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Auto blogFri, 11 Jan 2013
These are the guys who bring an M777 howitzer to a knife fight. In terms of overall rugged utility, the all-new 2013 Brute Double Cab from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is about as overkill as they come, and we can't seem to get enough of the beasts that this company produces. Unlike most aftermarket firms, always striving to lower cost and increase volume (but at the expense of quality), Michigan-based AEV takes pride in its OEM-quality design, engineering, manufacturing and testing. Everything is as good, or better, than the stuff from the factory, and they have been doing it this way for more than 15 years.
Launched at the recent 2012 SEMA show was the 2013 AEV Brute Double Cab. Its debut marked the company's expansion to a four-door Brute on the newer JK platform (drawing inspiration from the Land Rover Defender 130). I recently spent a few hours with the new truck in sunny Southern California, though unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was limited to pavement-only driving impressions.
Despite its refusal to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models this week over a gas tank fire risk, Chrysler will be recalling 630,000 Jeep Compass (pictured), Patriot and Wrangler vehicles around the globe for a pair of entirely different reasons.
The affected Compass and Patriot models are all from the 2010 to 2012 model years - 254,000 in the United States, 45,400 in Canada and 109,000 elsewhere in the world. In these models, a software error may result in the late deployment of the side airbags and seatbelt tensioners. In the event of a crash, failure of these systems could result in more serious injuries for the vehicle's occupants.
Jeep's go-anywhere Wrangler also faces a separate recall due to power steering fluid lines that can possibly wear a hole in the transmission oil cooler line. According to Chrysler, the vehicles could then leak fluid, possibly damaging the transmissions. Roughly 221,100 Wrangler models are being recalled because of this issue, all of which are fitted with Jeep's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. In the US, 181,000 vehicles are affected, with an additional 18,400 in Canada and 21,700 additional units worldwide. A Chrysler spokesperson said that no crashes or injuries have been reported with either case, according to the Associated Press.
While we're still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend's Car of the Year and Car and Driver's Ten Best are named, that doesn't mean there aren't trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward's 10 Best Interiors being one of them.
As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward's considers them - the only requirement is that a vehicle has a "new or significantly redesigned interior."
Ward's offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same: