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Jeep Grand Cherokee gets modern makeover

September 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In the relatively short time since the domestic auto industry was at a real low point, both General Motors and Ford have been able to roll out interesting new products.But what about Chrysler? They haven't had anything really new for a while until recently, they completely redesigned the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"If there had to be a model they had to come out with in this kind of otherwise dry spell for new products, the Grand Cherokee is probably one of the best ones to come out with," said Karl Brauer of Edmunds.com. "It's a trademark vehicle for the brand and it's a really strong brand, generally speaking."

The Grand Cherokee has a legacy. It helped usher in the SUV craze in the early 1990s.

However, modern times call for a more modern jeep, which this one is.

"You've got technology allowing cars like this to continue to have very solid off-road capabilities while still getting very car-like handling on the road," explained Brauer.

The iconic design of the Jeep grill may go back decades, but the standard engine in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is thoroughly modern.

The Jeep brand will always be one of tough, off-road vehicles like the iconic Wrangler, which is made for serious adventure.

This latest Grand Cherokee was developed with pavement duty in mind. Its chassis comes from its former corporate cousin, the Mercedes-Benz ML.

Under the hood is a new V6 engine that replaces the rather low-tech six in the previous Grand Cherokee, which serves to better to keep up with the times.

Another sport utility name that goes back to the early 90s is getting an even more complete re-do.

The next Ford Explorer will sit on a car chassis in order to hang on in today's more competitive environment.

"The market is so crowded and so fractured and there's so much competition that the days of hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokees and Explorer sales - they're just not going to come back," Brauer said.

As for the Grand Cherokee, its Jeep heritage dictates that it still have prowess in the dirt, but it's now even more suited to the asphalt, where most buyers will likely be using it.


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