The name Jeep Grand Cherokee – a famous one in the world of automobiles – was first heard back in 1992. In 1989, the company showcased the Jeep Concept 1, which was supposed to be a successor to the Jeep Wagoneer – the first American production SUV. This SUV later entered production as the Grand Cherokee. It was launched in 1992 but the models were called the 1993 Grand Cherokee 'ZJ'. Since then, this SUV has seen four generations and over 20 different models. Now, in its latest avatar, this American bloke has come to India with a hefty price tag attached to it. Let's have a look at the history of this SUV and its evolution over its 27-year life.
The latest-generation model still retains some resemblance to the first-gen model. The 1993 SUV came with a grey plastic panel on the lower half of the vehicle, which gave a two-tone effect to the paint scheme. Also, the SUV had five-spoke alloy wheels and, in addition, the limited-edition model – with a massive 5.9-litre petrol engine – had body-colour plastic panels, gold-colour exterior accents, leather seating, power adjustable front seats, heated ORVMs and a keyless entry. In 1994, Jeep discontinued the AX15 manual transmission due to low demand and continued with just the four-speed automatic transmission in both the 2WD and 4WD variants.
The second-gen model shared just 127 parts with its predecessor. It also had a new set of engines which were lighter and more efficient, trading some of the torque in return. This generation was also the first to use the Quadra-Drive technology – the automatic four-wheel option. The interiors were also completely redesigned with wider and more convenient doors. The limited-edition models also featured an automatic dual-zone climate control and a 10-CD–changer with the Infinity audio package.
The third generation emphasised on power and luxury. It introduced the Quadra-Drive II technology and a rear-seat DVD player. Also, with the introduction of the 5.7-litre Hemi V8 engine, Jeep had made the car as good on the tarmac as it was off-tarmac. In 2007, it was introduced in Europe and received five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. In 2008, the SUV underwent a minor facelift with changes in the headlights and mechanical outputs.
The fourth- or current-gen model went on sale in 2010 as a 2011 model. This time, the boxy looks were ditched for a more modern and sleek look. The interiors were also redone, this time with leather and real wood accents. Features like Bluetooth and uConnect electronics options were introduced and the Selec-Terrain system was employed which allowed the driver to select from various drive modes – Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud and Rock. Also, this SUV also came in an ‘SRT' avatar, which has a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 engine which produces 475PS of power and 630Nm of torque. The 0-100kmph time for this mammoth SUV is clocked at just five seconds, and the speed needle goes all the way up to 257kmph.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is 27 years old and is ageing beautifully. It is priced at Rs 93.64 lakh for the Limited variant and Rs 1.03 crore for the Summit variant (ex-showroom, Delhi) in India. Only time will tell whether this SUV will attract Indian buyers. But we sure are glad that this legend is finally available in our country.
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