1 Feb 2011
JEEP’S long-lived Grand Cherokee staged a surprising comeback in 2011, offering lower pricing, more features and far better on-road dynamics without compromising the marque’s renowned off-road capabilities.
Touted as ‘A New Direction’ for the series, much of this fourth-generation Grand Cherokee’s architectural hardware is shared with the 2012 W166 Mercedes M-class and is said to improve on its predecessor in six key areas – off-road capability, on-road manners, ‘premium experience’, powertrains, safety and security, and value for money.
Like the WH model, the WK Grand Cherokee is a monocoque body design, and maintains Jeep’s famous off-road abilities by employing a torque-on-demand 4WD system, but gains a new four-wheel independent suspension, as well as its first air-suspension system (called Quadra-Lift, and standard only on the Overland) for simultaneously improved ride and rough-terrain ground clearance.
The WK comes with a choice of two 4x4 systems known as Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II, the latter using an electronic limited-slip differential to deliver torque to whichever wheel requires it most. A Land Rover-style ‘Selec-Terrain’ traction control system is standard, allowing the driver to choose from five settings according to the road surface.
Other safety and security features include Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-Start Assist, Trailer-Sway Control, Hill-Descent Control, full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax airbags, and active front head restraints.
Power comes from a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine producing 210kW and 347Nm, and returning 11 per cent better fuel consumption at 11.4L/100km, or a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 tuned to deliver 259kW and 520Nm, returning 14.1L/100km.
Large inside and out, the Grand Cherokee is much roomier and comes with a completely redesigned interior.
In June 2011 Jeep added a new 3.0-litre direct-injection V6 turbo-diesel engine to the line-up, co-developed by Fiat Powertrain and VM Motori.
Producing 177kW at 4000rpm and V8-beating peak torque of 550Nm between 1800 and 2800rpm, the new unit was 10 per cent more powerful than the Mercedes-Benz unit that powered the previous model.
With fuel and CO2 emissions figures of 8.3 litres per 100km and 218 grams per kilometre the Grand Cherokee's new unit was also 20 per cent more efficient.