Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Named 2013 Overland SUV of the Year

Overland Journal has named the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition their 2013 Overland SUV of the Year.  The announcement was made on Expedition Portal and provided a number of choice quotes which echo my sentiments perfectly:
Launched to the public in late 2006 amidst times of economic unease and ever-rising fuel costs, the Jeep Wrangler JK became an instant success. It’s proof that innovation and a good concept will almost always thrive—even during times of adversity.

Simply put, the success of the latest Wrangler is a byproduct of Jeep listening to a wide range of their consumers. They listened to the family who wanted four doors and a comfortable ride just as much as they listened to the hardcore four-wheeler who wanted locking differentials and a 4:1 low range. Somehow, everyone ended up happy, meeting in the middle to enjoy a vehicle Enzo Ferrari once called “America’s only real sports car.”
At the end of the day, the 10th Anniversary Wrangler Rubicon is just further evidence that Jeep is listening and constantly improving their products for overland travel. That’s why it’s our Overland SUV of the Year; there simply is nothing else on that market that mirrors our passion for a versatile and capable vehicle like the Jeep Wrangler does. 

Congratulations to Jeep for winning yet another award for what has indisputably become the benchmark vehicle by which every other 4x4 is measured.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Off-Roading Takes off as Source of Family Fun

Two Jeeps make their way up a boulder using a winch at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.
(Photo: Business Wire)
I was pleased to read a pleasant, pro-OHV article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled "Off-Roading Takes off as Source of Family Fun - Adventure Seekers Ride Growing Boom, Add to Economy"

The article outlines some of the public benefits to OHV motorsports, namely the economic support to the worldwide companies that produce parts and vehicles, the economic support to the local communities that surround OHV trails and open riding areas, and the social benefits from family adventures and children's exposure to the wonders of nature.

From the article:
"Kids spend way too much time in front of a TV or an iPhone," he added. "When we get together, all that goes away, and we spend 100 percent quality time. We teach them not only how to have a great time, but how to love and respect the land." 

It seems they're not alone in that sentiment either, as the off-roading community continues to show growth despite the state of the economy. Studies by Southwick Associates on behalf of the Outdoor Industry Association, estimate that enthusiasts spent close to $66.5 billion on the activity last year, which supports nearly 700,000 jobs and generates $8.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

. . .

Beyond safety equipment, responsibility and protection of the land are also great factors when it comes to taking vehicles off-road. The environment and ecosystem on all public and private lands is very fragile, and enthusiasts are encouraged to stay on all marked trails, keep an eye out for wildlife and repair any damage done to the land.

"The more irresponsible and careless people are when it comes to nature, the more difficult it becomes to justify why land access for off-roading is so important," says Greg Mumm of the BRC. "If we're proactive with trail maintenance and restoration programs, it ensures a better riding experience for everyone involved and goes a long way towards keeping those areas open for future use."

As off-road recreation continues to increase in popularity, advocates active in their local communities are pushing to expand the amount of land open to the public. At the same time, environmental groups often seek tighter restrictions, fearing that the land will be damaged by off-roading.

"There's got to be a meeting of the minds at some point," says Jody Phillips. "My family and a lot of others need to have lands available to them to enjoy this lifestyle. But we understand that carries the responsibility of making sure the land is protected," he said. "I think both sides in this want the same thing, but have trouble looking at it in the same way."
The Phillips family gathers for their 2012 reunion at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
(Photo: Business Wire)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

C|NET Reviews the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

c|net typically reviews computers and a variety of electronic gadgets, although they dabble in automotive reviews every now and then.  It's therefore quite interesting to see a non-automotive guy's perspective on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

Their review can be read here, with an accompanying video posted below.  The offroad action consisted of little more than splashing through some mud puddles, while the rest of the review centered on criticizing some of the features that make a Wrangler a Wrangler.  Viewers' comments on the YouTube video are pretty ruthless.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Blogger Pleads for 2-Door Jeep Wrangler Production to Cease

The most successful SUV ever

A curious bit of logic has convinced a blogger to lump the unwaveringly-successful Jeep Wrangler in with a number of "failed" SUVs, ultimately concluding with the notion that Jeep should cease production of the 2-door version of the Wrangler.  You can read the article here on The Truth About Cars.

His article's introduction and conclusion contrast the lifted-and-cladded Outback variant of the Subaru Legacy as a good idea, with the 2-door SUV variant as a bad idea.  He criticizes the manufacture of such worldwide successes mentioned in his article as the Isuzu Trooper, Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco, Jeep Cherokee, and others for no other reason than he thinks 4-door body styles offer greater utility.  His vehicular expertise can be questioned by the fact that he completely missed mentioning the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most successful SUVs in the world: the 2-door Land Rover Defender, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Suzuki SJ (known in the U.S. as the Samurai).  These are vehicles whose worldwide reputations, longevity on the market, and overall success are only eclipsed by that of the 2-door Jeep's.