Jeep Grand Cherokee V-6 Limited
The Grand Cherokee is a luxury sport/utility based on the idea that a remarkably big slice of off-road capability can successfully be included in a comfortable, modern, highly sophisticated package. It's designed with the gentleman rancher in mind.
When it comes to refinement, Jeep has made great strides with the new Grand Cherokee. It's well appointed, with an interior that exudes quality. Materials tend toward leather and wood; there's minimal use of plastic. Anything that looks like metal actually is.
The design is well conceived and executed, with a clean center stack, thin accents of chrome, and an elegant interior lighting scheme. Our test unit had perforated inserts that allow for warm and cool seat ventilation. The steering wheel is heated, with audio controls on the back side of the wheel, and power adjustable. The power liftgate operates via the key fob or a button. Unlike the 4Runner, practically everything is powered, and there's a highly finished, design-driven element to the interior's appeal. The exterior appears sculpted and athletic, with 20-inch wheels, integrated foglamps, and power heated multifunction mirrors.
The Quadra-Trac II 4WD system has an excellent low-range ratio of 2.72:1, and an electronic throttle adjustment feature to prevent tire slip and surging while operating in low range. Quadra-Trac II is convenient, takes up very little dash space, and is unintimidating for novice off-roaders.
Selec-Terrain, Jeep's tunable traction control system, has separate settings for Sand/Mud, Snow, and Rock, plus an Auto setting that allows the traction electronics to adapt to terrain without need for human judgment. There's even a Sport setting for enthusiastic on-road driving.
While Jeep offers an air suspension, the standard suspension on our V-6 Limited 4x4 is highly competent. We were impressed when it came to on-road handling, and surprised to note excellent ride quality off-road as well. It has a shorter range of travel than the 4Runner, but is better controlled, with less tendency to rebound. It makes for flatter cornering, with less roll in the corners and virtually no front-end dive or side-to-side head toss. Off-road, especially at lower speeds, the multilink/coil independent suspension damped out annoying thumps and bumps from rocky sections of trail and dirt road.