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First Drive: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

Diesel power to the people.

by on Feb.25, 2013

Jeep makes some unexpectedly significant updatest to the Grand Cherokee for 2014.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee landed among the three finalists for North American Truck of the Year. And though the SUV didn’t win the coveted trophy it clearly clicked with potential buyers, helping drive a dramatic increase in sales

So, as the 2014 model-year approaches, it might seem like there’d be little reason to pay much attention when Jeep announced it is updating the Grand Cherokee once again. Three years in, that’s normally the time manufacturers come up with minimal cosmetic and technical changes that the average buyers would barely even notice.

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Not in this case.  While true, Jeep hasn’t gone back to square one, there are some surprisingly significant changes – from the basic electric architecture to the powertrain options, as well as exterior design details — coming for the 2014 model-year that justify a closer look by reviewers and a serious re-think by potential buyers.

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First Drive: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Trading the trails for the track.

by on Aug.08, 2011

Jeep trades the trail rating for a serious performance machine with the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8.

Jeeps have always traded on their rugged capability. But for once the brand guys at Chrysler have decided to forego tradition and build a Jeep for speed.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes the fourth new 2012 offering from Chrysler to wear the SRT badge, along with the likes of the new Dodge Charger and Challenger models, as well as the 300C SRT8, but while Jeep’s entry into the muscle car segment  is clearly designed with an emphasis on performance it does not abandon entirely its off-road capabilities.

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You’ll notice something different the moment you spot the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.  To start with, ground clearance has been reduced, which must pass for something like heresy in Jeep’s engineering shop, and the skid plate was removed.  Instead of that traditional off-road cue you’ll quickly spot a functional rear spoiler added to improve aerodynamics on a vehicle that normally boasts the dimensions of a brick.

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First Drive: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Bringing back the panache, swagger…and styling.

by on Jul.06, 2010

The boxy look is gone with the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Jeep has always had a certain panache and swagger that reaches all the way back to the original off-roaders that American soldiers fell in love with during World War II.

For decades, that gave the Chrysler brand a leg up over its competition, so much so that it often had to remind folks that Jeep wasn’t synonymous with SUV.  But something happened in recent years, and the awkward and ungainly design of the last-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand’s flagship, didn’t help.

Now comes an all-new update, and during a couple days of driving through Northern California, we were pleased to discover that Chrysler has managed to endow the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the sort of refinement and style that is going to impress potential buyers and make competitors wary.

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In an era when more and more makers are moving away from classic sport-utility vehicles in favor of car-based crossovers – as Ford will do with the launch of the 2011 Explorer – Chrysler has held firm with the hybrid unibody/truck approach its used on all versions since the original Grand Cherokee.  That means the 2011 Jeep retains its impressive off-road capabilities. It can still charge over rugged country and up steep hills with the kind of agility that has always appealed to Jeep loyalists.

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Chrysler to Hire 1,100 at Detroit Jeep Plant

Maker counting on ’11 Grand Cherokee to rebuild momentum.

by on May.21, 2010

Chrysler is betting it can sell enough copies of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee to justify the launch of a second production shift at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the struggling automaker will add 1,100 workers, most on a new second shift, as it ramps up production of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

While some workers will be called back from among the many idled in recent years, a significant number of the 1,100 will be new hires, company officials revealed.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the brand’s flagship sport-utility vehicle but has seen a significant slump in sales.  Analysts blame not only rising fuel prices – which have impacted all traditional SUVs – but also the poorly-reviewed boxy design of the outgoing model.

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Not only has Chrysler revamped the styling for 2011 but heavily updated the 3-million square foot Jefferson North Assembly Plant where the new Jeep Grand Cherokee officially went into production today.

Aiming to reduce its quality problems – which have repeatedly earned it poor marks from third-party arbiters like J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports magazine – Chrysler has introduced 600 robots into Jefferson North, which first opened in 1992, the same time Jeep launched the original Grand Cherokee.  In all, the maker is investing $700 million to update the factory.

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