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Grand CherokeeExplorer Beats Out Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee Factories Coming Down
Posted by mike on 2001/8/15 0:00:00 (1234) reads

Consumer Reports has come out with some rankings for the best mid-sized sport-utility vehicles, and the Ford Explorer (as well as four other vehicles) beat out the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Here are the top six:

  1. Ford Explorer XLT 
  2. Nissan Pathfinder
  3. Toyota 4Runner SR5
  4. GMC Envoy SLE
  5. Dodge Durango SLT
  6. Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

Here's a snippet from The Detroit News article:

The new Explorer, redesigned with an independent rear suspension and a third row of seats, is a "vast improvement over its predecessor," with a "steady ride and versatile, well-designed interior," the magazine said.

One criticism: The SUV performed poorly off road. The SUV earned a "promising" rating and could make Consumer Reports' recommended list if it proves reliable.

Since production of the Jeep Cherokee ceased back in June of this year, several buildings at Jeep's Toledo assembly have been vacated. It seems that nine of these buildings will now be coming down. Here's a snippet from The Toledo Blade:

Part of the multibuilding Jeep Parkway factory will be torn down in the next year or so, dashing any lingering hopes that another use will be found for 1915-era buildings last used to make Jeep Cherokees, a company official confirmed yesterday.

Demolishing part of the nationís longest-running auto plant, however, does not signal the end for the rest of the Toledo Jeep Assembly factory, said Trevor Hale, a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler AGís U.S. side. Jeep Parkway gained fame by churning out World War II military vehicles and, until June, was home to Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees.

"Weíre still continuing to build Wrangler" there, Mr. Hale said. "To have vacant, unused buildings all just sitting there can present a health and safety issue, as well as the cost of having those buildings."

The nine of 54 Toledo Jeep buildings to be torn down starting in the fall are along Jeep Parkway and were used to finish assembling Cherokees, which ended production in June after 18 years.

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Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: joya
here is my comment- DO NOT BUY A JEEP CHEROKEE, EVER! Chrysler will not take responsibility for it's poor workmanship and lousy mechanics. There are things that have been posted on the internet about the jeep. There are spacific parts that brake all the time. Well, Chrysler will not do a darn thing about it.


Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Grand Cherokee Advocacy
Shame on the Japanese marques for quietly benefiting at the expense of the U.S. automakers from the favoritism Consumer Reports shows them. Its policy of recommending first year cars for the Japanese brands because their "reputations" are better and not doing the same for American brands the last several years when we have all seen and felt the dramatic improvement in build quality of ford, Gm , and Chrysler products over the past 10 years is ridiculous. Secondly, DaimlerChrysler is apparently in the process of stopping the bleeding from Reinhold's (or whoever took it over after its "merger") job and design budget cuts. They are intent on replacing him and returning Chrysler and Jeep to its 90's glory days of dominance in innovative design.
The Grand Cherokee went unheralded for years, the best balance of off road acuity with on-road comfort and handling(in other words, the best true SUV), as well as the first midsize SUV with a V-8. The Explorer copycatted that, and we now have its current model, the 2002 redesign, which is on pace to sell only about 2/3 to 3/4 of what the old Explorer sold in its last year. That will(hopefully) send a message to Ford to make a real SUV, and not an independent suspensioned raised station wagon with a 3rd row seat, cupholders, and "No Boundaries". Oh, and its jouncy ride is put to shame by the Grand, a fact that shows Jeep's engineers can build a more comfortable SUV than Ford and still integrate Off-Road acuity as a linchpin in the design process. Long Live the Grand's superiority in this market.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Griff
Well I've taken a brake from MTFJN and now that I'm back what do I see... A lot less people so amazingly impressed by the KJ Liberty. What's this all of them have gone running with their tails between their legs so soon? Well good riddens to bad rubbish.

But it's good to see someone has brought up the weight problem. That was something that most car mags and DC people played off as a real minor thing when the KJ was in its pre-release and big gala release in the spring. But now all I can read about in car magazines is how the KJ is a very lack luster performer when it comes to avaliable power. I drove one and I drive 2 XJ's (4 and 2 door) and the XJ's acclerate much better.

Also I can seem to understand interior styling. I like the little D handle door deals, they are kinda cool in a Jeep but thats where it stops. I had a 97 XJ Limited for 2 years and I have test driven a 02 KJ Limited and was basically horrified by the interior. First of all I walked up to it and said, "Hmmm... A Limited, good because i like leather seats." I get in where's the leather?!? Its a Limited, maybe something has changed in the marketplace but last time i checked when I bought something "Limited" it had leather! That's a simple thing to ask right? It seems 2 out of 6 KJ Limited's on my dealers lot had no leather. Seems they can't even option the things right. I agree some years the XJ had too many (4 or 5) different trim levels but does the KJ need throw in a "Country" package between the "Sport" and "Limited"? I get it, maybe all those young new buyers out there that really would have bought a Chevy Tracker can buy a the name "Limited" on the "Next Great (PANSY) Jeep Idea," the KJ Liberty but not have to pay the former really nicely equipped "Limited" price tag. I think I saw the 2003 Options sheet for the Limited KJ, I believe it said air conditioning was a option, but as long as we get that cool euro look plastic silver trim on the inside. I guess I'm old I would have prefered the usually light brushing of plastic wood, not scratch off silver.

Well It's good to see Mike's still churning the news out (hopefully alittle more frequently that he used too) and that the news can always still cause drama among Jeep fanatics. Where's that one Female poster that loved the Liberty and said it was the best thing to happen to the Jeep world, she worked at DCX, wasn't he name babs? Oh well she was always funny to read post from, the great DCX ambassador.

Solid Axle Forever

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Tim
Thanks for your help Mike.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Tim
I have a chance to pick up an almost new set of M/T tires on black steel rims
from a co-worker for $100.00. I am planning on using them for trail riding
on my '99 Cherokee. Currently I have stock Goodyear Wrangler RT/S
225-75-15. The M/T's are 235-75-15. Will they fit a stock Cherokee or will I
run into rubbibg problems. Also will they affect my gas mileage much. Any
help will be appreciated. I'am just a rookie trying to learn the ropes.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Sean M.
DC / Jeep does need to realize that tradiational Jeep buyers are their bread and butter. This SUV thing is just another trend (failry long lasting one at that) and when the trendiness wears off and people start buying cars again to drive on the street... hmmm that's a novel idea!! what is left?, the tradiational Jeep buyers that are not going to buy a Jeep based on how stylish it is, or how well it handles on the road, or how many cubic feel of cargo space you have over the others in it's class, but the people that just love and depend on Jeeps and trust that they can get anywhere they want to go. The folks that actually use their Jeeps for utility rather than a social status symbol.

I have owner four Jeeps and i bought all of them for their price, usability, dependability, and uniqueness. They just don't, or should i say, didn't look like everything else on the road. Whether you like them or not...when you see a Jeep Cherokee or a Wrangler you know what it is, no question.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: twonabomber
they're not building any 4 cylinder Libertys cause they know no one wants one...there are supposed to be 6 cylinder Durangos too, ever seen one? i haven't...i've seen Xterras do some cool stuff too, the other day i saw one on fire...

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
Iíve enjoyed reading the various comments over the past months. One thing you have to admit about Jeep enthusiasts, they have plenty to say.

Here are a few comments and observations:

1) I feel a bit sad with the news of the demolition of some of the old building at the Jeep plant. Iíve never actually seen the plant, but it stills seems sad to hear about a 60 year history being torn down.

2) Iíve never been a big fan of Consumer reports, but unfortunately there are many out there that think they are gospel. I hope most future customers take a real look instead of trusting opinions of a magazine.

3) I have not seen too many comments regarding the serious drop in sales of the Grand Cherokee. I expected DC to push deep price cuts on the Cherokee to move them out, but many dealers here in the Chicago area advertise over $7,000 price reductions on the Grand Cherokee. One of the negative affects of the price cuts is the value on used Grands is taking a beating.

Some comments I have heard is that since the Grand went to the more rounded mini-van body style, the sales have been drying up. In looking at this yearís total, the Grand has definitely declined in sales. This seems a bit odd since most trucks and SUVs are the generally the vehicles that are selling in most car lines. Maybe the mini-van look is not what Jeep owners want? I still think the Grand is a great SUV, but that style might be turning away customers. The pre í99 model looked similar to the classic Cherokee, just a bit bigger and more luxurious. With some of the shortcomings of the Cherokee, maybe that old classic style is a reason is lasted for 18 years.

Now that many of us have driven the Liberty, one comment I have not seen mentioned is how heavy the Liberty is. The Wrangler and Cherokee are about 3300 pounds. The Grand Cherokee is around 4000 pounds. The little Liberty is over 3800 pounds. Maybe this is why Jeep has not produced any 4-cylinder units for sale.

Keep in mind that the 4-cylinder engine to be used by the Liberty is basically the same as the engine in the PT Cruiser. The PT is about 3100 pounds, and with the 4-banger, it is a bit of a dog. Iíve driven the Liberty with the V-6, and it is no speed daemon. Iím sure those customers that get the 4 cylinder Liberties will feel like road slugs.

We have to face the fact; the Liberty is not really a replacement for the Cherokee but a vehicle to compete with the new Ďcute-utesí. I donít mind Jeep spreading their wings and offering more choices, but they are forgetting about the Ďtraditional Jeepí customer. The mini-van styling of the Grand and the Liberty appear to be marketed to a different customer. From some discussions I have had with a couple of dealers, this seems to be true.

I had a chance to talk to a couple of dealers regarding Jeep sales. They have all said they are seeing many customers that normally would not be looking at Jeeps. The Liberty is definitely bringing in new Jeep customers. I think it is great there is interest in Jeep from non-traditional Jeep buyers, but Jeep should not forget us old-timers.

One problem the dealers are running into is that customers are expecting the Liberty to be like the other cute-utes. Some customers walk away, because the Liberty is not a Front-wheel drive car like the Toyota Rav4 or the Ford Escape. These potential buyers are obviously not looking at off-road capability; they just want a car that is good in the snow and rain.

Another problem dealers are running into is the lack of cargo space in the Liberty. When these potential customers open up the back area, they are a bit disappointed. In addition, the height of the vehicle has been another problem.

Granted, Liberty has plenty of headroom, but many of the consumers that like the Liberty are finding that using the luggage rack is a bit of chore. If your not fairly tall, trying to put anything up on the roof of the Liberty is a bit of a challenge. Not everyone wants to bring a stepladder when they take their SUV out.

Iím not really trying to bash the new Jeep, but it seems Jeep is pushing away the Ďtraditionalí Jeep consumer. For most of Jeepís history, they were never really the big styling leader. Why is Jeep abandoning the small-SUV market they created with the Cherokee?

Oh well, maybe I can still convince Jeep to build a Scrambler based on the TJ Wrangler.

Happy Jeepíing everyone (even our new friends with their Liberties).

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Xterra
Hey I actually agree with you people for a
change. Consumer reports is a joke, and last
year when they panned the Cherokee and
said the RAV 4 was a superior choice I literally
took their review and burned it in my fireplace.
Unfortunately the Cherokee isn't here
anymore, and now the Germans aren't only
ruining the Jeep vehicles, they are also going
to knock down what should be historic sites.
Thank god for Nissan, at least they're bringing
plants to the U.S., and to the person in the
post from the other story, C'mon man, the
Xterra may not be a Cherokee, but it sure as
hell isn't a Poser Ute like a Rav 4 or
V, I
have seen Xterra's do some pretty cool things,
and I'm not even talking about the SC one's
with the Off Road Suspension packages that
are coming in 2002!

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: CrazyJeep
I agree with the above points. At a quick look, it seems that Consumer Reportís list is a Whoís Who of POPULAR sport-utes! (Not better or higher quality) The Explorer has always been a better seller than the Jeep. Too bad it was a death trap on wheels! (I donít blame Firestone!)

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: tsjay
here is my comment

Right on XJKen! I owned a 99 GCL 4X4 and it was not even in the same league with the stupid Explorer. It was far superior! A real 4X4 vehicle, not a family station wagon.

I currently own a 2001 Wrangler Sport, which I dearly love.


Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJKen
Consumer Reports says...... I could give a s*^t what that biased rag has to
say. Anyone with half a brain is capable of making intelligent decisions on their own, the ones with half or less a brain, who are incapable of making any kind of intelligent decision subscribe to Consumer Reports. These are the same people who let Consumer Reports tell them what kind of peanut butter or toilet paper to buy. Obviously, off-road ability played a very minor role in their
test, because if it did the Grand would be at the top. Maybe Ford should cover
the new Explorer with wood grain vinyl and call it the Country Squire because thats all it is, a glorified station wagon.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: bf
hmmmm!consumer reports isnt that the mag who was in a law suite for consumer fraud who tried to keep it hush hush ? take that honda boys i mean boys.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: wagsdad
I have never bought anything based on a Consumer Reports recommendation that I wasn't disappointed in. This goes to mattresses, washing machines, sporting equipment, tires, you name it. When we were first married, the wife and I tried to be gool little consumers and buy the "best value." Phooey.

After being a Ford man for decades ( and I still love my '83 pickup ) I bought a Cherokee specifically because it was the last chance. What a terrific vehicle !!! The car buff mags critique it for a harsh highway ride and that just isn't fair. It isn't a marshmallow, but it suprised me with its comfort on the first long trip I took.

And I've tried some mild off-roading (Jamborees come later) and have never felt so confident. My guess is that the Cherokee could have continued to sell nearly forever (like the Beetle) but would have cut into Liberty sales. At least Jeep is trying to say that the Liberty is a real Jeep -- name another cute-ute that has done the Rubicon. The Grand didn't appeal primarily for styling and price reasons, and I read some negatives about the super-zoomy 4WD system that made think that an XJ with air lockers was as close to heaven as I'm going to get this year.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: d
don't worry. the overlands look nice. you'll also find nice new wheels, rock rails, a higher output V8, and a different interior.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Mike
The 235s will fit fine with a stock suspension, but there will be minimal tire rub when turning tires complete in while backing up or u-turning. My experience was with 235 75 R15 Wrangler AT on previous Cherokee, but then again it may have hit the inside mount of added mud flaps. Either way it should prove to be no problem.

Poster Thread
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Toby
Most comments are on the Liberty, but these are on the 2002 Grand Cherokee. Saw the Laredo and Limited today. First off, all Grand are discounted by $3000 as compared to 2001. Second, visually they look the same but the Laredo has the rims from the 99-00 Limited, and the Limited has rims like the 86-92 Cherokee Limited... wire alloys...very ugly and back down to 16in I think. What is the deal with designs using the parts bins. The Overlands are not in yet, but if these styling cues are any indication... good lord. My advise is buy 2001 Grands and Cherokees.... I have always supported Jeep and its future, but hell, I think the Germans are fucking things up. I am jumping ship with Jeep; hopefully my 98 Grand will last forever.
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