Grand Cherokee Takes on Toyota FJ, H3, Xterra

Date 2006/3/28 10:13:01 | Topic: Grand Cherokee

CarAndDriver.com has a great article in their April 2006 issue (and also online) that pit the Grand Cherokee against the Hummer H3, all-new Toyota FJ, and Nissan Xterra in an off-road and on-road test.

The offroad portion of the test took place in the high desert around Death Valley, California.

The idea for this test was sparked by the Hummer public-relaters, who swore their H3 was to off-roading what a Daisy Cutter is to Fourth of July firecrackers. “Only a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon can beat us,” they boasted, “and we don’t compete with that.” In the $30,000-SUV range, what the H3 does face, however, is the comprehensively reworked Nissan Xterra, now riding on a platform that underpins the Pathfinder and the burly Titan pickup. The H3 also faces the just-introduced 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, which makes the most of the 4Runner chassis, minus 3.9 inches of wheelbase. And it also seemed wise to include a Jeep Grand Cherokee of some stripe, in part because that’s what won our “Rock-Climbing SUVs, Size M” off-road comparo in April 2005. That Jeep, however, was fitted with a Hemi and the top-level Quadra-Drive II off-road package, jacking its base way north of 30 grand. So we backed down to a 4.7-liter V-8 mated to the less dear — and admittedly less capable — Quadra-Trac II. Presto, we had a fourth Mengel Pass contender that was fiscally appropriate. The Laredo came with a five-speed automatic, because that’s the only way Jeep builds ’em. Our three other contestants were fitted with manuals.

So, which vehicle was rated highest? While the H3 was hands down the winner for the off-road portion - its on-road performance was less than stellar. The Grand Cherokee didn't win either - but made a strong showing.

Check out the entire article.


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