Soon after the Ford Mustang arrived on our shores, another American legend has made its way into the country. This one is also big, loud and very powerful, but serves a whole different purpose. It's the Jeep. The American off-road legend has come to India with three of its most popular models – the Grand Cherokee, Grand Cherokee SRT and the Wrangler Unlimited. While the Grand Cherokee is an off-road–capable luxurious SUV, in its SRT avatar, it becomes a stallion which can dust even the big boys of the drag strip. The Wrangler Unlimited, on the other hand, is built to conquer the wild and can be used on any terrain and under any weather condition.
These are familiar names in the automobile-enthusiast circles, but since they are new to India, here is what each of these SUVs packs under its thick skin.
Although the Grand Cherokee twins share the same body structure, they could not be further apart, personality-wise. The Grand Cherokee uses a humble 3.0-litre V6 EcoDiesel engine which produces 243PS of power and 570Nm of torque. This SUV is at taking you through some difficult terrains while being comfortable and luxurious. It is ideal for the businessperson who fancies off-road trips during weekends.
On the other hand, the SRT comes with a 6.4-litre V8 HEMI block which is fuelled by petrol. This monster breathes fire with 475PS power and 630Nm of torque. 0-100kmph time for this (massive) SUV is just five seconds and the speed needle will max out at 257kmph. Not just that, the Brembo braking system will get the SUV from 100 to 0kmph in just 35 metres. While the Grand Cherokee is a flamboyant off-roader, the SRT is a brute that belongs to the drag strips. Both of these SUVs come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and return 12.8kmpl (company-claimed) and 5.5kmpl (user-claimed) mileage, respectively.
The Wrangler Unlimited is a completely different story. This SUV's sole purpose in life is to get you through any terrain you take it on. The 2.8-litre turbodiesel in this masculine-looking SUV generates 200PS power and 460Nm torque. Mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox, this vehicle returns 12.1kmpl mileage.
The Grand Cherokee brothers have plush interiors. They come with ample gadgetry which you expect from a Rs 80 lakh SUV. The Grand Cherokee has horizontal wooden accents on the dashboard which continue on the door panels. In the centre of the dashboard is an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system and for the rear seats, there are monitors behind the front seats connected to a Blu-ray entertainment system. Also, the car has a dual-pane command view panoramic sunroof which makes the already large cabin feel even airier.
While the cabin of the SRT is similar to the one in the Grand Cherokee, there are a few differences. The dual-tone dash makes way for an all-black theme. The wood accents on the dashboard are replaced by carbon-fibre–like accents. The steering is a flat-bottom unit which flaunts 'SRT' in the middle. Also, the car has a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harmon Kardon audio system. Sadly, it will never sound as good as the 6.4-litre V8 HEMI.
The Wrangler Unlimited comes with a unique Alpine all-weather sound system. The interiors of this vehicle are beautiful and very functional. There is no touchscreen since the cabin is waterproof. It has a leather-wrapped steering wheel for a good grip and a lockable centre console storage to keep your knick-knacks in check. The SUV rides on sturdy 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels.
Now this is the forte of the Jeep brand. The go-anywhere capability of its vehicles is world renowned. The Grand Cherokees come with Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction-control system which has five modes to tackle rough weather conditions, including snow. Traction is also enhanced through Jeep's Quadra-Trac II 4WD systems.
In the SRT guise, the 8.4-inch touchscreen provides performance statistics such as dynamic handling, braking, engine horsepower, engine torque and acceleration. The ‘SRT Performance Pages' will also track what’s happening under the hood with digital gauges that relay battery voltage, oil pressure, coolant and intake air temperature. Also, in addition to information such as navigation and fuel efficiency, the seven-inch display in the instrument cluster also provides SRT-specific data such as G-force effects and 0-100kmps and quarter-mile times.
The Wrangler Unlimited comes with washable interiors and drain plugs, which allow you to wash the floor of your Jeep with water and soap. Also, the SUV has Uconnect system with navigation so that you always stay on the correct route. Delivering power to the wheels is Jeep's Command-Trac 4x4 system, which splits the available torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles for off-roading or for conditions where more traction is required. The main case joint is clamped by 18 bolts for added structural stiffness. Additionally, the SUV has tyre pressure monitoring, electronic stability control (ESC), hill descent control and hill-start assist.
All in all, the three vehicles make a perfect set and cater to all types of customers. After a long delay, Jeep has finally entered our country and we are glad it's with these three SUVs.