THE LEGEND'S BACK ON TRACK
Jeep Grand Cherokee: features and specifications
It is the stylish heir to a great model that over seventy years ago created the jeep legend. So elegant and refined, the Grand Cherokee is an authentic off-road, but perfectly at ease even on tar roads.
The adjective Grand goes beyond the name in the new Cherokee. With the 2014 model, Jeep introduces some new features on the recent redesign of its flagship, the stars and stripes off-road vehicle that recalls to mind a myth unchanged over time. Descending from the Willys, that during the last world war has transported U.S. troops and whose initials GP, or "General Purpose" - a vehicle for general use - reflected the origin of the Jeep brand, the latest has nothing to share with the austere vehicle intended for military purposes, besides the name. The Grand Cherokee series, introduced by Jeep for the first time in 1992, is entrusted with the daunting task of representing the flagship of the family, a model that can offer, in addition to the brand’s off-road characteristics, room and comfort decidedly superior to all off road models in the range, like the little sister Wrangler. And, if at first, a more classical mechanical layout gave the Grand Cherokee an uncompromising nature, in its latest version you find this luxury SUV particularly suitable for road use, like most direct competitors, German and English first and foremost, without denying its tradition as an authentic 4x4 that can deal with any terrain.
LUXURY AND EXCELLENCE
Whether speeding along on a motorway, or apparently docile in city traffic, taking on a demanding dirt road or a stretch fit for working vehicles, the Grand Cherokee allows to be driven with ease even by the least experienced driver. A concentration of technologies, that automatically finds the best setting of all mechanical and electronic components for the best possible ride in every condition, by a simple selection of a command. In spite of the external dimensions, with its 4.83 meters in length, 1.95 in width and 1.80 in height ( variable through air suspension), each operation is smooth and natural, sudden changes are readily perceptible and also a cramped parking lot creates few difficulties thanks to the intervention of parking sensor, external camera included. As on all Jeeps, the characteristic radiator grille with seven vertical slits cannot miss, surrounded by sophisticated LED headlights, more slender and efficient than the previous version, like the rear, interspersed by a large rear door. A highly personal and polished design, striking for determination and sportsmanship, giving a racy touch to an otherwise opulent SRT 468 hp version, instantly recognizable as a true Jeep. Of equal emotional impact are the large contoured sides connected to the wheel by generous sized fenders that can accommodate wheels up to 20 inches in diameter, surmounted by a slender glass surface with almost invisible pillars, framed by a bright chrome trim that highlights the separation from the underlying body, without hindering interior brightness thanks to a large sun roof that takes up most of the roof of the car.
The interior equipment stirs a mix of sensations: the opulence and refinement of the materials, especially on the most luxurious models, is accompanied by a multitude of controls and instruments, which can cause some confusion to whoever is not an expert. Not too bad though, each switch appears immediately simple and intuitive, especially the wheel drive selector, with five different modes for every kind of road surface.
The Laredo (entry level), offers five levels of equipment, Limited, Overland, Summit, and the more exaggerated SRT at the top both for performance and optional. The spacious interiors can comfortably accommodate five passengers, pampered by a sophisticated infoteinment system managed by large 8.4-inch display, while the large boot can boast a 782 to 1,554 liters of useable capacity.
THE ITALIAN TOUCH
Thanks to the participation of Fiat, a little touch of Italian design on the Grand Cherokee is noticeable in some not so minor details. Starting with the engines, which rely on the Ferrara based VM Motori 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, a high performance engine that will be widely used on the European market, with Multijet II electronic fuel injection, common rail at 180 bar able to manage up to 8 injections per cycle, a variable geometry turbocharger and recycling system of unburned gas EGR, with an average consumption of 13.3 km / liter, this six-cylinder helps to align the Italian V6 with the Euro 6 emission regulations.
If the 250 hp delivered by the 3.0 litre Multijet II appear to be insufficient, or if you find diesel not sexy enough for a vehicle of this kind, the Chrysler 3.6-liter petrol V6 Pentastar, with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing VVT, increases the maximum power to 286 hp, while keeping fuel consumption altogether acceptable, on average in the order of 10 km / liter. At an intermediate level, as regards petrol engines, ranks the powerful and always appreciated 5.7 liter V8 with 352 hp of maximum power, equipped with MDS (Multi Displacement System), which allows the vehicle to run on four cylinders, when the speed is constant or full power is not required, saving at least “some” fuel.
The name evokes the roar of the most celebrated American hot rod, the 6.4-liter V8 HEMI well represents the maximum an off-road vehicle can be equipped with as a flagship worthy of that name. Destined to the prestigious SRT version, this engine is shamelessly exaggerated, with 468 hp at 624 Nm of torque, and authentic custom-built performance: in spite of its 25 tons gross weight, acceleration from 0-100 km / h occurs in just five seconds, with a top speed of 257 km / h, with a braking system suitably oversized, so as to stop the vehicle from 100 km / h to 0 in just 35 meters. Equipped with an 8-speed automatic gearbox with continuously variable transmission ( also with manual controls located behind the steering wheel) programmable by the traction control, the engine torque is filtered by the Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II transmission system. The first is standard equipment on the Laredo and Limited models, uses the traction control BTSC, which thanks to specific sensors can transfer up to 100% of the power on the axle with greater grip, locking it with a fixed allocation of 50/50 when select the lower gears. The second, an even more advanced system and equipped with an electronically controlled limited slip differential, can anticipate situations of potential danger, such as snow, ice or mud.
The preferred traction mode is set directly by the driver using the Select-Terrain switch, which acts on 12 parameters and has five different modes - Sand, Mud, Auto, Snow and Rock - for different environmental conditions. Added to this, for some of the models, is the Quadra-Lift air suspension, which can vary the vehicle’s height from 22 to 28 cm according to five configurations, from driving on normal road, on motorways (lowering the car), two off-road levels, and even when parking the Grand Cherokee drops by 4 cm facilitating access to and from the vehicle. There is no shortage of intelligent control systems against skidding, braking, uphill and downhill driving, to tackle any slope at the right speed. Alloy wheels come in five different designs, 18 and 20 inches, housing two different tires, respectively a 265/60 R18 and a 265/50 R20, with the exception of the exuberant SRT, supplied as standard equipment with more specialized 295/45 R20 tires.