One of the elements of the Grand Cherokee that has puzzled me (and some other staffers) is the navigation system - specifically, the fact that Chrysler offers two different systems depending on trim level. The range-topping Overland, for instance, gets a slightly-updated version of the system we've seen previously in a number of Mopar-built long-termers, including the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Challenger, and Ram 2500 HD. Our Limited, however, despite using the same hardware, comes with a nav sourced from Garmin.
Don't get me wrong, the Garmin system isn't bad by any means. In fact, it has several advantages over the Chrysler unit, including better scales and a higher resolution display. However, there's no NAV button on the side (the map is accessed purely via a button on the touchscreen that only appears on the audio displays) and Jeep does not offer the hardware necessary to get real-time traffic - the Garmin operates via an FM receiver like the unit in our departed Outlander GT, while the Chrysler unit needs just a Sirius subscription.
We asked the foks at Jeep as to the reasons behind the navigation duopoly (instead of the usual monopoly), but were unable to get a concrete answer (it's likely buried somewhere in a confidential product planning powerpoint). In case you're curious, the nav availability breaks down as follows:
Garmin: Optional on Laredo X, standard on Limited and SRT8
Chrysler: Optional on Limited and SRT8, standard on Overland and Overland Summit.
Back to our particular Jeep -- nobody's done anything special with it in the past month, so it's largely served as an able and comfortable commuter and utility vehicle. Gas prices have, thankfully, retreated a bit, so it's become somewhat more affordable for that purpose. The 7 fill-ups for the past month added up to $491.39 and we've put an extra 2108 miles on the odometer, at an average price of 23 cents per mile. With hot summer days - and the associated trips to the beach -- approaching, this will likely increase, since we won't have use for the Jeep's heated steering wheel but plenty of use for its air conditioning and cooled seats, especially since ours has a black interior. We'll try to avoid scorched backs and keisters, if for no other reason than to avoid the cleanup job. On the plus side, there's plenty of room in the back for coolers.