The Jeep brand has finally come to India. It was close to four years ago that Fiat had announced the legendary SUV range for the Indian market but had to scale back plans due to to a variety of reasons. The cars have arrived here finally via the CBU route and gotten price tags well beyond what any of us have expected. This has put them in a unique position where their range is now associated with a set of niche vehicles priced similarly and with the kind of same value propositions. How then does its Jeep Grand Cherokee stand up to its rivals, which in this case are the Range Rover Sport and Toyota Land Crusier Prado? Read on to find out…
Big on presence and power- that would be the appropriate term to describe these vehicles. Designed to stand out on the road (and off it) these vehicle exude a presence that only comes with being so huge. The Grand Cherokee and the Range Rover Sport look modern thanks to their curves and angular lines while the Land Cruiser Prado embodies the original big SUV philosophy thanks to its boxy design, massive grille and big overhangs. This then is down to a case of personal choice among buyers. If you look at the numbers, all three are evenly matched in length and height. However, the Range Rover Sport has the largest wheelbase and ground clearance. Thanks to a new platform it is also the lightest but only beats the Prado by a few kilos when it comes to kerb weight.
When comparing vehicles in these price brackets, equipment like a touchscreen infotainment system, climate control, storage spaces, multiple airbags and electrically adjustable leather seats are all part of standard equipment on all three and can be ruled out for a differentiation. They are similar when it comes to off-road equipment and come with the same kind of equipment but with varying levels of capabilities.
What we need to look at then is the additional kit that is offered. Drawing first blood is the Prado as it the only vehicle offering a seven-seat configuration compared to the five-seat option of the other two. However, the Range Rover Sport, in higher spec variants, is only the one that offers an optional rear-seat entertainment package. The Grand Cherokee gets a Blue-Ray player but the Range Rover Sport gets Mirror Link and InControl Apps, something that should hold strong in the day and age of smart devices. The Prado too has a touchscreen system but this is quite behind when compared to the other two.
Engine and gearbox
Diesel is the primary source of motivation for all three vehicles. They all have a capacity of 3.0-litres but from a four-cylinder engine in the Prado and V6s for the Range Rover Sport and Grand Cherokee. The Land Cruiser pumps out 171bhp/410Nm while in Grand Cherokee engine produces 240bhp/570Nm. The Range Rover Sport’s engine produces 289bhp/600Nm of torque. The Toyota is clearly way behind thanks to the smaller engine and comes with a five-speed AT as compared to the Cherokee and Range Rover’s eight-speed unit.
In the petrol category, the Range Rover Sport gets the option of standard V6 petrol which produces 335bhp/450Nm as well as a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that produces 503bhp/625Nm which is available only with the top-of-the-line models. There is no petrol option for the Prado in India while the Grand Cherokee can be had in the SRT setup where it gets a 6.4-litre V8 that produces 468bhp/624Nm. Here too an eight-speed AT is standard.
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
The Land Cruiser Prado is available in a single variant (VX L) which is priced at Rs 93.35 lakh while the Grand Cherokee can be had in three variants which are priced in the range of Rs 93. 64 lakh to Rs 1.12 crore. The Range Rover Sport is offered across a much wider range which is priced from Rs 1.18 crore to Rs 2.08 crore for the top-of-the-line V8 SVR which is built to order.