Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Summit
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Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Summit

Appropriately-named top diesel model in Jeep's SUV range,

Sometimes I look at the names manufacturers come up with for trim levels and wonder what the deuce is going on. I have never been able to work out why Nissan thinks "Acenta" implies a higher level of standard equipment than "Visia" does, and Jaguar's decision to call the cheapest XJ the "Luxury" seems to border on the perverse.There is no such confusion in the case of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit. You may guess from the last word in its title that this is the top dog in the range, the one on which Jeep has bestowed the most favours, and of course the most expensive. And, by golly, you'd be right. (Well, as far as the diesel-engined part of the range is concerned, anyway. The SRT-8 is more powerful and costlier, but let's not spoil a good theory with facts.)If you're looking after the pennies and trying not to switch the house lights on until you can barely see how many fingers you have, you might also assume that the Summit isn't going to find many takers. According to Jeep, that's not true. Grand Cherokee prices start at at under £38,000, but the Summit, costing £50,000 plus a few hundred, is proving to be popular among people who see it as a low-budget alternative to a Range Rover.Owners of the latter would probably collapse in a fit of the giggles at the very thought. The American-badged Jeep with the German (Mercedes-Benz) platform and Italian (VM Motori with Fiat input) engine doesn't have the handling poise or the ride comfort of the Range Rover, nor anything like its air of quality.But it's a decent enough SUV, and not short of features. On top of all the things you'd expect for the money, there's adaptive cruise control, self-levelling rear suspension, a powered tailgate, a heated steering wheel, a dual-pane sunroof, a spare wheel (space-saver as standard, full-sized for an extra £225), ventilated front seats, a very effective TFT digital display in place of more coventional instruments and an audio system with no fewer than 19 speakers.If you go for this model it's possible that you'll be less interested in the rough-and-tumble stuff than someone who bought a cheaper one, but for the record the Grand Cherokee is both effective and easy to drive off-road, and its maximum towing capacity - 3500kg with a braked trailer on a 12% gradient - exactly matches that of the Range Rover.Another thing the two cars share is a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, which operates very smoothly and was largely responsible for an improvement in official fuel economy and CO2 when it was introduced to the range last summer, even though the power output of the three-litre diesel was raised by 10bhp to 247bhp at the same time.That upgrade was not sufficiently comprehensive to include an improvement in the car's visibility, which is suboptimal at both ends. I hope that will be sorted at the next changeover, because while the Grand Cherokee isn't the finest large SUV you can buy, it's nevertheless a pretty good one, and among the very best offerings from the Chrysler Jeep group. Engine 2987cc, 6 cylinders Power 247bhp Transmission 8-speed automatic Fuel/CO2 37.7mpg / 198g/km Acceleration 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds Top speed 126mph Price £50,205 Details correct at publication date

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