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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.
Have you been anxiously waiting for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee? In spite of long delays the company is finally getting its act together and the new compact SUV should start to arrive at dealerships over the next 10 days.
General Motors might offer off-road versions of the next-generation SUVs unveiled earlier this month.
Top 10 Places to go Off-Roading This Summer
Wrangler sales are climbing, both month-over-month and year-over-year. Causing consternation among its fan base, the brand is also preparing to revive the Cherokee nameplate.
It rides on the same underpinnings as the Dodge Dart, but Chrysler swears on the Rubicon Trail that its new small SUV will be off-road credible.
True, this is the same brand that calls its stodgy Compass a “trail rated” vehicle. Ignoring the foibles, some of the coolest off-road machines come with a Jeep badge.
Bearing that in mind, here’s AutoGuide’s list of the 10 best places in the U.S. to take your Jeep (or any other off-road capable machine) in no particular order.
Factory Built Off-Road Machines Battle for Your Love
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
With success and plenty of awards being flung at the company’s compact luxury SUV, the Ranger Rover Evoque, volume sales seem more reasonable for the British brand than they might a few years ago.
Still, the new Defender will have a steep hill to climb if it is to overcome the mighty Toyota Hilux, which recently became the first vehicle to conquer the Magnetic North Pole.
Perhaps spurred on by popular sales figures for the Evoque, Land Rover boss John Edwards said he hopes the company will grow into a global brand instead of a brand being sold globally. That statement might seem a little bold in the face of only 20,000 defenders selling next to the 549,000 Hilux units sold in 2011.
Part of doing that will be offering more than one popular seller, which the Defender might be — if the company can settle on a design. The Defender DC100 concept got its North American debut last week in New York, but it’s still not clear if that model will make it to production.
Land Rover will also have its reputation for dubious reliability to contend with, especially if it hopes to challenge Toyota, a brand built on its dependability image, despite recent controversy.
The concepts heading to Moab, Utah this year are the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept, Wrangler Apache concept, Mighty FC concept, J-12 Conversion concept, Mopar Accessorized Wrangler, and the Wrangler Traildozer concept.
The video includes soundbites from President and CEO of Jeep Brand, Mike Manley and Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care. Along with the feedback from them, we get a better look at all six concepts inside and out.
Watch the video of the 2012 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts after the break.
This year the team stepped it up a notch, announcing six new Jeep concepts. Mopar has also announced an off-road division that will create authentic Jeep parts and accessories.
“The Jeep Safari has long been a great way for Jeep to connect with its core audience. We look forward to spending the week demonstrating our latest potential production and customization ideas and gathering instant feedback from the most knowledgable 4×4 enthusiasts in the world,” Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley said.
Mopar president and CEO Pietro Gorlier addded that “Mopar is tapping into a growing trend among extreme Jeep enthusiasts who want even more power and capability on the trail. This year, Mopar is pushing the envelope in this arena by offering our customers new Pro 60 portal axles and a new HEMI conversion kit, which we will showcase in those new vehicles. In addition, to further maximize our presence in the off-road market, we are creating a Mopar Off-Road division to develop Jeep Authentic Parts and Accessories.”
Chrysler released details on the Mopar Jeep Compass “True North” today, along with three other vehicles meant to mark their 75th anniversary, all of which will be on display at the 2012 Chicago International Auto Show.
Here’s what we’ve learned about the modified Compass since we published our earlier story featuring photos of all four cars.
First, we’ve found that Mopar knows better than to tinker with a Jeep owner’s pavement-optional perspective. They say it’s still an off-road capable, trail-rated vehicle, though nothing Mopar does really adds, or subtracts anything. The only modification that makes the “True North” Compass any more viable in the bush is the added brush bars on the front and back that might keep your undercarriage a bit safer from rocks.
That said, this is anything but a rock crawler. Realistically, most Compass owners probably don’t go off-roading unless you count driving on the beach or through a snowy parking lot.
The modifications are superficial, but at least they make the Compass look a lot cooler. For example, the two-tone burnt orange and matte black grille and bumper make the car look less like a boring suburb spelunker and more like a stylish SUV. The same matte black accents surround the front and rear fog lights and run along the edge of the fenders and fascia.
The interior really plays up the Compass’s appeal to the young outdoorsy types it’s aimed at. Mopar even added neoprene seats. Yup, the same synthetic rubber material that half the stuff in REI is made of. It’s a cool touch that screams out to people who own CamelBacks and Nalgene bottles.
A center stack gauge pod holds pitch and roll meters if you do decide to take that risky first trip into the wild, though you won’t be doing it without modern amenities. Aside from little interior touches, the last big change is a Kicker sounds system the company says transforms the car into a “rolling high-end sound studio.” We’re not sure what sort of audio work people do on camping trips, but maybe you can enlighten us in the comments box below.
GALLERY: 2012 Mopar Jeep Compass “True North”
Off-roaders may want to listen up, this is your lucky day. Land Rover has confirmed production for the next-gen Defender SUV. The British automaker intends to launch a new Defender in 2015, and the concept version (DC100) will be present at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
Gerry McGovern, Director of Design for Land Rover weighed in on the issue saying, “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”
The next-gen Defender is likely to be quite different than the old version in several ways. It will have a more refined design with more technological features and modern structural materials. However the new version will likely stick to the traditional simplistic approach for which the Defender is well-known.
John Edwards, Global Brand Director, Land Rover added:”Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market. We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalize the details of the new vehicle. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an exciting journey, and we can’t wait to get going.”