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First Drive

Road Test: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Limited 5dr Auto

£30,990 when new
510
Published: 08 Aug 2005
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    215bhp

  • 0-62

    9s

  • CO2

    270g/km

  • Max Speed

    124Mph

  • Insurance
    group

    36E

Jeep's latest package is noticeably bolstered by the inclusion of a totally new 218bhp Mercedes-sourced three-litre V6 diesel that replaces the previous incarnation's ropey old 2.7 CRD. Expected to account for around 85% of UK sales, it's this diesel unit that warrants attention here.

There is a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 on offer as some sort of white-knuckle flagship, but with a hefty price tag, less torque than the diesel and eye-watering fuel returns, it doesn't make an enormous amount of sense.

The 3.0 CRD Limited, at £32,895, is a decent punt at an on/off-road Jack-of-all-trades. It doesn't handle quite with the confidence of BMW's X5, but it's over £3,000 cheaper and would give the German a bloody good hiding away from the asphalt.

There is a catch, though. Jeep's budget has undoubtedly gone on striking this delicate balance between on-the-road and on-the-range, and the cabin is discernibly down on quality as a result. Dash plastics are immediately cheap to the eye and most sound pretty hollow to the touch.

Disappointing contact points like the wobbly handbrake instil further doubts in the Grand's final fit and finish, and grab handles that are scarcely in reach, in an off-roader mind you, smack of myopic initial design.

Still, if your idea of a weekend away involves pumping the Arkansas air full of lead and filling the hose-down boot with still-twitching carcasses, then you probably already have a Grand on order. It'll be hard to make your case to UK buyers, who have the seven-seat Discovery and nearly £4k change in their pockets, but this is a car that ably fulfills its purpose.

Matt Master
 

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