Exterior Color: Orange
Interior Color: Black
Trim: Jeep Trim
Number of Cylinders: 6
Drive Type: rear wheel 4x4
Options: 4-Wheel Drive
Abilene, Kansas, United States
After much debating and hand-wringing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now says it has "no reservations" with Chrysler's plan to recall certain Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models over concerns that their fuel tanks, which are located behind the rear axle, could rupture or leak in the event of a rear impact. The longstanding argument between the two entities saw Chrysler openly defy the Feds after a request to recall 2.7 million units back in June.
Chrysler's "voluntary campaign" will instead see it recall 1.56-million 1993-2004 model year Grand Cherokee SUVs, along with 2002-2007 Liberty models. Affected vehicles will get a trailer hitch installed free of charge, which Chrysler says will provide an additional degree of protection for the fuel tanks in the event of a crash. Jeeps with Mopar-branded hitches or hitches that were installed at the factory aren't affected by this recall.
Chrysler's argument throughout this battle has been that the Jeeps in question are no more susceptible to fires than comparable vehicles from the same time period, a position that NHTSA has seemingly arrived at as well. "Those vehicles performed at a rate similar to their peers. That is the keystone analysis as to whether something poses an unreasonable risk to safety," said outgoing NHTSA boss David Strickland during an interview with the The Associated Press.
Jeep appears to have nailed it this time. After two decades of assembling its Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle, the American automaker has finally delivered a world-class off-roader capable of taking on everything in its segment - and more - with a high likelihood of coming out on top.
And if you drove last year's model, it's time to climb behind the wheel again as Jeep has significantly updated the SUV for 2014 with a bold new exterior appearance, an upgraded interior with enhanced electronics and a new transmission that completely transforms the way it drives.
We recently spent a full week with a dark blue 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4, a well-optioned model fitted with the standard gasoline-fed V6. While it didn't have the punch of the range-topping V8-powered SRT8, or the fuel-sipping economy of its new EcoDiesel sibling, the high-volume variant left us quite impressed.
Perhaps it's because we've seen so many kitted-out examples over the years, but it seems to us that the Jeep Wrangler tends to wear its special-edition duds better than most models. It might be the icon's familiar rectilinear proportions or the inherent bolt-on look of its extremities - bumpers, mirrors, lighting, and step rails - but we've seen precious few factory specials that look anything but excellent.
Case in point: this new Jeep Wrangler Polar unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This European-market limited-edition model is said to be a celebration of winter driving, which evidently works out to a body-color hardtop, black-accent seven-slot grille, 18-inch gloss black wheels, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential and a hard hat for the spare tire. Finished here in Hydro Blue (Billet Silver Metallic and Bright White are also available) and a black interior with Polar White accents, the Polar edition features badges displaying 78° S and 106° E longitude and latitude coordinates for Vostok, Antarctica.
This new Jeep will be available in both standard and Unlimited formats with either the 3.6-liter Pentastar gas engine or the still-not-for-US 2.8-liter turbodiesel when it bows early next year. For further details, check out our gallery above and the press release below.