Jeep — Full line gives breadth to change

By Al Vinikour

One of the most iconic brands in the entire auto industry is Jeep. Everyone knows the history of Jeep, from its indoctrination under fire in World War II to present day versatility. What most people don’t realize, however, is the work that’s been going on behind the scenes to create the brand’s entire line for 2011.

Jeep Grand Cherokee — Still goes anywhere, on or off-road

 By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

In designing its all-new Grand Cherokee, Jeep had two distinct goals.

The first was to build an engaging family hauler to compete with the vast array of compact and mid-sized crossover products now available and thereby gain a bigger slice of the segment pie.

The second was to keep Jeep’s vaunted off-road “Trail Rated” capability intact, a trait not found in most crossovers, which are simply minivan and station wagon replacements for suburban families.

Jeep Commander commands respect on and off road

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

“Is that another new Hummer?” a woman asked coming out of a restaurant as we opened the door to the 2006 Jeep Commander.

The newest Jeep is well named. It commands attention. It looks a lot like a Jeep Cherokee — discontinued after the 2001 model year — on steroids. And yes, it has a passing resemblance to the big over-the-top Hummer H2 from General Motors.

The blocky Commander won’t win any automotive beauty prizes. But then the Cherokee was not a styling champion either.

Jeep Patriot — traditional Jeep values

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

We agree that the Jeep Patriot properly equipped is the most adept of the growing number of compact crossover vehicles at handling off-road conditions.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited — more fun with two more doors

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

A door to the rear seats has made the king of off-roading a more family-oriented vehicle.

Last year the Jeep Wrangler was finally — after decades as a two-door — stretched into a four-door sport utility vehicle. Better to compete against the Hummer H3 and Nissan Xterra. The extra doors and the extra length have done nothing to detract from the truck's well-documented off-road prowess.