2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD Overland
Two things have happened to me recently that are of significant importance in penning this article about the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Firstly, I took advantage of the Easter holidays to go on a trek to the beautiful Mpumalanga province. The second thing is that I have recently become the father of no longer one but two little people. And they came along for the trip as well.
As I passed the multitude of ‘Vaalies’ heading the same way, in the same situation (travelling with kids) an unyielding realisation slapped me in the face. My harsh judgement of our endless love of SUV’s dissipated like the morning dew over Milly’s Trout Farm.
SUV’s now make complete sense. They are practical, spacious, comfortable, easy to drive and quite luxurious, depending on which one you choose. If you happened to choose the Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD, then it is all of these things AND some.
In the hotly contested segment of lux SUV’s, the Jeep plays in a stiffly competitive environment. The Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes Benz ML-Class, the new BMW X5 and the soon to be launched VW Touareg are very tough to beat in this game. Oh but wait….the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been playing this game longer than any of these relatively new kids to the block.
Where the newbies gained tremendous ground was in coming to the market offering cars that were more refined and well mannered on-road, more luxurious with the same badge appeal. And that’s where Jeep was wrong-footed…until now.
What Jeep has done with its latest Grand Cherokee is present a car that is true to its genes with a very capable off-road prowess, but also correct some of the flaws of its previous generation. The new Jeep looks fantastic with bold contours and modern lines finished off at the front by its signature LED HID headlamps. It looks the part of a robust yet handsome protagonist.
The interior of the car I drove was a classy mix of open-pore dark wood veneer, black leather focused to the three-spoke steering wheel with the same wooden trip finishing the top third. Behind the wheel are metal forged paddle shifters that control the 8-speed transmission in conjunction with the aviation style gear shift lever that sits perfectly in front of the central stowage compartment. The instrument display is a clean mix of graphical elements that include a Multi-View display that you can set to display any of vehicle information in various layouts and formats. What I loved about sitting in this car is that everything was in harmony with the driver. Nothing has been an oversight.
The 190kW diesel engine performed impeccably well turning in a 8,5 litres per 100km during my time with the car. This in part, is due to a very intelligent Eco Mode that is active on this car. It adjusts the shift patterns and shuts off the fuel when the car is decelerating. Part of this package also controls the height and therefore aerodynamics of the car and from 88km/h, the car automatically is lowered to its most efficient ride height.
In keeping with tradition, the 4X4 capabilities of this car are second to none featuring electronic systems that control the differential, traction, ride height and engine characteristics to ensure the most successful foray off-road. Driving/traction modes can be selected via the centre console using Jeep’s trademark Selec-Terrain Traction control system. They have made off-roading decisions very easy. The drivetrain system also includes Hill Ascent AND Hill Descent control giving you total peace of mind when you find yourself looking at the sky or terra firma in adventurous situations.
It’s a brilliant car to live with. Ample space in the rear keeps adult passengers just as happy as little ones. It doesn’t have 7-seats which has been seen by some as an issue but I think I am okay with this as I have not yet experienced a 7-seat SUV in which the 6th & 7th seats make any sense at all. A reversing camera will assist in not driving over the kids toys and the electronically operated tailgate also means less stretching to close a heavy boot lid. It’s also extraordinarily comfortable to drive with a full array of media and entertainment functions through the uConnect system.
My only criticism of the Jeep is that it still feels somewhat heavy and cumbersome under more urgent on-road driving. It is certainly better than its predecessor but in comparison to the Porsche Cayenne or even the Mercedes Benz ML, it lacks the dynamic capability.
That said, I do love that it hasn’t gone soft. It is still the monster Grand Cherokee when the going gets tough. More importantly though, the Jeep is more mature, more luxurious, more appealing and more intelligent. It can be flaunted around the streets of Camps Bay or Sandton quite fashionably while a few moments later it can be playing on Sand dunes and 4X4 trails without any quizzical looks from onlookers.
Big thumbs up Jeep!
3,6L V6 Limited R670,990
3,6L V6 Overland R742,990
3,0L CRD Limited R767,990
5,7L HEMI V8 Overland R775,990
3,0L CRD Overland R837,990
6,4L SRT8 R999,990