New Diesel Jeep Cherokee

Those who pay any attention to my postings generally know I am not a fan of Chrysler products. Well, I have been hearing very good things about the new Jeep Cherokee diesel and my brother recently purchased one. I understand that they are using European engines and transmissions and he says it is a very smooth and solid car. He used to own a 2005 which he said was a total piece of junk compared to this. He sold it when it began to nickel and dime him, figuring that it was going to start having many more problems. Now this is a brand new one and he did purchase the extended warranty as he figured it would more than pay for itself with one engine or transmission repair, especially with it being a new and untested model.

Anyway, does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Have the engine and transmission been used in other models of cars overseas and how to they fare?

IMHO the $4500 price up front price premium is steep. At current fuel prices it will take over 20 years or about 300k miles make up the difference fuel savings vs. the standard gas V6 model. This is not taking into account maintence or repair costs. Personally that alone would be a major turn off for me.

My Neighbor bought a new Grand Cherokee last year. It wasn’t the diesel but the wife who uses it most likes it a lot and it performs very well. They have the HD tow package and use it to tow a large boat. I have no doubt that the diesel will perform as well if not better. That would make them the best performing Grand Cherokees ever made.

The nickel and dime may never have anything to do with what you can collect on a drive line warranty. IMHO, if you need to spend that much money on an extended warranty just to own a car, don’t buy it. It adds way too much cost to car ownership.

Cost ownership with most cars has little to do with motor and transmission break downs for the original owner. It’s all the other stuff of which there is plenty to go wrong. I would have to see Chrysler prove their worth over time in all areas before I would buy one.

Yeah, my brother just wanted the diesel and ended up buying the premium loaded model. He likes these kinds of cars while I just view it as more things to go wrong. He justified it by claiming it is a major cost savings over more expensive BMW, Audi, and such SUVs. So, in this way, it was a money saver.

I don’t know what the extended warranty will cover. I sure hope it covers the heated seats, remote start with iPhone feature, among all the other premium features that add complexity to the car. The engine and transmission may be rock solid but what about the rest of the stuff as you say? I have a friend with a loaded Ford Focus with all the fancy entertainment and navigation system. It is a brand new car and they cannot figure out what is wrong with it. I understand this setup has been causing a lot of grief for Ford. Sure, it is under warranty but there is no solution for the problem yet.

Yes, I for one would personally be very wary of buying a first year model product from Chrysler myself. I know plenty of people who have had all kinds of problems including engines, transmissions, differential/axle, and such issues with them so maybe that extended coverage will pay off. Of course I didn’t see the fine print so I don’t know. It would be nice to see Chrysler put out a good product for a change and make that bailout seem worthwhile. Seeing several well-maintained 2.7’s self-destruct for no good reason kinda sours you on their products. I also find working on them to be a pain but all makes have their own good and bad models as far as that goes.

I’ve always wondered why someone who’s had chronic problems with a brand would go out and replace it with another of the same brand. But there’s more emotion in car buying than most of us would like to admit. Justifying it by comparing its cost with that of more expensive vehicles proves the lengths some people will go to in order to justify their decision.

You have to make your own decision. Don’t be swayed by your brother’s logic. Her got what he liked, you should get what you liked. My motivations are comfort, reliability, and longevity, and I’m driven by data and experiences. Your brothers’ are obviously different. Personally, if my brother’s previous car had nickle and dimed him to death, I would not buy that make & model.

Also, some people are “early adapters”, people who are motivated by new designs. I always prefer to wait until there’s some years of data behind a car. It means I never get the “latest”, but generally the longest lasting.

My own brother is the ultimate “conspicuous consumer”. He once said “why should I drive a new Camry when I can drive an old Mercedes for the same price?”. To him, that logic was brilliant. My opinion of it was that it was nuts. We’re each driven by different motivators.

How to make a small fortune: Start with a large fortune then buy an old Mercedes.

I will say that the best indication that I will have no major problems with my Chrysler vehicle is that at over 80K miles, I still get junk mail from a couple of these warranty companies with the vehicle model right on the envelope, wanting me to buy one of their crappy warranties. They’re obviously betting on no major failures. At least not that they will cover.

Dealers not being able to figure out what’s wrong is just a polite way of saying, we don’t want to fix it in some cases. They have the expertise of the car manufacturer behind them; it’s just a phone call away. The real reason may be, they won’t get reimbursed on the item. Direct calls from the customer to the a manufacturer rep is then the best course of action.

As far as someone still buying another brand when they have had so much trouble before, I can’t help thinking ( wrongly so maybe) it’s like growing up in an abusive family then choosing a mate who is abusive too. Some people think it’s normal for cars to run like crap and give them problems. That’s a dumb analogy I know but, like a Volvo or a SAAB, Jeeps have their own following just because the owners can say they own a Jeep and just because of those cool big teeth up front. Same reason as owning a Hemi and a diesel as well if they don’t tow. It’s a big deal for some. We wear tats and jewelry for the same reason. We are what we drve and wear. It’s a statement…and unless it deprives your family of food, it’s really no big deal to anyone else and more power to them. Get another tat. It’s good for the economy, at least someone else’s.

Interesting analogy Dag. It’s well known that people who divorce an abusive spouse often marry another abusive spouse. I guess the same psychology must be at work here.

Does that mean I’m actually looking for someone like my ex? Damn! That explains a lot!

I agree that I wouldn’t buy the same car that had nickel and dimed me to death in the past but everyone is different. He would definitely more fit the mold of a conspicuous consumer much more than myself. He would never settle for the old beaters that I drive. The last two have been an Audi and a BMW. It sounds like the creature comforts of the Jeep are way nicer than these which is saying something. He described those as having a “stark European feel” compared to the Jeep.

Either way, you can tell we are looking at this vehicle from two completely different angles. While I have seen more Chryslers go to junk well before their competitors, including his 2005, he is considering it a new model with a Fiat influence and hopes that the European engineering has solved some of the reliability problems. Jeep enthusiasts have a term for their toys. JEEP=Just Empty Every Pocket!

I remember in the mid to late 1990’s how I would always see some car burning oil and smoking profusely. It seemed that it would be some Chrysler product more often than not. These weren’t like old beaters either. They were like 5 year old cars with a decent finish except for the black coating all over the rear end of the car.

I would stay away from any new product, especially a Chrysler poroduct. Three years from now there will be more history to judge from.

Was a little leary about using it. Didn’t want to offend but it made some sense to me. Maybe the next Mrs. SameMountainBike will be just the opposite; the nicest person in world whose only vices include an arm ful of tats and a liking for SAABs and Jeeps. Here’s hoping for the best.

I will say this about my neighbor’s Jeep; performance wise, it is an awesome SUV. There are few cars out there that go off road, handle nearly like a car and with their package, can tow 7500 lbs. It makes a 4Runner look like a wannabe piker. Will it still be doing it 10 years later like our 4Runner ? . Don’t have a clue.

Dag, don’t ever be afraid. There’s absolutely nothing you can say regarding marriage and divorce that will offend me. She and her lawyer took care of that… in open court. And gossip.

I’m looking for that lady you describe. But it isn’t important to actually find her. I’m perfectly happy the way things are. Besides, I do know a blond haired, petite beauty with curls down to her hips and big, deep blue eyes that may be the nicest, kindest, gentlest, most self-sacrificing, and gorgeous woman I’ve ever known. Perhaps some day she’ll realize it. Meanwhile, we’ve had some absolutely wonderful evenings together recently…
Sorry. I’ll snap out of it now.

But thanks for the thought, Dag.

Fix It Again Tony

Not the best owners for Jeep . . .

The engine is produced by VM Motori Cento in Italy which is controlled by Fiat. Other than the Lancia Thema the only vehicles with this engine are the Grand Cherokee and most recently the Ram 1500. The Transmission is the ZF 8spd used in Chryslers/Dodges as well as lots of high end cars like BMW & Audi. Pretty new engine but the company has been making Diesel engines for years under several corporate owners (GM/Penske among many)

Yeah, another friend who had a slightly newer version of the Jeep my brother had would agree about the off-road capability. He said it was the best of any 4WD he had ever owned or driven. That was when it was driving down the road and not sitting at the garage being worked on. This one was truly a “Just Empty Every Pocket” as he spent more on the repairs each month than the monthly payment. He had lots of fluid leaks, a rear differential fail catastrophically when a tire blew at highway speeds, more electronic and transmission electronic problems than you can describe, among many others. He traded it in on a Nissan and never had any issues. His next car after that was a Nissan. Before the Jeep, he had like 3 other Chryslers which were all junk. I hear similar stories from other past Chrysler owners.

Basically, I was wondering if maybe things had changed and this might not actually be a bad vehicle. We will see as my brother will be the first one to complain when it starts going bad.

Yeah, another friend who had a slightly newer version of the Jeep my brother had would agree about the off-road capability. He said it was the best of any 4WD he had ever owned or driven.

Which Jeep you talking about. The Grand Cherokee wasn’t that good for off-road because of it’s uni-body construction.

The 4wd system sold by Chryco and built at the New Process Gear plant - only 40% of all 4wd systems went to Chryco. Over 50% went to GM.

“…because of it’s uni-body construction.”

Just a friendly reminder that unibody construction does not mean in and of itself, a car can’t tow or be an effective off road vehicle. Models of the Jeep Cherokee, Pathfinder and others were effective off road and could tow as much as comparable ladder frame vehicles. The Expedition is much worse off road with it’s full frame as are many full size Ford and GMC trucks compared to early Jeep Cherokee, previous Cherokee, Grand and some Pathfinders. . The Honda Pilot, except for lack of low gearing are much more effective then some of these poorly designed undercarriage of full size trucks. Yes, unibody compact and mid cars are poor because the unibody is primarily designed with space savings in mind, but if off roading and towing are considered in the design, they can be quite effective. Some models of the Grand Cherokee with body elevating air suspension are quite good and with properly placed skid plates, can be excellent. Tow capable of 7400 lbs ain’t too shabby either.
AAMOF, Other then the Wramgler, the Jeep name has made a “living” on making some (not all) unibody SUVs that were and are pretty darn good off road.

Mercedes has a nice 3.5 diesel. WHY can’t an American car co make a similar motor and drop it in a pickup? 400lb torque. I think Mercedes even has a smaller 4cyl diesel they are finally offering to US customers.

Models of the Jeep Cherokee, Pathfinder and others were effective off road and could tow as much as comparable ladder frame vehicles.

Yes they did have the same towing rate as a body on frame truck. If you towed only 2-5 times a year and didn’t always tow the max amount…then a uni-body is fine. But I sure wouldn’t want to be towing 4500lbs with a unibody vehicle that’s capable of towing 5000lbs (class III) 10-20 times a year with each trip being 100+ miles. I don’t think it’ll hold up nearly as well. My 98 pathfinder was a unibody. It was showing signs of towing stress when I gave it to my daughter and bought my 05 4runner. I town 10-20 times a year. Some trips were several hundred miles. The last year I didn’t take any long trips because I didn’t trust it.

My 4runner now has as many miles as my Pathfinder did when I gave it to my daughter…and it’s not showing any signs of towing stress. The body-on-frame is much more suited for towing and off roading.

A couple of big problems with unibody and off-roading…

#1 - Vehicle twist/flex. Not good for a unibody. If you don’t go crazy then a unibody can do fine. But you won’t find any deep expeditions with a unibody vehicle.

#2 - Inability to add a lift (at least not easily). You have to change out the suspension on a unibody. You can get some lift…but not much. With a body-on-frame…much easier and cheaper to lift. I agree lifting isn’t required for off-roading…but if you want to do some rock climbing or some deep-woods trails…a lift is a must.

#3 - I don’t car how good of an off-roader you are…things happen. And fixing a off-roading accident on a body-on-frame vehicle is usually a lot easier and cheaper then a unibody.

I will agree that 95% of people don’t tow that much…and don’t do any deep-woods off-roading - so a unibody SUV is fine. With my youngest going off to college in a couple of years…I think my towing will drop to just 3-5 times a year…and I doubt I’ll be doing much off-roading since my wife isn’t to mountain climbing as much as my youngest and I are.