Road Test

Road Test: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Overland

March 19, 2012

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011_01It took a while before we got to test drive the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but here it finally is. And I must say, it looks pretty great. Car’s designers have spent a significant amount of time to improve Grand Cherokee’s aerodynamic numbers, and it shows. Improved aerodynamics reduce wind noises and also help with the fuel efficiency. It also makes the Grand Cherokee look a bit sportier. Eventhough every surface of the exterior has been redesigned, the Grand Cherokee still has the familiar form. The front grille and headlamps look like a modern version of the classic Jeep design. The bold wheel arches give the car a muscular look and the 20-inch wheels are standard on the Overland-model. The dark exterior colour with the chrome parts look like a perfect compination. A new feature is the CommandView dual-panel sun roof that extends from the windshield to the rear of the vehicle. The front panel may be opened rearward providing additional light and fresh air to first-row passengers. The rear panel, which is fixed, allows light and open viewing for second-row passengers.

For Europe and other markets where diesel engines are more popular, Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with a new 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine. The new V6 diesel is built by VM Motori and developed together with Fiat Powertrain. The engine is pretty compact and lightweight. The engines’s overall dimensions are 695 mm (27.36 inches) in length, 729 mm (28.7 inches) in width and 697.5 mm (27.46 inches) in height. Weight of the fully dressed engine is just 230 kg (507 lbs). The new V6 turbodiesel is fitted with new-generation, 1800 bar injectors with new MultiJet II technology developed by Fiat Powertrain. With the help of a single Garrett VGT 2056 turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, the new V6 diesel produces 241 horsepower.

The top torque number is even more impressive. 550 Newton metres (406 lb-ft) of torque is available between 1800 and 2800rpm. So this 3.0-litre diesel actually produces even more torque than the 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine. As there is a lot of torque available, the diesel engined Grand Cherokee drives easily on a low engine revs. On a low revs, the engine is also nicely quiet. Giving it a bit more throttle reveals a more serious performance. The diesel engined Grand Cherokee might not keep up with the fastest petrol engined SUVs, but performance is still fairly good. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds and the top speed is 202 km/h. Diesel engine is paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission, which seems to working great with the diesel.

The power of the engine is delivered to the all four wheels, as it should in a Jeep. There are actually three different 4×4 systems available for the new Grand Cherokee; two versions of the Quadra-Trac and the Quadra-Drive. The Quadra-Trac I delivers full-time four-wheel drive with a lightweight single-speed case. The Quadra-Trac II comes with a two-speed transfer case. The system uses input from a variety of sensors in order to determine tire slip. When tire slippage is detected, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction. The Quadra-Drive II provides two-speed transfer case with a rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD) and provides the best traction for the Grand Cherokee.

Overland-model comes as standard with the all-new Quadra-Lift air suspension system. I was a bit suspicious about the air suspension, as quite often it makes the suspension too soft and increases body roll in the corners, especially in a SUV with a higher centre of gravity. Luckily, I was wrong. The new Quadra-Lift provides surprisingly firm ride, which greatly improves driving dynamics. Quadra-Lift air suspension offers five different height settings and the total lift span is 105 mm (4.1 inches). The system controls the drive height automatically, or it can also be operated manually via console controls.  If the Grand Cherokee is fitted with the new air suspension, the normal drive height of the car is 206 mm (8.1 inches). With the Off-Road 2 -mode, the air suspension adds 66 mm (2.6 inches) of height for a total ground clearance of 272 mm (10.7 inches). This helps

Another all-new feature for the Grand Cherokee is Selec-Terrain traction control system. Selec-Terrain is designed to improve traction on different terrains. Driver can choose between five different drive modes; Sand/Mud, Snow, Rock, Sport and Auto. Depending on the chosen mode, the system electronically coordinates up to 12 different settings, like braking, air suspension, throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, traction control and electronic stability control. Sand/Mud, Snow and Rock -modes improve off-road driving dynamics while the Sport enhances the on-road driving fun. Auto -mode automatically adapts to different on- or off-road situations.

241 horsepower and 550 Newton metres of torque aren’t bad numbers, but the reason for this diesel engine is the smaller consumption and emissions. The combined fuel consumption of the 3.0 CRD is 8.3 l/100km and the CO2-emissions are 218 g/km. The urban consumption is 10,3 and the extra urban 7,2 l/100km. On our test drive, the average consumption was about 10 l/100km. A bit more than the official number, but still quite moderate considering the performance of the diesel engine, the four-wheel drive and the weight of the car.

Specification

Engine

  • Diesel
  • 6-cylinder
  • 2987cc
  • Turbo

Power

  • 177 kW (241 hp) / 4000rpm

Torque

  • 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) / 1800-2800rpm

Transmission

  • 5-speed automatic
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 8.5 seconds

Top speed

  • 202 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 8.3 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 218 g/km

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