Second test drive...

nastav

Adventurer
Not to derail the thread, but I thought one big benefit of getting a Jeep with AEV work done to it was that it steered and rode much better than stock, even with the big tires. Was it any better than stock, or don't you know?
AEV is 100% better than stock…….but stock Jeeps do not come with big tires, so I have never driven one with 35” or 37” that still had the OEM suspension.
On road the Jeeps occasionally suffered from cowl shake and other unpleasant traits…….death wobble is a thing for sure.
Offroad they are fantastic.
I sold the more recent Jeep pickup truck because the seating position wasn’t working for me and it killed my back to drive it long distances and I live somewhere where all the good stuff is a long-ish distance away.
I would buy another AEV Jeep if I were buying a Jeep….it was nice for what it was.
I am not a Jeep guy by any stretch of the imagination.…so I really only have driven and owned AEV Jeeps, so I don’t have so much experience with them beyond that.
 

nickw

Adventurer
I drove this from my work HQ in Phoenix to where I live in San Diego (400 miles ish) last week on some stock sized tires and the Eibach lift Springs.
This Grenadier was aligned after the spring install and the steering was much improved from how it was delivered from the dealer.
The tall skinny tires were installed after I arrived back in SD, so I only have a 100 miles or so on them.
It drives and steers fine…..my wife has a new Defender and that drives more like a car than this, but that is to be expected.
The Grenadier needs a hand on the wheel and lots of little micro steering corrections……..it feels “old” even though it is new.
I like that about it….less sterile and blah than most new things.
It drives better and has less steering issues than either of the AEV built Jeeps I have owned. One had 35” and one had 37”.
Engine power is fine, transmission is great, headlights are great, the Recaros are super comfortable on long trips, and the stereo sucks for both music and phone.
It feels solid overall.
I’m planning on buying this from my work as we bought a blue Grenadier as well and probably only need one for product development.
Very Cool - looks like the Baja Boss in what I am assuming is 255/85R17? Regardless, how do those tires drive/sound on the road ignoring the quirks of the IG?
 

nastav

Adventurer
Very Cool - looks like the Baja Boss in what I am assuming is 255/85R17? Regardless, how do those tires drive/sound on the road ignoring the quirks of the IG?
I have the same 255/85r17 on my sprinter. They drive well on enough on freeways for me, and they do fine in snow. I haven’t noticed any more noise than other all terrains I have had on the van. The grenadier is very quiet inside compared to van. The stereo sucks in the grenadier. It’s 100% horrible.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
The first drive last year involved all pre production models, no street time, and very little actual time. Even tough mine's not due for a few months, I wanted another drive so I road tripped 4,5 hours for 30 min of seat time.

Mostly, I was worried about driving position. It was all a tad sketchy with pre production models on what was and was not a settle design. To be fair, answers depended on which of the 20 uninformed people you asked.

My street review.

The driving position was definitely dictated by form and not functionality. Is it as god awful as the 110NAS I had? No. Is it on par with experienced car manufacturers of all types and any price range? No.

I'm 6'4" and to enjoy it, I'm going to have to overlook some ergonomics a 5'-10" person will not. Much like an 1992 Tacoma, except that's odd, because there really aren't any design limitations with a truck this big.

1) The Recaro seat is basic. I actually didn't know they made one with so few adjustments. Stiff cushioning is preferred when stiff cushioning actually contours the body. The Lumbar is too low, the side bolsters are tad tight on my back, and the lack of seat tilt or adjustable thigh extensions is an issue. the latte due to....

2) .... The sight lines. When driving offroad and keeping an eye on the trail, the top of the windshield/inner roof seems quite close but the in ability to see traffic lights really isn't in play... and then you go on road. There I needed to lower the seat to it's lowest setting to avoid craning my neck sideways to see the light if I was first in line, and thats when the rock hard seat comes into play by crushing my ass because the seat no longer touches my thighs. Some tilt is typically the answer, but there is no tilt. Also being that low exposed one other oddity....

3) ... The wheel adjustments. Oh, it tilts and telescopes, but at its upper tilt limit it points upward like a school bus and at its lower it still doesn't properly sit on a plane were the movements flow with where I have the seat set. The salesman saw me pull down when it hit its lower limit, and remarked, "everyone does that, it sits too high".

The term is driver fatigue. That's what I fear this will all add up to. I have two "patches" in mind. First, is to put a dash cam on the window so I won't even have to tilt my head to see a light. Second is to rip out the seats and install some Scheel Mann Vario XXL's... And that's where irritation and hesitancy sets in. My build will be 99,500 out the door, without the useless mini-winch, and I just took a Defender 90 trophy edition they offered at 71,000 out the door, with winch, with heated cooled 14way seats, and it didn't have ANY ergonomic intricacies. I sat in the lot, set it up, and it fit like a glove.

Why do I think the Gren is like this? Contrary to a dedication to function, it's image and badges. The Sir in charge wanted the roof contour to mimic the old Defender, which is low for the seating, and whether it's the stiff structure or all the wiring for the overhead that made the headliner so low it interferes with tall seating I don't know, but the gap between the headliner and roof you see in the models with roof lites, is 2-3 inches. As for the Recaros? They wanted the badge and had to settle for glued together units with no adjustments. I mean, The Isuzu IMark econo hatch had Recaros with better controls.

I sit here not being able to decide, sad. :(
Interesting observations. These cobbled together rigs will definitely had weird stuff. Likely sourced from unused stock picked up at auction. Several other brands are running BMW stuff also. BMW has capacity but not enough sales so likely pretty damn sweet deals on engines etc that other auto makers can’t ignore.
 

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