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Jeep Wagon vs. Lincoln Navigator

1. Introduction

The main topic of this essay is comparing and contrasting the Jeep Wagon with the Lincoln Navigator. The two will be compared in several categories to find out which vehicle can serve best in a wilderness environment. The Jeep Wagon is a sport utility vehicle made by Kaiser Jeep from 1946 to 1965. The Jeep Wagon was the first sport utility vehicle in the United States. It set the stage for all future SUVs to come. The Lincoln Navigator is also a sport utility vehicle. It was made by Ford, who owns Lincoln and dealers the vehicles. The Lincoln Navigator is a luxury vehicle. The reason for comparing these two vehicles is to find out if having a luxury SUV will be better in the wilderness than having just a regular utility vehicle. Hopefully, after this competitive essay, the reader will be able to make their decision on what type of vehicle they should purchase if planning a wilderness adventure. [1][2][3][4][5]

2. Features and Specifications

The Navigator, on the other hand, has a sleek design with a more aerodynamic build. Features of the Navigator include a complex-reflector system quad-beam halogen headlamps, body-color door handles, body-color rear step bumper, bright grille surround with single slat insert, and chrome door handles with black surround. With features such as these, the Navigator has been built with the finest materials and craftsmanship and has been designed for aesthetics as well as purpose.

2.1 EXTERIOR DESIGN The Wagon and the Navigator are very different in terms of exterior design and appearance. The Wagon is square-bodied and has a tall vertical design. The front end features a classic 7-slot grille and the vehicle has round headlights. The vehicle has a spare tire attached to the rear swing-out liftgate. The body is built strong, sitting on a steel box section with all-steel construction, to give it that truck-like quality. The design of the Wagon is not aerodynamic. The vertical alignment, flat front windshield, and square lines result in a coefficient of drag that is not very wind-friendly.

Both the 2001 Jeep Wagon and the 2001 Lincoln Navigator are suitable for use in a variety of weather conditions and terrain. Although similar in some respects and ideal for the outdoor type person who occasionally needs to tow, these two vehicles are very different from each other. The Jeep Wagon has a more traditional style, built like a truck while the Navigator is built on a pickup-truck style frame but is more of a luxury vehicle. In comparing various specifications of the Jeep Wagon and the Lincoln Navigator, the differences between the two vehicles can be seen.

2.1. Exterior Design

Looking from a distance, the new Navigator is easily distinguished from its older brothers by its more modernized body lines. The new roundness and curvature of the body throughout its length would make it seem as if Lincoln paid a stylist from Lexus to pen this vehicle. All the details on the Navigator have been smoothed out, and there is not a single hard edge to be found. It appears as if the vehicle were made out of one solid piece of metal that was carefully shaped and smoothed. The new Navi is slightly longer and wider than the previous generation. The larger dimensions along with the lack of roof rack delete the illusion that this is still the college kid navigator who wants to play with dad's Expedition. Step bars come standard on the Navigator and as with most SUVs, the Navigator's lift gate is two-piece. The lower section of the lift gate was designed to function with the swing of just rear glass which means the entire lift gate does not need to be opened every time accessing the cargo area. [6][7][8][9]

With the Jeep, the styling is bold and fresh. The replacement for the Jeep Cherokee took a drastic and rather controversial change in body style from the boxy and rugged appearing XJ, to a more rounded and sleeker design of the current generation WK. The PT Cruiser inspired front end along with the large side windows allow for great visibility in the Wagon. The Jeep can be characterized as being clean and uncluttered. The wheel arches are perfectly rounded and even the door handles are flush with the body. The fairly shallow and short overhangs at the front and rear of the vehicle allow for superior approach and departure angles when off-road.

Complicated sight lines may mislead the passengers into thinking that they both have similar appearances. A quick glance would make one think that the Navigator is a spitting image of the Expedition and that the Wagon looks like the Grand Cherokee. But upon closer inspection, two vehicles look like nothing else on the road today except for each other. Noticeably absent from both vehicles is the use of traditional SUV body-on-frame construction. Both are unibody vehicles which allow each to sit a bit lower to the ground when compared to the typical SUV. The Wagon more so than the Navigator. By sitting lower to the ground, both vehicles are easier to get in and out of, and the unibody construction further adds to their car-like handling.

2.2. Interior Comfort

Both vehicles provide similar creature comforts, such as tilt or power steering, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, and keyless entry remote. However, in addition, the Navigator comes with standard wood trim and keyless entry pad at the driver's door, which are not found on the Jeep. The Navigator also has optional adjustable pedals that allow for more driver comfort and convenience. Overall legroom appears to be comparable for both vehicles, and can fit a 6'1" person in all rows of seats. It is difficult to judge between headroom as the Jeep really has 2 levels for the back seat. The optional drop gate models provide better headroom with 1 more inch in the 2nd row, and 4.8" more in the 3rd row than the fixed roof version. The reality is that the Navigator probably has more adequate headroom than the fixed roof Jeep version. Both vehicles have optional sunroofs. The Jeep has 2 small ones, 1 over the rear seat and 1 over the mid seat. The Navigator has 1 large sliding sunroof version. This may be a big advantage for Jeep sunroof lovers, as they have wanted the 4-door Jeep to provide a sliding sunroof option for a long time. All models of the Navigator come with dual-zone automatic temperature control, while the Grand Cherokee comes with standard air conditioning and heat control. If the buyer so chooses, the Grand Cherokee is offered with the optional automatic temperature control but only on limited and overland models. This model is no match against the Navigator's, as it lacks full automatic dual-zone capability, and can complicate attempts to cool different zones inside the vehicle to buyer satisfaction. The Navigator also has a greater selection of sound systems, up to a 300-watt 7.1 THX-Certified home theater surround sound audio system. This is a much improvement over the Jeep's standard 6 speakers. Finally, the Lincoln offers more in the way of convenience options with a standard garage door transmitter and memory-activated driver settings for 2 people. Overall, the Navigator appears to be richer in features from the basic models up to the high-end optional equipment. Some differences may be subtle and are reflective of attention to specific consumer desires.

2.3. Performance and Power

The new Liberty is available with a 3.7-liter Power Tech V-6 engine that generates 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. The 90-degree V-type engine is designed to deliver smooth, quiet operation and competitive fuel efficiency while producing nearly 90 percent of its peak torque from 2150 to 5400 rpm. Chrysler Group's 3.7-liter engine has a single overhead cam design and 12 valves (3 per cylinder). The engine has a cast iron engine block and cylinder head. The engine produces smooth and responsive performance and is designed for fuel efficiency, low emissions, and minimal maintenance. An innovative air-fuel module, encapsulating the fuel injectors, throttle body, and intake manifold, contributes to low emissions and competitive fuel efficiency. This engine has excellent power for the type of driving the average Jeep driver would do. It is not as fuel-efficient as the 2.4-liter engine but is a more powerful engine.

The Jeep Wagon is powered by a 2.4-liter Power Tech I4 engine. This engine has enough power to take on any type of road or weather condition and has a smooth and responsive performance. It also offers much better fuel efficiency compared to other SUVs of its class. The engine is very quiet and has ample noise, vibration, and harshness control. It is a modern 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with a dual overhead cam design and a cast aluminum engine block and cylinder head. The engine features maintenance-free hydraulic lash adjusters and direct-acting mechanical bucket valve lifters. This engine is very good for someone who does a lot of road driving with some off-road driving occasionally.

3. Safety and Technology

Other features such as blind spot monitoring, park assist, adaptive cruise control, side distance warning, and automatic headlamps with rain-sensing wipers are all made to make the Jeep as easy and safe to drive as possible. With all its technical features and driver assistance systems, it is clear to see that Jeep has made a strong emphasis on safety for their vehicles.

The ParkView Rear Back Camera gives the driver a clean and wide image immediately behind the vehicle with the gear selector in the reverse position. ParkView also displays dynamic grid lines, which give reference to the vehicle's path and are used to assist the driver. Forward Collision Warning uses radar sensors designed to detect if the Jeep is approaching another vehicle too quickly, and alerts the driver with an audible alert, as well as giving a visual indication on the vehicle's EVIC screen. If the driver still does not act and a collision is imminent, the system pre-fills the brakes to prepare for impact.

Jeep offers over 50 safety and security features. This helps ensure that the vehicles can navigate on or off their path. Some great features in the Jeep are LaneSense, ParkView Rear Backup Camera, and forward collision warning. The LaneSense departure warning system detects the vehicle's departure from a lane and gives a visual and audible alert, as well as steering the vehicle back into the lane.

3.1. Advanced Safety Features

Another useful safety technology is a rear back-up camera. The Navigator is equipped with this as a standard feature. Rear back-up cameras help drivers to see objects otherwise obstructed behind their vehicle when in reverse. It eliminates the need to twist and turn to look behind you while backing up, and in some cases, will save you from a nasty surprise of running over something you didn't see. The Lincoln's system includes a screen that is located in the rearview mirror, making it easier to see since the mirror is no longer obstructed by the rear headrests. Although not as advanced, the Jeep also has a back-up camera option for most of its models. This can be particularly useful due to the Jeep's high ground clearance, which may make seeing objects behind the vehicle a little more difficult. Any issues with rear visibility make the back-up camera a very useful feature.

Both of these vehicles offer some advanced safety features to car buyers. Safety features in vehicles such as SUVs have been long sought after, with many technological advances available. One of these technologies is Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This technology is used in both the Jeep and the Lincoln. It detects the difference between the driver's intended steering path and the vehicle's actual path. When the vehicle begins to veer off, the technology applies selective braking to bring the vehicle back in line. Not all ESC systems are created equal, however. While most systems only help to stop slippage, the Jeep features ESC that assists in maintaining vehicle control. This makes the Jeep's system slightly superior.

3.2. Infotainment System

The Grand Wagoneer makes an attempt to stay current with its infotainment system, but many of the features are outdated and confusing. It's obvious that the system was not specifically designed for this vehicle. The Navigator, on the other hand, has an easy to use touch screen system, which controls nearly every inside feature. Some may find the all-touch screen system annoying, but it's hard to deny that it looks great and appears to be very user friendly. Another downside to the Grand Wagoneer is its location of the touch screen. It is in a very unnatural position and it takes a while to get used to the controls. The systems themselves can be functional and come with standard features such as navigation, but the Navigator's system is better in terms of user friendliness and overall aesthetics. Both vehicles come with multiple USB and USB-C ports, which is a must in today's day and age. Cell phone charging is an important feature in a modern day vehicle and is something that the Wagoneer does very well. The various available media streams in the Wagoneer are extensive, however they are more extensive in number rather than availability. Many require a subscription. The Wagoneer does come with a year of satellite radio, a feature that the Lincoln offers indefinitely. Overall the Lincoln Navigator is more contemporary and user friendly when it comes to their infotainment system. Many of the features in the Grand Wagoneer seemed forced and unnecessary.

4. Price and Value

Considering all of these pricing factors, and the purchase situation, the Wagoneer was a relatively great value vehicle throughout its production. The substantial new car price difference, combined with the facts that the Grand Cherokee/Wagoneer has more efficient fuel consumption, and that incentives/rebate offers on new vehicles can be substantial, means that someone wanting a vehicle of this size/type for towing, etc. should exercise patience and wait until there are some good deals on used Navigators if that is what he/she is interested in. This could allow for a substantial depreciation in the Navigator's value and an opportunity to obtain one at a favorable price compared to its quality and features. A comparison shopper may find a late model V8 Grand Cherokee or base model 4.7L Limited to be something comparable in features and quality of construction to the Navigator at a substantial cost savings. And finally, with the substantial price overlap of the Grand Cherokee and the now discontinued Wagoneer, the best value deals on the SUV type vehicles of this platform will likely be on used Grand Cherokees said models to come.

If you have already forgotten, it is important to remember that the Grand Cherokee is similar to the Wagoneer, and that the MPG range for the Grand Cherokee is 15 to 21, whereas the MPG for the Navigator is 13 to 18. Also, Jeep's sales incentives and rebates on new cars can be substantial. This is a very different purchasing situation than buying a new Navigator. Typically, luxury car manufacturers do not advertise and incentivize their vehicles with sales rebates, as it leads to a lessening of the vehicle's perceived value.

Pricing is another area where these two vehicles diverge. For 2004, the MSRP range for a new Jeep Grand Cherokee is $27,065 to $38,995. The Wagoneer Limited is not listed for the 2004 model year, but the previous year model listed at $37,575. There was a substantial price overlap between the Grand Cherokee and the Wagoneer, which could be the cause for the latter's discontinuation. The MSRP for a 2004 Navigator ranges from $49,700 to $60,100. Based on MSRP, the Grand Cherokee is about $10k less than a comparably equipped Navigator. This substantial price difference is reiterated when comparing the largest engines for the two vehicles. A 292 horsepower 4.7L V8 is the largest engine option for the Grand Cherokee, while a 300 horsepower 4.7L V8 is the smallest engine option for the Navigator. The price for the 295 hp 4.7L High Output V8 for the Grand Cherokee is still substantially lower than that of the Navigator.

4.1. Pricing Comparison

The Lincoln Navigator has been deteriorating in value steadily since 2008. The base model 2-wheel drive starts at around 40 grand but goes up to 56 grand for the loaded L series. One of the problems has been that there is no longer a significant difference between the Ford Expedition and the more expensive Navigator. Before, Navigators had stronger engines, a higher tow rating, improved towing features, and could not be had in fully loaded versions as the more luxury-appointed Expedition. Now, the standard and options are nearly the same on both vehicles, and with today's gas prices, having a bigger, more expensive version of the same SUV is a tough sell. The biggest drop in value for Navigators comes in resale where a 3-year-old L series can be had for less than half its MSRP. This is pretty damaging when compared to other luxury full-size SUVs where you would expect a significant price drop at resale but nothing like that.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is a smart choice when looking at today's SUV market. The base model Laredo 4X2 starts around 29 grand with the fully loaded Overland edition topping out around 43 grand. Jeep offers a wide variety of models and specifications to suit any needs. The good thing is that even the low-end models offer a decent amount of features and options to be added. The average loaded model will be in the mid-30s range. The Jeep Wagoneer, on the other hand, was quite expensive. When adjusted for inflation, the average Wagoneer, which comes pretty loaded with options, would be in the low 50s range. This is a lot of money for an SUV in this class, and the Wagoneer was pretty much considered a luxury vehicle when compared to others of its time. Going much higher than 30 grand for an SUV now makes it compete with more luxury brands and vehicles. By comparison, the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a far better value than its predecessor.

4.2. Resale Value

Overall, projected resale value for a vehicle is extremely influential where cost of ownership is concerned and should be considered when making long-term comparisons between vehicles.

This discussion on projected resale value is limited to the models themselves, not taking into consideration the cost and availability of replacement parts for these vehicles in the future. However, availability of replacement parts should not influence resale value for a vehicle which must be removed from consideration after high repair costs. This analysis of previous model year vehicles in comparison to the new model year Lincoln Aviator is the best available data to predict resale value years down the line when customers are actually selling their Aviators to purchase another vehicle.

Kelley Blue Book data shows that the Jeep Grand Cherokee has much higher resale values than the Lincoln Aviator, beginning at the three-year point and extending through the five-year point. In fact, over a five-year period, the Jeep Grand Cherokee holds 60% of its original value and the Lincoln Aviator holds only 40%, one third of the purchase price. Consumer Reports data supports the Jeep's projected higher resale value, rating the new Grand Cherokee's reliability as "much better than average" and the Aviator as "average". This influences that projected Grand Cherokee reliability over the years will allow higher resale value to continue.

According to Consumer Reports, vehicles with the best resale values have better than average reliability and performance. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo will perform better than the Lincoln Aviator where reliability is concerned and costs considerably less. Considering that this specific price range in the automotive market is very competitive, projected resale value for two vehicles should be an influential factor.


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Jeep Wagon vs. Lincoln Navigator

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