New Car Fever

I’ve had the bug for awhile, but when Dede’s Honda-CRV (a.k.a. “Rocket“) was totaled last year and we replaced it with a zippy Mazda CX-5 (a.k.a. “Rojo”)…

2014 Mazda CX-5

Dede’s 2014 Mazda CX-5 a.k.a. “Rojo”

That’s when my new car fever started to become chronic!

I’d had my Honda Element since ’03 and it was still working fine. But it had always been really basic, devoid of all of the nice features that more modern cars have, and was also downright anemic on horsepower. With all of the comforts, electronic gadgetry goodness, and zoom zoom of Rojo, my ride seemed all that much more dated.

'03 Honda Element

Rob’s “Ellie” – ’03 Honda Element EX

My new car fever stayed in remission for a few more months but it sure didn’t help when Rich & Benie upgraded to a snazzy new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Turbo. Lots of others were getting new cool rides too… Trey & Rob M. got hot new sports cars. A super clean used Highlander was an overdue upgrade for Clems & Sophie. Ryan & Daniel both got new cars? Yep! See the trend?

Plus, a host of small problems was starting to plague the Element, including the an A/C compressor on the fritz (projected to be a very costly fix) and some flaky electrical issue that was either draining the batter or causing it not to charge properly. I had looked at lots of different options but on Dede’s urging & Georgina’s seconding, I decided to test drive a Jeep Wrangler.

Sure enough, I really liked the Jeep’s elevated and upright seating position, the nimble handling, and lots of oompfh to spare. As much as I had loved my Element for the past 11+ years, I grudgingly but unceremoniously just… let it go. Now I’m a Jeep owner! It’s a 2014 Wrangler Sport S 4X4 in Flame Red loaded with 4-wheel drive, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth phone pairing, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, removable front roof panels and top. And of course, 2 front-mounted tow hooks because, well, you never know…

About the only key thing it doesn’t have yet is a name—and I’m working on that!

2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport

Rob’s new 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport

There are a few accessories that I’m itching for, including a dead pedal and trailer hitch—to make use of the folding trailer that Liam & I built last year! The vast array of parts, add-ons, and other sundries for the Wrangler “JK” (a.k.a. Third Generation) is almost overwhelming! Just look at the almost-endless assortment of goodies at these sites:

Quadratec – Parts & accessories for Jeep Wrangler, CJ & Cherokee
Mountain Off-Road Enterprises
4Wheel Drive Hardware

What’s more, the Wrangler platform seems expressly built for bolting on or otherwise adding after-market stuff so even a mechanically-challenged guy like me can handle lots of upgrades. There’s also a massive online community of Wrangler owners who post tips, tricks, stories, how-to instructions, and photos galore at forum sites like these:

WranglerForum
JeepForum
JK-Forum



Tip:   By the way, as I was settling in with the new ride, I was reminded of the classic Car Talk instructions for adjusting side mirrors that I heard years ago. Car mirrors are something that you usually just set and rarely change, so follow Tom & Ray Magliozzi’s advice to set ’em right to begin with and reduce your car’s blind spots!