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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious as to what you guys think of the new Jeep renegade and in general jeeps new look for some of the new vehicles coming out? Are they staying current with making their vehicles look more modern? Or has Jeep veered too far off the path of the iconic "Jeep" look?
 

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For me, its more about off road capability than looks when it comes to a JEEP. I love my XK, but really would kill for solid front axle. Being that these new jeeps don't even have a rear solid axle, I can't even imagine how they'll have any aftermarket parts, lift, etc. Hell, Rocky Road already determined the new grand Cherokees are designed in such a way to make lift kits very unfeasible. This is very disheartening, as the grand Cherokee once had a solid axles all round and have a die hard following. But I guess that's what happens when fiat starts putting jeep badges on their cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree, Off road performance is a huge factor, and I believe the ability to lift and mod your jeep tie's right in to that. So even if the newer jeeps are "Trail Rated" I don't think its enough for the percentage of us jeep owners looking to build upon that off road ability. I don't know why Chrysler cant see whats right in front of their faces and know that there are a lot of Jeep owners that like to play and mod with there jeeps. So why not design the vehicles to be modded. At the very least make it easy for the wrangler and grand Cherokee which seem to be the most popular for getting lifts. IMO I think Chrysler is losing focus on the section of its customers that like to mod, and focusing way to much on the customers who never change anything on their jeep after purchasing it.
 

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FCA has decided that the Wrangler is the only Jeep which will be customizable to the extent off-roaders want, in my opinion. The Grand Cherokee has morphed into an American version of the Range Rover, very capable and luxurious. Precious few who shell out over 50 grand for a GC Overland or Summit will ever off-road their rigs, much less need to modify them to conquer the worst the Rubicon trail can dish out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree most people that spend that kind of money will not want to take their vehicle straight into the woods, But I think there are a lot of people who buy their jeeps after they have been out a few years with the intention to work and mod them over time. On one hand I agree the wrangler is the ultimate jeep and seems to be the focus of all the off road hype. But on the other hand we have all seen epic transformations of normal Commanders, Cherokees, Grand Cherokees, etc.. into very capable off road vehicles. I guess I just wish Chrysler would not assume the wrangler is the only vehicle in their line up that customers plan to mod. Oh, and don't get me started on the "New" Look they are going for...
 

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there's nothing rough or rugged about it. other than the seven bars and the rubi wheels i see nothing JEEP about it. it kinda reminds me of a domestic Kia Soul.. im not a fan.
 

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It looks like a Jeep Version of the Mini-Cooper. Its suppose to be relatively low cost, like starting at $18.5K, so it may be popular with some.

What makes it a Jeep is off-road ability, granted its suspension seems to be typical small car suspension, NOT much travel. But there are videos of it on the Jeep site show it traversing all sorts of obstacles, granted only 2-3 wheels at a time, but Jeep developed the brake control system to do exactly that.

Every die hard fan has complaints with the manufacturer and what they are doing with the brand they love. Quite frankly its the vast majority of consumers that drive it and the manufacturer is only responding to what will sell more vehicles. 2WD Jeeps have sold very well for decades, lots 4WD Trail Rated are purchased and never taken off road their entire life. You can find stories on the internet of a Soccer Mom being stuck in the snow in her Jeep and a passerby had to show her how to put it into 4WD so she could get out of the deep snow. The Decision makers at Jeep get back owner surveys saying the vehicle rides too rough, or there are NOT enough cup holders, etc.

Bare in mind, surveys of new vehicles buyers, asking why they choose the vehicle they choose, the overwhelming majority of buyers say, they like the way it "looks". Sure, lots show they made an informed decisions, stating "Capabilities, Reliability, Price, Performance, etc" but the "looks" reply is greater than all other catagories combined.

So can you blame decision makers at Jeep when the data is layed out before them and it shows, put more Soccer Mom stuff in the new Jeep at the cost of die-hard Off-Road stuff, and you sell twice as many vehicles. Corvettes are still made with Automatic Transmissions, so Jeep is NOT the only brand that has its disatisfied enthusiasts. Its the vast majority of car consumers out there that drive it, they have no idea what they are buying, but on a whim decide, I want an enthusiast vehicle, even though I'm NOT an enthusiast, i.e. a wanna-be.

So, I guess the positive in this would be, look at it as Jeep expanding their market and attracting new costumers to the brand. A kid or wanna-be may buy a renagade today, but maybe they'll buy a "JK" in the future. It seems to have enough design features it can be taken off road and NOT embarrass the brand. Quite fankly, my daughters would probably love the renegade and I wouldn't mind one bit at all if they bought one. I'm sure they could drive across a field or over a mild trail to go camping.
 

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Here's an article about the upcoming Wrangler and it speaks of its moding potential. It don't look good. The article is in allpar.com

Given rumors that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will drop its solid-axle suspension, several Allpar members asked consulting engineer Bob Sheaves what Chrysler’s most likely options were. He responded:

1. Hire or contract with Evan Boberg and me to update the Li’l Blue design. This is unlikely and probably would have taken place already, if it were to happen at all.

2. Hire an outside consulting firm with military experience, such as Meritor Defense, AM General, Oshkosh Defense, FEG, or Rod Millen. This is unlikely.

3. Use internal resources and try to adapt the existing Ram truck 4×4 design, or further develop the Li’l Blue design. This is the most likely option.



The challenge for Jeep is making a new Wrangler which is:

similar in price to the current model
the premier off-road vehicle in its price range
more capable and comfortable on-road
more fuel efficient.
Many observers have noted that the company could do this by using expensive alternative materials, eight-speed automatics, diesel engines, and such, rumors still target a move from solid axles to reduce unsprung weight, the biggest change since CJ became Wrangler under AMC. The challenge is creating a reliable, sturdy system with at least as much ground clearance as the current solid-axle design — and as much suspension articulation — without going overboard on cost.

Bob Sheaves, Evan Boberg, and Gerry Hentschel addressed these issues with their innovative Li’l Blue mule; Mr. Sheaves suggested another option, the in-between setup of Ram 4×4 pickups. While the Ram independent front suspension may not be optimized to the technical level required by the new Wrangler, the cost penalties of the Li’l Blue suspension may be too high (and current Jeep engineers might not be able to adapt it). The Ram setup would, at least, be rugged.

The days of the easily-modified Wrangler are probably numbered, unless the company keeps making the old model somewhere as a niche option — which seems unlikely at best, despite all those empty buildings in Michigan and Italy, or the precedent of making older models in Russia, India, and China. Whether that matters is a subject for (intense and never-ending) debate.

Jeep can’t afford to blow this one. The success of the Jeep brand is hinged mainly on the off-road prowess of the Wrangler Rubicon. As the company makes seas of front wheel drive Cherokees and Renegades, the badge remains backed by the faith and credit of Wrangler.
 
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