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.
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