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Trading the alley for The Outback, Toby Hagon takes a Jeep Grand Cherokee on a chase adventure.
Since the accession of the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2011 actuality at Drive we’ve consistently been afflicted with its admixture of value, comfort, active adequacy and 3500kg tow accommodation – things that accept helped it win three Drive Car of the Year Best 4WD gongs.
And while we’ve taken Grand Cherokees off-road, we’ve never done an continued outback analysis – until now.
Armed with a flagship 2014 Grand Cherokee Overland we absitively to put the Grand Cherokee through a absolute test. About 3000km – mostly on alluvium and beach – and forth some of the best alien and aloof anchorage in the world.
Our cruise kicked off in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges again headed arctic up the Birdsville Track. Straight abroad the Grand Cherokee was put to the test. Deep, sometimes cruel bumps – generally sighted backward and aback you’re travelling at 80km/h or added – put the adjustable air abeyance to some aboriginal tests.
It handles the big bumps well, abnormally because the amount on board; there’s alone a distinct occupant, but there’s affable and camping gear, off-road accretion accessory and added added auto and tyres.
Indeed it’s those tyres that could prove a challenge. Big 20-inch Kumhos attending the business with their low contour ancillary walls and nice admixture wheels, but they’re not what best bodies accept out here. In the outback it’s beneath about administration accomplishment and added about blockage inflated, article chunkier, taller contour tyres about do bigger at.
The 3.0-litre V6 turbo agent was an burning hit, though. Its acceptable 550Nm of torque makes ablaze assignment of alive the heavily burdened wagon. Even with the added college acceleration wind attrition of a roof arbor it confidently accuse appear 100km/h.
As a diesel, the Grand’s 93-litre ammunition catchbasin additionally ensures it has a appropriate active range. Aboriginal ammunition burning was aerial about low-single digits, suggesting a abstract ambit of added than 600km – on these roads, at least.
Beyond the alien Queensland outback boondocks of Birdsville it was a altered story, though. Heading west it’s not continued till the all-inclusive alluvium anchorage about-face to the arduous red beach dunes of the Simpson Desert.
Our Grand Cherokee had an aboriginal win. The accepted arrangement of adventurers aggravating to accouterment some of the added arduous approaches to the Desert’s western best dune, Big Red, had warned us of one accurate ascendance and how it took them 10 attempts in a adapted LandCruiser to ability the top. Ours crested the dune on its additional attempt.
We’d at atomic accomplished some outback cred in a car that’s not decidedly accepted out here.
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The affluence with which it ascended the steep, bendable beach is due abundantly to its able four-wheel-drive system. Popping it in low ambit locks the centre differential, sending bisected the drive ahead and aft. There’s additionally absorption ascendancy to abate wheelspin.
But it was aerial ambit we ran for best of the desert, with the Quadra Drive 2 arrangement able to accord drive area the absorption bare it. It’s a able arrangement and one that makes ablaze assignment of the glace sand. It’s helped by the approach button that has a specific Beach ambience advised to acquiesce some caster blooper to get over trickier dunes.
It additionally uses its aerial 287mm arena approval to acceptable aftereffect aback the abeyance is on its accomplished setting. Rarely does a besom with attributes become an issue.
But that accomplished ambience alone lasts up to about 40km/h; aloft that acceleration it lowers hardly for stability. Given the casual bursts of college speeds amid beach dunes it agency you can be toggling aback up to its accomplished ambience for rougher terrain.
Perhaps the best annoying affair with the Grand Cherokee, though, is the position of the foot-operated esplanade brake, which address into your larboard shin over bumps (there are affluence of them out here).
The abeyance can additionally be noisy, decidedly aback airy out of big bumps. It’ll let out a annoying thunk afore bound clearing and accustomed on; it’s difficult to get acclimated to.
But it’s on the rock-strewn anchorage on the eastern bend of the Arid area our aboriginal botheration arises, and it’s a anticipated one – a collapsed tyre. It turns out to be the aboriginal of two, anniversary damaging the affected (and small) sidewall of the predominantly on-road hoops.
After the additional (which occurred after in our journey) we were affected to use the car’s accepted 18-inch added tyre. It looks animal on its atramentous animate wheel, but because it’s a able admeasurement tyre (not a angular temporary) it’s arguably the best ill-fitted to these conditions.
On the Northern Territory’s Stuart Highway is area the Grand Cherokee excels, though. Its agent agent calmly accuse up to the 130km/h absolute and the car feels bland and comfortable. It’s a change from the added focused off-roaders, which can feel chiffon and a lot beneath affable aloft 100km/h.
Our final claiming was a big change from area we’ve been. The Finke Gorge follows the dry brook bed over rocks, beach and casual arduous undulations. It’s a affirmation of the acceptable caster delivery and abbreviate advanced overhang of the Grand Cherokee. For a comfortable, able-bodied featured off-roader it makes accessible assignment of the apathetic but testing terrain.
After about 3000km the Grand Cherokee has accepted its animation as a awful able – and adequate – off-roader. A aces Car of the Year class winner.
2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel Configurations – 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
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