Car Buyers' Guide: Looking for a match for an old favourite
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Terry is after an old fashioned off-roader type of vehicle. He said one of his favourite previous vehicles was a mid-90s Jeep Grand Cherokee.
"I know the trend these days seems to be more toward the practical design benefits SUVs provide, rather than any multi-terrain capabilities they may have, but my needs are for a vehicle that is capable of a little bit of the rough stuff but in some degree of comfort," says Terry.
The Grand Cherokee "drove like a truck, had a very average build quality, a love affair with gas stations and spent a bit too much time in the garage between regular servicing," says Terry.
"Strange as it may sound, I actually loved the vehicle. It was amazingly tough and took me places I never thought possible. A lifestyle change rather than a burning desire to rid myself of the Cherokee was the reason for quitting it."
I remember attending a new vehicle launch some years ago for the all-new - at the time - Grand Cherokee. It was held around Queenstown and centred more on its off-road capabilities than anything else, so I understand your comments and feeling toward this vehicle, Terry.
Yes, overall build quality was average, but it did manage to claw its way in, and out, of some pretty extreme off- road terrain and also demonstrated its capabilities in snow with a trip to the Cardrona snow farm.
No question on its toughness, but some doubts at the time on its overall refinement and suitability for the more sedate 4WD owners.
Thankfully a lot of water has passed under the bridge for Chrysler since then, with the new Jeep Cherokee range now a much improved vehicle than the previous versions.
The fact that the Cherokee has made the top 10 finals list for the 2014 NZAA and NZ Motoring Writers Guide Car of the Year award is testament to its improvement and standing with the motoring scribes in NZ.
Jeep Cherokee Limited
It's almost a vehicle of two halves. The bottom layer retains the Cherokee's renowned toughness and ability to transport the vehicle through a host of different terrain via the All-Wheel-Drive, while the upper body and interior has a far more elegant and up-market appeal. The overall build quality is excellent as is the high specification list. Priced at $61,990, the V6 3.2l petrol engine produces 200kW and 316Nm while during our spell behind the wheel, which was mostly out of the heavy inner city traffic, we averaged around 10L/100km. The 9-speed transmission may sound like overkill but the changes are silky smooth and combined with the auto disconnect of 4WD when not required, contributes to the improvement in fuel consumption and drive quality. Other models in the range include a base model 2WD 2.4L ($44,990) and the range topping Trailhawk ($65,990).
Subaru Outback 3.6R Premium
The Outback ($64,990) is another vehicle with a definite point of difference that may suit your lifestyle. Performance and fuel economy wise it's down on power (191kW), up on torque (350Nm) and around the same in combined fuel economy (10.3 L/100km) in comparison to the V6 Cherokee. A well rounded vehicle with features that include Subaru's version of Electronic Stability Control called Vehicle Dynamics Control, AWD, navigation, rear camera and self-levelling rear suspension. The all-new Outback is out in February 2015.
Nissan X-Trail Ti 4WD
The $53,290 2.5L is another vehicle which has re-invented itself of late, and also earned a top 10 finals spot in the 2014 NZAA and NZ Motoring Writers Guide Car judging. The old square shape has been replaced with a modern look that provides a lot more instant appeal to the majority of today's buyers. It lacks the power (126kW), torque (226Nm) of the other options but has the lower claimed fuel consumption of 8.3L/100km. It's exceptionally well equipped including lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and navigation.
If you have mellowed a little over the years, look at the X-Trail. If your adventures are a little more extreme then check out the Cherokee and Subaru.