda 4x4. Regardless, there's still likely some 500L bones under there, and we'll know more once the official details are revealed in the very near future.
Head over to Jalopnik for more shots of the cute little Renegade, and stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.Permalink | Email this | Comments