December 8, 2011

Happy in my ignorance

As the owner of a 3.8 litre Wrangler (see above item),  I’ve been following with interest overseas reports of the 3.6 litre Pentastar model since it appeared in August. Apart from its high fuel consumption I have had no problem at all with the old motor and quite liked the idea of buying one late in its production life when, surely, all the bugs will have been well worked out and when there is an aftermarket full of reasonably priced parts. True, the 3.8 has a humble background, developed more than 20 years ago primarily for minivans and people movers, but it worked quite well in the Jeep, where it replaced the bulletproof 4.0 straight six.

But almost universally, the early reports derided the outgoing motor. Its replacement was long overdue. It was wheezy, anaemic, underpowered, rough, dismal. One reviewer said that joining a freeway would no longer be a white-knuckle experience. And here I was thinking my JK joined the motorway flow very well. Too many motoring writers have a horrible habit of slagging an outgoing car or part of a car. Fair enough, I suppose, but where were their voices warning us what a load of crap we were driving, while the vehicle was still in production?

I’ve lived through this before. My Land Rover Defender was one of the last imported with the 300TDi engine. When the Td5 arrived, the earlier powerplant was derided as noisy, agricultural, underpowered, rough, unreliable and … you name it. In fact, the 300TDi is today often sought after by those who know Land Rovers. When the Td5 made way for the current Ford engine, the slaggers quickly jumped on it, of course. Land Cruiser owners had a taste of the same thing when the wonderful straight-six turbo diesel made way for the V8 diesel.  Both are worthy engines, but all of a sudden the six was “problem laden”, “clunky”, “too heavy for its output” and so on.

No wonder that journalists are down the bottom with car salesmen when jobs are ranked by public perception of the credibility and integrity of those doing them.


  1. So does that mean we can't believe what we read here?

  2. As another journo, entirely agree. But the issue I had with the 3.8 was range - high consumption, small tank. I thought it was adequately powerful and stil do.

  3. The lack of range is a valid point, although I came out of a Defender with the world's smallest fuel tank, so was used to it. I take a well secured 20 litre jerry can when off-road touring, just in case.

  4. Good posting, I've noticed this often. As soon as a new car comes out the old one is rubbish.