It is only when putting both the Grand Cherokee and the Trailhawk through their paces that you stand pleasantly surprised at their capabilities, differences and heritage.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been one of my favourite SUVs and I have always enjoyed taking this luxurious vehicle off-road where I could sit in luxury while enjoying even grade 4 obstacles. Never are you left fearing that the Grand Cherokee will not be able to complete the task, and I never did experience any problems. On-road capabilities are excellent, and, if you have the diesel model, you will not even be able to complain about the fuel consumption. The Grand Cherokee has everything you want such as the Selec-Terrain® Traction Control System, giving you five modes to tackle any condition, including snow. Traction is also enhanced through the available Quadra-Trac II® or Quadra-Drive® II 4WD systems. In addition, the Jeep Quadra-Lift® Air Suspension System features five height settings for optimum ride performance. It is an easy vehicle to operate both off-road and on-road.
For driving and safety aspects, the Grand Cherokee has Blind Spot Monitoring+ (BSM) and uses dual radar sensors to monitor driver blind spots. A chime will warn you and you will see an illuminated icon on the corresponding exterior mirror when the BSM detects a vehicle that is in the blind-spot detection area and which is too close. The Forward Collision Warning+ with crash mitigation uses radar sensors that detect when your vehicle may be approaching another too rapidly, alerting you with an urgent and audible chime. Over 60 available Safety & Security features, including standard side-curtain airbags, ensure your safety.
The new ParkView® Rear Back Up Camera+ with the ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System displaying a rear-view video image with dynamic distance grid lines when in reverse is great and you don’t have to look in your mirrors, as the detail and distances given by the camera are excellent and more than sufficient to ensure safe manoeuvring. New HID headlamps with signature LED accents and daytime running lamps are part of the exclusiveness of the Grand Cherokee and even have swivel response to better illuminate roads in the dark.
The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is a modern stunner and raises the bar with superior on-road ride, handling and fuel economy, best-in-class 4x4 capability and class-exclusive technology. The Trailhawk is smaller, looks smaller, and is much more agile and sized to perform with sophisticated, efficient skill, which it does with no uncertainty and without standing back for Big Daddy. It really has the essence of youth in its DNA and portrays that even standing still. What was most interesting for me was to find that two of the three Trailhawk owners whom I met were over 60 years old. One of them also owned the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The New Cherokee Trailhawk introduces a modern, unique, fashionable style to the range. It is well crafted with an upmarket and superbly finished interior with soft-touch materials. The shape of the interior is a sophisticated blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality materials, innovative colour and material choices, and state-of-the-art technology and features.
Being designed for the future with a fresh and aggressive new exterior sets the trend and the Trailhawk looks amazing even to the most critical observer. It has a powerful stance, an aggressive wheel-to-body proportion and commands one’s attention. It may be an extreme-looking vehicle, but it is beautiful.
I tested the new 3.2-litre Pentastar V with the renowned 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6, which is much more efficient than its predecessor and delivers more power and refinement. Fuel consumption is much higher than with the Grand Cherokee, but then we know how the youth can spend! Leading options include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go that uses radar and video sensors to help maintain a set distance between you and the next vehicle and can even automatically bring your vehicle to a complete stop if called for.
The new Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help you ease into parking spaces and the Lanesense Lane Departure Warning drives you on a safe road. The Trailhawk also sports Blind Spot Monitoring+, a ParkView® Rear Back Up Camera with dynamic grid lines, and Electronic Stability Control.
Both Big Daddy and Junior are most capable of handling what is put in front of them and only differ in the way they look when tackling obstacles. Jeep should be proud of this pair, as they really complement each other.
The Jeep Cherokee 3.0L CRD Overlander sells for R899 990.
The Jeep Cherokee 3.2 Trailhawk sells for R654 990.
Never before have I experienced such differences and yet such near-similar capabilities.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0L Overland is really grand and, shall we say, sophisticated. Yet you know that, under all of that, lingers a strong, capable and robust personality eager to take on the challenge.
On the other hand, Junior, being the Jeep Cherokee 3.2L Trailhawk, is a lean, mean, young and no-nonsense personality that is modern in looks and sort of has all the ‘yuppie stuff’, but, most essentially, is very capable.
The two are worlds apart – there is the stiff upper lip, the composed classic, and then this modern yuppie with its ‘look fast and furious’ attitude.
Jeep: Big Daddy and Junior
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing