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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra
If the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is anything to go by, things are looking up at the Chrysler Group; The new Grand Cherokee has surprised us very positively with a very well developed, homogenous design outside and in, without having had to rely on styling gimmicks at all. The surface treatment was well developed in all areas, and even surprised us when seen in real life compared to the photos. It truly had hidden treasures that were not visible in the photographs.
Similarly we found that the interior too had been very nicely designed, with good quality fit and finish and very up-scale elements, setting the car apart from others in this segment. The fit and finish on both exterior and interior was just really good. The Mercedes origin as well as some carry over parts from the M-Class were clearly visible, but were well integrated in the design so that they did not look out of place, but rather enhanced the sense of higher level quality that was perceived.
In the daily commute we were also pleased to find that the average fuel consumption on highway travel stayed at the 25 mpg level, and as soon as city travel was included it dropped to 21.5 mpg. It was not world shocking, for the size and weight of this vehicle, it seemed well within reason without having gone the expensive Hybrid route that other Detroit companies decided to take.
Our car was equipped with a 4 speed automatic, which initially was quite a handful when we shifted manually on the hills at freeway speeds. Once we dropped that and left it to the automatic to figure out, it actually became surprisingly better. I was shocked by that since, as you know, I love shifting, and think I know much better than any automatic can when to change. In this case I was proven uniquely wrong, since the engine had a much wider scope of power band than I anticipated.
Creature comfort in the Jeep was spacious for 5, and the perceived image through design and fit&finish was one of a much more expensive vehicle than the $37,500 price tag found on the 2011 Grand Cherokee.
If this is anything to go by, we can’t wait to experience the new and revitalized Chrysler / Dodge / RAM range soon.