New large SUV’s qualities range from very impressive to rather disappointing

What is it?

This is the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee you’ll be able to buy in the UK from June. Previously we’ve only tested the special order-only (and impressive) 3.6 V6 petrol version on Swedish roads, but this 3.0-litre V6 diesel version is the one Fiat-owned Jeep has to get right.

What’s it like?

The new 238bhp, 406lb ft unit has been part developed with Fiat powertrain and gets Multijet II common-rail injection. And the good news is that it’s a very fine unit, with plenty of torque and a refined, quiet character suited to motorway running. We’ve also tried it off-road, where the torque also helps the car conquer improbable inclines and hazards.

But the engine can only as good as the gearbox it is mated to, in this case a slow-witted five-speed automatic Mercedes transmission carried over from the previous-gen Grand Cherokee. Even in Sport mode, response is very slow when accelerating, blunting progress.

Economy is less than impressive, too. Jeep claims the engine will do 34mpg, but our 80-mile test route in Italy, which took in motorway, town and mountain driving, saw us return a figure of just over half that.

Another niggle is the steering. The V6 and V8 petrol units get a nicely-weighted hydraulic set-up, but the diesel receives a much more artificial-feeling electro-hydraulic set-up devoid of any real feel, particularly around the straight ahead, which is a trade-off for its impressive off-road performance.

Should I buy one?

Despite these faults, the Grand Cherokee has come an awful long way from its forgettable predecessor. It will find favour among those looking for a well-priced, generously equipped, comfortable and spacious SUV with proven go-anywhere ability. Enthusiasts meanwhile should look at increasingly impressive competition, chiefly the VW Touareg.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0d V6

Price: £35,000 (est); Top speed: 125 mph; 0-62 mph: 8.2sec; Economy: 34mpg; CO2: 218g/km; Kerb weight: 2430kg; Engine type: 2987cc, V6, turbodiesel; Power: 238bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 406lb ft at 1800-2800rpm; Gearbox: 5-speed automatic

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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fatboyfat 18 April 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0d V6

Oh and forgot to mention that I have yet to get the 5 series to do over the MPG figures on the test drive dont worry me - my Cherokee does 28-32 and the GC does 24-28. I am sure the new one will be around the 30s.

fatboyfat 18 April 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0d V6

Interesting the comment about it being a VM lump being an issue by a poster.....I dont think it is and certainly having had a VM lump running without a hiccup for the last 8 years in my Cherokee I am not sure I would have a concern - and I dont treat my cars gently.

As for using the Merc box I can see why it would seem a dissapointment. My wife has and loves her current GC overland and likes how easy it is to drive - the box does make it smooth, however I also have a new 520D auto and there is a huge difference in the way the boxes respond which I do find makes me think that her GC now makes more revs than it needs to when taking off for the progress it makes. Just goes to show how auto boxes have come on in a few years. Nothing wrong with the Merc box, just outdated now.

I just hope they have not gone to soft on the interior as I have in total 12 combined years of jeep ownership and 10 combined years of child testing on the ones I have and they have stood up very well with nothing breaking or getting scratched.

Compare that to a 4 month old 5 series which has left me with misaligned body panels, rattles in the dash, loose headlight switch section and gearbox that went into limp mode after a month and now is awaiting SW update as it now snatches gear change occasionally.

I think the pricing and discounts available from the dealers will make or break this car. Well, as long as there is a dealer within a reasonable distance so a service does not turn into a half day trip!

fhp11 18 April 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0d V6

I always thought the gearbox in mine was pretty responsive, not sure if its the same one carreid over. I thought that they were just carrying over the Mercedes Unit. It must be reasonably good if it can shift somthing of its size to 60 in a little over 8 seconds. Sounds pretty quick to me.

tannedbaldhead wrote:
What's impressing me about the latest Jeeps is that judging by the pictures I've seen their interior quality seems to have come on by leaps and bounds

The interior in the New Grand Cherokee is particularly impressive. When I went to the preview of it they had all of the new models except the compass. Thw Wrangler was also a massive improvement. I think the new steering wheel makes a big difference.