Wants a Good Street-and-Snow Rig
I moved up to Lake Arrowhead, California, last year from San Diego, and my current car, a PT Cruiser convertible, is less than adequate during the cold months. I have a steep driveway, and sometimes my road is not plowed immediately after it snows. I can get snow up to four feet in a single night, though not very often. I also drive into Los Angeles during the week and come home on the weekends. My problem is that sometimes I can't come home or leave my house because of a snowstorm. I've literally gotten my car within 200 yards of my house and then had to go back down the mountain because it would not get me the rest of the way. (My wife is a domestic goddess, so she is usually home and I have to come home to get her dug out and keep the groceries and mail coming.) I also would like to drive the local fire roads to various trails in my area.
I've been looking at getting a serious off-road vehicle that still works for two kids and lots of highway driving. Naturally, I look at the Jeep Wrangler and think that this is the rig for me. I can add tires and suspension to clear over the snow. I can also add a winch to pull me or another car out of the driveway if I absolutely have to leave or come home. It's also small enough to maneuver the opening of my driveway. My other issue would be that I don't have the free cash to do extensive modifications after I trade in my other car. Whatever I can get from the dealer, wrapped up in the total loan, would be best.
What are your thoughts? Is a better vehicle out there?
Lake Arrowhead, CA
Looks like you answered your own question. We think you'd be really well served by a four-door Wrangler Unlimited. If you can pony up the extra dough for the Rubicon package, you'll have just about all the off-road hardware you really need onboard (4:1 transfer case, front and rear lockers, 32-inch all-terrains), and the Unlimited's interior space and longer wheelbase will give you plenty of room for the wife and kids while delivering a very civilized pavement ride. And yes, there are a slew of options available for it via the aftermarket. If you're trolling for some ideas, take a look at our long-running "Project 'Con Artist" buildup series; all of the episodes are archived at fourwheeler.com.
As an alternative, we'd probably suggest a Hummer H3. It's also extremely wheelable right out of the box. Its pavement manners are great as well, and it's got plenty of room inside for your family. However, it'll cost more money than the Jeep-especially for the V-8 version; forget about the five-cylinder model-and since GM's in the process of unwinding its Hummer division, you may or may not find it difficult to locate a dealership that has any for sale. If you can find one, though, you're likely to get a pretty good price. But if you're looking for a capable factory vehicle that also has a ton of aftermarket support behind it, go with the Jeep.
Wants Dual Battery Kit for YJ
I was reading your latest issue and saw the part about installing dual batteries for your TJ (Aug. '10). I wanted to know if there was a company out there that makes a dual battery kit for the YJ.
PFC Dustin Sampson
Kodiak Industries offers a dual battery kit for Jeep YJs. You can reach them at 408/892-4684 or at www.kodiakinc.com
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