The updated Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will be replaced by a new model in 2017, is marginally lighter, more powerful and more economical than before.
The changes are only offered on the Grand Cherokee models with the 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine, and partly bring it back into line with 5.7-litre Hemi V8 models.
The most significant modifications are to the driveline, which now has a stop-start feature to save fuel, tweaked valvetrain and exhaust systems, and the fitment of electric power steering in place of the old hydraulic system. All of this contributes to a fuel saving of 0.4L/100km, says Jeep, while also bumping engine output from 210kW to 213kW.
Exterior and interior changes to the Grand Cherokee are intended to mark the brand’s 75th anniversary.
The Grand Cherokee 75th model, which is based on the $62,000 Limited spec level, has black leather fitted as standard, orange accents throughout the cabin and 75th anniversary logos embossed on the seats.
The exterior treatment includes bronze 20-inch alloy wheels, bronze grille highlights and more special badging. The 75th anniversary model is available in black, white and crystal. A fourth colour – ‘Recon Green’ designed to evoke the army heritage of Jeep – is available at extra cost. The Grand Cherokee 75th anniversary edition is priced from $64,500.
75th anniversary versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee and Renegade are also being offered, and feature a number of aesthetic changes to the interior and exterior, including bronze highlights and special badging.
The Jeep brand actually started life as Willys-Overland. In 1940 the company answered a call by the US Army to design, develop and produce a “light reconnaissance vehicle” for military duty. Ford, American Bantam and Willys all submitted prototypes which went into production.
The Willys Quad was later renamed the MA, but American servicemen are said to have quickly nicknamed it the “Jeep”, a slurring of “GP” for General Purpose.
Jeep’s first publically available model, the CJ-2A (Civilian Jeep) entered production in 1945. It’s closest relative today – in spirit at least – is the Wrangler, which succeeded the CJ-8 Scrambler in 1987.