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V6 for Grand Cherokee

Pros and cons: Grand Cherokee Laredo V6 costs $6000 less than the similarly-equipped turbo-diesel CRD, but is thirstier, slower and has less than half the towing capacity.

Jeep drops the Cherokee’s V6 into its luxury SUV sibling, and drops pricing by $2000

19 Feb 2007

CHRYSLER Group Australia executives said they wouldn’t import the cheaper petrol V6 version of the latest Grand Cherokee when it was released here in July 2005, but now the local Jeep custodians have done exactly that.

As announced late on Friday, Jeep’s luxury Grand Cherokee SUV range has been expanded by the availability of the smaller Cherokee’s 3.7-litre V6, which reduces the model’s starting price by $2000.

Previously, the 170kW/410Nm SOHC V8-powered Laredo 4.7 was the least expensive Grand Cherokee variant. Originally launched at $56,490, its RRP was later dropped significantly to $53,990 as part of across-the-board price cuts.

Priced at $51,990, the base Laredo V6 auto is powered by a variation of the 12-valve SOHC six-cylinder that powers the Cherokee. However, while peak power is down 2kW to 148kW (at 5100rpm), maximum torque rises by 8Nm to 315Nm (at 3900rpm).

The 90-degree V6 features a cast-iron cylinder block, alloy cylinder-heads, sequential multi-port fuel-injection and 9.1:1 compression.

Mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and running on 91 RON standard unleaded, the Grand Cherokee V6 returns combined ADR 81/01 average fuel consumption of 13.2L/100km, which is far better than the official claimed figures for the 5.7-litre HEMI V8 variant (15.4L/100km) and the 4.7-litre V8 variant (14.9L/100km).

But the new V6 is still a whole 3.0L/100km thirstier than the Mercedes-sourced 160kW/510Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel Grand Cherokee CRD, which is also quicker.

Claimed 0-100km/h acceleration figures show the 5.7 is the quickest of the mainstream (non-SRT8) Grand Cherokee variants, completing the dash in 7.4 seconds, with the CRD next quickest in 9.0 seconds, the 4.7 next on 9.4 and the V6 a distant last with a time of 10.7 seconds.

No top speed figure is given, but it should be well down on the 5.7 flagship’s 208km/h claim, as well as the 4.7 (201km/h) and CRD (196km/h).

9 center imageThe Laredo V6’s kerb weight is 2098kg – 59kg down on the 4.7 (2157kg), 71kg less than the 3.0 CRD (2169kg) and 111kg below the 5.7 HEMI. Towing capacity, however, is reduced from 3500kg to just 1585kg.

Built at the same Graz factory in Austria, the Grand Cherokee V6 maintains a healthy standard equipment inventory, including twin front and full-length side curtain airbags, ESP stability control, traction control, ABS, 17-inch 'satin silver finish wheels", power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate-control, tyre pressure monitoring, remote central locking and AM/FM/CD sound.

As with other Grand Cherokee variants, Laredo 3.7 options comprise a three-piece bash plate pack, powered glass sunroof and metallic paint.

But the base Grand misses out on upstream variants’ foglights and six-speaker Boston Acoustics 260-Watt premium sound system with six-CD stacker.

"The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed, engineered and built on the combination of heritage and capability that has made the Jeep brand an icon in four-wheel drive circles," said managing director for the Chrysler Group in Australia, Gerry Jenkins.

"Our new V6 petrol engine gives customers even more choice in selecting the model that best suits their needs. And by setting a new entry price of $51,990, the V6 also makes the Grand Cheroke's on-road refinement and off-road mastery experience even more attainable," he said.

Grand Cherokee sales fared better than those of many other luxury SUVs in 2006, but despite price cuts CGA still fell short of its 1500-unit forecast with 1365 sales (a 1.4 per cent rise on 2005 GC sales).

The new Grand Cherokee Laredo V6 variant will be followed on sale in March by the redesigned (two-door) Wrangler off-roader, the all-new (four-door) Wrangler Unlimited and the all-new Compass SUV in late March.

The more serious new Patriot compact SUV will bring to seven the number of Jeep models available here by September.

Jeep Grand Cherokee pricing:
Laredo 3.7-litre V6 (a) $51,990
Laredo 4.7-litre V8 (a) $53,990
Laredo 3.0-litre CRD V6 (a) $58,990
Limited 4.7-litre V8 (a) $65,990
Limited 3.0-litre CRD V6 (a) $68,990
Limited 5.7-litre HEMI V8 (a) $70,990
SRT8 6.1-litre HEMI V8 (a) $85,990

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