Hmm, I think there has been a bit of a misunderstanding here. I think AB was saying that the Jeep doesn't have axle diff locks. It does, however, have a locked mode between front and rear axles. (In fact, some JC models offer 2WD, 4x4 full time (i.e. centre diff unlocked), and 4x4 part time (i.e. centre diff locked)).
What is more, some models have a limited slip diff in the rear axle.
On our recent trip to Morocco, we had 3 vehicles, an ageing 1993 Discovery, my Defender, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee. There is no doubt that the JGC is the "softest" of the three, but it performed effortlessly in the sand, and pretty capably over the boulder beds. It wasn't overloaded, but it was carrying a respectable amount of kit.
Interestingly, the suspension didn't give a more comfortable ride than either of the other two vehicles (they were all very different), but overall it was much more comfortable, given the air-con, and the plush, quiet interior. It also sealed out much of the dust, whereas both Land Rovers appeared to be fitted with the standard LR Dust Attraction Device (tm).
The JGC was a petrol automatic, with an LPG conversion. At the Defender-travelling-speed of 90km/h on motorways, the Jeep got around 13 l/100km (15 when using gas). The 200TDi Discovery got 10 l/100km, and the 300Tdi 6x6 Defender got a disappointing 15 l/100.
We had alternator problems with the Defender, and a rear hub oil seal needed changing. And the nylock nuts worked their way off two of the shock absorbers - one top one and one bottom one(!). And two punctures.
Nothing went wrong with the Jeep, apart from one puncture, though the battery tended to die very quickly overnight, even with just the interior light on. Oh, and the clunking noise from the diff, which had just been "fixed" before we left, and reappeared before we even reached Spain!
The only attention the Discovery seemd to need was the occasional fill-up with diesel!
My only real concern with the Jeep was that it was an automatic, and it's easy to cook the transmission when playing in the dunes, especially if the driver hasn't driven in deep sand before, and doesn't realise how much resistance sand provides.
In a manual vehicle, you start to realise that something is amiss when you're in first gear low range and still needing LOTS of throttle to get going. With the Jeep, all that impressive silky big six power starts overheating the fluid very quickly when the wheels are buried in the soft stuff.
Other than that (which of course is not a weakness of the Jeep specifically), the Jeep was very impressive - much more so that any of us had expected, given that it is very clearly aimed at the upper end of the "soccer mom" market.
[This message has been edited by SandyM (edited 26 November 2002).]