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Overview of Smittybilt Winches and Accessories

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When you’re looking for a go-to recovery system, a Smittybilt winch possesses the pulling power to get your Jeep out of muddy jams. The Smittybilt winch line features everything from traditional winches to an amphibious technology series. All of these products sport power, reliability, and performance and you can always depend on Smittybilt winches to bail you out of the most severe situations.
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Classic Willy Was The First Vehicle To Trek Old Man Range In 1934

A pre Jeep Willy was the first vehicle to cross Otago’s Old Man Range (now Waikaia Bush Road) back in 1934. It was a harrowing trip that nearly killed the driver, Ted Cronin. Kathryn Bennie (Cronin’s granddaughter) tells the tale of her grandfather’s early Jeep adventure for New Zealand 4WD. Read More


The Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 Redesign

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 Redesign is better than ever

In This Article


Jeep Has Been An Off-Road Icon Since The Old World War II Movie Days

When I was little I watched a lot of World War Two B&W films at the local cineplex. There was reel after reel of live war footage and in all of it Jeeps were prominently featured. That got me hooked on Jeeps from a young age though it was a while into my adulthood that I actually owned one.

The thing was, they were gas guzzlers. The Cherokee and JK had four-litre V6s and the Grand Cherokee had a V8. They were great off-roading vehicles but even before the gas lines of the Carter years they were a little too fuel rich for my budget. Well, it has been a while since I was a young adult and in that time all three of those Jeep models have had remodel after remodel and the actual company has been owner by various corporate parents.

Some will have cultural resistance towards the way things have gone for Jeep. People forget that Fiat is not inexperienced in making off-road vehicles. Defense contracting is a big part of their business. Fiat also produced the Russian Lada! Fiat has good engineers. There is no reason to believe they can not coordinate with the Chrysler team to bring Jeep enthusiasts cars they want to buy with upgraded tech and new features. BACK TO TOPJeep Grand Cherokee 2013 looks very similar on the outside to the 2010 model

The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Is New But Still Familiar

And in fact, in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee

It was only in 2010 that a completely reworked Jeep Grand Cherokee was launched. It even had a new platform based on that the latest Mercedes Benz ML, which made sense because Mercedes owned Jeep at that time. What was driven for the purposes of this piece was the 210k/347Nm Pentastar 3.6-litre V6. It had height adjustable air suspension, and an improved terrain selector system uncannily similar to that fitted to latest Range Rover products, and including a fully-automatic setting.

The outside really does look pretty much the same as it did in 2010. The upper grille is shorter in height and the bi-xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps are thinner. There are also LED daytime running lights. There is better ground clearance because the lower front spoiler has been elevated. The foglights stand out more. They have been raised and they have a fascia design inside.

In the back there are new, larger tail lamps with LED lighting, a larger, more aerodynamic rear spoiler, and a re-sculpted tailgate that offers greater visibility. A more pronounced Jeep badge is now found directly on the tailgate between the tail lamps, and dual exhaust tips are standard on the Limited version that was tested.

The interior is pretty slick. The almost-black tinted wood finish on the dash and doors is lux like. There is white hand-stitching in the black leather seat and armrest trim. The center console and the air vents have a trim made of something that does a good job of simulating titanium. It is lux looking without being ostentatious.

The console itself has been redone. The main feature is a new Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen. This gives a wide-ranging array of features, including the very well done satellite navigation. There is Bluetooth connectivity for both phone and iPod, with the excellent sound system feeding nine premium Alpine speakers, including subwoofer, and powered by a 506W digital amplifier. There is a camera in the back bumper so you can see what you are doing when you are in reverse. There is another one in the front bumper. You can even go Star Trek style and speak some of the commands for some of the features. People who enjoy bringing their tunes with them can plug into the sound system using AUX, USB and SD car input jacks for both sets of seats. The air conditioning and radio controls are right below the touchscreen. The knobs and buttons are big and easy to identify.

The leather trimmed steering wheel has three strokes and a paddle shifter on the back. You can choose what you want to see on the instrument panel. It is a 7 inch TFT unit where the user sets up which metrics he or she wishes to have displayed. Perhaps you want turn by turn satellite navigation to be on the display. Or maybe you want the display to show wheel articulation when you are rock crawling. You can check out speed, engine revolutions, fuel, temperature of the engine, the terrain setting and the gear setting if you are in manual mode. It has even got a compass.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Is Still A Rugged Ride

The new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee way more fuel efficient. It also allows the car to have a very low overall crawl ratio of 44.4:1. This is up there with the Toyota LC70 manual or the Land Cruiser Prado manual. That is pretty impressive for a luxury automatic. Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 has a luxurious interior

It is a very comfortable ride. The rear and front space is plentiful. The seats are form fitting. The seats are heated and both passengers and driver can electrically adjust their seats. The driver gets lumbar support adjustments and memory settings if there is more than one driver. The rear seats fold in a single action to create more trunk space. They are split 60/40 if you just want to put one section down for something like skies. The rear seats can decline or incline 12 degrees forward or backward. The steering column also adjusts tilt and reach electronically. All this means the driver and passengers get a really good seating position. And if you set up the car properly the air suspension will be on its lowest setting when you get in so there won’t be a climb. The tailgate is also electric.

Trunk space is 1,554 liters when the rear seats are down. The trunk even has a storage unit with a rechargeable flashlight and grocery hooks on either side. The spare tire compartment has removable dual storage bins for secure storage of muddy gear or other items.

BACK TO TOPJeep Grand Cherokee 2013 has front and back electronic seat adjustments plus an electronically adjustable steering column

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 Comes Packed With Safety Features

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 has a safety feature just to stop wheelspin

The Grand Cherokee 2013 has 63 advanced safety and security features. The most important safety feature on the new Grand Cherokee is Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation. What this does is warn you of an impending crash and readies the brakes if necessary. Selec-Speed Control programs the vehicle for climbing and descending steep grades.

The safety features are on the cusp of what we can expect with self-driving cars. Adaptive speed control lets the car sense when you are catching up to the vehicle in front of you and slows you down to the same speed until you are ready to overtake. Stability control encompasses traction control, rollover avoidance and trailer sway control. Passenger safety features include front row active head restraints, full-length side-curtain air bags and seat-mounted side thorax air bags.

For convenience the key fob unlocks the door when you are within a certain number of feet of the car. The vehicle can be started by push button.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 Is Still Off Road Rugged

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 is a rugged rideHere is the specification sheet for the Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013
The Pentastar 210kW/347Nm 3.6-litre V6 gives excellent acceleration off the line for the big Grand Cherokee, ably assisted by the smooth-shifting eight-speed automotatic, which always seems to be in the right place in the power band.

However, sometimes it was a bit slow to react coming out of hard corners, especially after braking hard going in, a problem often encountered as gearboxes are made more simplistic to account for slow-on-the-uptake drivers.

The 3.6 Limited has an electric-hydraulic power steering system, and this was generally quick on the uptake, not quite as vague as some pure electric systems. The same is not true for the handling on tight and twisting roads. This was with the terrain setting on Auto. The ride was super smooth though, with bumps generally getting ironed out. Now Sport Mode is a different story. Everything about the ride is more stiff in Sport mode. There was tighter steering response, faster throttle response and better shifting response. Plus the suspension height lessens in Sport Mode which also improves handling. It was a pleasure driving in Sport Mode.

Once on gravel the low range was selected with the left-hand push button on he control center right by the gear shift lever. This allows the terrain control selector to be used. For the majority of the test it was in Auto. This meant the car itself decided which traction control, steering, brake and gearbox settings would be used for each hazard.

The Limited model is fitted with the latest Quadra-Trac II’s two-speed transfer case which uses input from a variety of sensors to determine tire slip and takes corrective action. The system also senses quick movements in the throttle form a stop and maximizes traction before wheel spin occurs. If it does, though, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 comes with a V6 or a V8

However, the large knob in the middle of the control panel also allows drivers to choose between four more off-road settings, which in turn electronically coordinate up to 12 different powertrain braking and suspension systems (when air suspension is fitted), including throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, hill descent control and Select-Speed Control.

The other settings are Sand, Mud, Snow and Rock. The first three adapt the traction control system to cope with the various surface conditions and limit wheelspin. However, the Rock setting goes a few stages farther.

First, it automatically lifts the bodywork to its maximum height of 278mm. At the same time, it changes the transfer case, differentials and throttle settings to provide low-speed control so drivers can inch their way over big obstacles without crunching the bodywork or getting hooked.

You can also choose your own ride height, with a low Park setting for getting in and out, Normal for driving on smooth roads, giving 221mm of ground clearance, and two off-road settings which lift it to maximum in two equal stages.

There’s also an Eco setting which drops the suspension 15mm, but only operates above 83km/h.

Even with the prodigious suspension travel, though, we still managed to cock a rear wheel high in the air on one short descent off-road, although at no stage did we lose traction, despite being on road-oriented low profile tires.

An interesting experience, and proof that Jeep is determined to continue getting better, and adapting to modern technology without leaving its off-road roots behind.

This review is was originally featured in New Zealand 4WD Magazine.


CJ Bantam is a freelance writer who rights about all things off-road.

Article by CJ Bantam

CJ Bantam is a freelance writer for a variety of publishers in the off-road scene.  He enjoys writing about trucks, Jeeps and SUVs as well as fishing and other outdoor activities. Youc an check CJ out on Google+.



Can The Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Woo Sophisticated Europeans?

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD V6 Front View

In This Article


Jeep Has A History Of Not Being Able To Compete With European Tastes.

The Jeep Brand has a pedigree, to be sure.  It started out utilitarian bouncing around farms, sneaking across battlefields and traversing the impassable before BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota or Mitsubishi truly established as brands.  Jeep may have started out rugged and rather basic but its ability to handing the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific was unquestionable.  Those very roots may have been a liability in the euromarket.


U.S. citizens pay low prices for vehicles relative to European consumers.  Because European consumers pay more for their cars, their notions of quality are higher.  This has, in the past, meant that Jeeps just have not been up to the sophistication level that say, a German car buyer would expect.  It’s not that Germans are not sure that a Jeep could get them across the Darien Gap.  It’s the notion that a car that rugged is, obviously, going to leave a German car buyer with less than what he or she was looking for in suspension and on road ride quality.

Jeep claims that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is going to change all those perceptions. This new Jeep Grand Cherokee is the latest in a 21-year-old vehicle range and this time its makers claim it is a quality match for its German rivals.

The 2005 third-generation Grand Cherokee, the one before this one, got generally negative reviews in the European car press.  Some even called it a disaster.  It was based on the Jeep monocoque.  It had a Mercedes diesel engine.  As poor a vehicle as it may have been, it was still head over heels better than the cart-axled, antediluvian-helmed, floppy version that came before 2005.  Still, 2005’s Jeep Grand Cherokee did not have a rigid enough body, was not a high enough quality car and didn’t give the consumer very many features in the stock model.

In 2010 Jeep came out with a fourth generation Jeep Grand Cherokee that  was based on a Mercedes Benz ML.  It had a 5 speed transmission, which was a set back even though overall the 2010 version was a huge improvement.BACK TO TOPJeep Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD V6 has many exterior changes

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Is Up To The Challenge Of Competing With European SUVs

Now, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, has a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.  It also sports nice chrome appointments on a reworked front-of-body.  This new front sports bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.  It’s not showy, but it Jeep euromodels have never been overly showy.

The back got a rework as well.  It has more a more aerodynamic spoiler.  The bumpers have been recrafted as well as the tailgare.  These recraftings have improved visibility.

The new interior is where the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee really stands out from its predecessors. For the first time Jeep designers have realized that the European customer has sophisticated design tastes and Jeep has responded to those tastes with leather that feels like quality and with trim made out of real tree wood.  The dashboard has been revised with a brighter display that looks prettier than the predecessors, is easier to read and has a terrific layout for the stereo, GPS and temperature control.

All that said, compared to the Range Rover there is still a “cheapness” about the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  The boxed-edge trim of the seats is the U.S. way of doing things but it does not really support the thighs of those seated.  The back seat can accommodate three grown ups who are six feet tall, but the head room and leg room given to these three people is a lot less than in the Range Rover, which is fewer than two inches longer.Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD V6 interior has room for 3 six-foot adults in the back seat

The model of Cherokee that is the most pricey is the Summit model.  It comes with a Harman Kardon surround sound audio system with 19 speakers and 825 watts of power.  The seats are electric.  The cruise control is intelligent. It also has a collision warning system, a select terrain response system for 4 wheel driving, plus power windows and doors with keyless entry. It also has a panoramic sunroof but this comes on the stock model as well. Overall there is a feel of luxury.  The touchable parts of the car feel well assembled and well made. The passenger compartment is spacious.  The trunk is huge, 782 cubic litres to be exact, but you can not use all that space to put in an extra two seats the way you can with the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Sport. Visability is good for the driver and passenger with only one blind spot at the rear.Underneath the Summit there are five additional trim levels.BACK TO TOPJeep Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD V6 interior has a redesigned dashboard with cool accutrements

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Gives Consumers Three Engine Choices

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD V6 boot or trunk has 728 cubic litres of space

Consumers can choose from two types of 3.0 litre V6s diesel engines.  The bottom tier Laredo model comes with a 188 horse power engine.  The others come with a 246 horse power engine.  The 246hp has 420 pounds per foot of force.  So the car can go from 0 to 62mph in 8.2 seconds.  It gets 37.7 miles per gallon on the highway and has carbon emissions of 198g/km.  The Summit model tows up to 2,949 kilograms.  The other models will tow 3,500 kilograms.

Above and beyond the two standard engines there is an SRT model that has a 6.4 litre, 461 horse power Hemi V8 gasoline engine instead of diesel.  It has a top speed of 160 miles per hour and unless you are a 1% or live in Saudi Arabia will probably break you in gasoline consumption costs.

The 4 wheel drive set up for the Summit and Overland models include Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive and Quadra-Lift air suspension and Select-Terrain and Selec-Trac traction management systems. With these feautres the driver gets an electronic rear differential to control slip across the axle,  an electronic clutch pack that pushes torque to the front and rear axles and the option to have different ride heights with an adjustable air spring.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Rides Like What?

It takes a lot to slow the Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD V6 for roundabouts.

Out of the gate, the car feels lumbering.  Although lumbering is what one might expect from a vehicle this size no matter who manufactured it as long as it is being driven on tight, busy, city streets. Now, when you get out on the open road, that’s when you really feel with the Jeep Grand Cherokee can do.

The 8 speed gearbox shifts imperceptibly with well spaced ratios and a paddle shift.  The diesel engine is rugged, though not so smooth.  It has a turbine-like howl. Once you get up to speed it can take a lot to slow the car down for roundabouts.  The dampening is not all that great.  The car pitches and rolls into bends, corkscrews diagonally over undulating road surfaces and could feel a little bit unsafe if you were to push the car to its limits.

The thing is, as an urban cruiser, how much pushing is the average driver going to do?  The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an excellent cruiser and, for the most part, drives as well as Euromarket rivals for which you would have to spend considerably more cash.

This review is an amalgamation of two reviews originally written for The Telegraph U.K. newspaper by Paul Hudson and Andrew English.


CJ Bantam is a freelance writer who rights about all things off-road.

Article by CJ Bantam

CJ Bantam is a freelance writer for a variety of publishers in the off-road scene.  He enjoys writing about trucks, Jeeps and SUVs as well as fishing and other outdoor activities. Youc an check CJ out on Google+.