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Los Angeles, CA
Price Range (MSRP): $16,695 (Patriot) to $64,595 (Grand Cherokee)
The off-road masters at Jeep continue to offer a lineup that specializes in getting you deep into the great outdoors and (most importantly) back again.
Jeep offers a pair of five-seat crossovers in the Compass and the Patriot, which share the same wheelbase. The Patriot is the more rugged looking of the two, with the Compass styled more closely to the Grand Cherokee. Last year, the pair got new six-speed transmissions and styling updates but they both stand pat for 2015. The Compass is offered with two optional four-wheel drive systems, the second one earning the Compass a Trail-Rated designation.
The Cherokee is back for a second year; it toes the line between compact and midsize, offering seating for five passengers across two rows of seats, a refined cabin, and plenty of technology. There is also a new nine-speed automatic transmission that helps to improve fuel economy.
Jeep’s largest and most luxurious model is the Grand Cherokee, and it got a large update last year which brought an eight-speed transmission, a new diesel engine option, and new tech features, including a digital instrument cluster and a large 8.4-inch touchscreen that controls the optional UConnect system. UConnect is one of our favorite infotainment systems, with easy to navigate menus and an intuitive setup. The Grand Cherokee features one of the most refined cabins around; this is one Jeep that will have you sitting comfortably no matter what terrain you’re on. There are three optional four-wheel-drive systems as well as a Quadra-Lift air suspension that can adjust the ride height.
When you think of a traditional Jeep, you probably think of the Wrangler or the four-door Wrangler Unlimited.
The Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited were designed with one thing in mind and that’s to tackle any obstacles in their way. They feature the signature cloth-top, that is now even easier to open, and eschew many interior features for a more spartan approach (air conditioning, cruise control, and a navigation system are optional). Four-wheel drive with dual locking differentials is standard.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.