Redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee makes New York Auto Show debut

Delays in Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceeding led to fears that key models like the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee may be delayed

Delays in Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceeding led to fears that key models like the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee may be delayed

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Chrysler has given us an early look at its redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee at this week's New York Auto Show, despite the new SUV not going on sale until sometime next year. Coming in as a 2011 model, the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee will ride on an advanced car-like unibody platform and feature the company’s upcoming Phoenix V6, renamed Pentastar, or a HEMI V8 as engine options.

The 3.6L Pentastar V6 offers flex-fuel capability and variable valve timing, and in the new Grand Cherokee outputs 280hp (209kW) and 260lb-ft (353Nm) of torque. The engine is also claimed to offer 11% better fuel-economy than the current V6 Cherokee, but it won’t be as efficient as an upcoming diesel that’s planned for overseas markets. Joining the V6 is a range-topping 5.7L HEMI V8, which is good for 360hp (268kW) and 390lb-ft (520Nm) of torque.

Also new is Chrysler’s Quadra Lift air-suspension system, which provides height control and lifts the vehicle up to 4.5in from park mode to a maximum ride height of 11.1in when off-roading. Chrysler also offers up to three different AWD modes, including Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with an electronic limited slip differential. The different modes offer varying levels of slip protection, smoothly distributing engine torque to individual tires depending of the level of traction.

The vehicle also features new independent suspension systems with isolated front and rear suspension cradles and variable-rate rear springs that combine to enhance on-road character and ride comfort. Furthermore, the body structure’s torsional stiffness is 146% stiffer than current model and stiffer than the BMW X5 and Toyota Highlander as well. This was achieved with more than 5,400 welds in the body alone.

Inside, Chrysler has fitted its uconnect connectivity and entertainment system and a 506-watt premium Alpine stereo system.

In preparation for the new SUV, Chrysler will refit its Jefferson assembly plant in North Detroit, which will also be responsible for several yet-to-be revealed models based on the same platform. This platform, incidentally, was developed jointly with Mercedes Benz for its next-generation ML-Class SUV prior to the split of DaimlerChrysler. This means there is a strong chance that the Grand Cherokee may eventually feature a two-mode hybrid powertrain, which was developed together with Daimler, General Motors and BMW.
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