The very simple answer to the question how good is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland diesel? It is damn good.
Sales of the Grand Cherokee in this country are growing every month and after a week in the diesel overland model I can tell why as it’s a great car.
I struggled all week to find things I didn’t like about it so I will list them first because the list isn’t really that long at all.
The foot operated park brake yes while other companies are moving on to the electric park brakes the Jeep still has a foot operated one which some people might find annoying.
The disk player for the audio system is actually in the console bin which takes up half the space making it not very useful and that’s it.
Newly designed HID headlights with complete with LED day time running lights (DRL’s) really suit the redesigned bumpers of the Grand Cherokee, the fog lights complete with chrome surrounds and the chrome accents on the iconic Grand Cherokee Grille completes the package and does a great job of making it look like it means business.
The Bi-Xenon HID head lights light the road perfectly in any conditions, it also has a very handy auto high beam function which basically turns your high beams on when it senses (via a camera behind the rear vision mirror) when they are required, it also uses the same camera to detect when an oncoming car is approaching and dips your high beams.
The first thing that stands out to me when I slipped behind the wheel is the comfort the leather seats offer with 8 way power adjustment and 4 way electric lumber adjustment. It didn’t take long for me to find my perfect driving position and with a memory function I was never going to lose that position either. The seats offer heating to keep you warm in the winter and are ventilated to keep you cool in the summer.
The instrument panel which has got be one of the most attractive setups I’ve ever seen. The instruments are basically a 7 inch Customisable multi-view colour TFT display, to the left is the tacho, to the right is the fuel and temp gauges.
In the middle is a info screen which offers you various readings from the tyre pressure monitors, a fuel economy gauge, a large digital speedo and many other features. The dash also offers programmable spots in the top left and right of the cluster which display stuff like your instant economy and outside temp.
Steering wheel is covered with leather and has nice black polished section at the top of the wheel and is very comfortable to hold even when the going gets rough offorad. The wheel also contains buttons to change various settings and information on the instrument panel as well as buttons for the voice recognition and audio system.
The dash is covered in leather which adds a nice touch, what I did really like is that rather than using chrome highlights it has a bronze like finish which means I wasn’t getting any sun light reflecting into my eyes.
The centre stack is home to the 8.4inch screen for the Uconnect system acts as the hub of the car and offers full connectivity as well as access the air conditions controls.
The audio system does offer decent sound and a good amount features including full Bluetooth connectivity which is extremely easy to use and took only a moment for me to connect up my phone. The voice recognition which can be controlled via steering wheel button works great.
The broad console ads to the image that makes this car seem so spacious on the inside, the twin cup holders are illuminated at night are in the perfect place and drinks in the holders don’t get in your way like they do in some cars.
The back seat offers heaps of leg room the seat is comfortable and adjustable but kids didn’t complain once even after many hours in on a long drive.
The rear load area offers a very acceptable 782 litres of room which does increase to 1550 litres when you fold down the rear seats.
Under the bonnet the Overland has Chrysler 3.0L diesel V6 pumping out 184Kw of power and a stump pulling 580Nm of torque yep that’s right the diesel puts out more torque then Chryslers 5.8L V8.
I am a massive fan of this engine it has to be the smoothest diesel engine I’ve driven, from the outside you tell you can its diesel although it’s not overly noisy, on the inside you can barely hear it at all.
There is a slight bit of lag as you take off like most diesels but with a massive amount of torque available down low you barely notice it this really pulls like a train.
Throw it at a hill and the diesel engine just laughs at you climbs the hill and dares you to find something steeper for it to climb in traffic it will just cruise along very nicely indeed.
On the highway is where it really comes into its own at freeway speeds the engine is barely reving thanks to the awesome 8 speed automatic which means you have more than enough for overtaking.
Fuel economy as you can expect does suffer a little bit in bumper to bumper traffic I was averaging over 12L/100km which is not bad considering this isn’t a small car.
On the freeway the I averaged 8.1L/100km and during my whole week where I did over 712km I averaged 9.1, I worked out during the week that a 1000km on one tank would be easy so this would make the idea long distance cruiser.
The diesel is backed by ZF’s excellent 8 speed auto transmission which is perfectly matched to the diesel.
The transmission makes a big difference in fuel economy especially on the freeway when 8th gear means the engine is hardly working at all.
It also has sport shift function with gear paddles on the steering wheel which works great and are extremely fun to use and made sure I never had to take a hand off the wheel to change gears.
Suspension wise the Overland was equip with Jeeps awesome Quadra-Drive II 4wd system and Quadra-Lift air suspension which means the Jeep will take you just about anywhere you would like to go both on and offroad.
On road the Jeep rides rather smoothly indeed absorbing all bumps and without an issue at all, the steering has a decent feel to it which made the Jeep certainly more spritely then car of this size really should.
At highway speeds the suspension has an aero function which lowers the front slightly giving the overland a more aerodynamic profile which helps fuel economy.
Off road is where the Jeep’s strengths really lie, The Jeep features an adjustable 4wd system which will adapt itself to whatever terrain you’re on simply by turning the dial on the console. Turning dial also adjusts the suspension as well raising it between 3 different height levels depending on the terrain.
To check out how good the Overland was offroad we decided to head up to Lithgow in NSW, where there are a lot of logging roads and 4wd tracks.
While I didn’t go all out and didn’t try anything real hard the Overlands offroad prowess is amazing whether it be mud, sand, rocky terrain the Overland handled it all with just a turn of the knob in the console the suspension raised itself to suit the terrain and away we went.
Safety wise the Overland is packed full of safety features including ABS, stability control, traction control, rollover mitigation, and seven airbags, rear parking sensors, rear view camera.
So after a week not only did I think the Overland was a great car I really could see myself buying one. I’ve reviewed a lot of cars over the last 12 months and I could probably think of only a handful that received the tick of approval from everyone in my family. In fact I can only think of one other car where my good wife turned to me and said I would not say no if you said you wanted to buy one.
The Overland has everything and a bit more it’s an awesome touring vehicle, extremely comfortable for long distance trips, is packed full of safety features, has great amount of creature comforts and equipment levels.
The Stereo is one of the best factory sounding systems I’ve experienced not to mention extremely easy to use.
The Overland handles great on and off road, the diesel engine has great amount of power and a massive amount of torque add to that the great 8 speed ZF auto transmission and you have a package that is rather economical specially on the freeway.
The Overland is the perfect family cruiser that will tool around the suburbs during the week but then take you and the family out beyond the black stump on the weekend.
For more information on the full Jeep Grand Cherokee range visit their website http://www.jeep.com.au