Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 CRD
With fuel prices the way they are, it simply doesn't make sense to buy a 4x4 with a huge petrol engine. UK motorists will get far better usage out of a strong diesel engine, because not only will it deliver better fuel economy, but diesel powered cars hold their value better and are more suited to the point of the vehicle.
At £49,495 on the road, the top specification diesel powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is a direct alternative to the £51,550 Range Rover Sport TDV6. To the clued in motorist, the Range Rover is the better all-rounder, but it's fair to say that the Grand Cherokee has a few neat tricks up its sleeve that run Jaguar Land Rover's offering very close indeed.
Firstly, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is stunning to look at. Opinions are divided about the front end of this car, but I think it's more than capable of putting up a fight against the Range Rover. With a familiar rectangular split mesh grill, narrow headlights, a chunky body kit and dual rectangular exhaust tips at the back, the Grand Cherokee looks like it means business. The profile is completed with fat rubber and ride height that sees it sit slightly higher than the Sport, and from the driver's seat, you feel like you have considerable road presence.
Inside, the new Grand Cherokee is MUCH improved on the older model. An all new dashboard design and cabin design rival that of the Range Rover, and all switch gear is of a comparable quality. The leather seats are soft, comfortable and supportive, and there is a lot of room for driver, passenger and rear occupants to get comfortable in. Make no mistake - the Grand Cherokee is an incredibly spacious car. The interior design is smart with an aluminium fascia for the centre console, leather and soft touch dashboard leather steering wheel, and the door cards have even been lined with leather. The result is an exceptionally premium interior that is geared more towards comfort than sportiness.
Fire the Grand Cherokee up, and the 246 bhp 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 gives off a very nice tone indeed, so nice in fact that I wondered if it was a petrol at first, Vibration transferred through to the cabin is minimal and on the move, the car is incredibly gutsy, with lots of mid-range to hurl you along. By comparison, the TDV6 in the Range Rover produces 254 bhp. Although I tested the more powerful of V6 diesel engines in the Jeep, there is also a lesser 188 bhp version available, which offers better fuel economy.
Speaking of which, I managed to return 37.5 mpg on a combined run in the Grand Cherokee. Now that's impressive for a car this big.
Ultimately, the Grand Cherokee is a fine car, but it's more geared towards comfort and seriousness than the Range Rover Sport. It is recommended, therefore, for anybody who wants something different.