dates : 22nd May 2005
28th May 2005
a new Jeep is a delicate balancing act. On the one
hand everything possible must be done to perpetuate
the classic Jeep look thatís one of the worldís
most recognizable icons, fronted by the seven-slot
On the other hand, the Grand Cherokee needed to move
forward. So, the result is a new Cherokee that has
gone back to its roots. The new Cherokee is longer
and wider Ė no surprises here Ė but itís also
lower, and that IS a surprise in a world of
less glass area in the new Cherokee and this too is
bucking a global trend towards panoramic visibility.
So itís an all-new vehicle and yet only subtly
different in overall appearance.
The rear end of the Grand Cherokee also embodies the
stronger, beefier appearance the Jeep designers were
In the loading area, a sixty-forty split offers the
usual versatility, and there are plenty of storage
areas for valuable items.
The lower overall height was deemed necessary to
improve the CD factor, or aerodynamic efficiency,
something thatís particularly important in the
United States with increasingly strict government
fuel consumption standards.
In profile, the Grand Cherokee has a longer bonnet,
adding to the sleeker look.
The A-pillars are more steeply raked, and with
proportionately more steel to glass, the exterior
manages to look both rugged and sportier.
There are two brand-new engines on offer. The first
is a new 3-litre CRD, or Common Rail Diesel. This is
based on the latest Mercedes-Benz technology,
Mercedes being a stablemate to Jeep under the
DaimlerChrysler conglomerate umbrella.
Maximum power is a 160 kiloWatts and Torque tops out
at 510 Newton metres.
The other new engine in the line-up is home-grown
American. Itís the 240 kiloWatt Chrysler 5,7 litre
Hemi V8, which gives the Jeep muscle-car
performance. And in the drivetrain department, there
are two new 4x4 systems.
Customers can choose Quadra Trac 2, with a single
centre limited slip differential for good on-road
performance with a measure of off-road ability.
For serious off-roaders there is Quadra Drive 2,
with electronic limited-slip diffs on front, centre
and rear housings.
put the new Cherokee through its paces at a
purpose-built obstacle course in Tuscany.
Jeepís Jungle Jim looked like lots of fun, as well
as providing extreme tests of traction and torsional
"Just do it" would be a good catch-line
for the Quadra Drive. Electronically controlled
clutch packs on the three differentials constantly
transfer power where itís needed, varying from
full-slip to full-lock on each axle.
This offers maximum grip while ensuring a mellow
on-road ride without tyre scrub and axle wind-up
often associated with such systems.
The electronics constantly monitor grip
requirements. For instance, on fast dirt roads or on
tar where grip is good, the electronic slip diff
releases the front axle clutch pack completely so
there is no tyre scrub.
All models come in five-speed automatic form,
including the diesel model.
from the big Hemi, a 4,7 litre V8 version will be
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee will be launched in South
Africa on the first of June.
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