Jeep has paraded its new Grand Cherokee 4x4, the pinnacle of its range of SUVs and its second biggest seller in the UK after the Patriot. The Grand Cherokee is a new model, not just a facelift although the underpinnings are carried over – albeit in spruced-up form.
The 2011 model year Grand Cherokee evolves the chunky Jeep look and packs a whole load of new technology under the skin, according to Jeep. And the interior (one of the weakest points on Jeeps for years) has been improved, too.
So what's new on the 2011 Grand Cherokee?
Apart from those more chiselled lines that give the 4x4 quite a different character, Jeep promises better on-road dynamics thanks to the adoption of independent front and rear suspension systems and a much stiffer body structure.
To keep its mud-plugging talents intact, buyers can choose between three 4x4 systems, the latest Quadra-Lift Air Suspension set-up and Selec-Terrain systems mimicking Land Rover's selector for modifying all the electronics for different terrain. Jeeps tend to be worked hard, and the makers claim a 3.4-tonne towing capacity for lugging boats, trailers and caravans.
The engine room
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee packs a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 in the US, boasting an 11% fuel efficiency gain. That's still only 23mpg on the American cycle, however. European models, which are due to land in summer 2011, will of course be predominantly diesel with a revised 3.0 CRD engine or a new unit from the Fiat empire most likely.
The new 4x4 will cost less than the outgoing model, priced from $30,995 in the US. That'll bring tears to the eyes of British buyers who currently pay from £31,995 for a 3.0 CRD Limited, but then you can say the same about most American imports whose prices inevitably ratchet up on these shores.
What else is new at Jeep?
Not much this year. The Grand Cherokee lands in mid 2011, along with other products being cooked up at the new Fiat-owned Chrysler Jeep.