DaimlerChrysler SA this week announced revisions to the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee model range and a limited production Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition.

DaimlerChrysler SA this week announced revisions to the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee model range and a limited production Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition.

“Over the past three years, Jeep SUVs have become the best selling vehicles in their categories,” Chrysler and Jeep marketing manager Guy Franken said. “The new Grand Cherokee’s cosmetic changes are part of the brand’s ongoing aesthetic and technical improvements”.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee features a new front facia, more upright grille bars and round fog lamps for all models. New convex outside mirrors reduce high-speed shake, and a new exterior colour - Deep Lava Red - has been added.

Grand Cherokee Overland is distinguished by “Rogue” 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels, body-colour exterior facia panels and grille surround, rock rails to protect the sills and an automatic rain-sensing front wiper system. The Quadra-Drive four-wheel-drive system is standard on Overland, as is a skid plate set for off-road protection.

Interior equipment includes a power sunroof, 10-disc CD changer with remote control, suede and leather seat trim, 10-way powered and heated front seats, and Redwood Burl wood trim on the instrument panel, centre console, upper door trims and upper part of the steering wheel.

In all Jeep Grand Cherokee interiors, a new cubby bin for holding sunglasses is added to the instrument panel. An optional ashtray can be ordered in place of the bin. Multi-stage driver, front passenger and ceiling-mounted side curtain air bags are standard across the range.

Laredo trim levels for the 2,7 CRD diesel model, and one other petrol engine, the 164 kW 4,7-litre V8, round off the range.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s suspension features reduced pressure shock absorbers to improve overall ride comfort. According to DaimlerChrysler SA, new brake calipers and an increase in the master cylinder output pressure have resulted in a “lighter” brake pedal feel. A revised steering gear torsion bar is claimed to reduce steering effort both on- and off-centre.

Meanwhile, the Jeep Cherokee gets a new overhead console, based on the Grand Cherokee design, and a unique interface allows customers to program the operation of nine convenience and safety items to their own requirements. Cherokee owners can now personalise features, including which doors unlock with the first press of the remote keyless entry unlock button and the amount of time the headlamps remain on after leaving the vehicle. A new cubby bin found in the dash features a rubber mat with a lip to keep sunglasses or other items in place.

Newly-available electrochromic interior and driver’s side rearview mirrors help reduce headlight glare from following traffic. New shock absorbers, springs and jounce bumpers are claimed to give the Cherokee better on-road ride and a slightly lower ride height to improve highway ride and handling.

Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition

“The Cherokee Red River Edition is named after an historic town high in the Rocky Mountains, within the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in New Mexico,” Franken said this week.

The limited-production Red River Edition features a high-gloss graphite painted grille, front and rear facias, “bolted-on” wheel flares and body-colour painted door mouldings, fog lamps, graphite painted tubular side rock rails, taillamp guards, a front brush guard and all-season tyres mounted on 16-inch graphite painted six-spoke cast aluminium wheels.

The Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition’s interior consists of combination of flat woven cloth and leather trim. The front passenger seat includes a seat-back map pocket for added storage.

The 2003-spec Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition will be powered by the 3,7-litre PowerTech™ V6 petrol engine with a four-speed automatic transmission in South Africa.

Chrysler and Jeep South Africa will offer 120 Jeep Cherokee Red River Edition models. Available in either Bright Silver Metallic or Black exterior colour with special Red River Edition badges on the driver and front passenger doors, the Red River Edition retails for R291 100.