First DriveNew-look Jeep Grand Cherokee also gets new technology and improved performance to take on the class best
First DriveChrysler Group's crack tuning division, SRT, gets its hands on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The result is bonkers, quite frankly...
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