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2011 Grand Cherokee ready to roll


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2011 Grand Cherokee ready to roll

Hitting the trail: Jeep's new Grand Cherokee has been a long time coming, but should be in Australia by January.

Chrysler launches long-awaited redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee in the US

20 May 2010


CHRYSLER Group’s crucial new-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee commences production this week, marking the company’s first major launch since emerging from bankruptcy last June.

On sale in North America next month and arriving in Australia in January 2011, the redesigned Grand Cherokee will be priced slightly lower than the outgoing models in the US but is claimed to offer vast improvements in areas such as on-road handling, engine performance (thanks to the new Pentastar V6) and cabin refinement and quality.

As GoAuto has reported, the all-new Grand Cherokee made its world premiere at the New York motor show in April last year after being revealed a couple of months earlier in official company documents tendered to US Congress as part of Chrysler’s survival plan.

The vehicle was developed in the period before Daimler split with Chrysler three years ago, and it has taken more than a year since its airing in New York to reach production, with Chrysler filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 1, 2009, and then restructuring after forming a new global alliance with Fiat SpA.

To be built at the “completely transformed” Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, the Grand Cherokee’s production debut comes as the US treasury this week announced that Chrysler had repaid $US1.9 billion of a $US4 billion loan made to the company (the so-called ‘Old Chrysler’) in January last year.

According to a statement released by the treasury department, which has a 9.9 per cent shareholding in the ‘New Chrysler’, the balance of this loan is unlikely to be repaid and the relevant Chrysler finance companies “no longer have outstanding obligations to treasury” under what is known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Total TARP loans to both the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Chrysler amount to $US14.3 billion, with treasury having received $US3.9 billion in repayments to date.

Clearly, Chrysler is banking on the all-new Grand Cherokee being a sales success.

The Australian line-up and final specifications are still to be determined, but the range will include a 5.7-litre HEMI petrol V8, a still-to-be-specified turbo-diesel engine (due around 12 months after launch) and, most importantly, the new 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6, which in this application delivers 216kW of power at 6350rpm and 353Nm of torque at 4300rpm.

According to Chrysler, that is 38 per cent more power and 11 per cent more torque than its predecessor, while the engine also uses up to 11 per cent less fuel, with economy claimed to be 10.2L/100km and the driving range more than 800km. The standard transmission is a five-speed automatic.

Other highlights of the re-engineered Grand Cherokee include new independent front and rear suspension (including the availability of Quadra-Lift air suspension), upgraded Selec-Terrain system, a dual-panoramic sunroof, a “world-class” interior design (with premium soft-touch materials on all models), increased rear-seat space and 17 per cent more cargo volume.

Safety features across the range in the US include anti-whiplash front head restraints, full-length side curtain and seat-mounted side thorax airbags, electronic stability control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-start Assist and Trailer-sway Control.

A blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system and adaptive cruise control (with forward collision warning) are also available.

Technology highlights extend to onboard TV reception and direct internet connection.

The Grand Cherokee will be sold in the US across the Laredo, Limited and Overland model grades, which are also expected to be used in Australia.

In the US, both 4x2 and 4x4 versions are available across all three trim levels, with a high level of standard equipment on all models.

On the 4x4s, the standard four-wheel drive system moves from Quadra-Trac I to Quadra-Trac II in Laredo versus Limited, while the Overland adds the air suspension.

The Limited also picks bi-Xenon headlights, the so-called CommandView dual-pane sunroof, front and second-row heated leather seats, memory settings for the front pews, a Parkview reversing camera, Parksense rear parking radar, higher-grade stereo, climate-control air-conditioning, satellite-navigation, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 17s on Laredo).

The Overland has Nappa leather, ventilated front seats, a wood/leather heated steering wheel (with memory), power-adjust steering column, wood trim inserts, leather trim across the cabin, a power-operated tailgate and 20-inch alloys.

The Laredo 4x4 starts from $US32,995 ($A39,685), while the 4x4 Limited is another $US7000 and the 4x4 Overland kicks in at $US42,995 ($A51,713).

“The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee redefines the SUV industry with new levels of 4x4 capability, more luxury courtesy of a refined interior and stunning new exterior, improved fuel economy, and independent front and rear suspensions that deliver a premium, refined on-road driving experience,” said Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley.

“The new Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers a unique blend of capability, refinement, features and amenities that no other manufacturer can offer, all at a great price.”



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