Monday, December 30, 2013


Although Prius has topped CR's best-value list Prius's do not fair well on gravel or bad roads. I have driven all types of Toyota products as a San Francisco taxicab driver. However, if you get off of city streets or in the backroads these vehicles ride like log wagons.

This is the second straight year that the Prius has topped CR's best-value list, which highlights the cars that give you the most bang for your buck. The popular hybrid has the right combination of performance, reliability and low estimated five-year ownership costs of 47 cents per mile. Last year, the Prius unseated the perennial best-value leader, the Honda Fit. The Fit had held the best new-car value title for the previous four years.

The Armada, a large SUV that gets only 13 mpg overall and scored poorly in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey, costs a hefty $1.20 per mile, according to CR's analysis.

Toyota and Lexus models placed at the top in three of the 10 categories that Consumer Reports analyzed — with the Prius taking top overall ranking and emerging in first place in the compact/subcompact cars category. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is the top-scoring vehicle in the Large Cars group and the Lexus ES 300h is the top model in the Luxury Cars category.

Vehicles from Subaru and Mazda were also standouts in the analysis; each automaker had vehicles that topped the rankings in two categories. The Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium was the top-scoring vehicle in the Midsized Cars category and the Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium scored best among Small SUVs. The Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand ranked first overall in the Sports Cars/Convertibles category while the Mazda5 GT was best in the Wagons/Minivans group.

In creating its annual Best and Worst New-Car Values list, Consumer Reports mines its performance, reliability, and owner-cost data to calculate a value score for more than 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Hyundai Accent and Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the Cadillac XTS and BMW 750Li.

"The Prius' 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested," said Consumer Reports Automotive Editor Rik Paul. "Though it's not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius' depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain."

The scores were calculated based on the five-year owner cost for each vehicle, along with Consumer Reports' road-test score and the organization's own predicted-reliability score from the latest Annual Auto Survey. In short, the better a car performs in Consumer Reports' road tests and reliability ratings, and the less it costs to own over time, the better its value. The five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor.

The 10 vehicle categories Consumer Reports included in this analysis: Compact/Subcompact Cars, Midsized Cars, Large Cars, Luxury Cars, Sports Cars/Convertibles, Wagons/Minivans, Small SUVs, Midsized SUVs, Luxury/Large SUVs, and Pickups.

"Just because a car is cheap to buy doesn't mean it's a good value. The Nissan Versa Sedan, for example, is one of the least expensive cars that Consumer Reports has tested," Paul said. "For about $1,500 more, we'd go with a Honda Fit, which is fun to drive, cheaper to own, more reliable, and provides almost twice the value."

Here's a look at the winners and losers in each of t

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


The Jeep Cherokee That Replaced the Jeep Camanche

During the mid-1980s, according to AMC Chairman W. Paul Tippett Jr.: "People are finding trucks a reasonable and sophisticated alternative to cars."[4] To satisfy the demand and to compete with Japanese competitors, both AMC and Chrysler were preparing pickups for the 1986 and 1987 model years (respectively).[4] Also at this time the financial health of AMC was poor and the automaker was in need of cash as it was preparing a new line of midsize vehicles (the Eagle Premier) scheduled to be produced at a factory being built in Canada (Brampton Assembly), but the best thing the company had going for it was its popular line of Jeeps and introducing a compact Jeep pickup truck in the fall of 1985 was expected to help.[5]
The new Jeep Comanche was introduced mid-August 1985, at a lavish event staged at the ballroom of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (currently Bally's Las Vegas) for AMC's over 1,500 North American dealers.[6] American Motors included Chinese officials as part of the negotiations establishing Beijing Jeep (now Beijing Benz). The goal was to produce and sell Comanches in China through this joint venture.[6]
The new trucks were unveiled by Jose Dedeurwaerder, an engineer and international business executive with 23 years of experience with Renault, and now appointed as AMC's new President. The base price of the two-wheel drive model was $7,049 (adjusted only for inflation equal to US$15,300 in 2013 dollars[7]), making it the lowest priced Jeep model for the 1986 model year.[8]

American Motors' Jeep designers based the Comanche MJ body, styling, engineering, and drivetrain on the Cherokee XJ, which had been introduced for the 1984 model year.[3]
The Comanche featured monocoque (unibody) construction, an unusual form of truck design, somewhat similar to the Volkswagen Rabbit pickup and Dodge Rampage. The Comanche had a more conventional removable cargo box like conventional body/frame design trucks. The Rabbit and Rampage are technically coupe utilities, not trucks, since the cargo bed is an integral part of the body structure and not removable.
AMC's Jeep engineering staff designed a rail "frame" structure to support the cargo box that was unitized with the front passenger section of a four door XJ Cherokee. Two cargo bed lengths were used; one for the seven-foot long-bed model, which appeared first in 1985, and a second, shorter version for the six-foot cargo bed, which debuted for the 1987 model year. The "frame" structure (called a "Uniframe" by Jeep) was made up like unitized car body main supports -- from stamped sheet metal components spot welded together. For strength, the rails were over eight inches deep (top to bottom), much deeper than conventional mid size truck frames (1983 Jeep J-10 fulls size truck frame is 6.75 inches at the deepest point). This structure was pioneered by AMC for the 1971 "Cowboy" compact pickup prototype.
From 1985 to 1987, the Jeep Comanche grille had ten slots in a similar configuration to the 1984-1987 Cherokee XJ, while from 1988 to 1992, this configuration changed to eight slots to match with the SUV.[9] A new "4x4" badge, similar to those found on the Cherokee and Wagoneer models, was affixed to the upper rear of the cargo box on all the four-wheel drive models.[1]
After the Chrysler buyout of American Motors for $1.5 billion on March 9, 1987, designed to capture "the highly profitable Jeep vehicles ... and 1,400 additional dealers"[10] the Jeep Comanche, like the similar Cherokee, received only minor changes. These were primarily to improve reliability and parts interchangeability with other Chrysler-built vehicles.

Jeep Comanche Pioneer

Jeep Comanche Chief with aftermarket modifications
The Comanche uses the compact XJ Cherokee's front suspension, with coil springs and upper and lower control arms. The Cherokee and Comanche were the first Jeeps to use this new "Quadra-Link" suspension. It was argued that the coil springs allowed for greater ride comfort and axle articulation during off-road excursions. A track bar (Panhard rod) is used to keep the axle centered under the truck. Modified versions of this same basic suspension system were later used on the 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee, 1997 and newer TJ Wrangler and 1994 and newer Dodge Ram.
For the rear suspension, the truck uses leaf springs that are considerably longer than the Cherokees, which give Comanches good load-carrying capacity without creating a hard ride. The standard rear axle was the same Dana 35 used in the Cherokee, except that the Comanche mounts the leaf springs underneath the axle, as does most other trucks, and the Cherokee mounts them on top the axle. There was also a heavy duty "Big Ton" package (known as the "Metric Ton" package outside the U.S.) for the long-bed models. The package included heavier-duty leaf springs and wheels, larger tires and an upgraded rear axle to a Dana 44, which increased the stock payload (cargo) capacity from 1,400 to 2,205 pounds (640 to 1,000 kg), well above that of any other mid-size truck. The Big/Metric Ton Comanche's payload rating was higher than that of many full-size pickups.

The inaugural 1986 model year Comanches could be equipped with one of three engines. The AMC 150 2.5 L, 150 CID I4, The General Motors LR2 2.8 L V6, or the Renault 2.1 L I4 turbo diesel were all offered from the start.[3]
The V6 engine, which was the same basic unit used in the first generation Chevrolet S-10, had 7 hp (5 kW; 7 PS) less than the base four-cylinder, only slightly more torque, and was equipped with a two-barrel carburetor instead of the four-cylinder's electronic TBI fuel injection.
Changes to the engine lineup happened in the truck's second year on the market. For 1987, the 2.8 L V6 was replaced by the new fuel-injected 4.0 L, 242 CID AMC 242 inline-six that delivered 173 hp (129 kW; 175 PS), or 63 more hp than the previously outsourced V6.[11] The new six-cylinder was also more fuel-efficient. The slow-selling turbodiesel was dropped during the model year.
Other changes under the hood occurred in 1991, when Chrysler adopted their own engine control electronics to replace the original Renix systems. One effect of this change was that the 4.0 L, 242 CID, I-6 engine gained 17 hp (to 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS), having already gained 4 hp (3 kW; 4 PS) in 1988), while the 2.5 L, 150 CID, I4 engine jumped from 117 hp (87 kW; 119 PS) to 130 hp (97 kW; 132 PS).
During the production life of the Comanche, six different transmissions were offered, manufactured by Aisin, Chrysler, and Peugeot. Aisin provided the AX-4 (four-speed), AX-5 and AX-15 (five-speed overdrive) manual transmissions, along with the AW-4 four-speed automatic that was used beginning in 1987. This is the same Warner transmission used in early- to mid-1990s Toyota 4Runners with the 3.0 and some 22re 4wd. The AX-15 was phased in to replace the Peugeot BA-10 five-speed that had been used from 1987 until mid-1988 behind the 4.0 L I6 engine. The Comanche came equipped with weight sensing rear brake proportioning valve.
Although Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987, only one Chrysler transmission was ever used in the Comanche, and that was prior to the takeover. 1986 models equipped with the 2.5 L I4 or 2.8 L V6 were offered with Chrysler's three-speed TorqueFlite A904 automatic.[3] Throughout the Comanche's production run, Chrysler would continue AMC's practice of purchasing Aisin automatic transmissions.

1988 Jeep Comanche Laredo 4.0 L longbed with aftermarket modifications
By model year availability:
1986 - Custom
1986 - X
1986 - XLS
1987-1992 - Base (SporTruck)
1988- Olympic Edition
1987-1988 - Chief
1987-1990 - Laredo
1987-1992 - Pioneer
1988-1992 - Eliminator

The decision to phase out the Jeep Comanche "came from a combination of two factors— low sales and Chrysler's attempts to make the Jeep brand fit into the Chrysler hierarchy of Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler models" with Jeep housing SUVs and Dodge making trucks.[12]
As sales dropped, the Comanche was planned for discontinuation. In 1990, the National Council of Jeep/Eagle dealers asked Chrysler to discontinue the Comanche, and allow them to sell a version of the Dodge Dakota pickup.[13]
The company decided to cease production of the Comanche on June 12, 1992, after only a few thousand more trucks rolled off the Toledo, Ohio assembly line.[14]

Saturday, December 21, 2013


POLICE IMPOUND sales can often times save you 50%, 60%, or more on your next used car purchase. The two above vehicles were purchased for resale at a local San Francisco Police Auction far below current used car market prices. The 1994 Jeep Wrangler is 4x4 6 cylinder with soft top and a new transfer case. The price is 3995. The black 1998 Jeep Cherokee is also a 4x4 with a 6 cyclinder automatic transmssion with a mere 117,00 on the clock. See more of these types of vehicles at