AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
10. Mazda CX-5 $20,995
Crossovers continue to be one of the most competitive new car segments in the industry, and that’s a good thing for car buyers. With more and more entries into the market, prices have dropped across the board. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 cheapest crossover vehicles.
10. Jeep Compass (tie): 52.7%
Ever wonder just how different men are from women when it comes to picking their vehicle of choice? Here’s a top 10 list of vehicles with the highest proportion of female buyers, provided by Polk via InsideLine. There are a few unexpected models on the list, and a couple of models that, to our surprise, are missing.
Tied for 10th is the Jeep Compass, the only American vehicle on the list. In a way it makes sense, the Compass never gets the respect it deserves, packing a four-cylinder engine and hardly has the rugged off-road ethos that traditional Jeep fans embrace. So in our most sexist tone possible, it makes sense that women embrace the Compass – no really, it’s Jeep’s baby SUV.
Back in January, Jeep launched a competition called “Name My Ride.” It was set up to find the perfect name for Jeep’s latest special edition models.
Much to the company’s surprise, the contest drew in well over 100,000 entries from Jeep enthusiasts, with “Altitude” as the winning name.
Now Jeep is taking the name to new heights but releasing not one, but three models: the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude editions. Each of these vehicles will receive some special treatment, which starts with the “blacked-out” look you see above.
The Grand Cherokee’s exterior gets a grille surround appearing in black gloss, and mesh grille texture in platinum chrome. A platinum chrome lower fascia applique completes the unique front-end appearance. Black headlamp bezels and a black liftgate light bar continue the theme throughout the vehicle’s exterior. It also gets 20-inch black gloss alloy wheels.
Inside you’ll get leather-trimmed heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a 9-speaker 506-watt sound system with subwoofer, iPod/MP3 connectivity, back-up camera, rear-park assist system, Keyless Enter-N-Go, plus Chrysler Group’s Uconnect hands-free communications system.
Available in six colors, this special edition Grand Cherokee will be available from May with a $35,595 starting price for 4×2 models and $37,595 for 4×4 models.
The Compass and Patriot get a similar styling treatment, albeit with 18-inch and 17-inch wheels respectively. Only four colors are available for the Compass Altitude edition with pricing starting at $22,190 for 4×2 models and $23,940 for 4×4 models.
The Patriot Altitude edition is also available in four colors and its pricing starts at $20,240 for 4×2 models and $23,275 for 4×4 models.
Jeep has seen a 34 percent increase in sales in 2012 and they are certainly hoping to up that figure even more with these new special editions. Pending success, maybe the Liberty and Wrangler will get similar treatment.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Compass Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Patriot Altitude
Heading to the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show is a concept Jeep Compass that is “production-intent” according to Jeep Europe. Those familiar with Jeep products might find this Black Look concept Compass strangely similar to the 2012 Mopar Jeep Compass True North – save the different wheels and paint job.
An all-new black exterior along with glossy black step pads, and 18-inch gloss black wheels give this Compass its name. The dark black accents cover the grille, bumpers and trim, fog light surround, and side mirrors. Even the headlights have gotten some dark black painted accents inside the housing.
“UConnect multimedia navigation and infotainment system with Bluetooth UConnect Phone and 9-speaker premium Boston Acoustics sound system deliver maximum comfort, information and entertainment on board.” Jeep’s European division says about the interior. Other interior accessories include leather seats, front and rear bright sill covers.
Powering the Compass is a 2.2L turbo diesel engine with 163-hp and 237 lb-ft of torque combined with a Freedom Drive permanent all-wheel drive.
The modifications gave a bit of practical improvement while leaving the SUV’s off-road ability untouched. Among those changes, front and rear brush bars offer the Compass’ underside some protection. Beyond that, the Mopar treatment is strictly cosmetic. A two-tone burnt orange and matte black finish make it look more aggressive, as do the larger fenders.
Inside, the car gets neoprene seats, which is a cool touch for a vehicle aimed at outdoorsy types. The dashboard also gets tilt and pitch gauges, which would be a cool edition for a trail rated vehicle if we hadn’t touched them and the carbon fiber shifter knob was also a cool touch. Unfortunately, the unit felt like flimsy and poorly attached. Finally The car also got an improved sound system which we could see working well during beach nights or camping trips where the flip-down rear speakers get their best use.
Have a look through our gallery and lend us your thoughts in the comments section.
GALLERY: Mopar Jeep Compass “True North”
Jeep has scrapped plans to build a replacement for their Patriot and Compass SUVs in Italy, and will instead build a subcompact Jeep product in Italy that will also be badged as a Fiat in world markets.
The car will replace the Fiat Sedici, which is itself based on the Suzuki SX4. Jeep will then build a replacement for their two small SUVs, as well as an Alfa Romeo-badged variant in Illinois.
The Compass/Patriot will eventually be replaced by a single model that will likely ride on the same architecture as the Alfa Giulietta, that will also underpin a replacement for the Dodge Caliber.
[Source: Automotive News]
With Fiat’s backing, Jeep is building a small crossover that takes direct aim at MINI’s Countryman. Will it still be Trail Rated?
Because the Patriot and Compass weren’t, which must have been hard for Jeep to resist slapping them with “Trail Rated” badges. This crossover will be even smaller than those two, based on a Fiat platform but developed out of Detroit.
The internal designation for the crossover is “SS,” which, according to Chrysler, stands for “super sport” and not what you think it does. Like the Compass and Patriot, it will start with front-drive and have the option of AWD, with a simple torsion-beam rear suspension and electronic braking for traction control.
A spate of Fiat motors will be available: the 1.4-liter Multiair unit from the Fiat 500, which may use turbocharging to get the heavier crossover going. In Europe, it will make do with an 875cc two-cylinder with 100 horsepower; in America, it’ll probably have 150 horsepower instead. And attached to this will be Chrysler’s new automatic gearbox with nine speeds; just in case you wanted to one-up your Porsche-driving neighbors in any way possible.
The mini-Jeepster will come by 2013, at the earliest. And as the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle in Jeep’s lineup, it should fare well against the Countryman and keep any manufacturer-average emissions regulations at bay.
[Source: Car And Driver]
Hard-hitting Consumer Reports, recently tested a plethora of updated Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, revealing that while Detroit’s number three automaker has made significant gains in terms of vehicle improvement, levels of quality between vehicles remain varied and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Speaking at CR’s Auto Test Center, located in East Haddam, Connecticut, David Champion, senior director at the center, said, “we see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”
The models rated as the most significantly improved, were the re-designed seven-passenger Dodge Durango SUV and the 2011 Charger full-size sedan, both of which received ‘very good’ ratings during CR road tests.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan also received a ‘Very Good’ rating, however other vehicles tested at the same time, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, as well as Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, while still improved over their predecessors, were still rated as ‘mediocre’ by the publication.
Consumer Reports also said that in terms of overall reliability, based on its Annual Auto Survey, Chrysler vehicles still rank below average, in fact scoring the lowest overall road test scores for any major automaker. In the last three years, CR has only only given a single Chrysler vehicle a ‘recommended’ rating, the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup.
The results from the eight 2011 Chrysler models tested will appear in the August issue of Consumer Reports, the publication had planned to also include the Fiat 500, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, but those vehicles weren’t available for testing at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see what the magazine makes of those when it gets around to evaluating them.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Chrysler has said that it is recalling some 11,351 vehicles from the 2011 model year, including Chrysler 200s and Town & Country minivans, Dodge Avengers, Calibers, Journeys, Nitros and Grand Caravans, as well as Jeep Compass, Patriot and Wrangler models.
The problem? An incorrectly installed steering column rivet that could potentially cause the steering system to fail, resulting in loss of vehicle control and even an accident.
The automaker said the cause of the problem was “improper identification of rejected components by new employees during the second shift.” Out of some 14,000 steering columns Chrysler inspected, it found that seven of them boasted missing or incorrect rivets.
So far the Auburn Hills, Michigan automaker has said there have been no consumer complaints nor records of accidents or injuries resulting from the issue. Nevertheless, owners of the affected vehicles will be notified starting next month and urged to contact their nearest Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer to have the problem fixed free of charge.
[Source: The Detroit News]
For some, the Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, where off-roaders from across the world to tackle the trails of Utah’s Red Rock country, is a big deal. So big, in fact, that Jeep is choosing the mid-April event to unveil six new models hopped up by Mopar.
These six models range from turning the mild-mannered Compass into something less embarrassing, to the sort of rock-crawling, nitrous-injected, rollover-prone monsters that crash in spectacular fashion on Youtube. There’s something for every off-road enthusiast in here—especially for those who may be forced to drive through a Camel Trophy trail on the way to dropping their kids off at school.
The Wrangler above is the wildest of the bunch: ready for rock crawling and off-road racing, Mopar jammed a 426-in aluminum HEMI in there good for 540 horsepower, 39-inch tires attached to custom driveshafts, and a full cage enveloping racing seats and a fuel cell. The other two Wranglers are “tamer” in comparison: the silver one is dubbed “Pork Chop” and is an exercise in weight savings, while the black Wrangler is a V8-powered Renegade that harkens back to the CJs of the 1970s.
For those that aren’t ready to go tearing up the rocks, Mopar also prepped some milder models, including a Grand Cherokee with skid plates and handsome 32″ wheels, and a Compass that’s actually Trail-Rated. The most interesting is the safari-ready Liberty, which is actually a diesel model from overseas where they still call it the Cherokee. White steel rims and questionable zebra striping add to the jungle-ready look.
Jeep is launching an ambitious campaign in Europe to boost sales eight-fold by 2014, with a new premium small SUV helping to lead the way.
The next generation Jeep Compass is expected to debut around 2014, and will be based on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and the Compass will also share DNA with a new Alfa Romeo crossover. The Jeep will be able to move upmarket, and position itself against compact SUVs from premium European brands. A diesel engine will also be offered, and is considered an essential part of the Jeep sales plan.
Currently, Jeep sells about 15,000 vehicles in Europe, making their target highly ambitious. Even Land Rover only manages to move about 75,000 trucks a year in the region. Jeep hopes to clear this hurdle by bringing out an all-new product lineup, including a revised, diesel powered Liberty (sold as the Cherokee), a Grand Wagoneer based on the current Grand Cherokee, and an updated Wrangler. Lancia stores will also become partnered with Jeep, giving the brand some 800 outlets to sell their wares.
The last time the Jeep Grand Cherokee was sold in Japan, only 88 units found homes among Japanese buyers. After a hiatus for 2010, Chrysler is re-introducing the SUV on March 12, and is ambitiously targeting sales of between 500 and 1,000 units.
Chrysler sold a high of 15,000 vehicles in 1996, but sold only 2,350 last year. Chrysler’s top selling vehicle in Japan remains the Jeep Compass, with 760 units sold in 2010. The Chrysler 200 and 300 are both slated to arrive by 2013, although both cars, like the Grand Cherokee, seem more suited for North American, rather than Japanese tastes.
[Source: Automotive News]
The diesel will be a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, sourced from the Fiat mothership and built by VM Motori. It’ll come in two forms: one with 188 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque, and the other with 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft, which also gets around 28 miles per gallon.
Meanwhile at Geneva, Jeep will introduce 70th Anniversary Editions of all its models, including the Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited, Patriot, and Compass. The package includes exterior trim packages, brushed-aluminum door sills, 18-inch wheels, and some nifty badges; the interior will get Dark Olive perforated leather seats, shiny trim, and Berber floor mats.
The Jeep Compass doesn’t get much respect. As a 4-cylinder, car based Jeep, it never really fit with the brand’s rugged off-road ethos, and some Jeep fans mocked its weak constitution on anything but paved roads.
For 2011, the Compass gets a substantial refresh, hoping to trade on the looks of its big brother, the Grand Cherokee. Since the Compass is still Jeep’s baby SUV, fuel economy is a major selling point, with an estimated 28 mpg for the Compass.
Big changes include a (much needed) improvement in the interior, with soft touch plastics and better build quality, as well as a more advanced AWD system that is now “Trail Rated” in Jeep parlance. Power comes from the familiar 2.0L and 2.4L 4-cylinder Chrysler engines, backed up by a CVT gearbox.
Gallery: 2011 Jeep Compass
Jeep‘s entry-level Compass model could get a diesel powerplant when the current soft-roader is replaced with an all-new model in 2013. According to officials at Chrysler, the replacement vehicle for both the Compass and Patriot could get an oil-burner which would be sourced from Chrysler’s new Italian owners at Fiat.
Currently the Compass is sold with a diesel engine in other markets, although that powerplant is made by Mercedes-Benz, making 164-hp and 236 ft-lbs of torque while getting 43-mpg.
Recent reports have suggested an huge influx of diesel powertrains will be coming to America, from the likes of Mazda, Volvo and even General Motors, however, none of the rumors have been confirmed. Of all automakers currently selling Diesels in the U.S., Volkswagen is perhaps best known, although it’s not clear of the business case is a profitable one as diesels are expensive to manufacture.
Were the Compass to be offered as a diesel, it wouldn’t be cheap with a likely price of around $28,000.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the 2012 Dodge Viper will be produced, and will move towards a more “upscale” position, abandoning its “racecar” heritage. The vehicle was previewed at Chrysler‘s dealer meeting in Orlando.
Autoblog reported that the design is angular, and a departure from the previous car. No mechanical details were announced but a variant of the 8.4L V10 may return, with a V8 filling an entry level role.
Among other products debuted were an all new Dodge Grand Caravan, which will differentiate itself from the Chrysler Town & Country by appealing to a sportier customer, including a limited edition “Man Van”, the all new Chrysler 300, which will be sold as a Lancia in Europe and a replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot crossovers.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Jeep fans who were up in arms about the Compass and Patriot crossovers will have a no reason to get aggravated; a new video that purports to go inside Jeep’s design studios apparently show a new crossover based on a C-segment Fiat.
Aside from the illustration, we can also see a clay model in the video, suggesting that the car is still pretty early on in the design stage. Truthfully, it doesn’t look bad but we can almost hear the cries from hardcore Wrangler owners and internet pundits who will forever treat this Jeep as an unwanted stepchild.
Alfa Romeo fans are bracing themselves amid credible reports of an SUV joining the ranks of the Italian marque’s lineup. Autoguide previously reported on an Alfa Romeo SUV as a key product for their North American return.
Targeting vehicles like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, the Alfa crossover will be built on an all-new platform designed to replace the Jeep Compass and Patriot. Expect the Alfa to use a version of the Q4 AWD system, but details surrounding engine and transmissions remain murky.
Despite the uneasiness surrounding an Alfa 4×4, remember that the Porsche Cayenne was originally derided, but went on to gain acceptance and help Porsche return to profitability. If this new Alfa can do the same, then bring it on.