Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: June 1, 2016
The Jeep Grand Cherokee (GC) has always been one of my favourite mid-size SUVs. Sporting a rugged design, premium looks, and a textbook full of engine and trim options, and it’s clear why so many Canadians share this positive opinion – you don’t need to spend a fortune to acquire a dependable and well rounded SUV (ahem, Germans).
Fancy a diesel? The Grand Cherokee has got it. What about a choice between four different all-wheel drive systems? You betcha. And an insanely overpowered supercharged V8? Hellcat yeah (in the near future).
But this week we’re here to take a look at the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the newly revised (base) 3.6-litre Pentastar V6. Jeep has gone to great lengths to improve the GC’s fuel economy. First and foremost, they have implemented a new feature called cooled Exhaust-Gas Recirculation (EGR), which essentially helps your car burn fuel more efficiently and completely. This works by recirculating parts of the exhaust back into the combustion chamber, allowing for a more complete burn of the fuel to decrease harmful emissions.
Next up is the addition of Engine Stop/Start that shuts off the engine when the car is idling, thus slightly improving fuel economy. Furthermore, the revised V6 gets a two-stop Variable Valve Lift system and an upgraded Variable Valve Timing system to reduce pumping losses and improve combustion.
There’s even an ECO mode that will tailor the transmission’s shift schedule for optimal efficiency. Throw in the addition of electric power steering, decreased tire rolling resistance, and weight reductions with the aluminum suspension and in all, Jeep says the new V6 will net you a combined fuel rating of 11.3 L/100km. Well we’re here to test that claim out.
As luck would have it, we actually had a 2016 Dodge Durango SXT equipped with the pre-tweaked V6 just the week before, so we had the chance to compare the two engines back to back. While it’s not a huge difference, I did notice that the reworked engine was slightly smoother and silkier. Engine response in the GC was a tad sharper and the powerband was noticeably broader, with a good amount of wallop in both low and high RPM maneuvers. Power has even been slightly bumped up to 295 horsepower, 5 more than before.
As with the Durango, I noticed the gas pedal was very light and sensitive, meaning a slight prod gets the GC quite stimulated. On the bright side, power delivery is very responsive, and the linearity of the push helps us remember why we are antagonistic towards forced induction.
I drove the V8-powered Grand Cherokee SRT last year, and while I do miss the burbling exhaust note and vigorous thrust, I found myself perfectly content with the V6 for everyday driving. Yes the V8 has a better sense of occasion, but those eight cylinders were thirstier than a stranded hiker in a desert. The V6 GC is the easier one to live with day to day.
Better yet, its mated to a clever 8-speed transmission, so we were smooth sailing on the barren stretch of Highway 404 heading north towards, well, nowhere. The GC was quiet and comfortable, the steering has a good amount of weight, and I even managed to clock pretty decent fuel numbers with the Pentastar, averaging out at 11.9 L/100km with a mix of both highway and city driving. Though it doesn’t quite match Jeep’s official numbers – I was pretty happy with a naturally aspirated V6 netting below 12.0 L/100km. The Pentastar V6 doesn’t command premium 91-octane fuel either, so be sure to grin a little while that BMW X5 owner is filling up his $100 tank at the gas station.
But of course, if these numbers don’t impress you, then the award-winning EcoDiesel V6 might just do the trick, with a best-in-class 8.4 L/100km highway rating (according to Jeep). The GC does have one trick up its sleeve though – a misleading fuel gauge. I drove around 250 km in a span of three days, peered at the gauges and noticed the needle barely pointing at the ¾ mark. Is it that fuel-efficient? I busted out the manual and noted a massive 93.1-litre fuel tank – which is huge compared to the BMW X5’s 85-litre tank, and the Lexus RX 350’s 72.5-litre tank.
On the outside, the Grand Cherokee’s unique design has mainly been carried over. You still get the traditional seven-slot grille flanked by squinty headlights that look eerily similar to a Rolls-Royce Ghost’s. The GC manages to pull off that rugged SUV look without looking chunky or unnaturally cubic.
Inside is a similar story. The cabin is arranged in a very utilitarian manner, with cavernous cubbies and a wealth of storage bins. You might notice that the old T-shaped gear shifter has been thrown into the garbage bin (it was giving FCA a few legal headaches), in place of a more conventional knob that I have nothing to complain about. The optional 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system continues to earn praise from our team for its low learning curve, responsive touchscreen, and clear fonts.
Overall, Jeep has managed to retain their plethora of engine options and trims for 2016, with the addition of a great deal of fuel saving features like Engine Stop/Start, ECO mode, and Exhaust-Gas Recirculation. Their new base V6 engine is a force to be reckoned with and is not only more powerful than before, but also more fuel-efficient. Oh, and did I mention that our tester’s MSRP is less than $50,000? Yikes. The Grand Cherokee just keeps getting better and better.
型号 Model: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4
顏色 Paint Type: True Blue Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $42,895
試車售價 Price as Tested: $46,635
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,915
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,822 / 2,154 / 1,761
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,121
引擎 Engine: 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 with Engine Stop/Start
最大馬力 Horsepower: 295 hp
最高扭力 Torque: 260 lb-ft
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, Quadra-Trac II 4WD system
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.8 / 9.5 / 11.3
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 265/60R18