The difference with this model is that behind the big badge and awesome off-road ability, there’s a quality vehicle crosses the line quite successfully in pseudo-luxury territory.
Base price: $85,990.
Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, 184kW/570Nm, 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive with low range transfer, Combined economy 7.5 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 8.2 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4828mm long, 1802mm high, wheelbase 2915mm, luggage capacity 782 litres, fuel tank 94 litres, 20-inch wheels on 265/50 tyres.
We like: Style, quality, thorough powertrain and chassis engineering.
We don’t like: Not as good on-road as off, lacks feeling of spaciousness inside.
How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been arguably the greatest beneficiary of Fiat’s insistence that Chrysler up its game on quality (the Italian maker took control of the American giant in 2009 and now owns it wholesale).
The current Grand was launched in 2010 and boasted a level of interior fit and finish that was generations ahead of anything that had come before it in the model line. In 2013, after only three years on the market, Fiat Chrysler revamped the model again with powertrain upgrades and even more high technology.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Our test car is the 3.0-litre CRD (turbo diesel) Limited. It’s the bells-and-whistles version, although not quite the flagship of the range. That would be the Overland, which has a more off-road-oriented four-wheel drive system and air suspension.
But the CRD Limited still has the powertrain essentials. The revised 3.0-litre engine has 20 percent more torque and crucially, now drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a mighty performer but smooth with it, even if the chassis is not as sporty as some European SUVs. That’s opportunity cost, for Jeep still prides itself on outstanding off-road ability in these upmarket Grand Cherokee models and that must come with some compromise to on-road handling.
Still, many may prefer a softer demeanor in a large wagon like this and the Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive performs very well on tarmac as well as in the rough.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The cabin has taken another major step forwards in latest Grand Cherokee. The material and fit/finish are even better, but the main gains are digital.
The instrument panel is now mostly virtual, with a few small physical dials that change function depending on what modes you have selected. This kind of technology is used by a few premium brands, including BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. But the Jeep’s is arguably the most useable yet, because you really can reconfigure it depending on personal preference.
The information screen in the centre console is also very impressive: an 8.4-inch touch unit with clear and colourful graphics. It’s essentially the same as that in the 300 sedan and is a joy to use, with easy menus and several possible routes to the same function. It can perform the expected functions (Bluetooth, audio) but handles stuff like seat heating.
The cabin still has quite a snug feel compared with some rivals: not necessarily due to the poor packaging that characterised Jeeps of old, more to do with the dense cabin architecture. Despite its physical size, the Grand remains a five-seater only.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? The Grand Cherokee has always has Jeep heritage and image backing it up. That’s probably what sells it to a lot of people and fair enough.
The difference with this model is that behind the big badge and awesome off-road ability, there’s a quality vehicle crosses the line quite successfully in pseudo-luxury territory. At $6000 less than the previous model, it’s good value too.
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Audio: CD, iPod compatible
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Blind spot warning: No
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Cruise control: Yes
- Driver footrest: Yes
- Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon
- Head-up display: No
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes front and rear/No
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Lane guidance: NoLeather upholstery: Yes
- Parking radar: Front and rear with camera
- Power boot or tailgate: Yes
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
- Remote audio controls: Yes
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Seat height adjustment: Yes
- Self-parking technology: No
- Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
- Steering reach adjustment: Yes
- Stop-start: No
- Trip computer: Yes
Find a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD HERE