Lifestyle

Jeep Grand Cherokee impresses in road test

The Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee.

LIGHT is appearing at the end of a sales tunnel for the Fiat Chrysler Group.

Some of the strongest sales figures produced Down Under have occurred in 2012 and the momentum is building.

Playing a large role in that success is the Grand Cherokee. Since its launch in 2011 sales have more than doubled.

The Grand Cherokee's success is due to strong off-road underpinnings, impressive features and a luxurious ride.

Part of that success is due to the shared underpinnings the big SUV has with the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Most recently Jeep added a honking SRT8 version to its ranks, but we tested the Grand Cherokee one rung down - powered by a 5.7-litre V8 engine.

Comfort

Grip the steering wheel and it provides an immediate feel of the vehicle you're piloting. Thick and burly, it delivers a feeling of control as you sit perched above the traffic.

Our Overland derivative boasted the best of what's on offer and the leather trimmed dash and seats offset with real woodgrain features provided a touch of class.

Apart from some use of hard plastics at the base of the dash and console, its finishes were up there with some far more expensive Europeans offerings.

There's a panoramic sunroof which stretches into the back, push button start and also and automatic tailgate to sweeten the opulent deal.

Five adults can find comfortable accommodation inside with the pews supportive in the right spots. The head and leg room is impressive, but expected given the external dimensions.

On the road

Big brash and smooth, its United States origins quickly come to the fore.

With the might of a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 beneath the hulking frame it makes light work of the 2.3-tonnes its pushing. And it can haul nicely, 0-100kmh can be achieved in 8.7 seconds while accompanied by a typically sporting V8 note.

Air suspension that can be raised or lowered by about 80mm while on the move gives a silky ride over the harshest of surfaces.

On the bitumen that can feel wallowy, especially in corners when it's best to opt for sport mode to avoid feeling every centimetre of its size.

While it's adept on the bitumen, the Jeep is not afraid to tackle the beaten track. Unlike some of its rivals the Grand Cherokee has serious off-roader underpinnings.

The Quadra-Lift suspension can be controlled via several buttons on the console, and you can scramble up rocks, through mud, sand or snow simply by pressing the appropriate mode.

Or you can just leave it in automatic mode, and the electronics do the rest.

What do you get?

There are bells and whistles aplenty on this range-topper.

Among the standard fruit is real ash wood trim and Nappa leather, Alpine audio system with nine speakers plus subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier, auto wipers and lights, automatic high beams that dip when oncoming traffic is sensed, heated and ventilated front seats and steering wheel, 16.5cm touch screen, GPS navigation, voice command and Uconnect Bluetooth phone system and 20-inch painted aluminium wheels.

Safety is about as good as it gets, including multi-stage air bags, ABS brakes with rough road detection, brake assist, blind spot warning system, radar cruise control, traction control, enhanced accident response system and forward collision warning.

Other options

Those looking for a similar size could consider the VW Touareg V6 TDI 4XMotion ($83,990), Toyota Prado Kakadu petrol ($87,990), but if you want to also match the power there is the Land Rover Discovery V8 ($129,400), Mercedes-Benz ML500 ($119,400) or the Porsche Cayenne S Wagon ($151,900).

Running costs

It's a big V8 moving a heavy skin…and that donk takes some feeding.

Its official average is about 14 litres for every 100km, but plenty of city driving will see that figure climb fast.

Regular servicing shouldn't be much over $500, but the major tune-up required around 50,000km is forecast to cost about $1500.

Practicality

With good space for five and an impressive allowance in the boot, this is a handy family hauler or perfect for active people who carry various equipment.

The back seats have a 60-40 fold and collapse flat into the floor at the pull of a handle.

Funky factor

Just like the American market it was built for, the Grand Cherokee is confident and in your face.

You can't miss the chrome seven-slot grille on the big SUV which looks like an up-market offering and feels like it inside with a strong list of standard inclusions.

 

The lowdown

Those looking for value in the large SUV segment would struggle to get past Grand Cherokee. It has the ability to go off-road and all the trappings of luxury - in this Overland guise it boasts the features found on some rivals that cost double.

Its V8 powerplant is thirsty, so those concerned about consumption would be better served by the turbo-diesel. But for those who want the burly bent eight soundtrack, it's probably worth stumping up an additional $6500 and getting the fire-breathing SRT8 version.

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

Details: Five-door large luxury four-wheel drive luxury sports utility vehicle.

Engine: 5.7-litre petrol HEMI V8 generating maximum power of 259kW @ 5200rpm and peak torque of 520Nm @ 4200.

Transmission: Five-speed automatic.

Consumption: 14.1 litres/100km (combined average).

CO2: 327g/km.

Towing capacity: 3700kg; tongue weight limit 350kg.

Bottom line: $69,500.

 

What matters most

The good stuff: Equipment and safety levels, internal finishing.

What we'd like to see: An electric park brake instead of the foot operated function, better economy.

Warranty: Three years, 100,000km. Servicing intervals are set for every 12,000km.

Topics:  cars, jeep, motoring, road test


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Is it you, Migaloo?

Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters tomorrow.

Confusion and debate erupts as to whether white whale is Migaloo

Spot Migaloo the white whale on the Sunshine Coast soon

Get the binoculars at the ready.

Thursday is the day Migaloo is expected to pass by

The billionaire who holds a golf club’s fate in his hands

Malaysian businessman Seng Huang Lee.

The future of golf in Peregian Springs hangs in the balance

Latest deals and offers

Simply stunning contemporary beach home

PERCHED high on Grandview Drive at the end of a private cul-de-sac, this stunning home features floor-to-ceiling glass that opens up views to Moreton Island

Is it you, Migaloo?

Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters tomorrow.

Confusion and debate erupts as to whether white whale is Migaloo

Spot Migaloo the white whale on the Sunshine Coast soon

Get the binoculars at the ready.

Thursday is the day Migaloo is expected to pass by

The billionaire who holds a golf club’s fate in his hands

Malaysian businessman Seng Huang Lee.

The future of golf in Peregian Springs hangs in the balance

Grieving student honours late teacher who helped her to read

Flowers lay in front of the home where Coolum State School teacher Kylie Allen was fatally injured in a house fire.

Police confirm victim as Coolum State School teacher Kylie Allen

Drowning Pool gig review at Max Watt's

Drowning Pool played Brisbane with A Breach of Silence and She Cries Wolf at the Max Watt's House of Music.

Drowning Pool prove that 'bodies' hit the floor when they play

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles