My wife and I are into bushwalking, cycling, skiing, camping and other adventures.
Sometimes we have to drive down a dirt road to the venue. And sometimes the roads can be a bit difficult.
Way back in the year 2003, my Hyundai Lantra could not get over a dirt obstacle only about 15 cm high!
Shortly after that trip, I spotted a Mazda Tribute parked in our street. I did a lot of research and in April 2004, took delivery of a new Ford Escape. It had only 5k on the clock! Find attached a photo of my fabulous car!
My Escape has never broken down. Never left us stranded.
It has taken us over very difficult terrain and is comfy to drive on sealed roads.
Recently, in the Watagans, on a difficult track, my mate tells me I had 2 wheels in the air at one point!
I love my car!
It was built on the Mazda assembly line in Japan. It is more Mazda than Ford.
The back seats fold down and you can get 2 bikes in the back without removing the front wheels. Camping, we have the back seat up. The back seat is the “dry area” for clothes and bedding and the boot is the “wet area” for camping gear. The tent goes on the roof and is the first thing off and the last on.
We moved house last year and when I went to the tip the receipt showed that I offloaded 280 kilo!
Ever since April 2011, from time to time, to get a pink slip, the mechanic has insisted that I get certain parts replaced. Obviously parts wear out over time so that’s fine. In October 2017, 2 x door handles and their electronics cost $600 to replace!
In April 2019 my Ford Escape will be 15 years old! And will probably have done 240,000k.
If something important wears out on my 15yo Escape, it could be hard to find the parts and they could be expensive. In the meantime in June 2019, I have a “special” birthday and my wife said we could get a new car to celebrate.
So, my Escape will be 15yo and I will be ……….
In late November 2017, I started researching modern cars. I looked at Ford, Holden, Japanese and Korean cars. I test drove 6 of them and then test drove the Mini Countryman (great car but a bit small) and the Landrover Discovery Sport (great car but a bit big).
I narrowed it down to a few cars but I was not happy. There is nothing like my 2004 model Ford Escape available today.
Then we went to Canada.
The current Jeep Cherokee is very popular there and the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has terrific good looks! I had never seen one in Australia!
Back in Sydney and in March 2018 I began researching the Jeep Cherokee and uncovered it’s good points and bad points. I also learnt that a “2019” model was just released in the US and would be released here in early 2019.
By the end of April, after much due diligence, I settled on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
Find attached a photo of my Ford Escape adjacent to a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
-the 9 speed gearbox is a potential problem. 9 speeds!
-it is smaller inside than my Escape. Can I get a bike in the back without removing the front wheel?
-I dislike modern cars that have a push button to open and close the tailgate. Something will wear out quickly!
Still, I settled on the Cherokee. And I looked forward to placing an order early in 2019.
I went to 6 Jeep Dealerships to talk about the Cherokee. After the first test drive I downloaded the manual and read it twice. I knew the car backwards before taking 2 more for test drives. I know more than the sales staff about the Cherokee.
Then I saw a Wrangler.
Every Jeep dealer has a Wrangler out the front. They always look fantastic but I thought they are not for me. As a bushwalker neither the Land Rover Defender nor the jeep Wrangler seem appropriate.
During my research for the jeep Cherokee, I discovered that the Wrangler JL would be released in the US in early 2018 and in Australia in early 2019.
I decided to research the Wrangler just as thoroughly as if I was actually going to buy a Wrangler. Not that I would buy one of course!
I have now test driven 3 Wrangler JKU and they drive like a truck. The widest point on any vehicle is the wing mirrors and the Wrangler is narrower than my Escape! Wow!
The floor of the boot is the same distance above ground as the boot of my Ford Escape meaning I would have no trouble loading it.
And one dealer insisted that I take it up a steep, damp dirt track that my Escape could do but would probably slip a bit. Great drive!
I downloaded the manual of the JL and read it twice so I know it well.
All the reviews of the Wrangler JL say that it drives more like a SUV than like a truck.
As a result I am now keen to get a Wrangler JLU. The “Sport S” as shown on the Jeep US website would be my Jeep but I am aware Jeep Australia will have different specs.
Find attached a photo of an older Wrangler parked next to my Ford Escape.
I look ford to getting a Punk’in Wrangler JL Sport S in early 2019! Very exciting!