Jeep's Grand Cherokee has proved popular with buyers and there’s a new model expected at the end of this year.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the possibility of runout deals on the existing model that might generate a little extra consumer interest. So when presented with the opportunity to retest and review the big Yankee off-roader, we took it.
The Laredo offers a healthy standard equipment list, especially considering it’s the entry level specification in the Grand Cherokee family. The list price is quite agreeable, too, for a large off-road vehicle.
Among the standard kit will be found: 18-inch alloys; LED daytime running lights; rear load-levelling suspension; rain-sensing wipers; bi-xenon headlights; auto high-beam control; dual-zone climate control; eight-way power front seats; proximity keyless entry/keyless start; reversing camera; navigation; 8.4-inch U-Connect infotainment, DAB+ radio; voice command; seven airbags; trailer sway control; and security alarm. Only the steering wheel and gear-shifter are leather wrapped, with seats wearing premium cloth trim.
Grand Cherokee’s cabin is spacious and seating is quite comfortable. The rear cargo area is also generously proportioned and expands its load capability
with flat-folding rear seats. Practical touches in the cargo area include four tie-down eyes, a 12V power outlet, removable under-floor plastic storage bins (good for wet or muddy items), and a torch in a charging cradle in the left side trim. Less practical is the temporary use spare wheel.
We aren’t fans of foot operated park brakes and the big Jeep’s is placed such that it also manages to dig into the driver’s left shin during driving.
Our test car’s responsive 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 produces a muscular 570Nm of torque. It combines well with a smooth-shifting eight-speed auto to deliver good, strong performance. The powertrain goes about its business in a smooth and refined way, while road noise is also pretty well controlled.
Riding on independent suspension at all corners, road manners are respectable with a comfortable ride and handling considerably better than might be expected from a large SUV. Steering is light and easy, but could use more road feel.
It’s fair to say that the brand has had a variable reputation for reliability and quality, with some owners highly disappointed. There have also been a number of safety recalls. However, our test car’s interior was neatly finished, the body panel gaps were consistent, and the paintwork displayed a nice lustre.