NASREC, Johannesburg – The new Jeep® Grand Cherokee offers numerous design and technical changes that are sure to appeal to discerning Jeep buyers. Among the new additions to the Grand Cherokee’s extensive standard equipment range is the advanced and flexible Hill Descent Control for greatly improved control in off-road situations as well as a new Hill Start Assist which holds the vehicle automatically on steep hills for a smooth and controlled drive away from a stop. Trailer Sway Control minimises trailer sway during towing.
The Grand Cherokee now also features a new 3.7l V6 engine that offers a further alternative in the Jeep engine range that delivers an improvement in fuel economy over its V8 siblings. The interior and exterior design is restyled and the new Grand Cherokee also features a host of innovative, premium amenities.
Jeep-engineered Hill Descent Control
Jeep engineering designed the Hill Descent Control system to mimic the downhill control and flexibility afforded by the ultra-low gearing found in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. This gearing provides controlled hill descent.
Operational in the 4WD Low position, Hill Descent Control provides downhill assistance at a controlled rate of speed with more precision and smoother operation than simply using the brakes. By means of electronic brake control, Hill Descent Control supplements the gear reduction and engine braking that a traditional mechanical low-range transfer case provides. Unlike most of its competitors, the new Grand Cherokee with Hill Descent Control offers extremely smooth transitions between speeds and allows the driver to use the throttle and brakes without turning the system off, with a smooth and controlled return to the preset speed after the driver releases the throttle or brakes.
In the Grand Cherokee, once Hill Descent Control is activated with a push of a button in the centre console, preset speeds can be selected by using the transmission shifter. For ease of operation, after the Hill Descent Control button is engaged, Grand Cherokee’s Hill Descent Control is activated and deactivated automatically, as the system senses changes in topography. The system works whether the vehicle is in forward or reverse.
The preset maximum speeds are:
1st gear: 1.6 km/h
2nd gear: 4 km/h
3rd gear: 6 km/h
4th gear: 9 km/h
5th gear or D: 12 km/h
Reverse (R): 1.6 km/h
Neutral (N): 4 km/h
Hill Descent Control was engineered to provide the smoothest transitions possible, even from a complete stop on extremely steep and slippery surfaces.
Hill Descent Control is standard on all Grand Cherokee models except SRT8.
Hill Start Assist
The Hill Start Assist system provides the driver time to transition from brake to throttle to achieve a smooth launch on a grade. The system will hold brake pressure for two seconds upon the driver’s release of the brake pedal. The Hill Start Assist system decreases wheel pressure in response to increasing throttle to provide a smooth launch. This system is extremely helpful when driving in urban as well as off-road areas with steep hills.
Hill Start Assist is standard on all Jeep Grand Cherokee models except SRT8.
Trailer Sway Control
Trailer Sway Control minimises trailer sway (an alternating yaw of the vehicle) and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic, provides trailer stability and increases towing safety.
Sensors monitor the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path. The vehicle yaw sensor recognises sway. Once the system determines the sway is increasing and is not a result of the driver’s steering input, Trailer Sway Control applies brake pressure on one front wheel to counteract the yaw induced by the trailer and smoothly applies brake pressure to the other wheels to slow the vehicle. As the trailer sways to the other side of the vehicle, Trailer Sway Control will increase pressure to the opposite side of the vehicle. The technology will continue to apply alternating brake pressure and reduce engine torque until the trailer sway is under control.
Trailer Sway Control is included with the optional Trailer Tow Group.
Five engine offerings
The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a choice of four engine offerings:
Award-winning 3.0l common rail diesel V6 engine – Available on Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and Overland
3.7l V6 petrol engine – Standard on Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (with Quadra-trac II)
5.7l V8 HEMI® petrol engine – Available on Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
6.1l HEMI V8 petrol engine – Standard on Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
The 3.7l V6 petrol engine is a powerful efficient, durable and smooth new addition to the Jeep Grand Cherokee range for South Africa. It produces 157 kW at 5 200 r/min and 319 Nm of torque at 4 000 r/min. A sophisticated Electronic Throttle Control system tailors throttle response to pedal movement based on operating conditions, and maintains a consistent vehicle speed on rolling grades when cruise control is active. An exhaust gas recirculation valve helps increase fuel economy. The 3.7l V6 petrol engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth shifts and optimum fuel economy, and Jeep’s proven Quadra-Trac II® 4×4 system, giving the customer the benefit of the two-speed active transfer case and traction control.
The transfer case takes input from a variety of sensors to determine tyre slip at the earliest possible moment and takes corrective action. The system also uses Throttle Anticipate – sensing quick movement in throttle from a stop – and takes steps to maximise traction before tire slippage occurs. When wheel slippage is detected, up to 100 % of the available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.
Torque is transferred to the individual wheels as needed by the traction control to maintain traction in changing road conditions. When the system senses tyre slip, it modulates brake pressure to the slipping wheel, which directs torque to the tyres with the best traction.
Quadra-Trac II features an electronic shift mechanism for ease of use. The transfer case offers a low range for off-road situations and includes a neutral position for trouble-free towing behind another vehicle.
The 3.0l CRD engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission as is the 5.7l HEMI V8 engine. These transmissions have been refined for higher-quality shifts while giving Grand Cherokee class-leading towing capacity of 3 400kg. All transmissions feature Electronic Range Select driver interactive shift control. The shifter provides fully automated shifting when in the “drive” position. Or the driver can manually select each gear by simply moving the shifter left and right from the “drive” position. This gives the driver control to precisely match any on-road or off-road requirement.
Innovative premium amenities
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee includes a variety of premium amenities that are new for 2008, including the new MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System that has a built-in audio, entertainment and communication system. MyGIG enables customers to use touch-screen or voice commands to control all of the features, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored. There’s space reserved on the hard drive for approximately 1 600 songs; that’s over 100 hours of music. There also is a voice-memo recorder feature.
Also new on the Jeep Grand Cherokee are High-intensity Discharge (HID) auto-levelling headlamps. HID auto-levelling headlamps provide approximately three times the light output of conventional reflector lamps for improved night-time illumination. The auto-levelling feature automatically adjusts the headlamps to the vehicle pitch depending on the load and number of passengers in the vehicle. This feature also benefits oncoming traffic as the system prevents drivers from being distracted by glare from the headlamps. The auto-levelling feature is only available with HID headlamps.
ParkView™ Rear Back-up Camera, ParkSense® Rear Back-up System, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, iPod connectivity and 18-inch aluminium wheels also are part of the vehicle’s features.
New exterior and interior design
With its upright and substantial posture, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s design offers an athletic and contemporary appearance. The grille has been lengthened, and the headlamps are more circular for a more dominant and expressive front view. New HID headlamps, standard on Overland, include an internal optic lens for the park/turn function. Fog lamps also have also been lowered for enhanced performance. Off-road enthusiasts will be pleased with the new two-piece front fascia, allowing for the entire lower piece to be removed before traversing off-road trails.
On the inside, the vehicle’s two-tone instrument panel features a new level of refinement with bright accents, a soft-touch surface and updated styling. A new tilt and telescoping steering column is standard, with a new steering wheel that includes bright accent bezels, which house the electronic vehicle information centre’s switches. The Laredo model’s steering wheel adds leather, and the Overland features a real wood rim for added luxury. Also new is the updated line of instrument clusters that feature new brighter LED illumination, with the Overland model receiving a modern and elegant treatment where, when the vehicle is started, the dark-tinted lens fades to reveal chrome-ringed black gauges that are surrounded by a bright silver accent. The new floor console has improved cup holders and the Overland model gets a new leather-wrapped and chrome-accented parking brake handle. The door panels have new armrests for improved ergonomics and comfort. New for the Overland model are the new saddle perforated leather seats that feature accent piping for an even more upscale look.
Suspension steering systems and transmissions
The short and long-arm independent front suspension on Grand Cherokee provides the driver with a greater sense of precision and control and more precise steering and reduces vehicle weight and head toss, all without compromising the vehicle’s off-road performance. The five-link rear-suspension geometry, including a track bar, also improves lateral stiffness to match that of the front suspension for optimum handling.
Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which is standard, aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe maneuvers on any type of surface. It works by using signals from sensors throughout the vehicle that then determine the appropriate brake and throttle adjustments for directional stability.
Grand Cherokee’s rack-and-pinion steering imparts more precise steering to the driver, providing quick response during all types of maneuvers.
Jeep Grand Cherokee pricing
Jeep’s upgraded Grand Cherokee range arrives in the local market with a variety of new features and yet the pricing remains competitive:
Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0l CRD Laredo Automatic – R424 900.00
Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0l CRD Overland Automatic – R494 900.00
Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.7l V6 Laredo Automatic – R369 900.00
Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7l V8 Hemi Overland Automatic – R483 900.00
Jeep Grand Cherokee 6.1l SRT8 Automatic – R599 900.00
Optional extras include:
Power sunroof – R10 000.00
Trailer tow group – R3 500.00
MyGig Navigation – R9 900.00
All Chrysler group products come standard with a three year / 100 000 km warranty and maintenance plan.