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Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013

By raccars Published

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The Jeep is a serious cultural icon in the US, but when it comes to luxury off roaders, we Brits tend to prefer our home grown fare such as the Range Rover or the Teutonic stalwarts, such as the BMW X5 or Mercedes equivalents.

The Jeep in particular has fallen victim to the fuel crisis that has hit Britain harder than its home territory, making it simply too expensive for UK buyers to run. However, GM has taken note and the latest generation Jeep Grand Cherokee has made some significant concessions to economy. The updates have also added some much needed polish to the car's on road manners, to make it more competitive with its European rivals.

The most important change comes in the form of a smart new eight speed automatic gearbox, which is not only smoother and quicker than its clunky five speed predecessor, but also helps to reduce emissions to a more environmentally acceptable 198g/km, for both 3.0 litre diesel variants – 188bhp and 247bhp. These are already on the market and are due to be joined by an SRT8 V8 petrol variant, which is likely to be far too thirsty to appeal to British tastes.

Both the exterior and interior have been given a subtle makeover to include LED DRLs and an 8.7 inch touchscreen infotainment interface. There is quite a wide and complicated range of trims on offer, with differing off roading accoutrements, but all diesel models get a proper low ratio gearbox and Selec-Terrain electronically controlled mode selector for optimum driving dynamics on a range of surfaces.

However, the new Grand Cherokee stills suffers from a typically American driving experience, too wallowing around corners and vague on steering compared to the sharpness of a BMW X5, for example.

On the other hand, the cabin benefits from a very comfortable layout and user friendly set of instruments. The materials used are less than premium quality but the Grand Cherokee is massively spacious and reasonably well equipped, with dual zone climate control, USB inputs, automatic sensor wipers and roof rails as standard. Certainly you get a bit more kit than rivals offer for the same price.

Overall, the new Grand Cherokee is still at its best off road, lacking both the build quality and on road finesse of its competition. Priced from £36,995, it's quite affordable, but the Range Rover Sport and the BMW X5 are both expecting additions to their line up later this year, that will put the Jeep even further in the shade.

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