Sunday, July 20, 2008

(And Still One More) New Car! 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee

This would be getting boring if it wasn't kind of funny. Well, to me, anyway.

I just bought a certified used 2004 Grand Cherokee. That's obviously not it up there. "Certified" means there's supposed to be nothing wrong with the car. There's a 125 point inspection by the dealer that's supposed to confirm that.

Well, my Grand Cherokee had bald tires and no spare, for starters. Got that sorted out. But then we noticed on our trip to Great Adventure that the passenger side floor was soaking wet from the a/c. I mean there was a puddle!

So, back to the dealer again for a repair. No, it wasn't any big deal, and they fixed it for free (as they're obligated to). But in the meantime, they gave us the beautiful car above as a loaner. A 2008 "Rocky Mountain Edition" Grand Cherokee. Not bad! So I'm now probably one of the few people to have driven all three generations of Grand Cherokee in the span of a month.

I gotta say we like our 2004 better. Up until 2004 (the last year of the second gen), Grand Cherokees were real off-road vehicles. They had solid axles, old-school ball steering, and they just felt like heavy trucks. The interior styling was utilitarian but not cheap (it shouldn't be for $30,000). Our 2004 is all black inside, with real metal accents. And I feel like I just fit right in our 2004, which is hard for any car considering how tall I am.

The new Grand Cherokees are basically suburban wagons. They're not even SUV's. They have independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, and the interiors are like any other Chrysler - all cheap and plasticky, with fake metal everywhere (basically just plastic painted silver). I felt like I was driving our PT Cruiser. I love our PT Cruiser, but I knew I was buying a station wagon and I only spent $14,500. I would expect something else if I was gonna pay $30,000+ for a new SUV. I would expect something closer to our 2004 Grand Cherokee.

The new models also seem to only come with full-time 4WD systems (Quadra-Trac and Quadra-Drive). I disliked that in our 1997 Grand Cherokee, but it was just an option back then, as it was in 2004 when our current Grand Cherokee was built. Our 2004's got the manual 4WD transfer case (Selec-Trac), which I love. We can keep it in 2WD mode 99% of the time for gas mileage and handling, then switch to 4WD full or part time on the fly when we need it. The full-time only systems are not reliable - they break more easily, and they're not true 4WD systems. You can't go out in the snow and know you're getting power to all 4 wheels - you only will once the system feels slip, and it might take 1-2 seconds for that to happen.

Oh, and the a/c on these things is weak. Sweat like a pig weak. Full blast in the 95 degree heat here and it took about 30 minutes for the interior to cool down. The previous generation didn't have this problem.

One thing we fell in love with on the 2008 loaner: satellite radio. Holy crap! How did we live without this?? It was so hard going back to regular radio when we got our Grand Cherokee back - hearing the same four genres of music everywhere and with commercials every 3 seconds. We spent most of our time in the 2008 listening to the "Chill" station, which is a lot of trip-hop and ambient music. Stuff you'd never hear on regular radio, and I love that it tells you who the artist is for stuff you don't know. We're pricing out some Sirius add-on tuners for our own cars now.

But I'm still happy to have our 2004 Grand Cherokee back.


  1. i learned the hard way that certified really doesn't mean anything... but thats a long story and will make me want to pull out my hair.

    but question; how do you deal with the crazy gas prices on these babies? I understand the 2wd thing, but my mom has an SUV that thing drinks gas like water...

    and with the price of gas these days, im thinking of getting a vespa.

  2. I've considered going the vespa route too :)

    but the reason I wanted an SUV was one too many days walking to the train station in the snow. a vespa wouldn't have really helped with that, unfortunately.

    as for gas, i just don't drive much. i think i filled my last grand cherokee up twice the entire time i had it, which was like 4 months. i live 1 mile outside the new york city limits, and 1 mile from 2 different train stations. so i just take the train everywhere. i only drive to the station in bad weather and then around town on weekends. i really don't actually need a car at all, i just got sick of the frostbite :)

  3. sorry to spam you but I totally used the wrong login! can you delete the Prime one? thanks!!! and here is the original message

    oh you're so lucky. i guess that makes a lot of sense then and it lets you drive whatever car you want without having to worry about gas mileage... so unfair. I'm a daily commuter. everything is either 10 or 30 minutes away. I live in the city but its not really a city compared to New York City, so our train system has been a little neglected so its not nearly as efficient unfortunately. =/

    as for the high school reunion thing, i'm glad I was wrong. =) i thought i would have been horrible. but the ones that i expected to stay the same (the jocks, etc) did live up to my expectations, and since i never hung out with them, i never cared for them. i think some of them are in construction now... =)

  4. It's deleted :)

    oh i still worry about gas every time i have to spend $80 to fill up my tank. but luckily i don't have to very often. big problem right now is everybody else is taking the train now too with gas prices being what they are, so there's nowhere to park at the station! Half the time I just walk anyway.

    i left a little comment on your reunion post too, i was actually a little embarrassed for sounding like such a bitter jerk earlier after reading about the time you had. i'm glad you didn't take my advice!

  5. eh i don't blame you for being bitter. Bitter was my sentiments EXACTLY before i decided to go. I was a total misanthrope in high school, but I'm glad i'm not much of one anymore. =)


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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