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2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0CRD Overland - 13th June 2009


Quick Drive


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When I say quick I mean long because I had this baby for over 1,000 miles. In that time I saw an average fuel use of 24.5 mpg, which alone put paid to any plans I could hatch to keep it!

I’ve fancied this model Grand Cherokee ever since it replaced the boxier predecessor. I owned an old Grand before my recent Cherokee but the marque had had a full make-over since then and this one was even the range topping Overland, so like the ants and the rubber tree plant I had high hopes.

Most of my mileage is on twisty (usually wet), rough A and B roads so any means to improve the journey is welcome. The Grand rides the bumps like a champion jockey, smoothing out the worst Yorkshire has to offer. Add the relatively smooth auto ’box and I was beginning to feel like Royalty. With all the comforts the Overland has to offer my daughter felt like a Rock Star – especially when I cranked up the fabulous Boston sound system, the windows and mirrors shook long before any distortion appeared.

I was almost caught out by the ferocity of a full kick-down standing start so power delivery just wasn’t an issue. Equally I could float gently with ease from one location to the next and with every situation I put the thing in I was impressed with how it was sorted. Which made the next big test a big disappointment.

One of my regular "commutes" of choice takes in a stretch of scenic beauty known locally as Little Switzerland because of the steep climbs and numerous narrow switch-backs. It is 20 minutes of pleasure and joy in the right vehicle and my Cherokee, with sport suspension and eager, torquey 2.8 litre engine, was ideally suited. Some surprise then when finishing the trip in the Grand to be feeling distinctly green around the gills, fellow DA-er Nick was icky too and he must have been born in car. The previously welcome swishy ride couldn’t handle the most technical of roads and had thrown us about like weekend sailors. A big disappointment, but hardly unforeseeable based on what this car is really for, and that got the test next.

I had a bigger job on a few days later with an urgent trip to deliver some furniture to London via a couple of other stops. Fuel up, cross country first then A1 at Doncaster down to A14 to M11 into London, then a rat run through town to the M1 and home. The cargo space stowed the pieces with room to spare for tools, the journey was finished on one tank with a return of over 27 mpg, and more importantly the whole day, instead of being hateful, was fantastic. The Grand owned the motorways and could cruise in comfort all day without a breather – like a monster GT. My only complaint was my driving position – I should have invested more effort into getting it right before I set out but instead spent the day restlessly shuffling from cheek to cheek.

Since the two extremes I have had more simple A to B drives and have enjoyed the high-end feel of this vehicle. The power can make you grin, and then cry at the pumps. I’ve made my in-laws travel sick in the back (surprisingly poor rear leg room too), raised the daughter’s cool rating and moved a sofa for a friend for no more than a pint (still owed..!). I even checked out the current used car prices - if you can live with the fuel economy you can be like Royalty for £20k.

Mike.

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