Cherokee’s on the road
NEARLY 70 years after it started building vehicles with a reputation for off-road ability, Jeep has been able to reproduce the feat on-road.
The Grand Cherokee SUV is pivotal for the new Chrysler, but benefits from its old association with Mercedes.
The chassis and suspension were part of a jointdevelopment program with the German maker and led to the development of this independent suspension with isolated cradles.
The result is a car that is a much more refined on-road ride than any Jeep before it.
A wind-tunnel workout has trimmed the Grand Cherokee’s drag by 8.5 per cent over the outgoing model and it takes serious provocation to unsettle the 2.3-tonne beast and then it is a predictable case of compensating for pitch and roll.
That is what makes the Grand Cherokee such a step forward, as it still copes with extreme off-road runs that would ground most SUVs.
A starting price of $45,000 will put the V6-powered Laredo on more than a few shopping lists.
It sells with standard Bluetooth, a 30GB hard drive in the six-speaker media system and 18-inch polished alloy rims.
The air suspension is a $2500 option and premium paint will add $450. Step up to the Limited and the V6 is $55,000; the 5.7-litre V8 another $5000.
The extra spend buys 20-inch rims and more creature comforts such as front and rear parking sensors, though the options checklist is also more extensive, from $495 for premium paint to $3250 each for the panoramic sunroom, air suspension and powered tailgate/heated steering wheel.
The range-topping Overland at $69,500 has all the kit — the rear DVD screens the only notable option, at the expense of the panoramic sunroof. A five-speed auto drives all models and a diesel is slated to join the line-up within a few months.