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The Top Gear car review:Jeep Grand Cherokee
For:Great performance, excellent off-road
Against:Interior trim could be better, pitches and rolls
3.0 CRD Limited Plus 5dr Auto
New gearbox improves the whole car. Now worth considering
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What we say:
Latest offering from Jeep has a premium feel and closes the gap on rivals. About time, too
What is it?
In an era where most SUVs have gone soft, the Grand Cherokee offers a beacon of hope for those who want their vehicles with backbone. The big Jeep retains the off-road ability that has become a hallmark of the brand, but adds a lot more refinement. Credible as a luxury car, the latest American offering boasts the best on-road manners that we have seen from the company – and an extensive a while back facelift has brought it even closer to the standard achieved by the German brand competition. Impressive stuff, Jeep.
The biggest change for 2014 was the introduction of a new eight-speed automatic. This transforms how the Jeep drives, bringing Germanic sophistication that’s further enhanced by an updated V6 diesel engine. Both work better off road too, something Jeep’s clearly very proud of (you’ll spend hours trying to figure out the various four-wheel drive system options…).
There are two versions of the regular Grand Cherokee, both with the same 3.0-litre diesel engine that puts out 237bhp and 405 lb ft of torque. A V8 petrol is also available, if you must. Most use a standard steel suspension set-up, while the Overland and Summit use the Quadra-Lift sports air suspension and performance brakes. The difference is quite significant as the air suspension makes the ride and handling of the Grand Cherokee infinitely better. Even with this set-up, the Grand Cherokee never feels as agile as a BMW X5 but it is comfortable. The standard car inspires less confidence, pitching and rolling more through corners.
On the inside
Fresh for 2014 was an extensively upgraded interior that’s now closer in quality and sophistication to its rivals. It’s like a different car, with a configurable TFT screen bringing plenty of geeky gadget flash, while a chunky steering wheel and powered tailgate give the Jeep an upmarket feel. Spend more on the Overland to get superior trim and seats, but really, even the standard cars are rather lovely.
Better than before. The common-rail 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine offers decent fuel economy, with 40mpg or so on the combined cycle. There’s even an Eco mode, which remaps the gearbox for economy and lowers the suspension at speed. It’s more of an all-rounder in another way too – towing weight rises a huge 44 per cent. The warranty is three years or 60,000 miles, average for the class.
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