The Most Awarded SUV Ever… Now with Fuel Economy Improvements.
I must confess that we at CP magazine are loving the car test-drives. This month, I was supposed to start my new segment but when I heard we were having the new Jeep Grand Cherokee for a test drive, I immediately asked our Chief Editor to postpone my segment until next month and let me take the test drive!
I’ve always had a special love for the Jeep® Grand Cherokee and you may be surprised to know that it is the most awarded SUV ever. It is the vehicle that has long defined what a premium SUV should be.
I had read that for 2017, all V6 and 5.7-litre V8 Grand Cherokee models offered improved fuel efficiency due to electric power steering, decreased tyre rolling resistance and weight reductions with aluminum suspension.
The 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee also receives a bump in horsepower for 2016, increasing output to 295hp.
New Pentastar technology for 2017 also includes cooled Exhaust-Gas Recirculation (EGR), advanced two-step Variable Valve Lift (VVL) system and upgraded variable-valve timing (VVT) system that reduces pumping losses and improves combustion.
In addition, Grand Cherokee also features a new polystable shifter and Ivory Tri-coat exterior colour for Overland and Summit models.
The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers consumers an unprecedented combination of best-in-class fuel economy and driving range, a choice of leading powertrain options, available clean-diesel technology, legendary benchmark capability, world-class craftsmanship, premium on-road driving dynamics, and a host of advanced user-friendly technology and safety features.
Legendary Jeep capability comes courtesy of four available 4×4 systems, Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension system and class-leading Selec-Terrain traction management system. Grand Cherokee boasts best-in-class towing of 7,400 pounds (3,356 kgs), and a crawl ratio of 44.1:1. In addition, Grand Cherokee may also be flat-towed when equipped with Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II systems.
The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes more than 70 safety and security features as well as an array of advanced user-friendly technology features, such as the award-winning Uconnect 8.4-inch (213.36 mm) touchscreen radio with integrated climate and infotainment controls, and a 7-inch (177.8 mm) TFT customer configurable multiview display cluster.
Also all of Jeep Grand Cherokee’s engines are mated to the FCA US eight-speed automatic transmission. In addition to enhancing fuel economy, the robust and durable eight-speed transmission delivers quick acceleration and precise, smooth shifting, enhancing ride quality to luxury car levels. An additional benefit is a low crawl ratio of 44.1:1 to aid in climbing over – or through – tough obstacles, when equipped with a two-speed transfer case.
As I took the steering wheel in my hands I realized that I could now choose to leave steering wheel paddle shifters “on” or “off” via the radio touch screen display. Steering wheel paddle shifters offer improved control both on- and off-road, including Electronic Range Select when using Selec-Speed Control in extreme off-road situations.
Another contributor to Grand Cherokee’s fuel economy is Eco Mode, which optimises the transmission’s shift schedule and, in V8 models, Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation technology. A button on the centre stack allows to disengage Eco Mode if more spirited performance is desired.
I thoroughly enjoyed my ride, as I wanted to have a full experience and learn more about the new and enhanced features of the new Cherokee.
The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee features four available 4×4 systems (Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, Quadra-Drive II and Selec-Track), an available Quadra-Lift air suspension and a Selec-Terrain traction management system, all of which instill Grand Cherokee with its legendary Jeep capability.
Quadra-Trac I features a single-speed transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive without any switches or levers to pull.
The Quadra-Trac II’s two-speed transfer case uses input from a variety of sensors to determine tyre slip at the earliest possible moment and takes corrective action. When wheel slippage is detected, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.
Quadra-Drive II, with a rear Electronic Limited-slip Differential (ELSD), delivers industry-leading tractive capability. The system instantly detects tyre slip and smoothly distributes engine torque to tyres with traction. In some cases, the vehicle will anticipate low traction and adjust in order to proactively limit or eliminate slip.
Quadra-Lift air suspension system is yet another very useful feature of 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee rises above the road and rocks with the rugged, class-exclusive Quadra-Lift air suspension system. The Quadra-Lift system features five-height settings for
optimum ride performance:
- Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.2 inches (208.28 mm) of clearance offers improved fuel economy as well as improved aerodynamics during on-road driving
- Off-road 1: Lifts the vehicle an additional 1.1 inches (27.94 mm) from NRH for added height in clearing obstacles (9.3 inches / 236.22 mm)
- Off-road 2: Delivers legendary Jeep off-road capability and provides an additional 2.2 inches (55.88 mm) from NRH for 10.4 inches (264.16 mm) of ground clearance and up to 20 inches (508 mm) of water fording depth
- Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle 1.6 inches (40.64 mm) from NRH for easy ingress/egress. NRH and Park Mode are driver selectable allowing the driver full control over vehicle ride height
- Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle 0.6 inches (15.24 mm) from NRH. Aero Mode is controlled by vehicle speed and adjusts for optimal performance and fuel economy. The vehicle will also lower to Aero Mode when in Sport Mode
- Quadra-Lift adds up to 3.8 inches (96.52 mm) of lift span supported by four-corner air springs that provide a cushioned, premium ride. Quadra-Lift operates automatically, or may be controlled manually with console controls.
With the front air dam removed (not available on Summit) and the available Quadra-Lift air suspension, the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee features a 36.1-degree approach angle, a 27.1-degree departure angle and 22.8-degree breakover angle.
In addition to the Quadra-Lift air suspension, the Grand Cherokee’s class-leading Selec-Terrain traction control system allows customers to choose the on- and off-road setting for optimum performance. This feature electronically coordinates up to 12 different powertrain, braking and suspension systems, including throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, Hill-descent
Control and Selec-Speed Control.
The Selec-Terrain system offers five different driving conditions to achieve the best driving experience on all terrains: Sand, Mud, Auto, Snow and Rock.
Sport Mode is engaged with a new-for-2017 Sport Mode button on the centre stack. Sport Mode provides enhanced on-road “fun-to-drive” capability.
Selec-Speed Control with Hill-ascent and Hill-descent Control allows drivers to control Grand Cherokee’s speed both up and down steep, rugged grades with the steering wheel paddle shifters – without the need for throttle or brake pedals. Unique to its segment, Grand Cherokee Hill-descent Control also works when the vehicle is in reverse.
All 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with Off-road groups are Trail Rated. The Jeep Trail Rated badge on the Jeep Grand Cherokee indicates that the vehicle is designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions, identified by five key consumer-oriented capability categories: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording.
Now let’s talk about the exterior and interior design. All trim levels of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee have a premium look, while simultaneously making each trim level readily identifiable at a glance. Key exterior features include front and rear LED lighting that allow Grand Cherokee to be instantly recognizable, night or day, from a great distance. Standard on Overland and Summit and available on Limited are bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps (adaptive on Summit) that are outlined with signature LED running lamps.
Of course, Grand Cherokee retains Jeep’s classic seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel arches.
The front and rear of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee features unique lower fascias for every trim level and a large, aerodynamic rear spoiler.
The award-winning interior of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is clearly one of the most technically advanced, well-crafted interiors in the industry. Immediately noticeable is the Uconnect 5-inch (127 mm) or 8.4-inch (213.36 mm) touchscreen.
Controls for radio and climate are found below the screen and have easily identifiable knobs and buttons. Following the centre stack down onto the centre console reveals a new leather-wrapped polystable shifter for the eight-speed transmission.
Wrapped in leather, the three-spoke steering wheel features sections of wood on Overland and Summit models. All Grand Cherokee models include standard paddle shifters mounted on the back of the steering wheel. The steering wheel is designed and positioned to provide optimal view of the gauge cluster that features a 7-inch (177.8 mm), full-colour, customisable instrument display. This screen allows drivers to select from a multitude of layout and vehicle information to be shown in the centre of the gauge cluster.
Laredo and Limited models feature dark wood trim on the dash and doors. Door handle and dash vent bezels, as well as the trim on the centre console, feature a slight gold hue to their brushed aluminum look. Premium cloth seating is standard on Laredo while Capri leather seating is standard in Limited.
Overland models have several touches like standard Nappa leather seats, stitched-leather instrument panel and available open-pore wood, which add a distinct touch of modern luxury. Wood trim is also found on the top portion of the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Rear-seat footwell and rear door-pocket ambient lighting highlight the Grand Cherokee’s interior design at night.
Grand Cherokee Summit models continue to carry the torch for premium interiors in the SUV segment. Premium Natura-Plus leather seating with heated, ventilated and memory front seats, open-pore wood trim and Copper accents are available on Summit in Morocco Black or Grand Canyon Jeep Brown. Returning for 2016 is the Argentina Tan interior with black-accent stitching.
Also unique to Summit is a premium suede-like material covering the A-pillars and headliner.
Another impressive feature is a nineteen-speaker, 825-watt high-performance Harman Kardon surround sound audio system. This state-of-the-art system features a 12-channel amplifier, three sub-woofers and surrounds the occupants in high-definition sound.
For added passenger comfort, rear seats recline 12 degrees. There also is a 12-degree forward angle to allow 24 degrees of variation.
The Cargo volume behind the second row measures 36.3 cu. ft. (1.02 cu. m.) and includes a storage unit with grocery hooks on both sides. With the rear seats folded, there is 68.3 cu. ft. (1.93 cu. m.) of cargo capacity available. Under the cargo floor, the spare tyre compartment includes removable dual storage bins for secure storage of muddy gear or other items.
The Grand Chrokee’s Uconnect 8.4-inch (213.36 mm) touchscreen, one-shot voice command navigation and a customer customisable multiview cluster display highlight the state-of-the-art features.
The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers more than 70 advanced safety and security features – highest in its class. They include features like Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation and Selec-Speed Control, electronic stability control (ESC), Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), trailer-sway control (TSC), front-row active head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags and standard seat-mounted side thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.
Jeep Grand Cherokee is widely known for its outstanding on-road driving dynamics and quietness, thanks in part to its front and rear independent suspension. Variable-rate rear springs deliver improved on-road handling and comfort that complements the vehicle’s off-road capability. Premium on-road manners are enhanced with more than 5,400 welds in the body alone.
The independent front and rear suspension features isolated front and rear suspension cradles along with variable-rate rear springs to deliver improved on-road handling and comfort while complementing the vehicle’s legendary off-road capability. The rear suspension also allows the spare tyre to be stored inside the vehicle as opposed to underneath.
Grand Cherokee’s steering also has been carefully calibrated for the right amount of assistance whether cruising the parking lot or a twisty two-lane mountain road. Electric power steering adds new steering options, including Sport, Comfort and Normal.
Overall, after two days of driving the 2017 Grand Cherokee, I have almost made my mind on buying it as my new vehicle. For more information or to book your test-drive visit the AlMulla and Behbehani Motor Company’s showroom located in AlRai on the 4th Ring Road or you can call them on 1885500 for more details.
Photography by: Hamad AlAinati< Back