This year Jeep turns 70th and for this occasion they have decided to offer anniversary editions for all of their models. In our opinion, the Jeep is one of the trademarks of American automotive, starting with the World War II jeeps and ending with the road models like the legendary Grand Cherokee. The Jeep brand was born with the sole purpose of making military-spec vehicles and ended up in our suburban car lots after70 years of history and seven owners.
1941 Willys MA
The first important vehicle made by Jeep was the 1941 Willys MA. In July 1940, the United States military inquired 135 automakers to bid on a vehicle that would later on replace the very popular yet outdated Model T’s and the motorcycles that made up the fleet of the army. According to the requirements, this vehicle had to have a weight of less than 1,300 pounds, four-wheel drive (with a 2-speed transfer case), and a wheelbase of max 75 inches and be able to carry 600 pounds. To this request, three automakers responded and these were Willys, American Bantam and Ford. The vast majority of the Bantams and Fords went to the British and the Soviets as part of the Lend-Lease program that was ongoing. From all of the three, the Willys was by far the most successful.
1943 Willys MB
Also during 1941, the United States Army decided that a standardized single vehicle would be more cost-effective. Although Willys won the contract, Ford was responsible for making the new requested vehicle, which was in fact an improved version of the aforementioned MA model with fewer weight restrictions, dubbed MB. The Ford engineers were the ones that pinched pennies by stamping out a slated grille although the Blue Oval’s original design had nine slats. The popular 7-slat grille found on the civilian-spec post-war Jeeps was created so that the Willys could be able to copyright the design. Some say that the “Jeep” name also comes from Ford, whose first military-spec vehicle was dubbed GP – General Purpose. After World War II, the Blue Oval sued Willys for the name, but without any success.
1945 Jeep Willys CJ-2A
Although the war was over, Willys thought that there still was a viable market for the MB jeep, especially for rural farmers as well as mountain-dwellers that wanted a rugged vehicle that was capable of handling rough terrains. They took the MB and they added civilian-style lightning, a spare tire, a tailgate and a windshield – the Willys CJ – Civilian Jeep was born. For the first series of the product, the company used MB parts for the CJ. Between 1944 and 1986, more than 1.2 million units were sold, despite the fact that the ownership of the company changed for several times. The vehicle was replaced by the popular Wrangler model after 42 years of activity.
Introduced in 1948, the Jeepster is probably the omen of today’s SUVs – sport utility vehicles. Designed by Brooks Stevens, the vehicle was quite a looker in our opinion. Compared to the CJ series, the Jeepster was not a true off-roader, mostly because the first models were only rear-wheel drive. Although the figure sales were rather disappointing, there are many crossovers and SUVs nowadays that borrowed a couple of things from the Jeepster (made between 1948 and 1951).
1957 Jeep FC-170
In 1957 Jeep introduced the FC-170, a truck from the FC Series – Forward Control. Although it had the traditional Jeep grille, the truck looked more like a life-size Tonka toy, not very appealing to the eye. It was available in many body styles: from fire trucks and tow trucks to delivery vans.
1984 Jeep Cherokee
In 1984 Jeep rolled out the iconic Cherokee, designed by Renault and AMC. This vehicle is fully responsible for the SUV hysteria. Although there were other SUVs back in the early 80s, the Cherokee was the first one that was appealing thanks to its Quadra-Link suspension and the unibody frame. In addition, it had a curb weight lower than other cars belonging to this segment. To understand how popular the car was, it remained in production until 2001 with few changes in between. Initially, it was supposed to be discontinued after the launch of the Grand Cherokee, but due to its success, there was a period when both models were available.
1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Another popular model was the Grand Wagoneer. Introduced in 1963 and discontinued in 1991, everyone had one during the 80s. During its 28-year production run, there were only a few changes brought to it, making it the longest-produced vehicle in North America. Even the 1991 model still had an AMC-designed V8 carbureted engine.
1994 Jeep Wrangler
Launched in 1994, the Jeep Wrangler is the perfect vehicle for driving in the sun. It became popular thanks to its comfortable ride and its great looks. It was good both on- and off-road.
2009 Jeep Compass
The spiritual successor of the above mentioned Jeepster is the Compass model. This vehicle is quite different from other models launched by Jeep, featuring a front-wheel drive for the base model and sharing its platform with the Dodge Avenger & Caliber, Peugeot 4007 and the Chrysler Sebring. Some consider it to be one of the worst Jeeps ever made, truly not worthy of the badge name.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
We saved the best for last, the Grand Cherokee is probably the finest SUV money can buy nowadays and the new one is like the phoenix bird, rising from the ashes of a failed Chrysler. Despite the fact that the company was very much in trouble, Jeep managed to create one hell of a SUV. Although during the last of the Daimler Chrysler years the Grand Cherokee shared a few parts with the Mercedes ML SUV, it was and still is a great SUV. The newest model is offered with an optional hi-tech air suspension along with a selector knob that will adjust the vehicle’s dynamics for various types of terrain.
All things considered, Jeep is one of the important brands of the automotive industry, offering some of the best jeeps and SUVs on the market, for decades and decades.
For the 2011 model of the Compass, Jeep offers a new sophisticated styling, a bundle of standard features and improved fuel efficiency ratings. The new redesigned car borrows the styling cues of the recently launched Jeep Grand Cherokee. The SUV’s fuel economy is 28 mpg, making it one of the most efficient sport utility vehicles at the moment.
Inside the car, the engineers at Jeep equipped the car with new high quality materials and soft touch points. For providing an improved handling and ride performance in all weather conditions, the 2011 Compass has an upgraded suspension and steering. The new model comes with more than 30 safety features, like the standard ESC – Electronic Stability Control, Hill-start Assist, electronic roll mitigation as well as side-curtain air bags that cover all of the rows. For the 2011 model, Jeep offers the Trail Rated 4×4 capability with the Freedom Drive II Off-Road package.
According to the president and CEO of the Jeep Brand at Chrysler Group, “with the new 2011 Jeep Compass, we’ve applied the premium design cues of our award-winning new Grand Cherokee. Combined with new interior appointments, and refinements to the suspension and steering systems, Jeep Compass provides consumers the ultimate combination of styling, capability, fuel economy, efficiency, safety and value in the important compact-SUV segment.”
As far as the design is concerned, the 2011 Jeep Compass features new front fenders, a redesigned hood, brand new headlamps, a new fascia plus an updated grille that now features a small dose of chrome around the Jeep badge. For this new model, the engineers at Jeep added a band of protective cladding which will fend off the debris while driving in difficult weather conditions or off-road.
The back of the car was also updated; it now features a fresh new rear fascia, LED tail lamps (for the Limited model) and a new body-color rear spoiler. In addition, for the 2011 Compass, Jeep designed a new set of roof rails that have a slimmed down appearance as well as a small amount of brightwork. The car comes as standard with 17-inch aluminum rims and for the Limited model, customers can get the 17-inch aluminum wheels or the imposing 18-inch aluminum or chrome-clad wheels.
As far as the interior is concerned, the 2011 model sports new soft touch front-door trim panels with a padded upper surface, a redesigned Jeep steering wheel that has integrated controls for the cruise control, audio as well as other functions of the car. The 2011 Compass is equipped with new cloth interior with premium cloth bucket front seats. As standard on all models, the Compass is equipped with speed control, door locks, a new backlighting for the door switches, windows and power mirror controls.
Some of the most important features of the 2011 Jeep Compass include the following: SIRIUS Satellite Radio + navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, a premium audio sound system that has 9 Boston Acoustic speakers, liftgate speakers, illuminated cup holders and the Uconnect media center with iPod interface. The standard features of the Compass include power locks, power windows, keyless entry, power/heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning and sunscreen glass. As an optional, customers can get the All-weather Capability Group that includes 17-inch all-terrain tires made by Goodyear, daytime running headlamps, tow hooks, engine block heater and all-season floor mats.
The Freedom Drive I is a four-wheel drive system that is available full-time and has a lock mode designed to give drivers year-round assurance with the capability to handle low-traction conditions and difficult weather. The FD I is recommended for day-to-day use, including slick conditions that come with light snow and rain. The system also sports a lockable center coupling which gives drivers the capability to put the car in four wheel drive lock mode in order to handle sand, deep snow as well as other low-traction surfaces.
2011 Jeep Compass
The Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package features a second generation continuously variable transaxle with low range that is activated when the off-road mode is activated by the driver. In addition, the package includes aluminum wheels, 17-inch all-terrain tires, a full-size spare tire, tow hooks, manual seat height adjuster, fog lamps and a one-inch raised ride height. This package is recommended for moderate off-road conditions that require occasional wheel lift and rock or log climbing and steep grades.
The standard power unit that equips the 2011 Jeep Compass is a 2.0-liter capable of developing 158 hp (117 kW) and 141 lb.-ft of torque, linked to the CVT2 – continuously variable transmission. With this engine, the car will do 23 mp in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, with the 5-speed manual gearbox. A more powerful engine is the 2.4-liter that offers 172 hp and 165 lb.-ft of torque. The power unit has VVT – dual Variable Valve Timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts, helping to optimize the torque curve on all speeds, producing not only more power, but also offering an efficient fuel economy and a smoother ride. With the 2.4-liter engine linked to the 5-speed manual gearbox, the Compass will 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The car is capable of 2,000 lbs of towing.
Regarding the exterior colors available for the 2011 Jeep Compass, customers can choose from one of the following: Pearl Coat, Mineral Gray, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Clear Coat Charcoal Gray (limited), Brilliant Black Crystal Clear Coat, Bright White Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat and Blackberry Pearl Coat.
The car is manufactured at the Belvidere assembly plant located in Belvidere, Illinois. The 2011 Jeep Compass begins delivers this month.
Other new models rolled out by Jeep besides the Compass model; include the Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Liberty and the Wrangler / Wrangler Limited. Jeep sells all of these vehicles outside the United States, and all models are available in right-hand drive and with diesel and gasoline powertrain options, in order to attract a vast array of customers that are looking for an off-roader like the Jeep.
Like we promised last week, today we’ll start a new section over here on Auto Unleashed, called Rpmgo Readers’ Cars, where we’ll present cars that our readers drive. We thought of creating this section after several of our readers sent us photos of their cars to ask us what do we think about them. And it would also be cool to see what everyone drives over here, no matter if it’s a brand new R8 or an old piece of junk. All cars are cars, after all and we love it no matter what. Read more about this here.
The first one to show us his car is cj_jeep, one of our readers from Romania. After owning a new Skoda Octavia, he fell in love with the Compass, the first time he saw it and decided to buy one. And that’s not all, because he didn’t settle with any version of the Compass, he bought the top of the line, with the Mopar kit. And what’s the first cj did after the car arrived? Took it into the woods to give it a really tough offroad test. The car did pretty good, as you can see in the video below.
So, about the car, cj says he paid around 30,000 Euros for it (all taxes included) and that it has a lot of features (almost all available). And, as you can see, it also looks really great. The car is powered by the 2.0 liter diesel engine that produces 140 hp at 4,000 rpm and 310 Nm. The official fuel consumption is 8.3 l/100km (urban), 5.4 l/100km (highway) and 6.5 l/100km (mixed) and cj says those numbers are pretty close to the real road-condition values.
So, what do you think about cj’s car? Drop a comment here.