By Patrick James on 2018-07-29 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
THERE is no doubt in my mind that the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee is by far the best I have driven.
Having said that, it wouldn't have been difficult, given the questionable quality of some of its predecessors.
But this model is right up there as a five-door luxury large SUV/offroader. None of the versions are cheap, with the so-called entry model a smidge under £49,000, but the standard kit is pretty comprehensive.
It is huge and weighs in at 2,300kg with a commanding road presence.
This range topper includes all the toys, bells and whistles you could think of, and a few you couldn't think of.
Add to this a stylish new look and high-end technological features and enhanced on road manners and offroad capability.
It's looks match pretty much anything in its sector.
It has a sculpted appearance. The familiar 'waterfall' bonnet remains, as does the open mouth seven bar grille, complemented by new lights clusters, LED headlamps and daylight running lamps and fog lamps. These are surrounded by bright trim details, chrome window surrounds and side roof rails.
To the rearnew tail lamps incorporate an LED light strip that wraps around the individual stop and turn tail lamps.
A one-touch dual pane electric sunroof is also standard on this model allowing sunshine to flood the vehicle.
The interior is the best yet, closer than ever to its luxury rivals like Land Rover and BMW and Audi with a robust fit and finish and neat touches and attention to detail.
This model features powered leather, heated and ventilated seats and the piano black is complemented by satin chrome finish.
The dash is dominated by the Uconnect System, with 8.4-inch touchscreen, featuring 3D navigation, DAB radio plus Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity. In addition a TFT information screen sits in the binnacle and it can be customised to individual tastes.
Other goodies include assisted parking with camera, auto dimming mirror, auto headlights and rain sensors, plus heated steering whee and sensational Harman Kardon sound system has 19 speakers. The list goes on.
On the road the three litre diesel, mated with a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, has plenty of urge and reasonable economy. While the air suspension enhances the ride on the road, it further improves off-road capability. The 247bhp diesel powers the car to 60mph in around eight seconds with claimed economy of 40.4 near the mid-30s in the real world.
It is a serious off-roader with selectable high and low ratio gearing and lockable diff for the most inhospitable of terrains. In additions, Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction control system has four modes Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand/Mud which are selectable depending on prevailing conditions.
It is pretty manoeuverable for such a big vehicle with light steering and a right turning circle.
It is also packed with safety kit, including including collision, lane departure and pedestrian alerts as standard across the range. On this model add smart automatic parking, adaptive cruise control stability control, full range of eight airbags. Again, the list goes on.
In practical terms it is capable of towing 3.5 tonnes while stowage space is decent, certainly not class-leading, with 1,554 litres available with seats folded, up from 782 litres with them in place. The powered tailgate makes loading easier as does the ‘kick' sensor which opens it automatically when your hands are full.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 3.0 MultiJet-II V6
Mechanical: 247bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 126mph
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 40.4
Insurance Group: 43
C02 emissions: 184g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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