Hackers crack Jeep code again! More than 30 Jeeps stolen in Houston


Homeland Security investigates hijacking of FCA vehicles

Jeep hackers are at it again. Roughly 30 vehicles were stolen in the Houston area over the last six months. The two men suspected of the crime, Michael Arcee and Jesse Zelay, were arrested last Friday.

According to Autoblog, the hacker jackers have been using a laptop to break into a Jeep’s software system, allowing them to start the vehicle. Sources say the thieves are either using OBD II or USB to tap into the UConnect infotainment system.

In the video below, you can see a man breaking into a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. This video surveillance led the police to Arcee and Zelay. Officers then began to follow the pair, eventually catching them in the act. The individuals in question have been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, but Arcee was also indicted as a felon in possession of a weapon, and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

“There’s a possibility they may not be the only ones that are doing this, but right now we feel if they are the only ones that are doing this, with this arrest we hope we will be able to curb the amount of thefts occurring,” said Jim Woods, an officer of the Houston Police Department.

Many of the stolen vehicles were taken to Mexico, reports ABC 13. Homeland Security believes this is just a small part of a bigger problem. They will be investigating 100 other FCA vehicle hijackings.

FCA has released an official statement in regards to the thefts.

“FCA US takes the safety and security of its customers seriously and incorporates security features in its vehicles that help to reduce the risk of unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems and wireless communications. FCA US has been cooperating with Houston Police Department since they first started the investigation. This investigation is ongoing and as such, the company has no further comment.”


2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT spied undisguised


A facelifted Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has been spied testing. Though the 6.4-litre Hemi-engined SUV won’t go on sale until at least 2017, the test car was undisguised, revealing the car’s full design. 

At the front, a more aggressively designed bumper incorporates LED fog lights into the lower air intakes, while a restyled main lower air intake sits below three new slits and a slimmer front grille. 

The development Jeep’s rear bumper has the SRT logo incorporated into its diffuser, while it also retains its predecessor’s twin exhausts, alloys and dramatically scooped bonnet.

The Grand Cherokee SRT will be the range-topping Jeep in the UK. However, in the US it will sit below the Hellcat-engined Trackhawk in the Grand Cherokee lineup; the Trackhawk isn’t expected to go on sale in the UK. The SRT will use the same 707bhp engine as the famed Dodge Challenger Hellcat, although Jeep has yet to comment on whether it will be in the same state of tune.

The pre-facelift SRT produces 461bhp, giving it a top speed of 160mph and a 0-62mph time of 5.0sec. This new facelifted version is likely to push this closer to 500bhp or more, although no performance upgrades have been confirmed as of yet.

A mid-life facelift for the standard Grand Cherokee is on its way later this year, with this updated SRT coming some months after that in 2017. 


10 Best Off-Road Vehicles


Modern trucks and SUVs have gotten more comfortable on a day-to-day basis, but they have also gained considerable off-road capability as technological and engineering advances have helped to create virtually unstoppable four-wheel drive systems buttressed by electronic driver’s aides. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to sample some of the best off-road vehicles currently available, but if you want to, there are certainly top-dollar models out there that happily pair up luxury and a go-anywhere attitude. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best off-road vehicles that money can buy.

1) 2016 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X


The 2016 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X mid-size pickup truck is a great all-around package for those who are interested in leaving the asphalt behind. The Nissan Frontier PRO-4X package includes Bilstein off-road dampers, skid plates to protect delicate components underneath the chassis, a locking differential out back, knobby BFGoodrich tires, and, of course, four-wheel drive. All versions of the PRO-4X Nissan come with a robust 4.0-liter V-6 engine that generates 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, yoked to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Examples equipped with the automatic gearbox also have the option adding on hill descent control and hill start assist features.

2) 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro


The Toyota 4runner is pretty capable of getting you where you want to go, but the TRD Pro was designed specifically for those who are serious about their off-road adventuring. It’s powered by the everyday Tacoma’s 4.0-liter V-6, which puts out a capable 270 horsepower and is paired to a five-speed automatic gearbox with manual shift mode. The TRD Pro’s off-road credentials are real, though, thanks to a locking rear differential, a terrain select system, crawl control, lifted front suspension, and upgraded Bilstein shock absorbers.

3) 2016 Jeep Wrangler


The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is the undisputed king of off-road SUVs, with even the base model’s solid front axles, excellent ground clearance, and standard four-wheel drive making it a formidable trail master. Upgrading to the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, however, introduces the vehicle’s most capable four-wheel drive system with a Rock-Trac transfer case, the strongest available axles front and rear, locking differentials, and the ability to disconnect the front sway bar electronically in order to improve suspension articulation. Power is derived from a 3.6-liter V-6 that puts out 285 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque, and buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is available in coupe and Unlimited four-door body styles.

4) 2016 Ford F-150


The 2016 Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck is designed around a lightweight aluminum body with glued and riveted panels, over a high-strength steel frame. If it doesn’t sound that durable, well, Ford used to make Land Rovers with a similar procedure. The 2016 F-150 offers a choice of four drivetrains, all of which are mated to six-speed automatic gearboxes. The FX4 package adds upgraded shocks, skid plates, and an electronically locking rear axle for off-road chops. Not tough enough for you? Just wait for the F-150 SVT Raptor edition to make its highly anticipated reappearance, due later this year.

5) 2016 Land Rover LR4


The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is a staple amongst families shopping for a luxury SUV, but the mid-size vehicle does far more than just coddle occupants. The Land Rover LR4 is a formidable trail weapon thanks to its relatively short wheelbase and its advanced full-time four-wheel drive system, which comes with Land Rover’s Terrain Response feature that can automatically adjust a wide range of vehicle parameters to specifically handle mud, snow, gravel, and rocks. A locking rear differential can also be added to the LR4’s list of features, and the vehicle’s air suspension system is adaptable to the driving conditions that the Land Rover is facing. All versions of the SUV are powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine that is good for 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

6) 2015 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X


The 2015 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X is frequently lauded for combining a tough, full-frame, off-road ready platform with the kind of daily driving manners that make it a viable commuter option. The Nissan Xterra PRO-4X enhances the mid-size SUV’s prowess by way of installing special tires and wheels, adding hill start assistance and a hill descent control feature, providing a locking rear differential, and offering additional exterior lighting. Four-wheel drive is of course a major component of the PRO-4X’s personality, and a 261-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 (that is also good for 281 lb-ft of twist) is included free of charge with the Xterra. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. Though the Xterra was discontinued for the 2016 model year, it’s worth looking around for a leftover 2015 model.

7) 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser


The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser is another high-dollar off-road contender. The Toyota Land Cruiser is the priciest vehicle in the Japanese brand’s fleet, and it offers no options (everything is standard), but in addition to its three rows of cushy seating, it also offers a full-time four-wheel drive system, excellent ground clearance, an adaptive suspension system, the Multi-Terrain Select feature for handling a range of different driving conditions, and a crawl control system that allows the vehicle to creep forward while negotiating tricky situations. Off-Road Turn assist uses the brakes on the inside wheels during a tight turn to help better rotate the big vehicle. The Land Cruiser is outfitted with a 5.7-liter V-8 that is good for 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

8) 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon


The 2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is a serious three-quarter ton full-size pickup that makes use of an extremely aggressive rear axle ratio, locking differentials, a tough four-wheel drive system, a factory winch, skid plates, tow hooks, all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, and the ability to disconnect the front swaybar from inside the cabin. The Ram Power Wagon is a throwback to the days when one could spec out a heavy-duty truck to tackle the great wide open. A 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 is the only engine available with the Power Wagon, and it delivers 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission handling the gear-shifting duties and a Fuel Saver Technology feature for those breaks between climbs. (2015 model pictured.)

9) 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee


The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is not only a comfy people mover, but it also maintains Jeep’s high standards for off-road capability. The Trail Rated Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with the choice of three different four-wheel drive systems, although hardcore drivers will want to go for the Quadra-Drive II edition which offers Selec-Terrain (for configuring engine, transmission, stability, and traction control parameters for a particular type of driving situation) as well as an air suspension with adjustable ride height and a pair of locking differentials. The Grand Cherokee can be equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 putting out 290 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque or a 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 that also generates a respectable 390 lb-ft of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

10) 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class


The 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is the most expensive vehicle on this list, and it’s also the only one that was originally based on a military transporter. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class looks like a big box on wheels, and its upright charm conceals a host of serious off-road features, such as three locking differentials, a full-time four-wheel drive system with low-range capability, and exceptional departure and approach angles. The luxury-laden G-Class makes use of a 416-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that also develops 450 lb-ft of torque, and it comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The AMG G63 version offers a twin-turbocharged V-8 that boasts 563 horsepower, and the new-for-2016 AMG G65 boasts 621 horsepower from its twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12


410,000 Fiat Chrysler vehicles recalled for stalling risk

2015 Jeep® Renegade Limited

Jeep, Chrysler and Ram models part of voluntary recall

Fiat, Chrysler automobiles is recalling nearly 410,000 Chrysler, Ram and Jeep vehicles worldwide for a wiring and software issue that could cause the vehicles to stall. The voluntary recall includes the 2015 Chrysler 200, 2015 Jeep Renegade, 2014-15 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Ram ProMaster City.

FCA says that the problem stems from an insufficient crimp in a wiring harness that can result in a solenoid fault code, prompting the engine to stop. No injuries or deaths have been reported in connection with this issue, but the automaker is taking the problem seriously since a sudden loss of engine power could lead to a crash. FCA points out the issue is a temporary one for these vehicles and that they can be restarted in case the problem occurs.

“Most vehicles in the recall population will not experience this fault code over their lifetimes,” the automaker said in a statement. “However, should the condition occur, it can typically be temporarily resolved by stopping the vehicle and re-starting its engine.”

The automaker plans to replace the wiring harness and update vehicle software in the affected vehicles, some 323,361 of which have been sold in the U.S., with the rest in other markets, including Canada.

FCA has not indicated when affected owners will be contacted, though the automaker mentions that owners can contact its Customer Care Center at (800) 853-1403 prior to the start of the notification process.


Jeep 75th anniversary: The industry’s most copied brand

Jeep inspired Land Rovers, Land Cruisers, Broncos and Scouts

Jeep can claim many milestones. But here’s one you may not have thought of: It’s the most copied brand of American vehicles.
The World War II military Jeep — the forerunner of today’s Wrangler — spawned the Land Rover in 1948 and, in the early 1950s, Toyota’s BJ and FJ, which morphed into the Land Cruiser.
Later the civilian Willys Jeep CJ series was the inspiration for all other competitors, from the International Scout and Ford Bronco of the 1960s to the Suzuki Samurai and Daihatsu Rocky of the 1980s.
Then there’s the 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ — the first unibody SUV — which is the template for the modern SUV and has been copied universally.
Early competitors tore apart the military Jeeps while creating their own versions. The first Land Rover prototype, built in 1947, had a Jeep chassis.
In the book Land Rover: The Unbeatable 4X4, authors Ken and Julie Slavin document the creation of the first Land Rover, which over the years has proved to be the Jeep’s toughest competitor.
P1944 Willys-Overland “Jeep” MB, 1945 Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-2A, 1949 Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon, 1963 Jeep Wagoneer, 1984 Jeep Cherokee, 1987 Jeep Wrangler and 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Photo by Jeep

“Using the Willys Jeep as a jumping off point, the design team had to scrutinize every detail of the American product and drive it in all possible conditions to learn its limitations,” the Slavins wrote. “Two Jeeps were acquired early on, solely for dissection purposes, but although certain of its stronger points were without doubt copied in the Land Rover, the Rover team maintained vehemently that there was nothing on the Land Rover that corresponded exactly to the Jeep.”
Today, the Wrangler, with its fold-forward windshield, exposed hinges, round headlights and other design cues, has no real competition. But the same cannot be said for all the other vehicles in the Jeep lineup, especially the Grand Cherokee, which traces its DNA back to the 1984 Jeep Cherokee and slugs it out in one of the most competitive market segments.
Roy Lunn, Jeep’s former director of engineering, led the team in the early 1980s that created the XJ. Lunn said the inspiration for the unibody SUV came from the fuel shocks of the 1970s.
“Other companies didn’t do it by choice. They said, “We’ll make an SUV-type vehicle and what is the nearest vehicle to base it on?’ They chose their light truck to derive it from. But the light truck line had a separate frame and normal heavy construction,” Lunn said. “I chose unitized because it is stronger pound for pound and it is lightest for meeting fuel economy requirements.”


Jeep Wrangler 75th anniversary special rolls in at £35k

Jeep has announced a series of enhancements for its tough Wrangler model. All versions now benefit from additional kit and a Euro 6 compliant diesel engine. Additionally buyers can now order the 75th Anniversary edition, but only 85 of these will be coming to the UK. The range now starts from £31,840 with the new special edition coming in at £34,765.

Trim improvements include front side airbags and 18-inch alloys now fitted as standard across all versions. The Sahara and Overland gain a 3.73 rear axle ratio, whilst the Rubicon picks up heated leather seats and Mopar slush mats.

The 75th Anniversary is based on the Overland model adding bronze-finished alloys and front-grille, a body-coloured dual top, Mopar slush mats and unique badging. Interior kit improves too with the addition of leather seats, sat nav and a premium sound system. Buyers have a choice of three colours; Bright White, Solid Black or Sarge Green.

Under the bonnet the 2.8 CRD diesel engine fitted to all Wrangler models is now Euro 6 compliant and offered alongside the existing 3.6 V6 petrol engine.


New Jeep Grand Cherokee given driving, interior and tech updates


Jeep has announced a host of changes to the Grand Cheeroke as well as two new special editions to celebrate 75 years of Jeep that we first saw at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The new updated Jeep Grand Cherokee features an interior revamp, more refined driving experience and new technology. On the inside a new centre console and gear lever have been implemented to give the cabin a more organised arrangement. The addition of acoustic glass means the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be a quieter vehicle for long distance cruises, helping to improve refinement. On the outside the main changes come in the form of three new colours; Velvet Red, Redline and Ivory Tri-coat.

Meanwhile, Jeep has implemented a lot of new technology as the Grand Cherokee continues to evolve in the UK market. Electric power steering has now replaced the traditional hydraulic power steering which saves weight, making the Grand Cherokee more enjoyable and less expensive to drive.

Safety has also been a big focal point of this wave of technology add-ons as a new ‘Stop’ function on the rear parking assist means that at speeds up to 7mph, the Grand Cherokee will attempt to halt itself if the driver is likely to hit an obstacle. A full speed collision warning system has also become available as an option, further enhancing safety by stopping the vehicle if the driver does not react to objects in front of it at speeds of below 20mph.

The mechanics of the Grand Cherokee have not changed. The proven 3.0 V6 is still available and Jeep is continuing to offer its 8-speed automatic gearbox. These combine with the reduced weight of the vehicle to improve the fuel efficiency (now a claimed 40.4mpg for diesel models) and the CO2 rating as it now produces 184g/km – a 14g/km reduction on the old Grand Cherokee.

Prices are set to stay the same as the current Grand Cherokee with the 3.0 CRD Limited+ base model starting at £45,050. The 3.0 CRD Summit model will still set you back at least £52,550.

Jeep has also announced that these changes to the standard Grand Cherokee will also come on two special editions; one called the 75th Anniversary Edition and the other called the SRT Night Edition.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition from £50,550

The 75th Anniversary Edition is designed to pay tribute to the original Jeep models that began the company back in 1941. Based on the standard new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 75th Anniversary Edition will utilise the same 3.0 V6 engine, eight speed automatic gearbox and unique Jeep four-wheel-drive system. The unique changes for this edition are visual.

On the outside, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition has bronze detailing and ‘75th Anniversary’ badges, new 20-inch bronze coloured alloy wheels and LED fog lamps. Four colours will be available: Recon Green, Bright White, Brilliant Black and Granite. Internally, the 75th Anniversary Edition will have a new 75th Anniversary seat design featuring the Jeep logo from 1941 and those seats will be finished in black leather with tangerine stitching.

Other additions are a dual pane panoramic sunroof, air suspension and the ‘Safety Technology Pack’, which includes all the safety-based optional extras that Jeep offers, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning system with crash mitigation, cross path detection and blind spot monitoring. 125 examples of the 75th Anniversary Edition will be available in the UK for £50,550.


Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night from £69,865

The other special edition Jeep Grand Cherokee to be released soon is called the SRT Night. 30 examples of this more unique SRT Grand Cherokee will be coming to the UK and it is set to be the fastest and most powerful Jeep ever made.

The 6.4 litre V8 used for the standard SRT Grand Cherokee has been slightly uprated to produce 468bhp (7bhp more than normal) and the same 624Nm of torque. Jeep says that with the standard launch control system it will go from 0-62mph in under 5 seconds and on to a top speed of 160mph.

The SRT Night Edition will be fitted with Brembo brakes as standard, which will be hidden behind new 20-inch wheels finished in satin black. It will be available in either Brilliant White or Brilliant Black and the external trim and badges will be painted matte black.

Inside, the black theme continues with black Laguna leather seats accented by black stitching. Black leather armrests will be added to the doors and the centre of the steering wheel has an illuminated ‘SRT’ badge.

Costing £69,865, this special edition of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee will cost £3,000 more than the standard SRT Grand Cherokee. The first of the 30 models to be brought to the UK is ready to be sold this month.