Friday, October 31, 2014


I really love a good Jeep.  Ever since I was a little kid, I've coveted one of these, and it hasn't ever made sense for me to have one yet.  The year fast approaches, however, where it will.  I'll be past the point of supporting kids (or at least some of them), I won't need to haul them around, and I'll be indifferent to the price of gas (to a certain extent) and the practicality of my vehicle.  Plus, as I've made hiking and backpacking a major hobby again, I've found that the ability to drive on some of these really bad roads to get to remote trailheads is actually a practical concern after all.

That said, I see Jeep as a type of vehicle moreso than as a brand.  Ironically, most Jeeps are not jeeps (just as Libertarians are not necessarily libertarians.)  I don't know how a Grand Cherokee can qualify when it's really just a soccer mom SUV with only minimal off-road capability (or styling, for that matter) to call itself a true Jeep, an actual descendant with similar capabilities as the old GP's or Jeep-class light utility vehicle.  And there are a number of others that I'd love to drive, but since we don't live in a free country anymore... I can't.  They've been legislated out of legality here in the US, usually due to spurious association with "global warming"--a non-scientific theory which has just recently made the news again after it was rather prominently denounced and debunked by a wide variety of experts who are finally going public--a little late, since the general public has seen for years that "global warming"--whether under that name, or the more nebulous new labels it's been getting like climate change or climate disruption--is intellectually bankrupt.

Ahem.  Anyway, Jeeps.  My first love is probably, of course, the actual Jeep Wranger, which luckily are readily available in the US.  But I wouldn't mind getting my hands on any of these perfectly acceptable surrogates, if I could.
The original, with lift kit and big super-swamper tires.  Beautiful, even in Caterpillar orange.

The Land Rover Defender, or "Landy"--the best and most widespread ersatz Jeep, inspired by the MBs seen in Europe during WW2.  Sadly, this icon will cease production at the end of 2015, and it's never been for sale in the US--even though you can get them almost everywhere else.
The Chevy Niva, for the Russian market.  Although it has the look of a "sport cute" as much as an honest-to-goodness light utility vehicle, it's still been engineering to be relatively capable.  I'd take one.
Troller T4, a Brazilian vehicle which has been part of the Ford family for a few years now.  This is the upcoming redesign, and holy cow is it hot.  I really wish Ford would bring these guys over.  Isn't there a market among the old Bronco buyers for something like this?  My favorite of the current crop of ersatz Jeeps.  Plus, I like that it's with Ford, which isn't owned by Italians, and which wasn't given millions of dollars by the federal government just to go ahead and declare bankruptcy anyway.
Some new Land Rover concepts.  Whatever ends up replacing the Defender will probably look something like this.  Sport cute?  Yeah, kinda.  But also very sporty and probably reasonably capable.  As long as I can get them with a lift kit and big tires; these particular ones with the low profile tires and fairly non-aggressive approach angles aren't going to be rock-crawling anytime soon.

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