October 14, 2013
As I walked across the venue car park - at an event courtesy of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - I saw this car. The Brilliant Black paint gleaming despite the grey weather. I resolved to get my hands on it. For the next three hours or so I seemed doomed to be pipped to the post by others who had obviously planned their day more meticulously.
I am quite happy to state - without shame - that I really like big American pick-ups and SUV’s. They exude confidence. Some perhaps can be a bit OTT but there is nothing brash about the new Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 V6 CRD. The version in my images is the top of the range Summit. Jeep have certainly reached their peak with this one.
It costs a not unreasonable £49,495. For that money it is absolutely loaded with equipment as standard. The only option on this car was the aforementioned paint which costs an extra £670 and is the colour you really want to have. The standard feature list is huge and way too long to repeat on this page but here’s some highlights:
There are no fewer than nine airbags and curtain airbags all around the cabin. In the event of an accident they will instantly appear like the comforting fat folds of a benevolent genie out of a lamp. For families that’s good to know. Also on the safety front, the Summit bristles with blind spot monitoring and crash mitigation gear - as well as all the kit known only by the initials ABS and so on - and an excellent reversing camera that pops the image up on the 7” TFT screen. As you would expect all the connectivity and infotainment gizmos are on board. In fact there are no fewer than nineteen speakers on the awesome 825W Harman Kardon surround-sound audio.
The Jeep is four-wheel drive obviously, and comes with a ‘performance pack’ that includes special disc brakes, sports suspension (more on this later) and 20” alloys fitted with three-season tyres. Terrain control can be selected manually for different surfaces or the driver can just leave it for the car to sort out.
Power comes from a 3.0L V6 diesel with 247bhp peaking at 4,000rpm and torque is a mighty 570Nm from 2,000rpm. The official combined fuel consumption is 37.7mpg but if you regularly push to the 0-62mph figure of 8.2 seconds you can probably expect to see a little less. CO² is a respectable 198g/km for this class of vehicle and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit attracts an insurance group of 43.
Driving this car is a bit special. Seating and other adjustments abound so getting comfy within the leather interior is not a problem. As you would expect from the lofty driving position there’s a commanding view. A special word has to go to the Quadra-Lift Air Suspension which, at motorway speeds, automatically lowers the car to the optimum position for the aerodynamic drag reduction that improves the fuel economy, and when it does the dashboard tells you so! There’s something strangely satisfying about that.
There is no doubt that the sports suspension helps the ride and the handling but on more sharply turned bends and corners there is still a touch of body roll. To be fair, this is unavoidable on a car that is meant to go anywhere, but Jeep have done a good job of controlling it. In any event the seats keep a firm hold. The ease of driving belies the size of the vehicle. I didn’t experience any of those ‘will it fit?’ moments.
On the road the Grand Cherokee has a great turn of pace. The 8.2 second figure doesn’t give the whole story and the Jeep overtakes with ease. Not just a boy’s toy though - importantly, as part of the undoubted all-terrain ability, the Cherokee has a role to play in a working environment and incorporates trailer-sway damping, for example. The eight-speed gearbox from ZF (with overdrive) worked as seamlessly as you would expect. For me, this is a car to drive in auto and leave the paddles alone.
You can see from my snaps that this is a handsome car with none of the more excessive features that can sometimes appear on big American motors. In the village, even the ducks came out of their pond to say ‘wow’! Or it might have been ‘quack’. The front has a benign expression and there is just the right amount of chrome touches; I especially liked the grille.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit is a whole lot of car for the money and I loved it. It would be at the top of my SUV list: no question.