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Our Jeep Family Expands

• CATEGORIES: Features

We’d like to welcome a new addition to our family:  a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee from Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Tricities in Kennewick.


After much discussion and the knowledge we’ll driving over 8,000 miles in the next four months, Ann and I decided we needed a different vehicle. Both my 15 year old BMW 540i and her 2008 Ford Mustang stretch at the seems when packed with camping equipment.  Both fear the snow, quivering at the mere sight of slush. Both have V8s that cherish frequent stops at gas stations. And neither vehicle cares to leave the pavement for terra firma when nature heralds us.

To overcome those issues, we began shopping two weeks ago for a different vehicle, preferably an SUV.  Ann took the lead, plowing through consumer reports, dissecting cargo space, comparing engines, and analyzing gas mileage. Satisfied with her research, late last week she selected several models for us to test drive, including the Jeep. Of course, it would be natural for me to want a jeep, but I tried very hard to be neutral about it, to decide on the merits and not the brand.

We started with a 2012 Ford Explorer. It looked good. Smelled fine. Was a nice color. However, thirty seconds into the test drive, I flicked the blinker, only to have it flick back at me. The blinker acted strange. After failing to understand what I was doing wrong, the sales guy told me it was the new style.  All you had to do was press down on it (or pull up) to turn it on and press down on it (or pull on it) to turn it off. He said all the Mercedes had them. I responded, “no offense, but if I wanted my blinkers to act differently, I’d buy a Mercedes”.

Normally a patient and semi-sane person, this trivial little detail instantly turned me off the vehicle. I didn’t want to out think my blinker. I have other important things to think about, such as staying in between the lines while driving, what to post on eWillys, and how to keep my wife happy while continuing this quixotic jeep adventure of ours. Believe me, that keeps my mind plenty busy!

We moved on to test drive several other vehicles, including the Toyota Highlander, the Chevrolet Traverse, the Dodge Durango, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Rather than bore you with trivial details of each drive, I will tell you why we chose the JGC. 1) We got the most for the best price (off road capabilities, tow package and low mileage), 2) Our consumer report research showed jeep owners were extremely happy with their JGCs, and 3) It was a jeep and since our lives are tied up with jeeps, it just made sense.

So, special thanks to Stephen Huang, Travis Solso and the rest of the folks at Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Tricities, who not only patiently endured our questions and concerns, but also bought some of my books. Because of the great interest rate and the trade in on Ann’s Mustang — they didn’t want my old car 🙁 —  our monthly payments dropped $100, which means we are actually saving money monthly by doing the deal. Even better, our insurance is less. So it’s a multiple win for us!

So, this car ought to get us across the country and back safely. In addition, If the timing works out, we’ll also be participating in Lithia’s upcoming Jeep Days this summer.

(BTW . . . don’t tell Biscuit!)



10 Comments on “Our Jeep Family Expands

  1. Bob

    Nice color choice too! That will lessen the “white knuckle” effect you and Ann experienced on your drive through the mountains a couple months ago.

  2. Dale Heizer

    Good luck I owned 1 and after 6 trips to the shop for breaks and 2 trips for water pumps and 1 trip to the shop that lasted 2 weeks for electrical I sent that thing packing with a promise to never purchase another haft breed jeep again.

  3. MacWilly

    Excellent choice. Bought a 2013 “Overland” back in November. Took the family on vacation from Illinois to Florida in December. Made the trip that much more enjoyable. Still LOVE to jump in my old `46 and drive the back roads at a much, much, much, much, much more slower speed though.

  4. Buz

    I’m a big Ford fan, but it makes you wonder about some of the things they have been doing recently. They seem to try to make something more and more complicated just for the heck of it. I hope my 1996 Ford truck( now 17 years old and knock on wood absolutely problem free) lasts at least 20 more years, the new ones do nothing for me.

  5. Jim

    Best to talk to your tax guy right away I think with all the Jeep stuff you do this qualifys as a business expense as well as all the gas, oil and other incidentals to keep it running.

  6. mmdeilers Post author

    Ann has had good luck with Fords. On the way back from Seattle we were talking about the name for a jeep. We finally decided on a name for the jeep that felt right, for now. We will call it ‘Henry’ as a shoutout to Henry Ford. I told my son Karson about it. Here’s what he had to say:

    I like the name henry for the jeep, although I think of the two well known fords, harrison was a bit cooler…one introduced factory line manufacturing, revolutionized american comodity production, and introduced the automobile to america….but the other was the coolest explorer ever, who also made the kessel run in under 12 parsecs.

    He’s got a point . . .

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