Jeep: An American Icon
Many automobile models are referred to in the press or by consumers as “well-known.” However, you very seldom hear the word “iconic” used to describe them. It seems fitting that only one brand fits the criteria to deserve that description. That brand is Jeep. When you mention the Jeep brand, some consumers will probably start thinking about the military, and rightfully so. The Jeep brand gained its first notoriety as a vehicle developed for the battlefields of war, as its predecessors were created to fill the need for a medical-transport vehicle to carry soldiers and supplies or to serve as a vehicle carrying mobile-mounted weapons to take on enemy fire. In fact, WWII gave rise to the original interest in this 4×4 vehicle that rose to fill the military’s need — and the Jeep along with its typical drivers transitioned from soldiers on the battlefield to families and individuals in neighborhoods and the modern day Jeep dealership near you.
Over the years, the Jeep model has evolved, and many models have rolled off the assembly line. The Wagoneer was born in the 1960s and was a stellar example of a family vehicle that could be used for everything from fulfilling day-to-day obligations to covering distance and hauling cargo on a family vacation. The 1980s saw the birth of the Jeep Cherokee, which is the immediate predecessor of the current model. This new model was a milestone not only for the Jeep brand but also for the automobile industry. You see, the Cherokee was the first four-door, compact sports utility vehicle and the first vehicle equipped with shift-on-the-fly capability. According to Jeep, shift-on-the-fly capability simply means the driver is able to “shift into or out of 4×4 capability while the vehicle is in motion.” This feature saved time and the need to get out of the vehicle to lock out the hubs to engage the Jeep’s four-wheel-drive system. An innovation that is found on every SUV today.
The 1990s was a busy time for Jeep. The brand closed a chapter with the production of the final edition of the Grand Wagoneer. Also, a new, larger version of the Cherokee, the Grand Cherokee, rolled off the assembly line, and what would become the iconic Wrangler model arrived at Jeep dealerships across the country.
That brings us to the 21st century. What has the Jeep brand been doing recently? Well, one thing is for sure. Jeep continues to be one of the automobile industry’s most innovative and diverse brands. It’s easy to see. All drivers have to do to see what makes Jeep different is visit any local Jeep dealership.
Let’s discuss a few of Jeep’s most popular models and features by highlighting the 2018 lineup
The 2018 Jeep lineup includes six different models: the new Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, all-new Wrangler, Wrangler JK, Renegade, and Compass. Unlike other manufacturers that tend to have just one common thread driving the design of the vehicles in their lineup, Jeep offers a broad range of benefits in each of its vehicles, especially in the body design. The uniqueness of each model is symbolic, as each one is created to meet the diverse needs and desires of Jeep drivers.
Let’s look closer at several models.
For 2018, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has a smaller frame and more rounded curves than its predecessors. Even with the smaller frame on the new Grand Cherokee it certainly doesn’t for comfort or space. The aesthetic of the latest model’s exterior is primarily defined by its distinctive grille and taillamps. The grille can be described as seven miniature grilles, each individually enclosed in silver frames. The taillamps feature LED lighting, which allows for easy visibility on the road while allowing drivers to make a stylish statement.
The Grand Cherokee offers a number of standard and available options, including Automatic High-Beam Headlamps, the Uconnect system with touchscreen display, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. For a luxurious touch, high-end materials have been used to furnish the vehicle’s interior, including Laguna leather and climate-relevant seats (heated or ventilated).
Automatic High-Beam Headlamps can detect poor lighting conditions and will automatically adjust the beams as needed, depending on the situation. The Uconnect system affords drivers a communication, navigation, and entertainment system to keep them connected and happy no matter how long the drive will be. The vehicle’s system is Apple-CarPlay- and Android-compatible, making it easy to stay plugged in on the road. The Grand Cherokee is available in 11 trim levels, including the Laredo, giving Jeep owners the ability to further customize their vehicles.
For an SUV, the Grand Cherokee offers drivers a fuel-efficient vehicle with an EPA rating of 19 city/25 highway miles per gallon. This SUV is also quite capable of handling whatever tasks it’s up against, offering a 295-horsepower engine.
The 2018 Jeep Compass is one of the most recent additions to the Jeep lineup, debuting in 2017. It’s a more compact SUV than previous models, but don’t let its relatively diminutive size confuse you. This SUV is quite capable of whatever you’ll call on it for, and it’s packed with state-of-the-art features and options. It is available in five trim levels, including the Sport, Latitude, Altitude, Trailhawk, and Limited.
The Compass comes standard with the Tigershark MultiAir 2 engine, which is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This combination adds up to a vehicle that is optimized for performance and fuel efficiency. And speaking of performance optimization, Compass 4X4s come standard with the Selec-Train Management System. This system allows drivers to customize their handling, selecting from an automatic setting or selecting the driving terrain from snow, sand, rock, and mud with the simple twist of a knob. Once selected, the Compass makes the necessary adjustments to ensure drivers will be able to smoothly and safely navigate the conditions they’ll encounter, whatever they may be.
Still need to be convinced about this SUV’s capability? Well, let’s do just that. The Compass has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. And, yes, that means this little SUV can tow up to a ton.
The Jeep Wrangler cemented the Jeep brand’s position in the automobile industry. The all-new 2018 Wrangler pays homage to that legacy. The new Wrangler is available in four trim levels: the Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon.
Looking at the Sport model, it’s almost like looking back in time. The resemblance to the WWII-era jeep is uncanny. The difference is that the 2018 model comes with 21st-century upgrades.
The 2018 Wrangler comes standard with the Command-Trac Part-Time 4X4 System. This system allows owners to enjoy off-roading activities and take on any terrain with confidence. It is a feature that’s become synonymous with both the Jeep brand and the Wrangler model specifically.
The latest edition of the Wrangler comes standard with the 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, exerting 260 lb.-ft of torque. And speaking of torque, when the 4×4 system is engaged, the torque is equally split between the Jeep’s front and rear axles, maximizing traction.
And don’t worry about the mess in your vehicle after you’ve enjoyed off-roading activities. The Wrangler offers a wash-out interior that makes cleaning up easy. All you need is a water hose.
The Jeep brand has taken on a life of its own. What other manufacturers can boast an outdoor event inspired by its legacy? That would be the Jeep Jamboree. Every year, weekends are set aside for Jeep owners and outdoor enthusiasts to come together to celebrate the great outdoors while simultaneously enjoying their Jeeps. What other manufacturers can boast a rich legacy in which its vehicles have been an integral part of the fight for freedom around the world and are now an integral part of family life across the country?
These reasons and so many more are why Jeep has been, is, and will continue to be a leader in the automobile industry. The 2018 lineup shows this brand offers a diverse slate of vehicles to meet the diverse needs of its customers.
It’s worth the drive to your local Jeep dealership to see why Autotrader made this year’s Wrangler its“Must Test Drive Award Winner.” Experience the excitement firsthand and get behind the wheel of the new Jeep that’s right for you today.