May 6, 2010 Wrangler gets experts' touch | detnews.com | The Detroit News
Wrangler gets experts' touch
Special to The Detroit News
Anyone can go out and start buying aftermarket accessories, and some of them might even enhance a vehicle's appearance or performance.
But how does the car or truck or SUV owner know what's really best, what really works?
One way is to pattern your modifications after what experts do to their own vehicles. Those experts may be individuals with lots of experience in vehicle enhancement or they may be people who design, develop and validate aftermarket parts (and whose careers depend on those parts performing as promised).
From time to time in "Soup It Up," we like to look at what the experts have done to their own vehicles. This week, we examine the "Moparized" 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited that Mopar, the performance parts group at Chrysler, built up for the annual pre-Easter gathering of Jeep enthusiasts on the red rocks at Moab, Utah.
In many cases, Mopar used its own parts, but in some instances, instead of duplicating efforts, it simply worked with other highly regarded parts producers.
Case in point: The American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) front bumper ($1,620) with its integrated Warn winch ($1,375). Not only does the bumper provide the look, protection and clearance needed for extreme off-roading, it integrates with the Jeep's crash sensors so the airbags that protect the driver and front-seat passenger in the event of a mishap still function properly.
"Anytime we put anything on a vehicle that can influence the result of an accident, we have to go through the same frontal and side impact collision tests as on a new car," explained Jim Sassorossi, Mopar's director of sales and marketing.
Other modifications to this Jeep include: a front skid plate ($299); off-road lights ($125); Mopar off-road rear bumper ($558); 2-inch lift kit ($1,510); front and rear differential covers ($79 each); locking fuel cap ($22); black door-entry guards ($40); Katzkin two-tone leather seats ($774) with heaters ($291); "slush" floor mats ($76); grab handle/coat hook kits ($33); a Kicker 10-inch subwoofer with 200-watt amplifier ($630); and a Mopar exhaust tip ($55).
Heated leather seats and a Kicker audio setup may sound like more than you'd need in an off-pavement vehicle, but even an off-road vehicle tends to spend most of its time on blacktop. Besides, the seats are easy to clean after a day in the dust and there are those who like a little heat and good sounds on a chilly morning, especially when you've taken off the Jeep's removable roof panels and doors for a truly open-air driving experience.
Mopar parts are sold by Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Chrysler dealerships or through http://www.mopar.com">Mopar - Authentic Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Accessories, Service & Parts
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com.
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