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General Articles - Editorials

The New Kid

Article written by Moab Man

Date Added: 10/29/2006

Has Jeep sacrificed an icon in search of paved roads and profits?

The last few years have not been good for those that expect their Jeeps to be simple and solid. This is scarily evident with Jeep?s ?bobble-head? commercials.
What? You haven?t seen the commercials?
Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and that scary guy we saw in Moab have nothing on Jeep when it comes to scaring the hell out of enthusiast with the bobble-head commercials.
Sorry, the bobble-head fear got me for a moment. Now, I bring this up because our beloved TJ model is retiring; and the heir to the thrown is showing up across America.
I?m going to be upfront; I fear change and don?t like the new kid on the block. However, the new JK is here to stay whether I like it or not. So how about we take a look at the new JK together? (Meaning? lets pick on the new kid!)

The first thing you notice is the size. The JK is clearly wider and longer than the TJ it replaces. Admittedly, I wanted to pick on the new kid for being fat? until I looked at my own TJ, Barney. Barney?s girth has increased with his 35?s and properly backspaced wheels. What about the JK?s length? The sales numbers of the long wheelbase TJ (the LJ) were proof that the public likes the longer Wranglers.

Since picking on the new kid?s girth didn?t work so well, get a load of his new shoes! 32? BFG mud terrain tires are available, and the wheel wells are huge. Apparently they are so large that, according to Teraflex, they can clear 35? tires with only 2.5? of lift.

How about that new steering configuration? Seems Jeep thought it was a good idea to tuck the steering box up and more inboard, so it?s no longer hanging off the front of the vehicle taunting rocks to hit it.

Honestly, the more I look at the new kid, the more he grows on me. The JK does have a couple of weak points that will need to be addressed. The composite CV driveshafts are not going to hold up to rock abrasion or much lift. The muffler is also at risk for damage since it?s located where the TJ?s regularly abused gas tank was.

Prejudices aside, the JK does need a little; but so did the TJ. The fact you can go from bone stock to a 35? off-road monster by adding a 2.5? lift makes this Jeep far more capable than anything previous... even the almighty TJ.

Final Thoughts

There it is? an honest review of the JK for someone that might be considering one. Keep in mind, though, that when you pass me in your new JK; I was sticking my tongue out at you because your Jeep is fat and funny looking.

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