Jeep has come a long way since the US military’s light reconnaissance vehicles first saw action in 1941. Although the gung-ho GIs back then needed a rough and robust way of storming through occupied Europe, the qualities that defined those first production models have been strengthened to even higher standards and are very much a part of Jeep’s philosophy today.
Manufacturers of Jeep have long been conscious of their American heritage and the need to stay true to their principles while never complacent of the high standards of the European and Japanese brands they are competing against. Enlisting a crack team of engineers and designers from all over the globe, the 2012 production models do not disappoint.
While the Overland boasts a whopping 5.7 V8 litre engine, the star of Jeep’s fleet is the Grand Cherokee: mighty 3.0 litre turbo with a direct-injection V6 engine that allows you to put your foot down and truly feel the difference. Jeep’s new engine is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and produces lower emissions than any of its predecessors. The results from test-driving the Cherokee are felt immediately: on and off road the 3.0 litre is just as impressive over dirt and sand as it is over tarmac.
The new Cherokee has an array of impressive standout features – it lifts off the ground to help clear obstacles, an air suspension system cushions the bumpiest obstacles, and it’s new aero mode features improved aerodynamics meaning you go faster with less energy.
The select terrain system allows for maximum grip and stability whether you’re driving over rock, sand, mud or snow but perhaps the Cherokee’s most impressive standout is its automatic breaking feature. Identifying downhill breaking problems as the situation most likely to lead to loss of control for 4WD drivers, the smart folk at Jeep ingeniously created the automatic breaking feature that takes the stress out of SUV driving. Jeep wizardry senses the gradient and exerts just the right amount of breaking power and acceleration to ensure your ride to the bottom is not just safe but effortless too. All it takes is two quick flicks of a switch and then a microchip takes over. Putting your life in the hands of a computer while facing a steep hill isn’t a decision taken lightly but feeling the Cherokee glide effortlessly down the sand covered embankment it quickly gained full confidence. Cutting edge technology ensures you’ll never have to chance those problem slopes again.
While tough and technologically tanked up, the vehicle does not come at the expense of comfort. In fact the American GIs that stormed Normandy in the first cut-off Jeeps could only dream of the comfort that modern drivers now enjoy. Black, handstitched leather interior complete with real wood trim means that style clearly was a priority for designers. Expert craftsmanship and an army of engineers have collaborated to achieve maximum driving style and feel while ensuring vehicle handling is in no way compromised.
Too often modern car designers sacrifice design for gimmicky aesthetic that prohibits the practical use of the features they are trying to enhance. Not here. Jeep delivers strong performance in all aspects of its interior from air-conditioning to a ‘Uconnect’ voice command system that boasts an integrated 30 GB hard drive radio and iPod control, all conveniently displayed with simple and sturdy controls.
With a strong yet sleek body that’s impossible to ignore, the Cherokee is just as impressive turning up to the opera on opening night as it is driving onto a deserted beach for on outback adventure.
Jeep has been designed, tested and built in the unforgiving deserts of Arizona, the rugged beaches of California, and the gritty roads of Detroit. Ultimately it is the pinnacle of United States engineering. In every respect buying a Jeep is like buying into a piece of America. It is all at once big, bold, brash and totally dependable when you need it. Especially for the great Aussie outdoors.
For more information visit www.jeep.com.au.