The new mid-size Jeep Grand Commander SUV, the first model from FCA's off road brand to be designed exclusively for the China market and built at the joint venture GAC-FCA plant in Changsha, is now arriving in the Jeep showrooms.
A new entry in the Chinese mid-size SUV market, the Grand Commander made its world debut back in May at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing.
Designed to cash in on the evolving mobility needs of the country’s growing urban middle-classes and the resulting surge in SUV demand, the Grand Commander comes as a seven-seater, the only vehicle presently with a 3-row arrangement the worldwide portfolio.
Its design, partly carried out in China, is a mish-mash of current Jeep styling cues and at first glance it looks a stretched-out version of the Compass compact SUV while there are hints of the quirky Renegade in the D-pillar treatment.
Its styling direction can also be seen as evolving from the widely appreciated Yuntu concept 3-row plug-in hybrid crossover that Jeep developed and presented in at the Auto Shanghai motor show in China last year, not just in the overall shape but in the detailing of the front clip such as the headlights and the bumper.
Overall the designers have played it safe with a relatively generic finished product though and the rear end is its biggest weakness which all adds up to give the Grand Commander more of a fight on its hands in a repidly crowding SUV segment where there are many distinctive options to choose.
The interior of the Grand Commander aims maximise the use of available space to provide comfort for up to seven occupants and key features include a three-zone independent air conditioning, standard for all models in the series.
FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system is available in two large touch-screen options (8.4- and 7-inch) and offers a connection for almost all mobile devices via both Apple Car-Play and Baidu Car-Life.
The Grand Commander also offers heated and cooled front seats that feature 12-way electronic adjustment and second row-heated seats. A Harman Kardon sound system with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) completes the audio package.
The Grand Commander was a joint project featuring the Jeep design studios in Auburn Hills, US, and Shanghai, China.
Jeep reckons that: “The design team took inspiration from architecture in central business districts around the world, to produce an exterior design that projects a ‘high-tech’ image with dynamic presence, catching the eye and ensuring occupants arrive in style.
At 4,873 mm long, 1,892 mm wide and 1,738 mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,800 mm the Grand Commander is very broadly similar in dimensions to the U.S.-built Grand Cherokee, but rather comes with a 3-row seating arrangement.
It won’t be exported to western markets though as Jeep already has a proposed 3-row SUV in the planning pipeline that will instead be based on a chassis from the Ram truck division.
The Grand Commander features the brand’s usual seven-slot grille. A multi-layered grille ring assembly sees platinum chrome and silver metallic contrast with the gloss black grille shield. Standard for all models in the series are all-LED reflector headlights, delivering better lighting, as well as LED taillights surrounded with platinum chrome decorative trims.
Large side windows and a dual pane sunroof allow plenty of natural light inside the vehicle to create a spacious feel.
The raked front windshield aims to reinforces the model’s urban looks while improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
The rear provides a comfortable interior space for third-row passengers, and ensures adequate luggage capacity. The third row offers class-leading visibility and comfort, thanks to a large side-glass opening, flat floor, 37-degree adjustable seatback recline and the best ingress/egress capability of its class.
The interior of the Grand Commander aims to combine Jeep features with design elements that meet the trends of the Chinese market. The upper and lower instrument panel are divided by a mid-section offering real wood and metal appliques, which are laid on top of a softer wrapping, completed with accent stitching. The combination aims to create a more refined overall interior for both driver and passenger.
The Jeep Grand Commander comes with a slightly detuned version of the GME (Global Medium Engine) T4 2.0-litre turbo engine as used by the Wrangler and Cherokee – as well as found in Alfa Romeo’s Giulia and Stelvio. It comes in two versions; the first two entry options offer maximum power of 231 hp and peak torque of 350 Nm while the four higher specification levels have 261 hp and 400 Nm.
The engine comes mated to the ZF 9HP, 9-speed automatic transmission, that’s widely used on the Cherokee, Compass and Renegade.
The 4WD system has Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that operates via intelligent fuel-saving technology and can deliver the fuel performance of a 2WD system for city driving.
The Grand Commander weighs in at 1,885 kg for the entry level versions while the higher specification models have an extra 110 kg.
The Jeep Grand Commander is now arriving in the Chinese dealers, priced from 279,800 to 409,800 yuan. It couldn’t turn up at the showrooms at a more opportune moment as during FCA’s second quarter financial results presentation last Wednesday a marked decline in China sales was revealed and the carmaker desperately needs to get a foothold in the world’s biggest car market.
Photos: Jeep Commander (China)
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