Jeep Grand Cherokee Car Leasing & Contract Hire

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Jeep Grand Cherokee Reviews

Performance
Equipment
Handling
Economy
Comfort
Depreciation
Space
Insurance

Jeep's Grand Cherokee reinvents itself yet again, adapting smartly to a changing market. Andy Enright takes a look.

With styling that's nowhere near as odd as the first press shots led us to believe, the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee stands more than a fighting chance of success. Interior design is much improved and the 4x4 underpinnings are still as tough as ever. Economy and emissions have improved but lag behind the class best.

Jeep has come a long way in a short time. It's a company with over seventy years of history behind it, but for many, Jeep's Year Zero was 2009, when the company filed for bankruptcy. Since then, it has emerged like a muddy phoenix from the ashes, and sales have doubled worldwide. Part of that has been due to customer confidence from the takeover of the Chrysler Group by Fiat, the rest has been down to improved products being sold at competitive pricing. That part's hardly rocket science. The latest Jeep Grand Cherokee continues that trend. Although the true bloodline of Jeep is best expressed through its Wrangler models, the Grand Cherokee is the big money spinner and the company's success or failure hinges on this product line more than any other. In short, it's a car that it can't afford to get wrong. With no little pressure to succeed, Jeep has pulled out all the stops with this latest Grand Cherokee.

The 3.0 CRD badge you'll see on the back of most Grand Cherokees would suggest that the Jeep has that redoubtable Mercedes-derived engine under its bonnet, but instead it's a unit built by Fiat in collaboration with VM Motori which generates a maximum power of 250PS and torque of 570 Nm, which is right in the sweet spot for a vehicle of this size and weight. There's also a 190PS budget version of this engine offered with the entry-level car, but Jeep reckons more than 90% of sales will go to the 250PS unit. A slick ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the range, helping efficiency and response. At typical motorway speeds, the Grand Cherokee will typically be registering around 1,800rpm. If all of this sounds a bit worthy, you could instead opt for the Grand Cherokee SRT. This gets a 6.4-litre V8 engine good for 468PS and is capable of accelerating to 62mph in just 5.0 seconds. Believe it or not, but this behemoth actually handles as well. Off-road, the Grand Cherokee is as tough as ever. A low-range transfer box makes light work of serious mud plugging and a set of diff locks mean that owners will be kept moving where most rivals would find themselves at a momentary traction deficit. Most models come with steel sprung suspension, but to experience the Grand Cherokee at its best, you really need the air suspension that's standard on models from the Overland up.

The first pictures of this model Jeep Grand Cherokee that were released showed a car with frontal styling that, not to put too fine a point on it, was hideous. It looked as if it has been subjected to a traumatic forceps birth, so squashed was the treatment of the front lights. Fortunately the production model looks nothing so extreme. In fact it's positively handsome, although those used to a typically bluff Jeep front end may take a little time to get used to it. The interior features vastly improved materials quality, although a cynic might well point out that this wasn't difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, there's an intuitive design to the control layout, with the centre console dominated by a touch screen developed by stereo specialists Harman Kardon. Like high-end Jaguar and Mercedes models, the main dial pack features a TFT screen which can be configured to show an 'analogue' or digital speedo, as well as sat-nav instructions or details of the drive logic of the 4x4 system. Space isn't bad, but there's no seven seat option which will strike it from the lists of some, although the 782-litre boot is reasonably good. Rear headroom is acceptable, although foot space is a bit pinched if you have tall front seat occupants. There's an automated tailgate that, like most examples of its ilk, is maddeningly slow.

If you've followed the story of the Grand Cherokee down the years, you'll have noticed some ups and downs. The car was originally positioned as a rival for the likes of Range Rover and was priced accordingly. When models like the Mercedes M-Class and BMW X5 appeared, the SUV sector shot into a different league, one where Jeep appeared to have been left behind. Hindsight shows that perhaps the US brand was playing a smart card, understanding its core buyers and aware of the limits of its brand equity. With compact SUVs now routinely topping £30,000, the Grand Cherokee has come to represent excellent value for money. These days this Jeep looks a competitively-priced rival to the Volkswagen Touareg and offers a much cheaper alternative to the likes of a Mercedes M-Class or BMW X5. UK buyers get to choose between five trim levels - Laredo, Limited, Limited Plus, Overland and Summit. All models come as standard with dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, USB and auxiliary inputs, and roof rails. Go for the Limited and you get front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, leather upholstery, a powered tailgate, electrically adjustable and heated front seats and a stereo upgrade. Limited Plus adds satellite navigation and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Overland model will prove popular, with a panoramic sunroof, blind-sport monitor and adaptive cruise control with forward collision detection. Opt for the range-topping Summit and you'll enjoy a 19(!)-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, along with various trim finish upgrades.

The economy and emissions figures of the diesel Grand Cherokee could best be described as respectable. The 37.7mpg average figure for the 250PS model is a few miles per gallon shy of its best German rivals and the 198g/km of carbon dioxide it emits is around 20 per cent worse than some of the more efficient diesel engines in the class. The latest eight-speed automatic gearbox has helped here but it can only do so much. So a little off the pace? Let's look at those figures in a little more detail. Yes, a Mercedes ML250 CDI might get 45mpg and emit just 165g/km but with that car you're paying a whole heap more and getting an engine that makes just 206PS which will get it to 62mph in 9 seconds. So with the Jeep, you're getting a little less economy but a whole heap more performance. It sounds like a reasonable trade off to me. Reasonable isn't a word that applies too strongly to the SRT model. With 468PS on tap it was never going to be something a Prius owner would look to graduate to and the claimed 20mpg and 327g/km of CO2 seems comically optimistic in real world conditions.

Let's file this one under 'Heading In The Right Direction'. Of course there will be those who won't accept anything other than a Land Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, BMW or Audi luxury SUV and will be willing to pay for the privilege. To these buyers, the Grand Cherokee may still feel lacking somewhat in sophistication. To judge it on the strength of superficialities is to sell this vehicle a long way short though. The Grand Cherokee remains long on substance, with serious off-road ability. Even if you don't care about grazing your sump once in a while, consider the on-road performance and equipment you're getting for your pound. It's hard to argue against. Jeep has largely left alone the things that were fundamentally right, such as the engines and running gear, and has diverted attention to those areas where the Grand Cherokee was left looking dated, namely the interior finish and the exterior styling. In that respect, this update is both sensible and effective. It deserves to do well. Judging by Jeep's happy-looking sales charts, you certainly wouldn't bet against it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Videos

Jeep Grand Cherokee Images

Overview

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a fine chunk of American muscle. Classed in their words as a mid-size SUV (you would argue in the UK that this is full size) and has been refreshed as of 2011. It has a classic Jeep look with a modern spin. The biggest area that has been modernised is the interior which is quite simply plush and nothing short of what you'd expect from a boisterous American classic. 

Key Jeep Grand Cherokee Points

The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with two powerful diesel engines and one supercharged petrol. A 3.0 CRD V6 with 188bhp and 240bhp is the options for diesel, both very poweful engines underneath which puts it in competition with the larger Range Rover models rather than the smaller SUV's such as the Sportage or Ford Kuga. What's the difference between this and the Range Rover? It is more or less a third of the price. The petrol engine is a 6.4 HEMI SRT engine which can pump out a jaw dropping 470bhp. Do you need that much power? HELL YES! All models are 4WD naturally.

Why Lease a Jeep Grand Cherokee

Lease a Grand Cherokee if you want your car to be big, intimidating and masculine. The Grand Cherokee is a monstrous piece of kit and the prices are much lower than some of its competitors. This is the type of lease for those who drive around in some tough conditions such as the northern parts of the country, those who live and work in rural areas or the type of person who want to make sure they and their passengers are safe on the road. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an major presence on the road and so will you be behind the wheel of one of these.

Five reasons to lease a Jeep Grand Cherokee 

  • It's BIG
  • It's POWERFUL
  • It is cheap, pound for pound
  • Generally available
  • 4x4 capabilities make it a versatile vehicle

Conclusion

To conclude, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a monster that needs taming, will you be the one to do so? With a Jeep Grand Cherokee lease you will get a substantial vehicle with power under the hood and 4 wheel drive making ANY terrain your slave. This is the type of vehicle you'd expect to be expensive but it is not relative to what it is. Have a look around the Grand Cherokee hub today for up to date high definition videos, high quality image galleries and an in depth written review.