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Jeep Grand Cherokee road test

by Stephen Walker

20th July, 2011

Home > Road Tests > Chrysler Group > Jeep

Related stories:
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27th June, 2011
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22nd June, 2011
Jeep Grand Cherokee arrives
1st February, 2011

Now celebrating 70 years of Jeep, Chrysler Group LLC is on the right track towards financial stability following a disastrous period under a former ownership arrangement just prior to the recent American-led "Global Financial Crisis".

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is bound to strengthen both the Jeep brand and the Chrysler company itself, as it is obvious that this new product has considerable thought behind its design. Importantly, so too is the quality of manufacture.

Our drive of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo covered 211 kilometres of suburban driving. Our mistake in this car was simple ... we should have driven it much more so we could enjoy it much more.

The Laredo is the base model in the Grand Cherokee line-up. Two other trim levels exist, namely Limited and Overland. And for a very limited period, a 70th Anniversary Edition is available.

Prices for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee begin at just $45,000* (MLP*) which is excellent value when you consider the driveability, size and quality of this US-sourced vehicle.

The test "car" was equipped with the new 3.6 litre petrol-fuelled V6, which was matched to the standard five-speed automatic transmission. This proved to be a good combination. In other versions, a V8 engine is available and, importantly, a diesel engine is now available too.

Chrysler's new 3.6-litre V6 engine is standard on the Grand Cherokee. It has an all-new design with dual double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and a high-pressure die-cast aluminium cylinder block in a 60 degree configuration. It features Quad Variable-valve Timing (VVT). Power is rated at 210 kW at 6,350 rpm, whilst torque comes in at 347 Nm at 4,300 rpm.

Fuel Consumption is rated at 11.4 litres/100 km (combined cycle) and CO2 emission is rated at 265 grammes/kilometre. This is an improvement on the previous model. Fuel tank capacity is 93.5 litres, yes, that's right ... 93.5 litres. It is a good thing to see manufacturer's fit a 'real' fuel tank into a vehicle, especially a vehicle that is likely to driven long distances.

On the road, the driving qualities of this new model were immediately evident. The ride was quiet and smooth, closer to soft than firm. This proved to be perfect for on-road driving. Additionally, we found the Jeep easy to manoeuvre and parking was quite easy, aided by a rear-view camera.

The power assisted rack-and-pinion steering feels good as it is without the sloppy feel that is evident on too many four-wheel drives.

The parking brake is foot-operated.

Entry and egress was very convenient with this new model. Indeed, the Grand Cherokee is amongst the very best for this important aspect of usability. The front doors open very wide. In fact, you have to reach-out to pull the door closed.

Standard equipment includes cloth trim, power operated front seats (with a heating feature), tilt/telescopic steering wheel adjustment, dual-zone air conditioning, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, bi-xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps with auto-levelling, user-friendly cruise control and 18" alloy wheels.

Safety equipment includes multiple air bags, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with rough-road detection, All-speed Traction Control (ASTC), Trailer-sway Control (TSC), keyless "Enter-N-Go" and, importantly, electronic stability control (ESC).

Options include premium paint at $450 (included on the test car), "Quadra-Lift" air suspension system at $2,500 and, for further convenience and enhancement, numerous accessories are on offer.

Weight for the Laredo is approximately 2,200-2,300 kg, subject to what options are fitted.

Trailer towing weights for the V6 is 2,268 kg and 3,500 kg with the V8 (with trailer brakes). Maximum tongue weight is 227 kg for the V6 and 350 kg for the V8.

At 4,822 mm long, 1,943 mm wide and 1,781 mm high, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo is not small. Yet, we found it very manageable in suburban traffic.

Warranty for this new Jeep is for 3 years or 100,000 kms (whichever comes first) and roadside assistance is included for the warranty period.

Convenience features that we enjoyed include the pop-up tailgate window, steering wheel mounted audio controls, colourful illumination of the dashboard at night, self-locking doors (at about 30 km/h), the auto up feature of the front door windows and the four-way adjustable steering wheel. What we didn't like was our inability to fault the Jeep Grand Cherokee during our city and suburban driving experience.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo proved a very enjoyable drive during our week with this new American made model. It looks good and it feels good. Quite impressive really. And the price is right. Don't worry if you can't go bush in it as it is more than suitable for city driving too!

NOTE: * MLP (manufacturer's list price) excludes options, dealer delivery fees and the state/territory statutory charges. Additionally, all prices, fees, charges and specifications are always subject to change without notice.

Our "on air" comment ..... here.
More Jeep News ..... here.
Chrysler Group News ..... here.

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