With all the hype surrounding the intended redo of the Wrangler's interior, we half expected to see it accented with beer cans and dollar bills. Yet the all-new innards are pretty noteworthy despite the lack of both: the instrument panel and center stack have been redesigned, while new stuff includes storage areas, a lockable console, available heated power mirrors, steering wheel controls, and 12-volt and 110-volt outlets. Among the upgrades made to the Jeep were improved interior noise (as in, less), larger rear windows, more comfy armrests, and the media center now having USB interface and streaming Bluetooth audio. But as it goes with most redesigns, there's something that will be either worshiped by enthusiasts or piss 'em off to epic proportions: the new passenger grab handle. Technically, that's not the questionable part-it's the inlay mounted to it, which reads, "Jeep" and "Since 1941." Jeep, brought to you by Jeep. On these pages we'd also rumored body-colored hardtops; the Sahara (regular and Unlimited) will indeed get that action. And new Wrangler colors for 2011 are Detonator Yellow, Deep Cherry Red, Sahara Tan, Cosmos Blue, and Bright White.
•Alabama and al.com provided the account of a woman who allegedly had open gasoline containers around her house because she dug the smell. Three kids also lived there.
•From CBS News/AP comes the story of an Amish teen who took sheriff deputies on a mile-long "chase" after he ran a stop sign on his horse and buggy, then wouldn't pull over. He eventually lost control and flipped the buggy into a ditch, then, uh, hoofed it. He was later arrested for, among other things, overdriving an animal.
•"He is a tool," said Sen-Sgt Bill Gore from the Wangaratta Highway Patrol, according to Australia's Herald Sun, about a 23-year-old driver traveling 131 mph in a 68-mph zone. Wish our cops could say stuff like that.
•Out of Naples Daily News in Florida comes the heartwarming tale of a woman whose car was running like garbage, so she took it to the mechanic, who found condoms in the gas tank. Early finger-pointing was at the neighbors.
•Leasetrader.com has noticed a trend-those who leased a vehicle during Cash for Clunkers are trying to get out of their lease despite being only a year into their five-year contract. A minimum of five years was one of the rebate requirements.
Quote Without Story
"Now, before I make my remarks, I've got to disclose, I'm a little biased here because the first new car that I ever bought was a Grand Cherokee. First new car. Up until that point I had had some old, beat-up used cars-they were not state-of-the-art.And I still remember walking into that showroom and driving out with that new car. It had that new car smell, and everything worked. I wasn't used to that...so I've got some good memories of that car. But I've got to tell you when I sat in this car, this is a better car. This is a state-of-the-art car. This is a world-class car right here."
-President Obama during a visit to the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant, where the new Grand Cherokee is being built.
Jeep News & Rumors
•The Jeep Channel can be found at the tubey place, and it's loaded with commercials, Jamboree, Rocks & Road Tour footage, four-wheeling tips, and other Jeep stuff.
•There were 14 workers at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant who won the lottery with their group-bought ticket. One bought his wife a new Grand Cherokee.
•More Grand: Automotive News reports that the switch to the all-new Grand cost $50 mil, which included expenses for preproduction and testing. As we went to press, there were 70,000 orders for the Jeep.
•Extra Grand: Is it going to take a while for the redesigned Grand to make its way to Europe?
•Bonus Grand: No one has convinced the suits yet that a diesel Grand in North America makes sense. Again.
•Also Grand: In the UK, you can get a limited-edition (250 of 'em) S-Limited, with SRT-inspired innards and out-ards, leather-wrapped stuff, and special Arrowhead 18-inch alloy wheels, among other items.
•Grand slam: The '11 Grand will be among the 55 new-model-year vehicles to receive the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's updated five-star safety rating. More-wicked crash testing will be part of the new program, and there now will be only one safety score for vehicles, as well as the inclusion of any crash avoidance technologies available on a vehicle. Results will be listed at safercar.gov.
•Not Grand: No, the next Transformers movie will not have a Jeep-bot named Rollbar.
•Not a Grand: The one-millionth compact vehicle currently produced at the Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant was a green Patriot. If you're super-geeky for assembly line or Patriot trivia, then know that it happened on July 28.
Jeep Camper Trailers
Camper trailers for the Wrangler are now available from Mopar, and they can accommodate four adults, thanks to a queen-size bed (hmmm, based on that math, we'll assume if this camper's a rockin', it's because at least one of those four adults hit the floor). There's the Trail Edition (it's about $9,995), with features such as lightweight aluminum construction, 32-inch BFG Mud Terrains, a trailing-arm suspension, and 12 inches of ground clearance.
The next step up is the Extreme Trail Edition (you're looking at $11,995), with 35-inch rubber, 15 inches of clearance, a heavier frame, and a skidplate. Both have an available 360-degree axis pintle hitch.
•New online swap meet site: Ahwooga.com (you know, ahwooga, like the sound of the old-timey car horn) has more than 100,000 new and used (plus rare/hard-to-find) parts for trucks and cars as well as RVs, boats, and motorcycles. Tools and tech manuals can also be had. The site allows you to contact sellers for more info or photos, and payment/shipping methods are up to the seller; the seller doesn't pay a transaction fee to the site, either. You can sell and buy vehicles, too.
•Don't forget to turn in your rebate form and receipt to MSD by October 31 for the 2010 Motor Money Rebate (msdrebate.com).
•If you're into stuff like this, then know that tirerack.com has added a fuel economy component to its tire info, utilizing real-world data to explain how the tires rank for fuel economy, and how that relates to your driving style.
•You can buy a brick and get your name carved into it for placement in the plaza at the Ypsilanti Automobile Heritage Museum.
•The Car Care Council says the average age of passenger vehicles on the road today is 10.6 years. That's the oldest ever. And the council also noted, by way of Edmunds.com, that the average price of a new vehicle this year increased by $1,057. That's $29,217, if you're wanting the big picture.
•There's a new Ram model-the Outdoorsman has been created for campers, hunters, and the like, and has a standard Class IV receiver hitch, trailer brake controller (on the HDs), heavy-duty cooling, special lighting, and much more. A fishing-rod/gun rack is available for the RamBox 1500s.
•Hankering to curl up with literature about diagnostics and flash reprogramming? You're in luck-Vehicle Diagnostics is a brochure from Bosch, available at its service centers.
Off-Road Motorsports HOF
The 2010 inductees into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in Reno, Nevada, will be Johnny Johnson, whose name you'll recognize from off-road racing (including 107 First Place wins); Chris Haines, a racer and businessman (Baja Off Road Tours Company is his); Eugene Chappie, a Jeep owner and legislator, who fought hard against land closures; and Pete Brown, who played a key role in lighting products, notably as founder of KC HiLites. There's a fifth inductee, but we're drawing a blank on the name. Oh, yeah, it's Rick Péwé, the editor of our sister rag, 4-Wheel & Off-Road!
Employee Quote Without Story
"Oh, and Pete is f*cked."-From an email string between editors Cappa, Hazel, and Trasborg while discussing their vehicles' readiness for the story "Sh!%box Derby," due in the Jan. '11 issue
Things to Do With Your Jeep
•October 16: Wheelin 4 Autism Awareness hosted by Ozark Mountain Xtreme Rock Crawlers, Flat Nasty Off-Road Park, Jadwin, MO, flatnasty.net
•December 4: 4WD Sand Driving Clinic hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Oceano Dunes near Pismo, CA, 4x4training.com
•December 10: Winching & Recovery Clinic hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, 4x4training.com
•December 11-12: Beginning Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, 4x4training.com
•December 13-14: Getting Started Off- Road 4x4 Skills Clinic hosted by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, 4x4training.com
•December 31-January 2: Fire and Ice New Year's Run and Bonfire, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR, orvpark.com
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