It has been 75 years since the first ones rolled off the line


You don’t need to be a superhero to own a 2016 Jeep Renegade Dawn of Justice Special Edition.

Jeep’s parent company FCA has formed a promotional partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures ahead of the spring release of the movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The alliance’s plans includes vehicle ads featuring scenes from the film and the introduction of the all-new 2016 Jeep Renegade Dawn of Justice Special Edition.

“Thanks to an extensive brand and product portfolio, we were able to address every automobile need for the movie including Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, FIAT, Alfa Romeo and Maserati, and from our sister company CNH Industrial, Iveco heavy-duty commercial vehicles,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA Global.

“With much of the film’s production taking place in our own backyard of Detroit, our ability to creatively collaborate with the WB team reached new heights. The product integration was so organic to the filmmakers’ vision and storyline, all we had to do was incorporate scenes from the movie for our commercials.”

Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global added: “The special edition boasts a unique, dark appearance package for the most capable small SUV that we’re confident consumers – including millions of moviegoers – will love.”

The advertising campaign launched last week when the Jeep brand debuted a 30-second commercial “Into the Storm” across television and online. The spot features footage from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) behind the wheel of the Jeep Renegade. The commercial speaks to how he feels compelled to move toward danger rather than run away from it.

Opening on city street ruins, the narration by actor Jeremy Irons, who portrays Alfred in the film, speaks to that impulse: “You’re not afraid. You like chaos. The madder, the better (as Bruce Wayne is seen driving toward the destruction in the Jeep Renegade — navigating its way in the mayhem).”

The vehicle is based on the Jeep Renegade North 4×4 and comes standard with a 2.4-litre Tigershark engine with MultiAir2, nine-speed automatic transmission, Jeep Active Drive 4×4 and Selec-Terrain with four drive modes.

View the commercial on YouTube at:

Jeep delivers the fun, cargo space and off-road capability for adventure (more…)

“A champion of the un-paved path, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited allows owners to pack more gear and share their outdoor adventure…”

2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

In 2007, Jeep introduced a new longer wheelbase, 4-door version of its iconic “Wrangler” utility vehicle that it called “Wrangler Unlimited”.

It must have been a “Why didn’t we think of this before?” moment for the Jeep organization, as Wrangler Unlimited quickly widened the market appeal of this outstanding off-road vehicle.

See: Jeep’s Wrangler Unlimited (

Yes, a longer wheelbase sacrifices a degree of agility, but adds much needed interior space and utility. The stretched body not only allows Wrangler Unlimited to tote more people and/or stuff around, the rear seat is mounted ahead of the rear axle, which gives rear passengers a less bumpy ride. When the seats are folded, they present a completely flat extended cargo floor and 2,353-litres of storage space.

Fast-forward to the 2011 model year and Wrangler Unlimited may still look the same on the outside but it came with an all-new interior. Heated seats, climate control, new audio inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, power-heated side mirrors and a 115-volt electrical outlet, make roughing it outdoors just a tad more comfortable.

Wrangler Unlimited is the only four-door convertible currently on the market and its standard Sunrider soft top has a clever sunroof feature, in addition to a full top-down position. Classic Jeep features include its round headlights, a flat fold-down windshield, exposed door hinges and doors that are easy to remove and available in both full or half frame.

An optional Jeep Freedom Top is a three-piece modular hardtop, which fits over a retracted soft top. In addition to providing a higher level of security, it has three removable panels. There are two Targa-like removable roof panels up front and a larger panel over the rear seats.

Wrangler Unlimited originally came with a torque-rich 3.8-litre V6 coupled either to a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. It’s not a light vehicle and tips the scales at a robust 1896 kg (4180 lb), so gas consumption is also heavy.

Expect gas consumption at 15.6/11.8 L/100 km (city/highway – new five-cycle rating) with the automatic transmission. So, to provide its wilderness-wandering customers the extended driving range they expect, Jeep fits an Unlimited with an extra large (85-litre) gas tank.

The base Sport and Sahara trim levels came with a second-generation Command-Trac part-time four-wheel-drive, with a two-speed transfer case and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. A Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential was optional.

Aimed at serious out-door enthusiasts, the Rubicon edition is probably more Jeep than most buyers need. This off-road-ready machine comes with beefier suspension and steering components, protective skid plates, a roll cage and higher ground clearance. It also has an Off-Road Rock-Trac two-speed transfer case, a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio, electric front- and rear-axle lockers and an electronic sway bar disconnect.

The 2012 Wrangler Unlimited got a new 3.6 litre V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Power output and fuel economy, however, are both roughly the same as the 3.8 litre V6 / four-speed automatic combo they replaced. No significant changes were made to Wrangler Unlimited for its 2013 or 2014 model years.

A champion of the un-paved path, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited allows owners to pack more gear and share their outdoor adventure.

Price Check: 2011 – 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (April 2015)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2011                    Sahara                                                       $24,000 to $28,000

2012                    Sahara                                                       $27,000 to $32,000

2013                    Sahara                                                       $30,000 to $35,000

2014                    Sahara                                                       $33,000 to $38,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

Safety Recalls: 2011 to 2014 Jeep Wrangler:

2011 – 2013: An electrical connector within the door may corrode and potentially result in an electrical short, on vehicles equipped with power heated mirrors. Dealers will modify electrical wiring and install a water shield.

2012 /2013: The power steering return line may wear against the automatic transmission oil cooler line, causing a transmission fluid leak. Dealers will either add a protective sleeve or replace the transmission line.

2011: A missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet may not perform as intended in a crash and increase the risk of personal injury. Dealers will inspect for steering column rivet presence and alignment, and repair as required.

2010 / 2011: Fastener torque for various front and rear axle attachments may degrade over time, due to variability in the axle painting process. This could result in noise or cause a degradation in the vehicle’s steering and handling characteristics. Dealers will re-torque nineteen fasteners to specifications.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“With the expansion this year’s show underwent, the Vancouver show is moving into the big leagues.”

“The Jeep Renegade follows on the heels of some other stylish compact crossover vehicles like the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke that provide a bit more flair, rather than just practicality.”

Not that long ago, if an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle was on a buyer’s shopping list, the options were largely limited to SUVs and trucks.

Today the automotive landscape has exploded with manufacturers offering many more AWD vehicles. In fact, 48 percent of all vehicles purchased in Canada come with AWD or four-wheel drive (4X4).

For Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada (Formerly Chrysler Canada) the percentage is even higher, at roughly 58 percent. Thanks, in part, to the success of the Jeep brand and the many vehicles sold under that off-road-ready marque. The latest entry, the Jeep Renegade, will be arriving at dealerships around April but just last week I had a chance to drive this small Jeep in classic Canadian winter conditions just outside of Montreal.


The setting for the winter driving program was at ICAR, an enthusiast’s racing facility built on the abandoned aprons and taxiways of the old Mirabel airport, including a slalom course, road coarse and off-road adventure. The bold orange Renegade instantly jumped out against the howling wind and at-times, whiteout conditions. The Renegade is built in Europe on the same platform that Fiat uses to make the all-new Fiat 500X. This cost sharing, multi-vehicle offensive is what has helped Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to be so successful over the past few years. The engineering and design was done in Michigan to insure the Renegade has all the classic Jeep characteristics, from the round headlamps and classic Jeep grille, to the trapezoidal wheel arches, appropriate ground clearance and overall bold styling. The Renegade is smaller than the Compass and Patriot models in the lineup, helping to promote the red-hot, small crossover segment even further.


With a high seating position and boxy roofline, the Renegade has a lot of headroom and large windows, making this compact crossover feel open and airy. The dash and surrounding trim is filled with eye-catching touches, like the speaker grilles and air vents that come painted for more panache. The front seats are supportive and provide a nice look down the long hood, making this feel more “trucky” The back seats offer plenty of room in this class and the cargo area is what Jeep calls class leading. Prices start at $19,995 for base Sport model with front wheel drive (FWD) and the first AWD model starts at $25,995. The volume leader will be the North trim with alloy wheels, starting at $27,494 for an AWD version. The problem will be the higher end trims, like the $31,995 Limited, that look pricy compared to a bigger to a compact SUV, like a Honda CR-V, with a much more powerful engine, vastly bigger interior and a $30,000 AWD starting price.


FCA didn’t just have the Renegade to drive in frozen weather, rather a selection of the seventeen vehicles they offer with AWD or 4X4 capability. They were clear to point out that nine of the twenty-six models have AWD available even on the base trim. The Renegade’s base AWD system is a lighter weight active powertrain that can disconnect the rear wheels to save fuel but reconnect them in a fraction of a second if the temperature drops of the windshield wipers are turned on. On dry pavement, the system only needs to detect the slightest wheel slippage to engage the AWD capability. In addition there is a terrain select knob in each model that lets the driver choose between auto, snow, sand, mud and rocks to alert the Renegades’ traction control, stability control and engine/transmission electronics to keep the Jeep moving in different situations. The ultimate is the AWD system with a low setting for crawling over rocks, something Jeep purists appreciate.


The Jeep Renegade follows on the heels of some other stylish compact crossover vehicles like the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke that provide a bit more flair, rather than just practicality. This new Renegade also has the advantage of being equipped with two sophisticated AWD systems to keep it ahead of the pack. The base engine is a 1.4L turbo 4-cylinder with 160hp but this model is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission; if the buyer wants and automatic, the larger 180hp 2.4L 4-cylinder is fitted with a class leading 9-speed automatic. There is a whopping $2,990 premium to get the larger engine and automatic on the Sport trim and just $1,495 on the North, excluding the price premium to get AWD. At the end of the day this Jeep has a very attractive exterior and interior and is something fresh in one of the hottest segments in the market. The price can jump very, very quickly if the buyer wants AWD and automatic. Time will tell if buyers will spend the extra to buy the higher end models.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 1.4L turbo with 160hp or 2.4L with 180hp

Fill-up: N/A

Sticker price: $19,995-$31,995

“The Renegade is a contemporary and more playful interpretation of Jeep, offering passenger-friendly utility, good on-road performance and fuel economy combined with surprisingly impressive off-road prowess.”

2015 Mazda MX-5
2015 Mazda MX-5
2015 Mazda MX-5

The 2015 model year vehicles are rolling into dealerships, with just a few stragglers set for later arrival in the New Year. (more…)

“The XRC bumper is formed to manoeuvre your Jeep over obstacles such as those large boulders that seem to jump out at you at every turn…”

It’s fitting that there should be such a thing as a Jeep Trailblazer.

But it’s not the aforementioned vehicle that I’m writing about today – rather, the accessory range that adorn so many Jeeps today. The truth is that Jeep trailblazed what is now a booming accessory business for all makes and models of trucks.

Smittybilt has been around for years and it has a lot to offer in the way of Jeep add-ons. An XRC front bumper is available to fit Jeeps from 1976-2014, manufactured from 3/16” cold roll steel. The XRC bumper is formed to manouevre your Jeep over obstacles such as those large boulders that seem to jump out at you at every turn. There is a built in winch plate that can accept up to a 10,000lb winch. Painted in a matte black powder coated finish and features a five year warranty.

(Cost is $515.99.)

There is also a matching rear bumper that has a built in tire carrier. This carrier can handle up to a 37” tall tire and is also matte black. It has a class three trailer hitch and d-ring mounts welded inside and out. (This costs $337.79.)

XRC rock sliders are ideal for rock crawling; they protect the side of your Jeep from unwanted body damage and cost $368.59. Armor corner guards provide a larger wheel well opening and feature a fender flare and fuel filler door. SRC tubular doors replace the factory doors and bolt up to the factory door hinges, a very easy install. ($368.)

Roof racks are another popular item for Jeeps especially with the limited space. The SRC rack has removable cross bars for easy soft or hard top removable and is designed to work with Thule or Yakima roof rack accessories. It can hold up to 300 lbs and its contoured design flows well with the jeeps body lines. (The cost is $429.)

Interior soft good items are available to attach to the factory roll-cage and can hold a variety of items such as cellphones, flashlights, fire extinguishers, and even a bottle of water. Smittybilt also offers a centre console that has a security compartment and additional cup holders. (This console is $110.00.)

There is a full line of trail equipment available. A clinometer that can be mounted on the dash and show you what angle you are on, side to side and front to back. It features a cool picture of a jeep in the dials. Cost is $24.59. A Trail jack is a very useful item to take with you into the back country. It is rated up to 4660 lbs and is constructed of solid cast steel that is powder coated. ($92.19.)

Recovery straps are another valuable item to have and are available in 2×20, 2×30, and 3×30 feet lengths. (They range in price from $24.59 to $49.19.)

The Recovery utility tool is a collapsible shovel that is very similar to the ones used in the military; it features two serrated edges for cutting and digging. Fully extended it is 26 inches long and collapsed is 9 inches, an easy item to pack and a great tool to carry with you. (Cost is $20.89.)

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Finding five used cars under ten grand doesn’t sound like too big a challenge, until a “for a college student” stipulation is added.

In my mind, this adds a few requirements as the car has to be, easy on fuel, reliable, easy to park, good on gas, thrives on abuse, room for friends, room for a bike and camping gear, super fuel efficient … and look good!

So, bearing in mind the last requirement is a highly subjective one and ignoring the (no brainer) most popular car in Canada (Honda Civic), here are five vehicle suggestions – in no particular order:

BM 09 Pontiac Vibe 2

Pontiac Vibe (2010 or older): Although the Pontiac Vibe looks different, you also know this compact 4-door hatchback as the Toyota Matrix. A joint (GM/Toyota) production venture ended with the 2010 model year, as did the Pontiac brand. The resale value of a Vibe is generally lower than a same year/condition Matrix, or conversely, you may be able to buy a newer/lower mileage Vibe.

The ’09 Vibe was a second generation redesign and a slightly bigger model that came in front-drive and all-wheel-drive editions, and in base and GT trim levels. The base engine is a gas-miser 1.8-litre (132 horsepower) and a 2.4-litre (158 horsepower) engine comes in the AWD and GT models.

Fuel consumption (1.8L/FWD): 8.0/6.2 L/100 km (city/highway)

Fuel consumption (2.4L/AWD): 10.3/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway)

2009 Honda Fit Sport

Honda Fit (2010 or older): The Honda Fit is a small, but taller, 4-door hatchback that was introduced for the 2007 model year and came in DX, LX and Sport trim levels. Its seats can be reconfigured in an amazing variety of ways and there’s even a couch/bed recliner position.

The 2009 model was a second generation redesign with a more powerful 117 horsepower (up from 109-horsepower) 1.5-litre engine that’s mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. In the Sport edition, this automatic also comes with paddle shift gear selection at the steering wheel.

Fuel consumption (1.5L/FWD): 7.1/5.5 L/100 km (city/highway)

BM 07 Jeep Patriot 4

Jeep Patriot (2010 or older): The Patriot could also be called “Jeep Light”, as it’s an affordable, compact yet capable SUV/wagon that’s surprisingly fuel-efficient. Available in both front-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations, Jeep launched Patriot for the 2007 model year and it’s a good match of an active lifestyle young person that enjoys the outdoors.

Patriot came in Sport, North and Limited trim levels and the base engine is a 2.0-litre that can produce 158-horsepower and 2.4-litre that can produce 172 horsepower is the upgrade. The transmissions offered were a 5-speed manual transmission or a fuel-efficient CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic.

If serious 4-wheeling is contemplated look for models with a trail-rated Freedom II off-road package that adds protective skid plates, etc. The down-side is increased weight and higher fuel consumption.

Fuel consumption (2.0L/FWD): 8.9/6.9 L/100 km (city/highway)

Fuel consumption (2.4L/4WD): 9.9/8.2 L/100 km (city/highway)

BM 07 Nissan Versa - 5

Nissan Versa (2011 or older): The Nissan Versa may look small on the outside, but this four-door sedan or hatchback has an amazing amount of space on the inside. The extra head and leg room provided make it a very good match for a taller or bigger than average young person.

Versa offers seating for four (squeeze five) full-sized adults and extra-large rear passenger doors also make getting in or out easier. The lower-priced sedan comes with a 1.6-litre (107-horsepower) engine and a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The hatchback comes with a 1.8-litre (122-horsepower) engine and a 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic or a CVT automatic.

Prior to 2010, a base Versa didn’t come with ABS (anti-lock braking system), and electronic stability control wasn’t even offered as an option. Its electronic-assist steering has an extra-light feel and it can turn on a (10.4 m) dime, making Versa an easy vehicle to park.

Fuel consumption (1.6L/FWD): 7.7/5.8 L/100 km (city/highway – 5 Manual)

Fuel consumption (1.8L/FWD): 8.5/6.2 L/100 km (city/highway – 4 Automatic)

Fuel consumption (1.8L/FWD): 7.3/5.8 L/100 km (city/highway – CVT)

BM 06 Mazda3 - 1

Mazda3 (2009 or older): The first generation Mazda3 (2004 to 2009) set a new performance standard in the economy car segment. Sold as a four-door sedan or a (sportier) five-door hatchback, the Mazda3 has been a huge sales success in Canada.

The four-door sedan editions of this Mazda3 come with (148-horsepower) 2.0-litre engine and in GX and GS trim levels. Sedan GT and (hatchback) Mazda3 Sport come in GS and GT trim levels and with a (156-horsepower) 2.3-litre engine, with more torque at lower engine speeds.

A height adjustable, good supporting driver’s seat plus a standard tilt and telescopic steering column make the Mazda3’s driving position particularly praiseworthy. It definitely offers the best driving experience, but popularity also makes Mazda3 the priciest pick of this group.

Fuel consumption (2.0L/FWD): 8.4/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway)

Fuel consumption (2.3L/FWD): 9.5/6.8 L/100 km (city/highway)


Reviewing the attributes of these car leads me to suggest there’s at least one suitable for anybody on a budget.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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