Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

With the introduction of the updated 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee signaling in a new era for the Cherokee, I thought I’d take one last look Jeeps flagship for its last year of production. And while the new vehicle offers a fresh new look, it’s easy to say that the current Cherokee has withstood the test of time gracefully. It’s still a good, modern looking vehicle that will certainly appease the eye of customers well into its final stretch.


The vehicle I had in my possession was the CRD diesel powered Cherokee. And while the North American public comes to grips with the new influx of alternatively powered SUV’s currently flooding the market, the Cherokee CRD has been proving itself for some time now. A product of the short-lived Daimler-Chrysler project, the 3.0L Mercedes built diesel V-6 was one of the best outcomes of the doomed merger. Built in Berlin and benefiting from Mercedes’ Bluetec development, this common rail turbo diesel that is shared with Mercedes and Dodge Sprinter vans, represents the jewel of the Cherokee. Like most modern diesel powered SUV’s, you are treated to V-8 power and performance with the added bonus of V-6 Sedan fuel efficiency. Meantime, as part of the Bluetec R&D project, this engine purrs along quietly, emits no smoke under load and no sulfurous smell.


While Hybrids are making an impressive mark on the industry, these are the days of the diesel. The diesel advantage of power, handling, fuel efficiency and versatility so far out weigh the ever-advancing Hybrids. But who wants to take a hybrid off-road? Thus we have the Cherokee CRD, a vehicles who’s sole marketing is based around being a great kid and grocery hauler, while also being Trail Rated, and ready for anything the environment can throw at it.


While its on-road manners are a little on the soft and squishy side for me they are decent nonetheless. However it’s off-road where the Cherokee seems most at home, trudging up a mountainous trail. With a solid rear-end, Quadra-drive II 4WD system with electronic two-speed transfer gearbox and optional Limited Slip Diff in the rear, the Cherokee really does love to play in the dirt.


While the drivetrain, looks and abilities of the Cherokee CRD motivate to get out and have fun, the interior still leaves something to be desired. The over use of cheap plastics as well as the material used in the seats will have the driver constantly trying to not to slip out of place give the interior a low quality feel. As my vehicle came with a $53,000 price tag, I would have a hard time party with such expense. However, don’t let the price get you down. With Chrysler going into bankruptcy, and with only a year left until the new design starts showing up in showrooms, there are huge savings being passed on to the customers during these hard times. Pricing out this same vehicle can yield a $10,000 savings already. So that cheap looking interior isn’t looking so bad anymore is it?



MSRP: $32,140

Price as tested: $52,195

Layout: Front Engine – 4WD

Engine: 3.0L V-6 Common Rail Turbo Diesel

Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic with 2-Speed Transfer case

HP: 215

Torque: 376

Brakes: 328 mm-front Disc – 320 mm rear Disc

Curb Weight: 4,724 kg

Towing Capacity: 3,500 kg

0-100 km/h: 7.5 sec

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 12.0l/9.0L

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