For the grille seeker

This Jeep wagon ap­pealed to those chas­ing a bit of ad­ven­ture

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

THE Jeep’s dis­tinc­tive grille, dat­ing back to WWII, is hard to ig­nore. One of the most pop­u­lar mod­els to sport the seven-bar grille on our roads was the big, at­trac­tively styled WK Grand Chero­kee launched here in 2011.

There was plenty to like about it plus plenty of ways to or­der it. The vari­ants were Laredo, Lim­ited, Over­land and SRT and en­gine op­tions were V6 and V8 petrol plus a diesel.

In­side the big wagon, there was ac­com­mo­da­tion for five. It was com­fort­able and kit­ted out with just about ev­ery fea­ture to­day’s buyer could want.

The en­gines were a new 3.6litre V6 pro­duc­ing 210kW, a 250kW 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with all the get up and go ex­pected of a big lusty bent-eight, plus an even big­ger 344kW 6.4-litre V8 if that wasn’t big enough. As might be ex­pected the V8s were thirsty, but sadly so was the V6.

For those more in­ter­ested in fuel econ­omy there was the 3.0litre V6 turbo diesel, per­haps the best all-round choice.

The trans­mis­sion avail­able at launch was a five-speed auto. That was joined later in 2011 by a six-speed auto, and by 2014 an eight-speed auto was in use.

It wouldn‘t be a Jeep if it didn’t have four-wheel drive and the WK was well equipped in that area with its QuadraTrac II driv­e­train that eas­ily han­dled most road con­di­tions.

For any­one want­ing to delve deeper into the bush there was the op­tional Quadra-Drive II with an elec­tronic lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial that was able to al­lo­cate torque be­tween in­di­vid­ual wheels for even greater off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

Both sys­tems came with switch­able Selec-Train trac­tion con­trol, which could be di­alled in to suit what­ever road con­di­tions you might en­counter.

In a sign of the times, Jeep op­tioned a rear-wheel drive Laredo in a 2013 up­date to ap­peal to town­ies who had no in­ten­tion of ever go­ing be­yond the city bor­ders.

NOW

There have been some hor­ri­fy­ing sto­ries about Jeeps over the years, but our sur­vey of WK Grand Chero­kee own­ers paints a dif­fer­ent pic­ture. By and large they are happy and ea­ger to praise their cars.

Few told us about is­sues they have had with their WKs, but those who did have com­plaints were happy to dis­miss them as in­signif­i­cant and quickly sorted by Chrysler.

A cou­ple re­ported prob­lems with the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter on their cars, but in ev­ery case it was fixed with a soft­ware up­date. All praised the tow­ing abil­ity of the Grand Chero­kee, as well as the fuel econ­omy, com­fort and re­li­a­bil­ity.

One thing that cropped up a cou­ple of times was the cost of ser­vic­ing, which some thought was ex­ces­sive. That can be fixed by seek­ing out a re­li­able in­de­pen­dent me­chanic to do the work. With the end of the war­ranty in sight for many WK Grand Chero­kees it’s not cru­cial to use deal­ers for ser­vic­ing.

When check­ing a WK Grand Chero­kee prior to pur­chase it’s im­por­tant to in­spect for dam­age from of­froad use. The four-wheel drive Grand Chero­kees are very ca­pa­ble off-road­ers and al­though most will have never been used that way they should nev­er­the­less be checked.

If pos­si­ble, get the car up off the ground so you can get un­der­neath it for a thor­ough check; if you can’t then get down on your knees and check it the best you can.

Check for a ser­vice record to en­sure the car you’re buy­ing has been prop­erly main­tained.

Also check for re­calls and make sure the car you are buy­ing has had the rel­e­vant rec­ti­fi­ca­tions car­ried out. One re­call re­lated to the au­to­matic shifter, which could in­di­cate it was safely in Park when it in fact wasn’t and could roll away.

An­other re­lated to the left front brake caliper, which could rup­ture un­der heavy brak­ing and present the driver with an ac­ci­dent hazard.

OWN­ERS SAY

Michael Cemm Our Laredo turbo diesel can be summed up as fast, fru­gal, fault­less and ex­tremely com­fort­able.

Robert Bryce My V6 Lim­ited has done 38,000km and there have been no prob­lems or war­ranty claims. It is the best new car I have ever owned by a long shot.

Paul Gar­diner We bought our Lim­ited diesel based on the 3.5tonne tow­ing ca­pac­ity, the great torque of the diesel mo­tor, and the claimed 7.5L/100km econ­omy. Af­ter 30,000km, I have no com­plaints; it tows a two-tonne car­a­van ef­fort­lessly, is great on fuel, and com­fort­able. Gets the tick from us.

Jeff Green My diesel Lim­ited has just clocked up 50,000km, much of it tow­ing a 3.0-tonne off-road car­a­van, and I’m very happy with it. It tows ef­fort­lessly, the en­gine is great, the gear­box is smooth, and the econ­omy is great. It could do with more footwell room, I don’t like the foot-op­er­ated park brake, there’s not a lot of stor­age space in the cabin, and the fuel filler is too small for high-flow pumps.

Garth Tighe We towed a small off-road car­a­van from the Gold Coast to the tip of Cape York and back last year with our Laredo diesel and it han­dled every­thing we threw at it. The en­gine goes like a rocket, the econ­omy’s good, and it didn’t de­velop any rat­tles. My only com­plaints are the high and fre­quent cost of ser­vic­ing, and the steer­ing has too many turns lock to lock.

Elvis Pil­lon Our Over­land diesel was fan­tas­tic, great for long range tour­ing with the fam­ily, a boot full of lug­gage, and at times the boat hang­ing off the back. It was an ab­so­lute gem that never let us down in the 66,000km we did in it.

Gra­ham Hair We have an Over­land diesel, which is com­fort­able and tows a full­sized car­a­van well. The only is­sue we have had is with the DPF fil­ter, which was sorted out with a soft­ware up­date. We don’t like the cost of ser­vic­ing.

An­drew Ross My ex­pe­ri­ence with the V6 Laredo has been sat­is­fy­ing and I would rate it as prob­a­bly the best all around ve­hi­cle I have owned. It is com­fort­able, smooth and quiet with more than ad­e­quate power for my needs, and also re­turns good fuel econ­omy. I have had some prob­lems, quickly rec­ti­fied by the dealer. There have been two or three soft­ware up­dates which ini­tially stemmed from a flat bat­tery caused by elec­tri­cal com­po­nents not shut­ting down when the ve­hi­cle was not in use. A more se­ri­ous prob­lem sur­faced last year dur­ing an ex­tended trip on the main­land when a mal­func­tion light ac­ti­vated and it would in­ter­mit­tently stop and then start again. Di­ag­nos­tic tests re­vealed a cracked cylin­der head. Chrysler re­paired it and pro­vided a loan car de­spite be­ing out of war­ranty. I love my Grand Chero­kee and would cer­tainly con­sider an­other.

SMITHY SAYS

Ca­pa­ble, com­fort­able and re­li­able tow­ing wagon that gets the own­ers’ tick of ap­proval.

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