From £37,360
If priced well, it could just re-establish Jeep as a force to be reckoned with in the UK

What is it?

An all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, a new flagship to breath life into the moribund Jeep brand. Based on the next-gen Merc ML platform, which Jeep has put into production ahead of Mercedes, the new Grand Cherokee is longer, wider and roomier than its predecessor. The styling is more contemporary, too, and the interior plastics and design are a welcome higher-grade.

Under the skin is independent suspension — struts at the front and a first for the Grand Cherokee, a rear multi-link axle — combined with air springs. All UK Grand Cherokee’s will get air suspension as standard. There will be a choice of four-wheel drive systems, the simpler Quadra-Trac II featuring a low-range transfer box, the higher-spec Quadra-Drive II featuring an electronic rear limited-slip diff.

New is the dash-mounted Selec-Terrain dial, which apes Land Rover’s Terrain Response system by tailoring the engine, traction, stability control and air suspension to pre-defined programs for sport, snow, auto, sand/mud and rock.

See pics of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in action

Also new is a 238bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel built by Italian maker VM Motori and part-developed by Fiat Powertrain and featuring MultiJet II common-rail injection. It promises 218g/km and 34mpg and will be the sole UK launch engine in June. The petrol V6 and hemi V8 will be special order-only, although available in right-hand drive.

What’s it like?

A big improvement on the old Grand Cherokee, given the reservation that we’ve only experienced it on snowy Swedish roads not UK tarmac.

The ride in particular is compliant and well-damped, although like many air systems a little jittery over small imperfections.

A big step forward is the well-resolved steering, which is sensibly-weighted and responsive, particularly around the straight ahead. Hopefully this will transfer well to UK roads and driving conditions. Refinement is good, too, with road and tyre noise well suppressed, which makes the Grand Cherokee a comfortable place to chew-up the miles.

Unfortunately the all-important 3.0-litre diesel, wasn’t available for test, instead we sampled the 262bhp 3.6-litre V6 petrol, which is smooth-revving, refined and delivers just about enough performance.

Well-matched to its Chrysler five-speed auto ‘box, it slips between gears smoothly, although an extra cog would help fill the torque gap for more overtaking urge. A six-speed version of this ‘box is coming, but won’t have the capacity to cope with the 406lb ft generated by the diesel, which will stick with the five-speeder.

Off-road the Grand Cherokee copes with slippy conditions very well, thanks to the well-tuned Terrain Select system and incredibly grippy Nokian winter tyres.

We spent a lot of time in the snow program, which locks the torque split at 50:50 and limits starts to second-gear only to stop excessive wheel-spin. What’s impressive is the subtle way it intervenes to prevent a spin, while allowing a little sliding around and driving fun.

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Should I buy one?

We’ll wait for a definitive answer on this until a UK drive, but all the signs suggest the new Grand Cherokee will be a very keen competitor for established premium 4x4s. And with pricing that’s likely to be about 10 per cent cheaper than a VW Touareg, suggesting a list of around £35k for a 3.0 CRD Limited spec and just under £40k for a fully-loaded Overland, its could just re-establish Jeep as a force to be reckoned with in the UK.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 V6

Price: £34,000; Top speed: 125mph; 0-62mph: 9.5sec; Economy: 24.7mpg; CO2: 265g/km; Kerb weight: 2191kg; Engine: six cyls in vee, 3604cc, turbo, diesel; Installation : Front, longitudinal, 4WD; Power: 282bhp at 6350rpm; Torque: 256lb ft at 4300rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd auto

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Comments
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giulivo 18 March 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 V6

matsoc wrote:
I'm not so confident that the diesel engine will be good, VM isn't exactly the best engine builder around

I agree, I still can't understand why FPT had to buy a 50% stake in VM. I am not convinced the V6 will be among the class best and the 165HP 2.8 in the Chrysler / Lancia Grand Voyager is definitely a dud (at least they could have fitted the 200HP upgraded version as they have in the Wrangler).

The existing 2.0 170, Twin Turbo 190, 2.4 210 HP engines would have been perfectly good for the 300/Thema, Grand Voyager and the various Jeep models; they could have put twin turbos on the 5-pot 2.4 for 230 HP or so (schweeet) and the factory in Pratola Serra has plenty of spare capacity since the supply deal with GM has ended. The workers' situation there receives little publicity but it's a problem.

And as a range topper, I am sure they could have asked Mr. Tata pretty please and got the twin turbo V6 from the XF. Now that would fit quite nicely in the flagship models.

shomann 16 March 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 V6

I've also seen this in the flesh. It is a very handsome car with a superb interior. I was a bit surprised how large it is though. It has quite a high step to get in it. It's definitely a full sized SUV. If it drives as well as it looks, Chrysler has a real winner here.

Artista 16 March 2011

Re: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 V6

£34,000 ???? 3.6 V6

Its a good reminder for me what ripoff prices are in UK/Europe. I have moved to Dubai from London about a year ago, New Jeep grand cherokee over here starts @ £21,000 and to fill it up full of petrol wait for it £13.00 oh and did I mention insurance ;) nevermind dont want to depress you.

Check out the local review http://www.drivearabia.com/news/2010/11/12/first-drive-jeep-grand-cherokee-2011-review-dubai-al-ain-offroad-uae/

And you will laugh at on of the comments in there,

not sure what to think of this one
- boring design
- fairly high starter price at aed125k compared to the mid size conmpetition
- traditionally questionable quality

Fairly high price they reckon AED125 equald just under £21000.

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