Few reservations about Grand Cherokee
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee appears great value for money from under £50,000, with many of its competitors needing a significantly deeper search in the wallet. David Williams borrowed one for a week to see if it has what it needs for the farm. The model supplied was a 75th anniversary special edition, but the engine, suspension and running gear were all the same as the standard version. It’s a large car, with plenty of space for five people and a decent boot, and its off-road capabilities make it a rival to Land Rover’s Discovery and Range Rover line-ups. With the new Discovery range starting at £43,995 and the Range Rover Sport at £60,015, the big Jeep from £47,580 is worthy of consideration. Inside, the feel of the car is less ‘American’ now than earlier versions, but large, comfortable leather seats front and rear make it ideal for longer journeys. The parking brake is foot-operated and mechanical, allowing plenty of pressure to be applied, whereas most of the Jeep’s competitors have electric buttons and switches which never feel quite as secure.
Engine and transmission The 6-cylinder engine is smooth and quiet and the transmission is superb. Plenty of torque means speed is maintained easily on moderate slopes, reducing the number of gear changes. Gear changes are gentle during normal
Equipment level of the special edition 75th Anniversary version is good and the vehicle is rewarding to drive.
driving but quick to react when brisk acceleration is needed, although even in ‘sport’ mode they remain relatively unobtrusive. Manual shift paddles behind the steering wheel over-ride automatic changing but, unlike most other vehicles, the mode remains manual until the right paddle is held back for several seconds when auto modes re-selected. Overall during the test we achieved an average 29.5mpg and the 93.5-litre fuel tank meant the trip computer suggested a potential range in excess of 600 miles.
Comfort The front seats are very comfortable with excellent head and legroom. Nappa leather in the test car was comfortable, especially with integral ventilation and heating and the The V6 3.0-litre engine has plenty of power and torque for good on and offroad performance.
leather is practical for farm use and easily wiped down. Both front seats are electrically adjusted and position memory allows the driver to select the preferred position at the touch of a button. The steering wheel is also adjusted electrically with a small switch to the left of the column and there is plenty of angle and reach adjustment making it easy for the driver to select a comfortable position. The chunky heated steering wheel is great for offroad driving allowing a secure grip on bumpy farm tracks. The dashboard is well laid out and the instruments are clear and easily read. The main functions available through the large central information display are found without much trouble through a simple menu system. The touchscreen works well and is large and clear enough to avoid jabbing several functions at once while making adjustments. The screen doubles as the camera display for
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee offers good off and on-road performance.
reversing and the large clear image improves safety while manoeuvring in confined areas. Selecting the correct drive mode using the large gear lever is made easy with a quality, positive ‘feel’ and the lever is pulled to the side and moved forward and back to change gears manually. A button by the gear lever selects low range, in which the big Jeep pulls like a train. Ride height control is by a rocker switch, also on the centre console and maximum height is available only in low range. The Grand Cherokee has driving modes, which optimise engine, transmission and diff lock settings for various on and off-road situations. Auto directs 45 per cent of the power to the front wheels and 55 per cent to the rear, but automatically adjusts the proportions as needed. Other settings include; Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock which the driver selects on a dial as appropriate. Storage for odds and ends in the front is mainly in the front door pockets but there is a smaller compartment in the centre-console armrest box and the glovebox is a reasonable size. Leg and headroom in the rear is good, with space for three adults to travel in relative comfort. Rear seat heaters will be popular in winter. Storage is limited to a pocket in the rear of the driver’s seat and a small drink bottle holder in the doors.
Driver aids The Jeep is superbly equipped with all sorts of driver aids, most of which function well but those that don’t include the exterior dipping mirrors which can either be set to remain in their normal position, or tilt down for a kerb view when reverse is selected. This is a handy feature but suddenly losing the rear side view when reverse is selected because the setting has been left on dip is frustrating. Restoring the view requires the touch-screen and appropriate menu selection whereas a simple facia-mounted switch would be more convenient. The Jeep has active cruise control which can be set to maintain a constant distance from a car in front and this worked moderately well, although busy British roads meant frequent acceleration and deceleration. Automatic main beam control also worked fairly well, but the system was confused on several occasions continued over...
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Published on Jul 4, 2017