Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
Jeep with a mighty V8 is a nice package, reports Cathy Parker.
Solid, grunty and comfortable, what’s not to like, and it was even my favourite colour – red! The Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 is the penultimate model in the Grand Cherokee range topped only by the SRT which gets an even larger V8. However the 5.7-litre version in the Overland still packs a healthy 259 kw power and diesel like levels of torque with 520 NM available to pull the 2.3 tonne weight and some satisfying V8 noises to accompany it. The only price you pay for this is at the fuel pump with a combined fuel consumption rating at 13 l/100km compared to 7.5 l/100km for the 3.0-litre diesel version. Opening and closing the doors reinforces the solid feel of the Grand Cherokee – they feel weighty and close with a firm sound, most of the controls have a similarly firm feel and you feel cosseted by the leather upholstery and a very comfortable and supportive seat. The dash and interior trim continues the quality look and feel, with the controls mostly being intuitive and well positioned, although the array of 16 switches on the steering wheel front side plus gear change paddles and two audio system rockers on the back was possibly a bit of overload – it took me a while to find the volume rocker switch on the back of the wheel. The centre console stack is built around a massive 8.4-inch touch screen that not only gives access to the usual map, reversing camera, audio and phone functions but also climate and an app screen that let you control a number of the cars features (some of these also have dedicated controls); such as heated seats, seat controls, off road settings and much more. The only slight let down was the lack of Carplay or Android Auto connectivity which you might expect given the almost $1000,000 price ($99,990 to be precise). Moving further back the rear passengers have plenty of leg room even with a tall driver in front and have some of their own luxury with heated seats. The luggage area is also large and features both a cover – something you don’t get on many SUV’S and some commendably solid metal tie-downs. Driving impressions round town focus on the solidity, it feels heavy although the V8 gives plenty of get up and go when needed, we were getting around 16 l/100km round town with a mix of suburban and motorway use (this compares to around 8-9 l/100km for a similar size diesel vehicle we normally drive). Whilst we had the Grand Cherokee we did a trip down to Mt Maunganui for a basketball tournament. On the open road the Grand Cherokee felt more in its element. The steering was firm with good feedback and the ride and handling impressed. When you needed to pass a slower truck the 5.7-litres of V8 dispatched it quickly and painlessly with the bonus of the aural symphony. Fuel consumption also improved getting down to 12 l/100km overall (Again our similar size diesel delivers around 7 l/100km in these conditions). The Overland is highly specified with a panoramic sunroof, heated and vented front seats, heated steering wheel, Nappa leather upholstery and Selec-terrain 4WD system. It has a suite of driving aids including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot and cross traffic alerts and parallel and perpendicular park assist. If you want a solid and luxurious large SUV and especially if you rejoice at V8 aural symphony and you can live with the fuel consumption trade-off then the Overland provides a great package.