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Company Car & Van April 2018

ON TEST: JEEP GRAND

ON TEST: JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE More road reports at www.companycarandvan.co.uk Salute the grand old man Andrew Walker Jeep’s Grand Cherokee is almost seven years old and has recently undergone an update. Just like Doctor Who, it has changed several times in those seven years and the latest incarnation is comfortably the best. We tested the top-of-the-range Summit and although our off-road sojourn was comfortable for the Jeep, it showed us that it’s still one of the best luxury 4×4s when it comes to going off tarmac. Fiat bought the Jeep brand knowing it would require a lot of updating. They couldn’t have guessed, however, at how tough the competition would become, with new entrants from Jaguar (F-Pace), Range Rover (Velar) and sister brand to Jeep, Alfa Romeo with the Stelvio. The Grand Cherokee is up against it, because all three are impressive. The Summit certainly looks the part. It’s big and brash, as you’d expect an American SUV to be. Large 20” polished aluminium and technical grey wheels, chrome grille, fog lamp bezels and door handles, chrome window surrounds and side roof rails, command view dual-pane glass sunroof and deep tint sunscreen glass, all add to the classy look. Inside, the cabin is the best I’ve ever seen in a Jeep. The Laguna quilted leather interior in sky grey with indigo piping and contrast stitching is fabulous, an extra £5,200 on the basic Summit price. Standard equipment is generous. There’s also a premium Alcantara headliner, heated seats (1st and 2nd row), ventilated front seats, 7” TFT Instrument Cluster with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel, power eight-way driver and six-way passenger seat, a Harman Kardon TM 19 speaker audio with subwoofers and an 825W amplifier. For off-road aficionados, the Summit comes with hill descent control and trailer sway assist, plus Quadra-drive II 4WD System and Quadra-lift air suspension. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with crash mitigation and blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and ParkSense front and rear park assist. Jeep has also added Active Noise Cancellation with acoustic glass to make the Summitt super quiet. Even when you push the 3.0-litre V6 diesel to accelerate on the motorway the cabin noise is kept to a minimum, making hands-free Bluetooth calls enjoyable. A real plus for those who need to chat while on the move. The Grand Cherokee offers 247bhp with torque of 570Nm with an official 8.2-second 0-62mph time and top speed of 126mph. Jeep claims a combined 40.4mpg fuel economy, which is generous as we managed just under 30mpg. Emissions are 184 CO 2 / km, higher than newer models with newer engines like the Volvo XC90. All in all, the Grand Cherokee just about offers enough to compete with the new kids on the block. Where the Summit matches rivals for kit, tech and looks, it’s seven-year-old chassis and age let it down. It’s fine on the motorway, but particularly around town the eight-speed auto box is slow to respond and the foot brake causes the car to jerk too much when you stop suddenly. The large tyres get over most bumps comfortably but go fast around a series of bends and the Grand Cherokee rolls around them rather than getting you through smoothly. The Jeep is older than many rivals and it’s here that you notice it. Customers also don’t get a wide choice of engines either. There’s no hybrid or even a smaller 4-cylinder unit to save customers money and allow fleet manager’s to tick the right boxes to keep their accountants happy. While the price of the Summit may seem steep, at £55,980 OTR and with a series of extras fitted to our test car taking this up to 10 | April 2018 | Company Car & Van www.companycarandvan.co.uk

£61,180, when compared to rivals it is actually good value and the Jeep lease prices reflect this. I enjoyed my week in the Summit, which was comfortable and quiet. As a bonus, a short sojourn across a local muddy farmer’s field– and this after a lot of rain – proved just how good the Grand Cherokee is off-road, so it’s comforting to know that it’s still a go-anywhere vehicle. Whether you’d pick one over the latest Audi Q7, BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace or Range Rover Velar that it competes against will depend – for me anyway – solely on monthly outlay. In this respect the Grand Cherokee does well. However, for that cash saving you’d have to accept that it’s just not as good to drive as the newer models. If you’re happy to pay more, then you can take your pick from those in the higher price tag. CC&V VERDICT A curious response. The best Grand Cherokee ever but not the best in its class. Less expensive than rivals but they drive better. The choice is between savings and driving pleasure - but it’s still great off-road. Rating: www.companycarandvan.co.uk The online resource that’s aimed at SME fleets Bookmark www.companycarandvan.co.uk – the recently launched website that accompanies this magazine. It contains all the car and van reviews found in the magazine in an easy-to-use on-line format. There’s also a news page, where we select those stories we feel are of most interest to our readers. Visit www.companycarandvan.co.uk for an honest appraisal of vehicles you’re thinking about buying or leasing. Our regular advertisers can be reached on the site via the dealership banners, where you’ll find up-to-date deals on the vehicles you’re looking for, from the nicest dealerships on the web. www.companycarandvan.co.uk Company Car & Van | April 2018 | 11

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