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5 smooth-riding SUVs for the urban warrior

Auto » 5 Smooth-Riding SUVs

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Starting price: $28,315 (includes $825 delivery)

Base engine: 3.6 liter, V-6, 290 horsepower

What's new: Better mileage

Jeep worked hard to squeeze another mile per gallon out of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, now that SUVs are expected to be fuel-efficient. For 2012, the latest model gets 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, just 1 extra mile per gallon in the city over the 2011 model, thanks to more energy-efficient power steering and an improved automatic transmission.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee was arguably the first premium sport utility vehicle almost 20 years ago. It put car-like comfort and upscale features in what amounted to an unvarnished truck.

The current Grand Cherokee can still go off-road, but it's much more like a luxury car at heart. Standard features that are often associated with high-end luxury cars include air filtering for the air conditioning, dual-zone temperature controls, heated exterior mirrors, satellite radio, a power-adjusted lumbar support for the driver's seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. High-tech options include cruise control that uses radar to automatically maintain a preset following distance, and blind-spot monitoring. It shared a drawing board with the Mercedes-Benz M Class, back when both brands belonged to DaimlerChrysler. The company split up in 2007. The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee first hit the road last year.


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