Be grandly dis­tinct

> Jeep’s Grand Chero­kee is worth con­sid­er­ing, if you want to be dif­fer­ent

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

chromed tailpipes, a chrome frame for the loadin­gun­load­ing guard-plate at the top of the bumper and again, a large chromed “Jeep” badge.

Once the eight-way-ad­justable elec­tric seats (driver and front pas­sen­ger) have been ad­justed, to­gether with the elec­tron­i­cally-ad­justed woodand-leather-wrapped steer­ing wheel and col­umn, plus the mir­rors set to my pref­er­ence, the rest of the cock­pit, in one of the most beau­ti­ful and taste­fully un­der­stated in­te­rior de­signs Jeep has ever of­fered in an SUV, is quite wel­com­ing and user-friendly. There’s only one stalk on the steer­ing col­umn, for il­lu­mi­na­tion and wipers/wash­ers. The oth­ers are in the form of but­tons on the steer­ing wheel (sound sys­tem, voice recog­ni­tion, cruise con­trol, and more but­tons, knobs and touch-icons on the 8.4-inch touch­screen-equipped fas­cia (nine-speaker sound sys­tem, cli­mate con­trol, set­tings, nav­i­ga­tion, etc).

I love sun­roofs! And this Jeep has a dual-pane panoramic sun­roof, which makes many Over­land­ing adventures in this SUV a very scenic and “open” ex­pe­ri­ence. You’ve got to try this: Take a drive in the ru­ral ar­eas on a full-moon and starry night, prefer­ably on one of the few high­land ar­eas we have (a lot more in East Malaysia!), open the sun­roof, and if it’s too chilly, just ac­ti­vate the heater for both front and rear seats. Even the steer­ing wheel can be heated too. It’s a VERY nice feel­ing!

Strangely, only the front seats have both cool­vent­ing and heat­ing func­tions. Why, Jeep??

This Jeep quite lives up to its “Over­land” moniker. Granted, I didn’t take it across a few coun­tries to Malaysia’s north, go­ing over and through rocky, muddy, sandy and snowy re­gions – as al­lowed by its Selec-Ter­rain Ve­hi­cle Man­age­ment Sys­tem (helped by the Quadra-Trac II Ac­tive Full-time 4WD Sys­tem), but it pro­vided quite a joy to me and my pas­sen­gers dur­ing a lengthy joyride along the nar­row, sin­gle-lane ul­tra-in­te­rior roads around Ne­gri Sembilan, re­cently. On the high­ways, this SUV can swiftly reach 180km/h, af­ter which its 3.6-litre engine and the im­pres­sive eight-speed trans­mis­sion steadily hauls the pack­age to­wards 200km/h. That trans­mis­sion is a ma­jor fac­tor for ex­cel­lent fuel econ­omy on the high­ways (95km/h at just 1,500rpm!), but the cap­less fuel tank feels like it’s leak­ing in stop-go con­gested ur­ban traf­fic.

The air sus­pen­sion, au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justed ride height, su­perb cli­mate con­trol, hand­some looks, qual­ity in­te­rior fit and fin­ish, neg­li­gi­ble noise, harsh­ness and vi­bra­tion (NVH), smooth op­er­a­tion and power make this Jeep an en­joy­able SUV.

I have to say that with the Grand Chero­kee Over­land’s price, the ab­sence of a few con­tem­po­rary things, like a but­ton-op­er­ated electro­mechan­i­cal park­ing brake (this Jeep has a “craaaack” left-foot pedal for that) and forced in­duc­tion (for much less engine dis­place­ment but same power out­put, and lower road tax and in­sur­ance) are strongly felt. But the rest of this SUV’s afore­men­tioned qual­i­ties makes it still more than wor­thy of com­pet­ing with its high-rid­ing Euro­pean, Bri­tish and Asian ri­vals in the pre­mium, full-sized SUV mar­ket.

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