January 26, 2012

Today's best value new 4WD wagon

I've been spending time with the base-model Grand Cherokee Laredo, which lists for $65,000 when fitted with the V6 Pentastar petrol engine, and five grand more for the diesel. If you've been checking prices of new 4WD wagons recently, that's outstanding value. You can spend almost $100,000 for a top-model Grand Cherokee, and a gorgeous Range Rover-challenging wagon it it, but the Laredo's still really well equipped and tempting for people who might actually want to go off-road sometime, despite not having the variable-height QuadraLift air suspension.

Despite not being able to put more air under its belly at the touch of a button, the Laredo has enough ground clearance for at least medium-duty off-roading and still has the various dial-in modes for different terrain. Either engine would be good for off-roading. Although the diesel's clearly better on paper – 550Nm at 1800rpm compared to 347Nm at 4300rpm – I think I'd go with the Pentastar, given its lower price, the relative thirst of the diesel, and that the torque deficit never posed a problem when I have driven other Pentastar Grand Cherokees. The diesel returned 13.5 litres per 100km overall during the time I had it, not significantly less than the various Pentastar Grand Cherokees and Wrangler Unlimiteds I've driven. A Land Cruiser 200 with its twin-turbo V8 did better, but maybe with more mileage the Jeep engine's consumption will improve, as if by magic.

If you want to spend $70-something on a Pajero, or $80-something for a Prado go ahead, but do look at this Jeep.


  1. I'm thinking of upgrading from my old Prado, so after seeing the above post I went to my Chrysler dealer. They didn't have one and the salesman only wanted to sell me up to a $90,000 V8 Overland. Jeep can get stuffed.