It's a new Italian connection - Jeep's big 'n brawny Grand Cherokee is now available with an all-new three-litre V6 turbodiesel, made in Italy by VM Motori using Fiat's renowned MultiJet common-rail fuel-injection technology.
Jeep quotes maximum power of 177kW at 4000rpm and 550Nm from 1800-2800rpm - 10 percent more power and eight percent more torque than the engine it replaces. However, it also claims fuel consumption of 8.3 litres per 100km in the combined cycle (19 percent less than the previous Cherokee diesel) and CO2 emissions of 218g/km, a 20 percent improvement on its predecessor.
The 2987cc engine is built on a 60-degree compressed graphite iron block, with a 7.7-litre, two-piece aluminium sump, its lower section reinforced for off-road use, and aluminium cylinder heads, each with a chain-driven single overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder.
The engine runs lightweight, cast-aluminium pistons and its compression ratio has actually been reduced from the 18.1:1 of the previous model to 16.5:1 for cleaner combustion.
It has a Garrett VGT 2056 turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and an air-to-air intercooler, fed from cast-iron exhaust manifolds.
The engine is designed to run on low-sulphur diesel fuel; however, for South African conditions where low sulphur diesel fuel is not always available, Chrysler has left out the diesel particulate filter that's a standard fitting elsewhere so the engine can run on 500 ppm diesel if necessary.
As with the 3.6-litre V6 and 5.7-litre V8 petrol engines, the turbodiesel drives through a five-speed auto transmission and your choice of either Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive.
Quadra-Trac II uses a two-speed transfer case to provide high and low range, using a variety of sensors to detect tyre slip and re-route as much as 100 percent of the available torque to the axle with the most traction.
Quadra-Drive II adds an electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle for evben better traction in wet or very sandy conditions.
In addition, a rotary control on the centre console allows the driver to select one of five settings, each of which co-ordinates as many as 12 engine, gearbox, braking, suspension and stability system inputs to optimise the Cherokee's response for Sand/Mud, Sport, Auto, Snow and Rock driving conditions.
Chrysler has also fitted the new three-litre CRD engine in its Wrangler range, where is stump-pulling 550Nm of torque will reinforce its credentials as the ultimate rock-hopper.
The new Cherokee 3.0 CRD and Wrangler 3.0 CRD will be be available in Jeep showrooms by the end of January 2012, alongside the 3.6-litre V6 and 5.7-litre V8 models.
At the same time Chrysler SA has finally replaced the 3.8-litre V6 engine of the Wrangler with the new 3.6-litre V6, already here in the Grand Cherokee, so we've included the updated Wrangler prices as well.
Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Ltd - R599 990
Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Overland - R649 990
Grand Cherokee 3.6 Ltd - R532 990
Grand Cherokee 3.6 Overland - R582 990
Grand Cherokee 5.7 Hemi Overland - R645 990
Wrangler 3.6 V6 Sahara - R369 990
Wrangler 3.6 V6 Rubicon - R389 990
Wrangler Unlimited 3.6 V6 Sahara - R394 990
Wrangler Unlimited 3.6 V6 Rubicon - R414 990