Home / Reviews / Road Test / Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Road Test: The Big Picture

 

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 1 web

Iconic off-road vehicle makers, Jeep, synonymous with the SUV, officially drive into the country soon. They’re about more than just out-and-out mud-plugging, though, and this, the Grand Cherokee, adds one part luxury to one part off-road and the result is something that will make you take a very close second look. Here’s what it’s like.

 

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

 

A certain explorer was sure on to something when he spotted land. I’m pretty sure the terrain there back then advocated the need for a vehicle that was not just rugged and hardcore, but also something easy to manage when the surroundings weren’t. Yes, there was indigenous life, but they had horsepower in its raw form, and some mules. Now, my name isn’t Chief Lockingdiffs but one thing that does hark back to Native American culture is the name of this behemoth we have here, the Grand Cherokee. Easily mistaken as the supreme leader of an indigenous tribe out to conquer new lands, this Jeep is actually the more civilised one, missing a stiff upper lip, maybe, but surely very likeable.

Now, many off-road cars pack gadgets and equipment and looks to kill, even theatre-seating-style fog-lamps in rows from the roof to the front bull-bar, but the essence of adventure is not always easily found. With Jeep, especially big Jeeps, you don’t get the essence in some diluted form; you get the whole vanilla bean. And that’s something even the Grand Cherokee, which is essentially a Jeep that ditched its cargoes and hard-hat for a suit with a vest, still brings to the table. It feels ready for adventure. Ready to take on new worlds, and, most importantly, makes you feel ready to get out there yourself.

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 2 web

This is the Grand Cherokee CRD Summit. And, as the last part of its name implies, this variant packs a whole lot of goodies: a large sun-roof, leather seats, air-conditioning, air suspension, a digital compass, and SelecTerrain, which offers five driving modes.

Let’s start with what it looks like. Well, there’s no denying it does look special. It’s huge! And it has everything one would want from a fancy, premium SUV. There are LED signatures, bi-xenon headlamps with projector fog-lamps, chrome garnish everywhere from the front grille to the lower air-dam and the name emblazoned on the front doors. It’s a hulking creation and it’s uncompromising in the essential aspect. The 20″ wheels with 50-profile tyres fill up the massive wheel-wells but yet have a good clearance. The Grand Cherokee itself sits 206 millimetres off the ground.

Opening the large doors saw me having to climb in: not something I do very often. At over 4.8 metres long, over 1.9 metres wide and standing almost 1.8 metres high, its proportions are justifiably massive. Justifiably, because it has just five seats, and, having been made in the US of A, it has acres of space in terms of passenger, elbow, head and cargo room. The front seat, when moved to its furthest rear position, still allowed me, at six feet tall, to be comfortably seated in the rear. Everything about the Grand Cherokee is big, grand even. At its lowest position the large steering wheel had me wondering if it would move lower. Pushing the four-way steering column adjuster confirmed it was at its lowest. Okay, then.

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 2 1 web

There’s so much about the interior that screams ruggedness. The floor-mats have ‘Jeep’ on them and look as if they could scrub the sole off a pair of trekking shoes and still stay beige.

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 2 2 web The dial in the centre has a ‘4×4 Low’ option, which is mandatory for ‘Rock’ mode. Yes, the Grand Cherokee is full-time AWD and there are five driving modes: Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock. The 26° approach and 24° departure angles are complemented by a 19° breakover angle. Together with ‘Rock’ mode, it’s mightier than Dwayne Johnson post his second-wind signature leap. The toughness aura of the whole thing is slightly overwhelming at first. Once you get used to it, you realise it can do you a whole lot of good. Everything about it is large. Even the boots is a cavernous 1,025 litres, and that’s with the second row up! Fold that down an you have 1,930 litres.

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 5 web

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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