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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Blackhawk
Mike Costello
By Mike Costello
Quick Specs
$55,000 plus on-road costs
Read the full review
Mike Costello
By Mike Costello

So, where did you go on your date?

I took this $55,000 (plus on-roads) Black Beauty to its home-away-from-home along Melbourne’s Chapel st strip. There were lots of other Grand Cherokees there, but this one stole the show — at least, it did, until someone cruised past in an SRT8.

Ideal first date?

Out the front and an In-N-Out Burger… though, given we weren’t in LA, we decided on a street-front cafe up at the grimier, graffitied Windsor end.

We could have gone for a hike on some rocky trails with ease, but I’d hate to hurt that lovely duco.

Hot or not?

The Grand Cherokee sells its pants off largely because it’s already a looker. In menacing Blackhawk form, with its glossy badges, dark-tinted windows, satin-grey tail lights, and midnight black paint, grille inserts and 20-inch wheels, it ups the ante.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

This version gives you extras over its $2000 cheaper Laredo donor car including black suede/leather heated seats with special stitching and an 8.4-inch touchscreen (without nav), making an already ell-presented cabin even nicer.

Like all Grand Cherokee, it’s relatively spacious and practical — if not class leading — though some of its cabin materials feel more Target than David Jones.

Standout features?

We had the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel version, which packs one hell of a wallop thanks to 570Nm of torque from 2000rpm. Those wheels look the business, too, while the Uconnect infotainment setup is ace.

Annoying habits?

Not having sat-nav in a $55k car is a bit ordinary — nothing worse than getting lost during a hot date. It’s still pretty solid value all told.

Its high waist and narrow side windows are a little hard to see out of, but its big reversing camera and light low-speed steering manage to make it useable in town.

Ready for a family?

Its four-star ANCAP score is sub-par compared to any number of rivals in the large SUV class, but it’s roomy and practical. You’d rather leather seats than these partial suede numbers, too.

High maintenance?

Our Jeep came on the date promising to only drink 7.5 litres of diesel per 100km… though it proved a smidgen thirstier than that. Still, for a big yank tank it was very decent.

Jeep gives you a three-year/100,000km warranty and roadside assist coverage plan, and has (non capped-price) service intervals of six-months or 10,000km. Which isn’t all that great really.

Any deal-breakers?

Not really beyond what we've discussed, unless you hate lots of other people perving on your date.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

Look Jeep, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not ready to commit to a big SUV. But truly, you deserve all the happiness in the world.

Keeping your options open?

You can grab a large family SUV with five-star ANCAP safety and seven seats for similar dollars, such as a Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe or Ford Territory.

But if those cars are too vanilla for you and something edgier is preferable, then there’s a reason why the Jeep outsells all of them month after month — which, remarkably, it does.

Remember also, that the big Jeep will smash these rivals to smithereens once you’re off the beaten track. The $15k pricier Land Rover Discovery combines its premium bent with its off-road nous, though.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

You’re middle-aged and like tight black T-shirts and Prada sunnies… no, thats being facetious. You want something with the look-at-me style of a big Euro for thousands less, and one that can actually go off-road.