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by Tim Beissmann

The Chrysler Group has teased us with the last pictures of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee ahead of its official production launch in Detroit on Friday.

Initially unveiled at the 2009 New York Auto Show in April, the first Grand Cherokees will roll out of the Jefferson North Assembly Plant before hitting US showrooms in June.

The new full-size SUV promises to be a more refined, premium product yet still highly capable off-road.

With the option of the new 209kW/353Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine, Jeep claims fuel economy of the 2011 model has improved 11 percent, delivering 10.2 litres/100km and a range of more than 800km on a tank.

Other highlights include a choice of three four-wheel drive systems, new air suspension that can elevate the car more than 28cm and the Selec-Terrain system with five settings for adventure enthusiasts: Auto, Rock, Sand/Mud, Snow and Sport.

Pricing in the US is down over the outgoing model, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×2 starting at $US30,995 (down $US495).

Chrysler Group Australia’s Jerry Stamoulis told CarAdvice the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is on track for a local launch in January 2011 and confirmed the Pentastar V6 will be a part of the initial line-up.

He said he expected the Grand Cherokee range to remain similar to brand’s current offering, which includes the diesel Laredo, diesel Limited, 5.7 Overland and the SRT8, and pricing to be competitive.

“We will definitely keep it competitive and once we’ve finalised specifications and pricing we’ll have a better idea. But at this stage we’re confident it will be competitive,” Mr Stamoulis said.

Jeep sold 102 Grand Cherokees in the first four months of 2010 across Australia, down around 24 percent year-to-date, giving it a 1.4 percent share of the Luxury SUV segment which is dominated by the BMW X5, Audi Q5 and Lexus RX.




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