Originally Posted by Marauder_Pilot
My point about irony is that the WK and KK are generally pointed out as the vehicles where Jeep started to lose its way by the mainliners. I personally kinda like both, but still.
IFS/IRS can be just as capable off-road as solid axles for most off-roading. The Grand Cherokee is limited by a lot other factors before the suspension choice.
The WKII made it over the Rubicon trail and Moab with as much trouble as you'd expect a completely stock Grand Cherokee to. (Bashed in the lip spoiler a bit, but otherwise OK). It's every bit as capable as the Jeeps that preceded it-it's just that it uses an entirely more complicated system to do so. One that exists in the name of ride quality, but still.
Nobody takes a new Grand Cherokee off-road, because nobody takes $30,000+ cars anywhere that stands a not-insignificant chance of seriously damaging it.
The defining feature of Jeep, in the passenger vehicle marketplace, has always been that they've been the most off-road capable vehicles on the market. And, with only a few possible exceptions, that holds true. The Wrangler is still the best in its class. The Grand Cherokee can beat anything in its class too. The Liberty...it's as good as anything, but not definitively better. The Patriot and Compass are both significantly better, but they're in a class not known for off-road capability (Although they're a LOT better than you'd expect-a buddy of mine in Winnipeg has an '07 FDI Patriot, and the only problem with it off-road is the weak-titty CVT/2.4L combo).
Jeep and Wrangler will never be seperated-if anything, it'll go the other way, everything save the Wrangler will be moved into another brand if something like that ever happened (Not likely, but still). Here's why: point at a Wrangler and ask the nearest person 'What kind of vehicle is that?' 99% of the time, whether they know it's called a Wrangler or not, they'll call it a Jeep. In many languages, 'jeep' is their word for SUV, and in English it isn't just a brand or a vehicle, it's a word for any short, rugged SUV. The reason that nobody has ever successfully competed with Jeep in North America is because they lack the cachet-Jeep is probably the most American brand in existence, and the Wrangler is definitely tied for first for the most American vehicle (3-way tie between a pickup, a muscle car and a Jeep)
That's a great point.
I agree about the WK and KK being perhaps the "beginning of the slide" but I think the advent of the Compass, Patriot, KL, whatever others they come up with just reaffirms the slide.
As far as the WK2 - exactly my point - the GC didn't start out being "too nice" to take off road. (though I guess that's debatable if one did an analysis of what it cost vs cost of living from say 15 years ago) Like you said though, the newest model went through the Rubicon/Moab journeys.
I suppose I should point out it wasn't my intention to suggest that the KL was the "game changer" when it comes to Jeep's identity crisis - if that's what this can be called. I was only saying that as they introduce more of these types of vehicles, Jeep is mutating into something less appealing to many of its core supporters. At least as far as "new arrivals" are concerned.
BTW - glad I jumped in on this thread.