GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
Look! It's GirlDriver, USA.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Head for the Dirt Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4

It was a weird weekend.  I was doing domestic stuff like trying to put my city kitchen back together using sweat equity so I did not have an opportunity to go off-road with my Jeep Wrangler.  According to Chrysler, 80 percent of Wrangler owners use their vehicle off-road.  And I can see why.  How much more fun would I have had driving my Wrangler as equipped?  Mucho mejor.   That little red Wrangler was just fixin’ to do some dirt with 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic roll mitigation, Command Trac shift-on-the-fly 4WD system, heavy duty rear axle, solid front axle, 3.21 rear axle ratio, transfer case skid plate shield, fuel tank skid plate shield,  It has a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 24 valve VVT engine (also found in the Grand Cherokee) that delivers 285 horsepower coupled with a 5-speed Automatic transmission.   The new optional automatic transmission improved fuel efficiency (17 city/21 highway) for both automatic and manual 4WD models.
The removable roof panels were too heavy and cumbersome to remove by myself.  I really wanted to take the doors and the windshield off and ride in the open air.  My to-do list won over and that led to feelings of inadequacy, especially since I am thinking about doing desert rally in 2013. I could have taken those panels off if I’d been focused.  This should not discourage anyone from taking a look at this fun vehicle because of my ineptitude.
Inside the Wrangler has been sissified with all the connectivity a person could want including voice recognition, Bluetooth® streaming audio, navigation and satellite radio assures you’re never truly in the wild. Automatic temperature controls, heated seats, power mirrors, a USB port, 12-volt accessory outlets and AC power outlets keep you plugged in and cozy—space blankets optional.
The new powertrain produces a 25 percent improvement in its 0-60 time to 8.4 seconds, no tiger at the gate but Wrangler owners aren’t looking for that kind of performance.
The appeal of the Wrangler is its cool looks and it capability off-road. Four-wheel drive is standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears
Its boulder-crawling prowess includes a best-in-class approach angle (approaching a rock or steep hill and then climbing it) of up to 44.6 degrees, breakover angle (the smallest possible angle when measured from the wheels to the underside of the vehicle.  If its too small your vehicle will bottom out when you crest to the top of the ledge) of 25.5 degrees and departure angle (measured from the back of the rear wheels to the rear bumper.  If the rear bumper sticks out too much the rear will drag in the dirt when going up ledges and drag against ledges after going down) of 40.6 degrees-slightly less on 4-door models. These angles and numbers give the Wrangler the ability to climb over rocky and rugged trails, through washouts, and across uneven terrain. Both 2-door and 4-door models have three skid plate bars to protect vulnerable underbody parts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Before Spending Tax Refund Dollars at the Car Dealership Do Your Homework

  American taxpayers have tax refunds at their disposal. The average tax refund is roughly equal to the average down payment on a new vehicle (about $3,000).   So does it make sense to use that refund for a   new car purchase? recommends that prospective buyers exercise due diligence before running to the car dealership.

“Dealers are well aware that buyers may suddenly have an influx of cash on hand this time of year, so it’s not uncommon to see promotions and offers tied to tax season,” says Carroll Lachnit, Consumer Advice Editor at “And while there are good deals to be had on new cars, we strongly encourage consumers to take advantage of every research tool at their disposal before they plunk down their refunds as down payments.”

Before investing tax refunds in a new vehicle, advises consumers to first check out the following tools and resources:

Guide for First-Time Car’s one-stop shop to guide you through the new car buying process. From finding your car to closing the deal, has you covered. And despite the title, this guide has some tips that can benefit everyone -- even veteran car buyers.

Monthly Loan Payment Calculator – Easily calculate your target monthly payment by inputting the new car price, value of trade-in, financing terms and expected down payment.

Gas Guzzler Trade-In Calculator – With gas prices as high as they are, it might be tempting to trade in your gas guzzler for a fuel-efficient alternative. This calculator will help you understand how much – or how little – money you’ll actually save.

Low APR vs. Cash Back Calculator – Dealers will entice you with low APR rates or cash incentives. Use this tool to find out which offer makes more sense for you and your wallet.

True Cost to Own® - The cost of a new car goes well beyond the negotiated price. Find out how much your new car will cost over the next five years when you consider all the fuel, insurance and maintenance costs.

For even more resources to help you get the most out of buying your next vehicle, please visit’s new car and used car pages.

Tax filers may also be able to maximize their refunds by understanding some of the many car-related tax deductions.