It was at the 2012 AutoExpo that Fiat-Chrysler announced that they have a plan for India and we thought that we would soon see the Chrysler cars in India. As the years trickled down, there was a change in the strategy and later the company decided that they will bring both Jeep and Abarth to India; which from our perspective happened to be a brilliant idea!
We first get to see the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler make its way into the market and a lot more are lined-up post that. The Cherokee looks absolutely stunning. It's got those bold, sharp lines that pierce through the flesh, and the square-shaped front end looks absolutely magnificent. I had people knocking on the window asking what car it was, and what it was priced at.
The chassis for the Cherokee is taken from the 2012 Mercedes M-Class, and it drives like a dream. It gets a 240bhp, 3.0-litre diesel engine that's manufactured by VM Motor, and the engine comes mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox that simply blows you away. It might be a big lump of metal, but Jeep has made it very agile and very manoeuvrable.
The Cherokee is silent, comfortable, fast, and rides absolutely beautifully over any surface. It remains unflustered as it ploughs through potholes/ditches and dismisses them into nothingness. But the one party trick it's got up its sleeve is the 8-speed gearbox. The shifts are blinding fast, and the power delivery is phenomenal.
Inside, too, it's plush and the quality used doesn't disappoint. As far as the off-road systems are concerned, though, you realize just how similar they are to those found on a Land Rover. In fact we hear that the guys at Jeep held the Land Rover as inspiration. The Grand Cherokee gets something similar to LR's Terrain Response System, which helps you choose between snow and gravel, mud and sand. You can toggle through whichever mode you want by rotating a knob and the Cherokee does the rest. The net result is that not only have they copied Land Rover in the nature of the systems, but also- largely -in their execution, which is in a way really very impressive indeed.
It gets a full load of gizmos inside as well, like a multi-purpose touch screen system, tyre tronics, and a lot more. But when you come down to its price, we think that it will be slotted from 68 lakhs which is a tad too much but then again it is a car that is phenomenally well-equipped and drives like a soaring yacht on a calm day.