The First 100 Miles

With five days and the new Jeep hitting the century mark on mileage, I figured it was time to update our relationship. 🙂

Frankly, I can’t remember a vehicle I’ve had as much fun driving since I moved from a crusty ’74 Ford Gran Torino Elite to a brand spanking new ’84 Nissan Pulsar. The change in rides was astounding then, and the change from the ’04 TrailBlazer to the new Jeep has been just as seminal.

I cannot believe how well the Jeep corners as compared to the TrailBlazer. I always thought Smokie handled the turns well, but I find that the new Jeep is really sure-footed, and gives no sense that it wants to slide or flip, and really feels secure taking turns without overly braking. I’m sure this isn’t a slalom-hugging vehicle — most SUVs aren’t — but the difference in the feel is pretty amazing.

And that brings me to the steering. I am finding that it’s pretty easy for me to wiggle around in my lane. The steering in the Jeep is waaaay more sensitive that the steering in Smokie, and I’m finding that the slightest hand movement translates into wheel movement. That’s pretty cool and it’s almost like I’m directly manhandling the wheels, rather than having a bunch of coupling in the way. It’s truly a great experience.

The interior is definitely different — Mom said it looked primitive. I think that’s a fair assessment, although there’s enough comfort to keep me interested when I’m on the long treks. It definitely feels narrow and longer, yet paradoxically like I’m closer to the front grill. In the ‘Blazer, you had to lean pretty good to reach the opposite door panel. In the Jeep, it’s a pretty easy reach. The hood of the Jeep looks like it goes on forever. I think that’s an optical illusion, likely because of the hard edge at the end of the hood as compared to the TrailBlazer’s more gradual drop off. I can’t explain why I feel like I’m seated closer to the grill in the Jeep. That’s not an optical illusion, but I can’t imagine that I’m that much closer to it than in the ‘Blazer. It might be the layout of the cabin — there’s definitely not as much distance between the driver and the dash in the Jeep, although it’s not an uncomfortable distance. In any case, that’s what I’ve noticed.

So features-wise, what have I noticed? Firstly, there’s no map pockets. I live and die by long haul maps, and I haven’t yet figured out where all the local maps, state maps and big ol’ road atlas are going to be stowed. I’m sure someone’s skinned that cat already.

I also wish that the rain on the soft top didn’t drain right into the Jeep when the door was opened up. A rain gutter would be a great addition to the soft top, although probably a little hard to do.

I’d love to have had a video to help with the initial erection of the soft top. That was two hours of my life that I’ll never get back. 🙂 However, it’ll likely be easier next time, and probably get more tolerable every time I go through the process.

Including a set of Torx wrenches would’ve been a nice touch, especially when buying a Jeep with the dual-top option. The first thing the manual says is not to run with both tops, and it would’ve been nice to include those wrenches with that warning. In my case, I had some Torx sockets, but nothing as big as a T50. I do now.

I’m sure I’ll find some other minor things that woulda been nice, but I’ve found nothing that’s made me regret putting the new Jeep in the driveway. I haven’t had the chance to get it dirty yet, and I just can’t wait to put it through the mud. If that’s my biggest complaint, then I figure I’m doing ok!