Want a new Jeep but want something a little different from the rest?
It wasn’t too long ago, back in the late’80s and early ’90s, that a certain basketball player by the name of Michael Jordan was propelling himself to exclusive superstar status. Meanwhile clothing manufacturer Nike had a revelation — to partner with the superstar and release exclusive limited edition shoes and clothing with his approval.
Nike created a storm its competitors couldn’t weather; like they said, “Everybody wants to be like Mike.” Everybody knows that in the years that followed Michael Jordan moved past superstar status to become a legend.
Around this time the designers at Jeep also had a revelation. To produce a slightly up-market compact recreational vehicle that could be used not only to drop off the kids at school, but also to play off road at the weekend. But what really put the Grand in Grand Cherokee was the addition of a 5.2-litre Magnum V8. Suddenly Chrysler had created its own storm and everybody wanted a Jeep Grand Cherokee V8.
Not surprisingly, as more vehicles hit the road the temptation to customise became less of a temptation and more of a demand. Owners wanted their vehicles to stand out and to be exclusive. Since they spent a majority of their time on road rather than off road, a number of customising and tuning companies decided more car-like features were what was needed. Unknowingly Chrysler had propelled the SUV market into mainstream suburbia.
With its latest offering the new Jeep Grand Cherokee has all the equipment you would expect in a luxury SUV. On the menu are the latest version ABS brakes, traction control, rain sensor wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, a Boston Acoustics sound system and more airbags than an old ladies’ tea party just to name a few.
However, just in case you thought it might have all gone soft, the technicians at Chrysler have brought back a blast from past in the form of the new generation Hemi 5.7-litre V8. First seen in the latest generation Dodge Ram, the new Hemi pumps out 240kW with 500Nm of torque. The steering rack has now been changed to the more responsive rack and pinion set-up, while the suspension gets an independent multi-link front and live rear axle with links.
On the outside the traditional front grille style has been retained as expected. New-style eyes sit either side, while the overall shape becomes more angular. Together with flatter panels and smaller gangster-style side windows similar to those on the 300C sedan, the overall effect is more muscle, more aggressive, but ‘it’s still all Jeep. It’s that small phrase that sums up the new Grand Cherokee. No matter how many changes it’s gone through you still couldn’t mistake it for anything else.
They say old habits are hard to give up — from these pictures you can tell that the customising of Jeeps is still popular and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Local Auckland Jeep dealer Continental Cars had been planning this one for a while as client requests for custom options became more mainstream. Subtle changes include slightly lowered suspension, colour-matched front grille and a sports exhaust system. As for the 22-inch wheels with the Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres, well the guys just couldn’t help themselves, and really, who can blame them.