New Jeep Grand Cherokee unveiled

* Smoother styling * Adjustable air suspension * Based on the Mercedes M-Class...

New Jeep Grand Cherokee unveiled

Jeep's all-new Grand Cherokee promises to be the most sophisticated version yet.

The familiar seven-slot front grille remains, but the styling is sleeker than the current model's, and aerodynamic drag which dents fuel economy has been cut by 7%.

It's bigger, too, at 4.6cm longer, 7.6cm wider and there's an extra 13.5cm between the front and rear wheels.

These increased dimensions have created an extra 10cm of rear legroom, but Jeep says that the biggest interior improvement is the quality of materials and fit and finish.

M-Class connection
Underneath, the new model shares its basic platform with the current Mercedes M-Class as part of the now defunct collaboration between Daimler and Chrysler.

The body is 146% stiffer than the current model's, which should improve the dynamics, handling and refinement.

As you'd expect, the new model will still provide serious off-road ability. An air suspension system allows the driver to alter the ride height for on- or off-road duties.

There's also a new 'Selec-Terrain' feature - similar to Land Rover's Terrain Response, which adjusts the engine, braking and stability control set-up to suit different on- and off-road conditions

US models will use 3.6-litre V6 or 5.7-litre V8 petrol engines, but diesel versions will be available in Europe.

Production starts in 2010, but the Grand Cherokee won't be on sale in the UK until 2011. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but you can expect it to undercut rivals such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class by a hefty margin.