Jeep? - archcarman
I am looking for a largish 4x4 in the new year. It needs to have decent road performance as well as the usual credentials.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee takes my fancy, but when you read the owners' reviews on various websites, a large percentage of those who wrote in have had serious problems, usually with aircon and electronics, sometimes with more major problems such as transmissions and axles.
Is this car such a dog (there are, after all plenty of them around)? Or is it just that you are more likely to send in a review if you are steaming mad after getting a big bill from your garage, than you are if your car does its job faultlessly etc, etc.
Anyone out there with any experience (good or bad)?
Jeep? - Aprilia
I have never owned one of these but I have worked on a few.
My personal opinion is that I would not want to buy ANY Chrysler. The problems are:
1. Very poor quality of electrical installation - connectors/wiring etc.
2. Cheap aircon components which seem to fail young.
3. Parts from dealer are very expensive (although some aftermarket service parts can be cheap).
4. Poor parts availability from the dealer in general, and especially for anything older than about 5 years.
5. Dealers I have dealt with (parts & service side) seem pretty hopeless and IMHO only ended up with the marque because they couldn't get anything better.

I would take heed of those owner's reviews you've read - they are probably pretty accurate.

There is talk of Chrysler quality improving due to the influence of the Germans, but until I see hard evidence of that I would avoid their products.
Jeep? - Bagpuss
I've driven several Jeep Grand Cherokees. They are nicer to drive than most American SUVs but that's not saying much when the competition includes classics like the Chevrolet Trailblazer. Interior space is terrible. With 2 six footers in the front it effectively becomes a 4 door 2 seater but at least that leaves the back seat free for all the luggage that won't fit in the tiny boot.

The 4 litre 6 cylinder petrol engine is smooth and powerful but not very economical. The 2.7 litre 5 cylinder diesel is a dog in this application. It's rough, dreadfully noisy, out of its depth on the motorway and in my tender care wasn't much more economical than the petrol.

There seems to be a difference in the build quality between the ones in the USA and the ones Europe. The USA ones were really awful and showed signs of serious wear with only a few thousand miles on the clock, though I'm always surprised by the continual worsening in the build quality of American cars. The ones I've driven in Germany seemed to be better (I think they're built in Austria) but not a patch on a native European car such as a Golf.

Having said all that, if you want a cheap good looking medium 4x4 and don't do a big mileage it's possibly worth a look.
Jeep? - cheddar
I drove a Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 in the US just over a year ago, it was a 2005 model, spec as per UK 2006 models, I posted about it on here, here is what I wrote:

"
I have generally been anti SUV on the basis that unless you tow a horse box or run a farm there is little justification for driving such large inefficient and dynamically poor (on the road) vehicles that offer the every day motorist very few advantages and so many disadvantages over normal cars. However after driving the best part of 1000 miles around the USA in a 2005 model Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 V8 I must say I now have a somewhat different perspective on the genre. The impression that 15 miles per US gallon makes on my wallet is lightened by 87 ron Gas being 75c/gal as opposed to 95 ron nearer 100p/gal in the UK, otherwise the Jeep is an immensely practical family vehicle coping admirably with the effects of Hurricane Ophelia (far less potent than Rita, yet alone Katrina!) i.e. torrential rain and flooded highways. Ok the Jeep is not a responsive handler though body roll is well controlled for such a large high vehicle, also the US roads do not offer much opportunity for spirited driving, 40mph limits being typical on major roads and only 55 to 65 on the highways/interstates. A couple of annoyances, wind noise around the sunroof/roof bars at 50mph plus also the "tiptronic" type auto transmission allows low gears to be held at higher speeds though not high gears to be held at lower speeds, i.e. selecting "2" in fact allows the transmission to use either "1" or "2", selecting "3" allows the transmission to use either "1" "2" or "3" etc, hence one cannot use the V8's torque to increase speed, any reasonable prod of the accelerator results in a rather more urgent kick down than really necessary.
"

Jeep? - terryb
I had a 2001 (Y) Grand Cherokee from new and traded it in last week. I agree that it's quite a good looking car for a 4x4. It is built in Austria in the old Steyr-Puch plant and mine had the 3.1 TD italian VM engine. The engine was pretty responsive with little turbo lag but could have done with a bit of extra soundproofing. It was thirsty though, giving me about 25 mpg solo and 20 mpg towing a 1.5 tonne caravan. Handling on road was fine and offroad in mud, selecting lo ratios never failed to tow the caravan out of a field. Strangely, I only got the wind whine in very wet weather.

The only warranty work I had to have done was a new aircon pipe, a new heated seat cushion and the handbrake cable sheared off the handle (when going onto a ferry - how embarrassing!). I also had the standard power steering mod to stop a whine and a recall on windscreen wiper bolts.

Main dealer service costs are higher than average and tyres aren't cheap (but I guess that applies to anything). At least you don't need to replace all 5 tyres at once with this model!

Latterly, it was getting a bit troublesome with little niggles. For a year or so there has been a rear-end rumble, which no-one has diagnosed successfully. New shockers, new anti-roll bars and a check of the A-frame bolt have all failed to solve the problem. New swivels and an offside front wheel bearing was a dealer-only job and cost over £900 earlier this year and a new battery was over £100. It was becoming apparent that more expense was looming. New glowplugs seemed to be on the cards, plus the handbrake lever had started doing funny things again and that darned rumble was still unsolved. Also a pair of tyres was likely to be needed shortly. So I decided to stop throwing good money after bad and defected to the Pacific Rim.

But would I recommend it? I found it reliable and comfortable - despite the seemingly narrow footwells in the front - and the back took all the clutter needed for a month's caravan holiday in Europe. So on the whole, yes, if you can afford the fuel costs. But take an extended test drive and get an extended warranty on it.

If you want any extra info, drop me an email.


--
Terry
Jeep? - archcarman
Thanks for this everyone.

I have ben spoiled for the last few years, have managed to buy low mileage, relatively new mainstream models (Ford, Skoda, Subaru) and, apart from the odd puncture, have not really had much to grumble about in terms of reliability.

Interestingly, your responses are in about the same ratio of good to bad as most of the reviews that I have read on the net.

Oddly however, if you read the mainstream website test drives, then the GC usually gets a reasonable write up and a couple even compliment build quality. Most of the caveats seem to be around fuel consumption and body roll at speed. Obviously the tester only has the car for a couple of weeks, but even so, most reviewers get some kind of a dig in at the Freelanders and Discoveries of this world, in terms of reliability and build quality.

 

Value my car