Arctic blue metallic paint – Heated cashmere leather buckets – 5 passenger seating – 8” touchscreen w/navigation – Weighs 3,900 lbs. – Bose premium 10 speaker stereo with subwoofer and 552 watt amplifier – V-6 with 3.5 liter – 260 horsepower / torque is 240 lb. ft. – Continuously variable automatic transmission – All wheel drive and power tailgate – Backup camera and intelligent cruise control – $44,165.00 Window Sticker – 28 MPG on the highway – 24 MPG combined rating – 21 MPG city. 19 gallon tank – Made in Canton, Mississippi
Chestnut bronze metallic paint – Heated Canberra (beige) leather buckets – 5 passenger seating – 6.5” touchscreen w/navigation – Weighs 3,600 lbs. – Harman/Kardon premium stereo – 2 liter twin turbo four – 228 horsepower – torque is 258 lb. ft. – 8 Speed automatic transmission – All wheel drive – Backup camera $46,320.00 Window Sticker – 31 MPG on the highway – 25 MPG combined rating – 22 MPG city – 16.1 gallon tank – Made in Regensburg, Germany
As a little boy, my brothers and I (yes, the Wright brothers) got tiny plastic cars for Christmas one year with the make of car embossed over the back window. They were about the size of a spool of thread, and we thought one of them was a “FLAT”. The word Fiat, stamped on the toy, was foreign to us little guys and besides, no such cars were to be seen near Fullerton, Nebraska. We learned much later that we had been playing with a Fiat 500 replica.
Italian automaker Fiat built automobiles in New York prior to World War II, and at the start of the conflict production in this country ceased. They re-appeared in the U.S. in the 1950’s and sourced the backronym “Fix It Again, Tony” as a reference to rust and reliability problems. In fact, I bought a 1968 Fiat roadster that was riddled with rust and after a trip to the bodyshop, drove it for several years during my Air Force assignment in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
I enjoyed the little red Fiat and had a dream of trading for the bigger 124 Spider, but marriage terminated my sports car ownership days and I replaced the Fiat with a Datsun sedan.
I was thrilled in 2014 when I heard that Fiat was going to resurrect the venerable 124 Spider, and as it turned out they built it on Mazda’s MX-5 Miata platform in a joint venture project. A 2017 model was loaned to me for a week recently and I was able to give it a rather thorough analysis.
It had an M.S.R.P. of $27,285.00, and that price included a technology package with a 7″ display, XM radio, backup camera, and proximity keyless entry. Drivetrain is a 1.4 liter, 160 horsepower turbo-4 and transmission is a pleasing 6-speed manual. The vehicle is rear-wheel drive, handles like a dream and the top is a snap to put up and down (manually). This 124 is a big step forward for Fiat Chrysler.
The BMW was taken to Pirate Radio for analysis by George Gray and Matt Arguello during the Morning Show. Listen…….
Mineral Grey charcoal metallic paint – Heated Tera (brown) leather buckets – Four passenger seating with rear coach doors – 6.5” touchscreen w/navigation – Weighs 2,899 lbs. – Harman/Kardon premium stereo – All-electric power – 170 horsepower Torque is 184 lb. ft. – two cylinder gas “range extender”, 650cc engine – Rear wheel drive – Backup camera – $54,695.00 Window Sticker – 111 MPGe on the highway – 35 MPG combined rating – 2.4 gallon tank – 97 miles of all-electric range – 83 miles range on gas – Made in Leipzig, Germany
Titanium Glow silver metallic paint – Heated black SofTex leatherette buckets – 4 passenger seating – 11.6” touchscreen – Rear seat tablet holder – Radar cruise control – Weighs 3,375 lbs. – JBL ten speaker stereo – Pushbutton start & Quad-LED headlamps and LED fog lamps – 1.8 liter 121 hybrid system horsepower – torque is 105 lb. ft. – CVT automatic transmission and front-wheel drive – Backup camera – $36,305.00 Window Sticker – 133 MPGe on the highway – 54 MPG combined rating – 11.3 gallon tank (640 miles of range)
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee was introduced as a premium mid-sized SUV in 1993, with its first introduction at the N. American International Auto Show at Cobo arena in Detroit. It is currently in its fourth generation configuration and has always featured unibody construction.
The car is on a hot streak, being named a Consumer Digest “best buy” for the seventh consecutive year. Since 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee annual sales have topped 200,000 on seven different occasions, including last year. And the 2017 4×4 Grand Cherokee such as I recently tested has been awarded a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
My Grand Cherokee test vehicle for June was a Velvet Red Pearl Limited 4×4 that carried an M.S.R.P. of $46,680.00. I’m partial to red equipment and with the 18″ double ten-spoke gray wheels the Jeep was quite attractive. A black leather interior was on hand including heat in front and rear seats, 506-watt XM stereo, 8.4″ touchscreen display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, navigation system, blind spot detection, power-tilt steering column, and 9 speakers with a subwoofer.
The Grand Cherokee is a mid-sized SUV and seats five with cargo room in the rear of 36.3 cubic feet. If the second row seating is folded flat that number increases to 68.3 cubic feet. The Jeep wheelbase is 114.8″, length is 189.8″, and the weight is 4,677 lbs. The ride, interior noise suppression, handling and guidance on the highway are all on target and visibility is good, as well.
When driving my test Jeep with Ruth, my wife, I often requested that she handle the gear shift when getting underway. At first I am sure she thought I was nuts, but what I wanted her to experience was the deluxe “feel” associated with the transmission control. It seems that the Jeep is definitely a “high touch”, and a “high utility” luxury SUV.
I mentioned the wheels, and can add that tires mounted on them were Michelin Premier LTX 265/60R18 all-season radials. Of course the Jeep is a 4×4 with Quadra-Trac active on-demand system and electronic limited-slip differential. Select-Track options while driving include Track, Sport, Auto, Snow and Tow modes. Additionally, the Jeep had a trailer tow group of options with receiver hitch, wiring harness, etc.
Power for the Grand Cherokee Limited is supplied by a 3.6 liter (220 c.i.d.) Pentastar 24-valve V-6 with 295 horsepower, 260 lb. ft. or torque, and stop-start technology. It is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission with, as Jeep describes it, a “Classic style” shifter. Economy ratings are 25 mpg-highway, 18 mpg-city, and 21 mpg-combined, and my observance was at 21.4 mpg during my time with the Jeep.
It’s evident to me why the venerable Grand Cherokee has had such staying power for almost a quarter-century.
Blizzard Pearl White metallic – Heated gray/cinnamon leather buckets and heated steering wheel – Navigation system with 7” touchscreen – Radar, or adaptive cruise control – LED headlights and taillamps – Power moonroof – JBL 9 speaker stereo – 176 horsepower 2.5 liter 4 with dual overhead cams – 6 Speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – Blind spot monitor, backup/around view camera, foot operated power tailgate, and lane watch – Forward emergency braking and 18” alloy wheels – $39,666.00 – 28 highway-22 city-24 combined MPG – Made in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
Blue Streak metallic – Charcoal gray leather-trimmed ultra suede heated buckets – 5 passenger seating – 7” touchscreen with navigation – Radar cruise control – Keyless entry and backup camera – LED daytime running lights, LED taillights – Power moonroof and remote engine start – JBL premium sound stereo w/ 10 speakers – Blind spot monitor and lane departure warning system – 268 horsepower 3.5 liter V-6 – 248 lb. ft. of torque – 6 speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, and front-wheel drive – $35,903.00 – EPA rating is 21 MPG city , 24 MPG combined rating and 30 MPG highway