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LA show: Jeep previews limited edition models

Dark as: Jeep’s big-hitting Grand Cherokee SRT gets the 'Night' treatment with dark rims and roof.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night outed ahead of LA show firming for Australian release


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16 Nov 2015

JEEP has unveiled a pair of tarted-up specials for this week’s Los Angeles motor show, based on its most popular pair of off-roaders – and one is a very likely starter for Australia in 2016.

The Hemi-powered Grand Cherokee SRT Night will sport a black roof and rims, while all traces of chrome and brightwork have been banished with a satin black makeover.

The split five-spoke rims are new items, and measure 20 inches all round.

Inside, there’s more black in the form of dark-coloured Laguna leather with silver stitching to contrast it, along with darkened instrument surrounds.

Performance-wise, there is no change to the already-prodigious output of the 6.2-litre V8 Hemi engine, which punches out 354kW and 636Nm.

“We definitely look at everything that’s done in the US in terms of how it would sit in the local market,” said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia group communications and media strategist Andrew Chesterton.

“It’s worth pointing out that the Grand Cherokee SRT has been very successful in the Australian market, and so naturally we’re looking very closely at the Night.” The Grand Cherokee will soldier on in its current form until at least 2018, after plans to refresh the company’s biggest-selling nameplate were pushed back earlier this year.

A facelift is expected in 2016, before a model refresh in 2018 or 2019.

Even though sales has softened some 28 per cent year on year, the Grand Cherokee has still moved 10,315 units to the end of October, placing it third in the large-SUV category behind Toyota’s pairing of Kluger (11,427) and Prado (12,630).

Up to 30 per cent of Grand Cherokee sales are, according the FCA Australia, SRT variants.

Meanwhile the Wrangler Backcountry special edition for the LA show takes some of the cosmetic pieces from the variant’s top-line Rubicon variant, creating a special that is aimed specifically at the northern hemisphere winter market.

Recoloured Rubicon alloy rims, Rubicon tubular rock sliders and painted bumpers are added, along with a decal kit and revised internal trim items.

Mr Chesterton indicated that the Wrangler was also being looked at by FCA Australia, which already carries a handful of limited-edition Wrangler models on its books.

However, with 1818 Wrangler sales to date in 2015, the Backcountry is unlikely to get a local start.

The next-generation Wrangler is on track to be launched in 2017, and is set to incorporate a high percentage of aluminium body panels into its build in an effort to reduce weight and fuel consumption.

Its traditional body-on frame construction is set to be retained, as is its solid-axle suspension arrangement, though its fold-down windscreen is likely to be axed.

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