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JEEP

Jeep Gladiator a serious off-road fun machine

Are you a serious off-roader looking to haul stuff into the outback and have a blast of a time communing with nature while you do it?

Gladiators start at $47,245 CAD (Jeep Canada's Overland sample had a base price of $51,245, however, and there's a Rubicon model that starts at just shy of 55 grand), and are powered by a 3.6 litre "Pentastar" V6 (I think that means they're built by werewolves) that puts out 285 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. That power gets to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts well and seems like a good match here.

The Gladiator is longer than its Wrangler cousin, with a longer wheelbase as well, and this helps create lots of interior space. It also features skid plates for the gas tank and transfer case, and a part time 4x4 system whose settings can be changed via a big lever near the shifter. That lever works fine once you get used to it, but right off the bat I had a heckuva time getting the darn lever to move at all. Once I figured out its "nuances" I had no issues with it at all, however.

Steering is trucklike – you think? – as is the suspension feel. And as you'd expect in such a vehicle, its lousy weather performance is very good indeed. I had the Gladiator during some, shall we say, less than optimal driving conditions and it never left me feeling insecure or in danger of sliding somewhere I didn't want it to slide.

Thanks to the late-year conditions I didn't try to "flay" the vehicle by taking off its removable body panels but, if you want to, you can take off stuff like the doors and the roof, to make that Serengeti adventure into the Lions' pride lands even more exciting.

Its high stance made the Gladiator difficult for me to get into and out of, even with its running boards, but since I'm shorter than the average bear your mileage will probably vary.

The Gladiator's interior is all Jeep/Fiat Chrysler and that means you get a reasonably straightforward cabin with controls and features that will be familiar to aficionados of the brands. There's stuff like push button start/stop, a rear back up/parking system (I love these things!), leather-wrapped steering wheel with secondary audio/etc. controls Bluetooth, etc. And of course, that's just the beginning. more...

Jeep Cherokee – a classic off roader still relevant in the present

Most people, it seems to be the consensus, never take their SUV/Crossovers off the road, preferring them as more "garden variety" family and stuff haulers for their duties on asphalt wherever it may be found.

Nothing wrong with that, of course; after all, we're supposed to embrace diversity, right? Most people probably never haul building materials or furniture in their pickup trucks, either, yet they're the top selling vehicles on this continent. And it's nobody's business what someone else drives.

Some people do choose to go into the great open spaces with their SUV/Crossovers, too, and that's just fine. But these folks need something a tad more, shall we say, robust in their off-asphalt capabilities, something that will take them up the side of Mount Everest one trip, then to the side of the drive through window at Harvey's the next. more...


Big Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel performs with panache

Jeep's new Grand Cherokee is a real competitor in the higher end SUV market, big and imposing and comfortable, and with about as much stuff as one could want stuffed into it.

It even features interesting little trim touches that highlight Jeep's long heritage, hearkening back to the days when the brand began by providing the famed little "general purpose" vehicle for the military.

Available with a trio of engine choices, Jeep Canada's "Summit" trim level test vehicle was of the diesel persuasion. more...


2014 Jeep Cherokee: 'Modern aerodynamics meet Jeep heritage'

The grille is new but recognizable, as is the overall look of the exterior. And under the new skin beats an interesting new heart that could make this newly-Italian Jeep dear to fans' hearts.

And, boy, is it ever perfect for those times when winter winds blow and snows fill the streets!

The new version of the popular SUV rides on a new platform for 2014, one that apparently came from parent company Fiat, and its transmission even gets an extra gear - nine speeds in total. Talk about giving their customers the gears! more...


Kia Sorento and Jeep Compass – Crossovers from Companies Heading in Different Directions

One company's on the rise, one's trying desperately to make a comeback. And a pair of their current SUV offerings are illustrative of both points.  

Which brings me to the Jeep Compass. While the Sorento feels ready for prime time, the Compass feels more like time has passed it by. If this Compass is pointing to the direction in which Chrysler (of which Jeep is a part) is heading... more...


Jeep's Grand New Cherokee

While it might have been a government-bailed out basket case only a year or so ago, if the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is any indication of Chrysler's direction there may be hope for the company after all.

That's because the Grand Cherokee is a very nice SUV, equipped extremely well for the money, and yet with the Jeep off-roading heritage apparently intact. more...


Jeep Rubicon Offers an Off-road Blast from the Past

Talk about retro!

In an age when more and more vehicles seem to be embracing the look and/or feel of vehicles past (just look at the PT Cruiser or the current Mustang), the basic, garden variety Jeep doesn't have to follow such trends. Nope, it continues to look pretty much like it always has, the body style millions have come to know and love since the U.S. Army was given the Willys back in 1941. more....


Jeep Proves Patriotism Can Pay Off  

Patriot starts off well: it looks like a real Jeep, with its round headlights and slotted grille, boxy body panels and unapologetic SUV look. The vehicle looks rugged and serious, and that's not a bad thing for an SUV.

Inside, the Patriot is roomy for four and nearly roomy enough for five, and it's comfortable for all day driving. We packed five people and picnic stuff into it and sallied forth into the Rocky Mountains for a day of mild off roading (dirt and gravel, not really heavy duty stuff), and had a ball. more....


Cherokee Versus 4Runner: Tough SUV’s Slug it Out

Can a Hemi engine turn a venerable SUV into a sports car? Can a new V8 turn a longtime Japanese favorite into a Hemi beater?

Those are just two of the questions I asked myself during back to back weeks driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and Toyota 4Runner V8 Sports Edition. Both of these SUV’s are nothing if not world class, both have been around for many years in one form or another, and both are capable off roaders.

Jeep says the Grand Cherokee is all new for 2005 and is “reclaiming its legendary class-leading status” while offering “countless improvements” including new steering, front suspension, and QuadraDrive II.

Toyota, meanwhile, says the 2005 4Runner features a brand new V8 engine offering “more power than ever before” and “an extensive array of stability and traction management technologies for outstanding off-road capability, on-road comfort and all-weather safety.” more...


Reviews by Brand

Acura Audi BMW Cadillac Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Dodge Ford GMC Honda Hummer
Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar/Land Rover Jeep Kia Lexus Lincoln Mazda Mercedes-Benz Mini Mitsubishi
Nissan Pontiac Porsche Saab Saturn Scion Subaru Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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