Car Shopping, Anon


Recently, I was lamenting the apparent lack of urgency on the part of automakers to adapt their products to a world where being stingy with fuel is a plus, not something to be sniggered at.  While I held the Jeep Renegade concept out as an example of where automotive technology should be headed, I also recognized that there are more realistic possibilities (like existing, cleaner, common rail diesel engines) to get us closer.  To be fair, pollution regulations are a big reason why there aren’t more options like this available:  Maine is one of several states (along with California, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont) with stricter air emissions requirements that prevent diesel passengers cars from being sold new.  Until the EPA requires all diesel passenger vehicles to meet the same strict standards, we’re stuck without.

A couple of weekends ago I test drove a 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – “just to see if it was worth considering.”  As vehicles go, it clearly isn’t for everyone.  But I’m at a point where sacrificing some passenger space is reasonable to think about, and I’m tired of every car you look at coming with every damn option under the sun.  Of course, all that stuff also has an annoying tendency to break or stop working for no apparent reason, resulting in an all expense paid (and paid, and paid) trip to the local repair shop.  Though the Wrangler I drove still had electric windows and locks and air conditioning, it was more basic than most of what is out there, and it can be had for quite a bit less than a number of other vehicles that might be in contention.  That said, it still doesn’t get very good gas mileage, which prompted me to write an e-mail to Jeep:

I have been looking for a new AWD/4WD vehicle and am interested in the Wrangler Unlimited. However, I am not particularly impressed with the mileage or power and wonder whether/when Jeep will offer a diesel option that meets Maine regulations (T2B5).  Thanks.

The reply:

Thank you for your email regarding the 2008 Jeep Wrangler models.

The Chrysler Group has yet to announce any plans for a diesel option for the Jeep Wrangler. However, with constantly shifting market trends I would hesitate to discount the possibility of new products on the horizon, specifically designed to suit your needs. Please feel free to check back with us and your local dealership periodically for future updates.

Predictable, really (What?  You think there going to say “wait and buy something we’re going to sell next year”?).  But I’ll give them credit for responding in a timely manner.

Oh, and I really didn’t want to bring up the part about being on CNNMoney’s list of the 11 worst cars.  Guess it depends what you’re looking for.  At this point, something with a warranty would be nice.

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