Sometimes advertising really hits a nerve. In my search for an American union-made car, I've found most car ads have not been that helpful or informative. But Jeep recently put out a commercial that summarized so much of what LA Labor 411 supports. It talked about how once we as a nation defined ourselves by what we made. Now, we're defined by what we consume. Its message: "it was time to return to the basics," impressed me enough that I decided to look into a Jeep Grand Cherokee as an option.
To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first because Chrysler (Jeep's parent company) had been such a wreck before the bailout, but the reviews in Car and Drive Magazine and online were overwhelmingly positive about the car. The Grand Cherokee came with a 100,000 mile power train warranty. (It's about time.) So over the Labor Day weekend, I decided to take it out for a test drive.
The salesman was eager to show me around. Up close, I could see that we were talking about a lot of car. This SUV was definitely more Jeep than it was station wagon. As I expected, it was rather roomy inside. I chose the Laredo version to test drive (the Limited was a bit too rich for my blood). Though this wasn't their top model, it was still very stylish and sophisticated with leather seats and polished wood ringing the interior. Nice.
I felt quite, ummm... powerful as I drove the Grand Cherokee around the block. Sitting as high as I did, it gave me a wonderful view of the road. Now the roads in LA could use some repair, but I'm almost glad they did as the Cherokee just glided over the rough patches effortlessly. Yep, this definitely was a Jeep.
My guide went on at length about all the features that the car had available including hands-free Bluetooth, voice command, access to the internet, a navigational system and a fantastic sound system. It was comforting to see that an American manufacturer was really looking to push the envelope on its vehicle by providing so much high-tech convenience and accessibility for the owner. This was an impressive vehicle.
When I returned to the lot I could tell that this was the perfect car... for someone else, but for me I just wasn't loving it. It's hard to put into words, but in my gut I just wasn't completely attached to it. I think it may have simply been too much car for me. Still, if you're looking for car that is both elegant and powerful, the Grand Cherokee is probably a great car. But I was delighted to see that American quality in craftsmanship was back.
The search continues!