So I bought a used benchmark 4WD

So I bought a used benchmark 4WD


While I test cars, I unconsciously compare them to my 17-year-old inline-six “baby” Mercedes to see how far cars have progressed (not far enough really). Similarly, I compare tested sports cars with my 20-year-old modded twin-turbo Supra. But I’ve never owned a 4WD before, and I needed one to judge new trucks against. I set a budget, and I started researching for a reliable, tough and true 4WD that could go up against the latest. Oddly enough, the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 you see in the picture fit the bill. A Jeep? Reliable? There’s more to the story.

You see, there are two kinds of Jeep. Those built in USA for the States and those built in Austria for the international market. The American-built Jeeps have a terrible reputation for reliability. Nothing survives on those ones built by overpaid UAW union workers. The Austrian ones are outsourced to the same factory that builds Mercedes-Benz 4WD systems, and from what I’ve found out, their quality standards are much higher. In fact, Europeans say the Jeep is a very reliable vehicle. Two different standards for the same car.

My other option was the Nissan Pathfinder. But it turned out the 2002 Pathfinder 3.5 V6 is more cramped, has less gadgets, uses drum brakes in the rear, is much slower, has a simpler transfer case, has an ugly interior, is heavy, has less airbags, weighs the same, has only slightly better fuel economy, and costs more than the Jeep due to its higher resale value. In fact, even the 2007 Pathfinder has trouble matching my old Jeep feature-for-feature. The old Jeep even has better interior materials, compared to the plasticky new Grand Cherokee cabin.

The stupid used car dealers here imported hundreds of American-spec Jeeps into the country, and it is important to completely avoid them. It took me a while to find a GCC-spec truck, and everything actually works on it too. My unregistered Jeep only had the usual “lady-driven” damage on it, namely bad parking scars and an overused sunvisor mirror used for makeup. The metal-plated underbelly was straight, so no offroading was ever done.

How do you spot a GCC-spec? Simple. All GCC Cherokees have a side indicator between the front wheel and the front door. The crappy American ones don’t.

I’ll write a review later to show how this underappreciated 4WD can outrun many new competitors in the market, including some crossovers. I might have problems in the future with running costs, but let’s not worry about that now.


What do you think?



  1. it looks good really. 😯 but as you said “I might have problems in the future with running costs, but let’s not worry about that now.” but as you said even the old models have much stronger body than the new models (and although the interior is older than the new model) am sure that the materials used for it looks better than the plastic pieces in nowadays cars. (my father has an 88 model toyota creseda but when he bought the new altima he was scared from driving it because it was very light) :mrgreen: but really it consumes fuel alot because it has a V8 engine including (American car). 😐 . and although you said that it has more reliability, but you cant compare it with the japanes cars reliability. espiecially in this country. its better to have a toyota or nissan car instead of this car 😉 . this is my point of view. :mrgreen:

  2. Author

    It is true that I would have 100% reliability and also lower maintenance costs if I bought that older Pathfinder. But you see, I’ve always bought cars based on performance first, while checking that running costs are at least reasonable. For example, a BMW X5 costs much more to maintain for no apparent reason, and it doesn’t even go offroad.

    The cars I buy also have to have at least average reliability, which is why I did not bother with American Jeeps and British Land Rovers. I just wouldn’t have been happy driving around in a Pathfinder or Prado — 4WDs that are as common as the Corolla. The Pathfinder and Prado are not even much more fuel-efficient than the V8 Jeep, but they are much slower.

    Anyway, I end up driving new test cars most of the time anyway, while I have a smaller car too, so petrol cost for my Jeep isn’t an issue for me. 🙂

  3. its your choice at the end. But make sure that the AC is good for this good weather as you know 😆 . congrats for the new car from now. 🙂 i hope that this car will make your days happy.

    yalla am waiting for you to write about the nissan event on sunday
    i hope you will like the altima (we will buy one in the summer) 😎

  4. Author

    Bought it 3 days ago. AC works. Full dealer service history too. Checked out the car as much as I could without using a dumb mechanic. I know how to spot accident damage nowadays, since I have seen how the garages fix them. 😉

    I drove the Altima at an earlier event already. The new event won’t have any drives. I can say already that it is a nicer car than the Camry, and you’ll probably be happy with one.

  5. oh i forget, if you want to put tint on the windows you can use M-cool its much cheaper than V-Cool and it has the same quality(since the windows are not tinted) they will give you 3 years warranty also.
    i fix it in my car(altima) and it cost about 500 Dhs. i think it will cost you about 800-1000.

  6. Author

    Yep, I’ll never be a VKool buyer either. It’s just tint film, like any other, not rocket-science like they advertise it as. Interestingly, I was quoted around Dhs 650 for EmCool at Emarat for my little compact Merc. Seems you got a better deal somehow. 😮

  7. “rocket-science” loooool 😆

  8. do you know what the tser (total solar energy rejected) rating for this m-cool tint you got is? where can I check out the brand online? search yields nothing.

  9. wow nice buy. have fun taking it off road. as for the tint, how is Nanolux? they seem to be advertising like mad these days.

  10. Author

    Nanolux and 3M seem to be a better deal than VKool. SolarGard is even more expensive than VKool. I’ve noticed a car feeling cooler even with cheap Dhs 50 tint. The only reason to go with a Dhs 500-1000 tint is to avoid bubbling and to have a 2-5 year guarantee, which is acceptable.

    Paying more than Dhs 1500 for tint film is ridiculous, as VKool owners themselves say it is not as “magical” as they thought it would be.


    this is quite useful. i have nanolux installed and so far im very happy with it.

  12. the M-cool that am using in my car has a reduction of 20%, there are another types that have a higher reduction, but they are more expensive. but also why i didnt choose the one that have the higher rate? becuse after a long time if you didnt allow the sun to get in and some heat, a bad smell will come out from the fabric or the leather and even you will feel that the weather inside the car will be more humid. 😯

    oh. i forget to tell you guys i went today to the nissan dealer and i was shocked that they are showing the new altima bfore the event of lunching it.
    the prices are Altima standad 69000. Altima Fulloption 83000
    and the good news that my brother reserve a car for him (Full option) and we will get it next week or after 10 days (white color the sexest one) 😀 😈 really it F**ked up the Camry (by by camry) :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    these are some features for the standerd one:
    1.Bose sound system with 6 speakers.
    2.input for the i pod
    3.Start stop engine button
    4.Cruise control (with buttons on the steering wheel)
    5.CD 6 changer
    6.Smart key
    7.xenon gages
    8.Two sexy Exhaust pipes
    (if you compare it with the full old model, you will see that this one is much better than it)
    the full have extra:
    1.Bose wth 9 speakers
    2.rear parking sensors
    3.fog lights
    4.split air condition for the driver and the passenger
    5.wood interior
    6.sun roof
    7.some crome lines on the doors
    8.two Auto door windows instead of one (the driver).
    i forget to see if it has a traction control or not
    the only missing things are the xenon lights and the leather seats (you can add them for extra credit)

  13. heat rejection of 20% u mean? 😕 😕 man thats pathetic! even v-kool, which im not a fan of, is better than that. you say they are of the same quality? my nanolux tint rejects 62% heat 🙄

  14. Author

    It’s all bull. If a thin film actually blocked out 60% of heat entering a car, no one would need an a/c any more.

  15. habebe Cb
    do you know whats the meaning of 62 % as Mashfique said then there is no need for the AC. and i choose to put that thing
    there are another ones have heat rejection of 40-45% and thats as i think is the maximum %.But it will cost you much and you will hate your self after a while. 😐 and let me tell you what i meant by the quality is the life and the warranty (and the way they are fixing it).Vcool are giving 5 years warranty and Mcool are giving 3-4 years and thats good for the half of the price of vcool 😀 the one that is coming form mcool with 40%heat rejection has even no color if you want(as if you are not putting any thing). :mrgreen:

  16. lemme tell you both something. before i got my tint had to use the a/c at setting 5 out of 6 to first cool the interior before getting in. it was that hot inside. and if you don’t believe me i can show you my enoc petrol card that got damaged beyond repair due to that heat.

    after i got my tint, car is still parked in the same spot and the new enoc card is in the same spot. nothing has happened to it and i dont even need to cool the interior before getting in. the max ive used my a/c now while driving is at setting 2.

    almost all tints are tested the same way 4 heat rejection; at a 90 degree angle. but some of them like to exaggerate their value by testing it at a 60 degree angle. ive seen v-kool and 3M do that. now if you think 62 % is actually 40-45% then the m-cool with 20% heat rejection wud be the same as traveling with a lulu centre plastic cover on your car.

    now this is just my opinion and the simplest way to test this would be to park you car with m-cool with a friend who has a brand with better heat rejection. after a few hours try entering you car n see for yourself.
    regarding no color, i like my side glasses to be slightly dark and the front to be clear tint which is exactly what i got with the nanolux.

  17. can anyone tell me the contact details of the nanolux tint people in sharjah.
    kindly provide ur honest feedback in the nanolux tint film.
    can i get nanolux in petrol pumps.

    thanks for ur reply

  18. Thanks for you articles this site seems like a good forum for sharing info.

    I have a couple of questions.

    What are the negative aspects to buying and American spec vehicle other than what you mentioned about the Austrian built Jeeps? I have heard somethings but none of them quite convincing. Can you share why they should be “completlely avoided”? How can one research vehicles origins before purchasing?

    I would suggest that you tone down the negativism (if this is even a word) as this takes away from the review and any objectivity that you could possibly have had. I too am very discouraged with the used car markets here in the Gulf, but I try to be objective when discussing it and not completely negative and bias.


  19. sorry mash…. not convised, also jeep “especialy this model” has very uwful.. ( mean awful) re-sell value… get a land cruiser or a patrol or even a pajero.. or any other real car… 😆 😆 😆

  20. Author

    Sorry, I am not a cheap-ass worried about resale value only. I guess I am doomed.

  21. jeep – most unreliable, never out of workshop

  22. Anyone know if ‘Nanolux’ has metal content which will effect GPS reception. How much does it cost for a prado

  23. Author

    That’s the problem with people. No one reads.

  24. so why are we all here and placing comments… we all here read man… besides if i agree with navin… 😎

  25. dear mr chaudhary, thankful all the usful information. I am buying a jeep Grand Cherokee v8 of sept 2002 model from my friend, done 146000 kms. all service history is available. i did not check it is a gcc specs or us specs. if you know any workshop reliable to get parts and servcing in sharja?

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