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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Mk3 Grand Cherokee

1 Jul 2005

DAIMLERCHRYSLER off-road brand Jeep delivered its third-generation luxury SUV flagship in Australia in mid 2005.

And there was no doubting the German influence on the all-new Grand Cherokee.

Available with two V8s, including the first appearance of the Chrysler Group’s new 5.7-litre HEMI V8 as well as a high-tech Mercedes-sourced turbo-diesel, the five-seater wagon combined European-style SUV dynamics with a better-packaged interior, an extensive standard equipment list and Jeep’s renowned off-road ability.

The base Laredo auto was powered by a 170kW/410Nm 4.7-litre SOHC two-valve V8.

Next in the range was a Mercedes-sourced 3.0-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel 72-degree DOHC V6 that produced 160kW and a lusty 510Nm.

Like the 4.7 V8, the all-alloy diesel was also available in top-shelf Limited guise.

Chrysler Jeep Australia (CJA) did not import the V6 petrol version of the third-generation Grand Cherokee, which was produced at Magna Steyr’s upgraded contract plant in Graz, Austria.

Of course, biggest news was the availability of the new 5.7-litre HEMI V8, which delivered 240kW at 5000rpm and 500Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

It was available only in Limited form, and was the first SUV to employ cylinder deactivation technology called Multi-Displacement System (MDS).

Claiming to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent by deactivating four cylinders (one, four, six and seven) during steady speeds or under low acceleration, Daimler Chrysler said it averaged 15.4 litres per 100km, compared to 14.9L/100km for the 4.7 and just 10.2L/100km for the 3.0 CRD.

Like the V8s, which offered an upgraded version of the previous 5-45RFE five-speed auto, the diesel also offered a five-speed transmission.

Both offered a manual-shift mode and, of course, a low-range reduction ratio of 2.72:1, activated by a single-pull console lever.

As before, all Grand Cherokees employed a permanent all-wheel drive system, with a default 52 per cent of torque directed rearwards and a switchable yaw-sensing traction and stability control system as standard.

While the Laredo 4.7 employs the Quadra-Trac II AWD system (comprising an electronically controlled clutch pack coupling in its centre differential and open diffs at front and rear), all other variants use the Quadra-Drive II system with electronic limited-slip diffs at both ends.

Although still a five-seater, the Grand Cherokee III was built on unitary (monocoque) architecture that was claimed to be 60 per cent stiffer than the bodyshell it replaced.

WHEN the latest Grand Cherokee went on sale here in July 2005, Chrysler-Jeep said it would not bring in a cheaper petrol version. Now the local Jeep custodians have done exactly that.

The smaller Cherokee’s 3.7-litre V6 on sale early 2007, reduces the model’s starting price by $2000. Previously, the 170kW/410Nm 4.7-litre V8-powered Laredo was the least expensive Grand Cherokee variant. Now the base Lardeo V6 auto tips into the mixed from $51,990, 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).

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