Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Swashbuckling with Pride

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Swashbuckling with Pride

Article excerpt

SUDDENLY the swagger is back.

After being on the brink of bankruptcy during the global financial crisis, Chrysler has fought back.

Things are looking up for the embattled US carmaker, which now has Fiat as a key shareholder and has repaid some hefty government loans.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a beacon in its recovery. It's big and brash a everything you'd expect from a Yank tank.

But most importantly, it's a monumental improvement on the last model.

Chrysler's team is standing proud with its hefty WK sports utility vehicle which is cooler, shapelier and more contemporary than the outgoing WH range.

This is a model which has the ability to mix it with the best. And that's partly due to their old friends at Daimler. The Cherokee shares its underpinnings with the next generation M-Class from Mercedes-Benz.

So it's a marriage of Yankee brawn, German ingenuity and Italian passiona[degrees]it's an intriguing mix which somehow works.

Comfort

Hard plastics have thankfully been banished. The Grand Cherokee again lives up to its moniker.

Soft-touch materials combined with some classy woodgrain inserts gave our test machine a luxurious ambience befitting the $60K price-tag.

Refined leather trim on the steering wheel, seats, console and door handles provide an opulent touch, and the only nasty plastic bits are out of the way on the base of the doors and centre stack.

Finding a good position up front is easy courtesy of the electric adjustment in just about every direction (include four-way lumbar and headrest options) while the steering wheel has rake and reach functionality.

Those in the back don't face too many hardships either, with the rear seats able to be reclined by up to 12 degrees.

The dual pane sunroof (a $3250 option) gives a feeling of additional space and the cabin has ample storage, including two cup-holders in the middle and bottle holders in the doors.

Quiet and silky smooth, the bitumen manners of the Cherokee are a hefty step forward.

Even with a V8 under the bonnet the big beast remains composed and quiet a with just enough engine soundtrack coming into the cabin.

Our test machine was aided by Quadra-Lift air suspension (available for the first time), which is a $3250 option on the Limited but standard on the range-topping Overland model. It provides 104mm of height adjustment.

Base models make do with a steel-sprung suspension.

Another new feature is a multi-surface selector called Selec-Terrain which has specific settings for snow, sand/mud or rock.

Despite its good looks inside and out, you have the ability to tackle challenging terrain if the need arises.

Most buyers would probably seldom want to take their sleek looking machine off-road but it is a key advantage over the competition.

The Cherokee has no problem in urban areas despite its size. …

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