The Grand Cherokee with its excellent turbo diesel are a dynamite combination.
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD and answers the big questions.
WE turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering would you buy one?What is it?
Where have they been hiding this beauty? The CRD is the diesel version of Jeep's five-seat off road wagon and definitely the pick of the bunch. Forget the V8, this is the one you want.
It will set you back $50,000 but in SUV land this is something of a bargain, bearing in mind the cheapest long wheelbase Prado goes for $6000 more.
What are its competitors?
The aforementioned Prado, Nissan Pathfinder and the Mitsubishi Pajero spring to mind. Nothing else has anywhere near as much off road ability as the Jeep.
What's under the bonnet?
Built by VM Motori and developed together with Fiat Powertrain, the new 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine produces 177kW of power at 4000 revs and 550Nm of torque between 1800 and 2800 revs. This translates to 10 percent more power and eight percent more torque than the engine it replaces.
How does it go?
Extremely well. Big 4WDs are always a better proposition in diesel form. This is the first application of the new engine and a spin-off of Fiat's recent buy-out of a bankrupt Chrysler (it now holds more than 50 per cent).
Is it economical?
Rated at 8.3 litres/100km. That's pretty good for a big 4WD. The trip computer was showing 8.6 in mixed driving.
Is it green?
Gets three stars from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide (Prius is the benchmark with five stars).
Is it safe?
The previous model got four stars. This one has just been tested but the results have not been released yet. With stability control, seven airbags plus active head restraints, it is likely to get a full, five-star result.
Is it comfortable?
All-new independent suspension front and rear delivers much better on-road manners. It also allows the spare tyre to be stored inside the vehicle instead of underneath. Adjustable air suspension is available for another $2500.
What's it like to drive?
Probably the best Jeep we've driven to date (if you exclude the wonderful SRT8 version). Diesel is teamed with a five-speed auto that can be operated in manual mode if desired. Selec-Terrain traction control system allows the driver to choose the drive system that best matches on- or off-road driving conditions.
Is it value for money?
Power adjust front seats are standard and the rear seats recline 12 degrees. Cargo volume is up 11 per cent. A touch screen media centre with a 30GB hard drive is standard that responds to voice commands.
Would we buy one?
You bet. Ticks all the boxes. Smooth, quiet and comfortable wtih a formidable off road reputation. At the moment the Grand Cherokee is by far and away the best mid-sized wagon in Australia. The big problem is glaying your hands on one.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD