Grand de­signs

With a pukka Trail­hawk ver­sion avail­able here, Kiwi Jeep deal­ers have a Grand Chero­kee model to sat­isfy ev­ery taste.

NZ4WD - - New Model - Story by Ross Mackay. Photos by Jeep & Ed­ward Rowe

“Be rude not to,” I quipped as Jeep NZ staffer Re­becca An­der­son held up the keys to the 6.4 litre hemi V8-pow­ered SRT Grand Chero­kee out­side the com­pany’s HQ in Auck­land’s in­dus­trial Mt Welling­ton. In the­ory, the coun­try’s motoring writ­ers had been in­vited to a day out driv­ing the new ad­di­tion to the GC ( Grand Chero­kee) line-up, the Trail­hawk, at Kar­i­o­tahi on the ‘su­per city’s south-western coast. But we had to get there – from Mt Wel­lie – first. And at that par­tic­u­lar mo­ment, I couldn’t think of a bet­ter way to cover the 60-or so kilo­me­tres than be­hind the wheel of the only real op­tion if a Range Rover Sport is not your par­tic­u­lar cup of tea ( or shot of bour­bon!) Sat there all squat and men­ac­ing on wide 20 in. dia. al­loys and tyres like sticky straps of liquorice the SRT re­ally is an im­pos­ing piece of lux­ury 4x4 kit and need­less to say, the trip from city to coun­try was con­cluded in the ef­fort­less and ab­so­lutely stress-free man­ner I’m sure those with over $ 100K to spend on a lux­ury SUV ex­pect as of right. Me? I re­solved to bor­row it again at some stage, prefer­ably if I ever have to make a dra­matic, car-borne en­trance to some black tie func­tion or other. Or, next time I have to tow the drift car to Man­feild and back!

On the trail

But I di­gress. Once at Kar­i­o­tahi (and yes I was one of the first to get there!) we were ush­ered into one of the Cast­aways Re­sort’s (check the place out at cast­aways. co.nz, it’s a cool spot) themed con­fer­ence rooms and given the run-down on the new, ex­panded Grand Chero­kee range, and the new Trail­hawk model in par­tic­u­lar. First seen as a con­cept(as is Jeep’s way) at the an­nual Jeep Sa­fari at Easter, the an­nual event at Moab in Utah which the com­pany uses to pre­view trends and

( usu­ally thinly dis­guised fu­ture pro­duc­tion mod­els) the new Trail­hawk is one of five dif­fer­ent Grand Chero­kee mod­els ( Laredo, Ltd, Trail­hawk, Over­land and SRT) now avail­able here. All share the same uni­body ( mono­coque) plat­form with RRPs rang­ing from just $ 64,990 for the Pen­tas­tar V6 Laredo 2WD to $ 114,990 for the V8 Quadra-Trac on-de­mand 4WD SRT. At a cool $ 94,990 the 184kW/ 550Nm 3.0 litre turbo- diesel-pow­ered Trail­hawk sits slap-bang in the mid­dle of the line-up and is pitched at the buyer who is def­i­nitely in­ter­ested in head­ing off the beaten track. Though it takes a keen eye to ini­tially pick out the signs ( the matt-black paint in­serts on the bon­net, red tow hooks and Trail­hawk Ru­bi­con Trail-earned ‘ Trail­rated’ badges are the key giveaways) the Trail­hawk comes ‘ loaded for bear.’

All the bells

For a start it is equipped with the topof-the- line Quadra- Drive 11 4WD sys­tem which in­cludes Jeep’s Elec­tronic Lim­ited Slip Dif­fer­en­tial ( ELSD) at the rear, a unique ver­sion of the com­pany’s high­rise, Quadra- Lift air sus­pen­sion sys­tem ( which of­fers im­proved ar­tic­u­la­tion as well as con­sid­er­ably more sus­pen­sion travel) and Selec- Speed Con­trol with Hill As­cent Con­trol. Ro­bust skid plates are stan­dard and clever pack­ag­ing around the nose and chin spoiler and rear bumper sees an ap­proach an­gle of 29.8 de­grees and a de­par­ture one of 22.8 de­grees. The Quadra-lift sys­tem also means al­most 275mm of ground clear­ance. Wheels are 18-inch al­loys, tyres Kevlar­rein­forced Goodyear Ad­ven­ture A/ Ts. In­side, Trail­hawk mod­els fea­ture a mix of com­fort­able, sup­port­ive black leather and suede sports seats , a gun-metal fin­ish on all painted in­te­rior parts and red ac­cent stitch­ing on the seats, doors and con­sole. An 8.4-inch Ucon­nect touch screen is stan­dard and comes com­plete – get this ! – with scrol­lable ‘pages’ show­ing not only the 4x4 and Selec-Ter­rain modes you are in, but also func­tions such as sus­pen­sion height and wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion.

…and whis­tles!

In ad­di­tion to the ar­rival of the Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawk for 2017, Jeep has also made a range of en­hance­ments and im­prove­ments across the Grand Chero­kee range. Th­ese in­clude: • Laredo, Lim­ited, Over­land, and Trail­hawk mod­els all get the front fas­cia and sev­enslot Jeep grille that de­buted on the 2016 Grand Chero­kee 75th An­niver­sary edi­tion. • The SRT model gets an ex­clu­sive front fas­cia/ fog lamps/ grille combo as well as a Sig­na­ture leather in­te­rior pack­age. • Rearview cam­eras, rear park sen­sors, uCon­nect telem­at­ics, and LED day­time run­ning lights are now stan­dard on all Grand Chero­kee mod­els.

Trail­hawk is lat­est Grand Chero­kee model to be re­leased here

Trail­hawk badge is well-earned.

En­gine of choice for lo­cal mar­ket is smooth, torquey 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel

Bright re tow hooks, matt black bon­net in­serts and badg­ing dis­tin­guish Trail­hawk from other Grand Chero­kee mod­els

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