Jeep needs a back to the basics, bare bones, and overbuilt machine with a powerplant that gives excellent power and makes highway driving a breeze. Take basic truck axles and bolt them up under the machine.. Not because solid axles provide better ground clearance and overall better performance off-road where flex is needed -thats an added bonus- but because there are less moving parts. Less moving parts means there are less components that will wear out and less trips to the dealer and/or Autozone/Pepboys/Advanced Auto (Etc.) Give that machine a radio, crank windows, and a hard top. No fancy GPS or other shenanigans. This time around though, we could use a cupholder or two.
. But seriously, less electrical components = less hardware to fail which means no trips to the dealer for them to fix your recalled heated seats or troublesome "blend door" A/C heat controller.. Less trips to the dealer = better product = happier consumer.
Additionally, people these days are more concerned with "how many MPGs does it get?" instead of "will it leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere?" Sure, no one wants to deal with high gas prices, but this is one area where I don't wish to compromise. I would much rather have a vehicle that gets 2mpg all day long but gives me zero troubles vs a vehicle that gets 50mpg and has 'sudden acceleration' or faulty airbags or frames that crack in half.. ..........
Next to the Wrangler, the XJ is the most recognizable and dare I say iconic
platform in Jeep history. It was a mistake to end it. It was still popular, it still sold well and it was about the best performing compact SUV of its day.
But there is a lot to be said for that idea - Jeep should offer a simple, strong, reliable and very customizable, bare bones, XJ-based small SUV.. An XJII
A platform with a simple, self contained engine management system (as low tech as possible), one that is not so dam finnicky. Add a heater, AC and a stereo ... and to hell with the power windows, power seats and all the other little electronic frills.
Perhaps just low cost, simple interior appointments such as a vinyl or rubberized headliner and floor covering and, perhaps, seats - not afraid of dirt or stains and easy to clean. And YES - crank windows. They're light weight, low-tech and they open and close even if the power fails. Surely they can make a low-tech, low cost , durable and reliable platform that meets todays standards.. and make it profitable... Another interesting aspect to this is that it's not just jeepers or the off-road community that this idea has been bandied about, the hotrod community has also floated this same notion.