Iconic car maker Jeep will soon be making its official entry into the Indian market in the coming months. Although the Fiat owned manufacturer did announce it will hit Indian shores later this year, the brand has postponed its debut date to next year. The Indian audience eagerly awaits the arrival of the Jeep moniker primarily for two reasons. One being the on going SUV pandemic sweeping our nation and the other being the massive legacy of the Jeep brand. Although one might argue that the American car maker has been reduced to making luxury tarmac lovers and family oriented SUVs, Jeep still maintains cars such as the Wrangler in its purest form: a heavy duty off-roader.
Throughout the course of history Jeep has managed to garner a legacy for churning out rugged off roaders. With its range used in Word War II and Vietnam Wars, the American car maker’s reputation for making reliable 4 by 4’s hit super stardom. Sadly however, the Wrangler is the last of the thoroughbreds. The only SUV in the manufacturer’s range to offer sold front and rear axles and a chassis designed with a primary focus on hardcore off-roading.
We take a look at what Jeep has in store for the Indian market and its main competitors. Will the brand take off? We find out.
Jeep Grand Cherokee:
The big daddy of them all, the Grand Cherokee is the American automaker’s flagship SUV. While most manufacturers these days simply make a bulky car and slap an SUV tag onto it (read BMW X6), Jeep created an SUV with true off-road DNA. While cars such as the Q7, ML-Class offer a level of luxury rivaled by none, the high degree of opulence comes at a price. And that price for SUVs is its off-road capability. Jeep however has opted to keep the Grand Cherokee somewhere in the middle, the sweet spot. Offering a massive cabin, decked up in premium leather and wood, the Cherokee is no village barn on the inside.
Under the hood you’ll find a 3.0 L V6 oil burner that churns out 237 HP and a massive 550 Nm of torque. Although the American car maker does offer a bigger 6.4 L V8, Jeep is unlikely to launch the Grand Cherokee with such an indulgent variant here in India. The car’s biggest rivals will be the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7.
The next Jeep to soon enter the Indian car market will be the iconic Wrangler. Praised for its compelling and timeless industrial design, the Wrangler is one of the all time greats. Unchanged over the years since its inception, the Wrangler has spawned a cult following across the world. Without the unnecessary headlights, sleek roofline and fancy paintwork, the Wrangler is a no nonsense SUV capable of roaming any kind of terrain. Unlike its siblings, the Wrangler is no toned down, tarmac lover; built for the road less traveled by, the SUV is an off-roader’s favorite. However, its extreme off-road durability comes at a price. The Wrangler is extremely uncomfortable on city roads and with the poor state of infrastructure and road conditions our country has to offer, the Wrangler is reserved only for the true nature lovers.
Powering this SUV is a 2.8 L four cylinder diesel mill that produces 197 HP and 460 Nm of torque. Although the performance numbers are not nearly as much as the Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler sports fewer creature comforts and is much lighter than the Cherokee.
Officially not on the company’s release list, the baby Jeep is a highly likely candidate for an India launch. Unlike the new age crossover movement taking place all over, the Renegade is one of the handful of compact SUVs that can actually hold its own when off the road. Despite its short stature and rather meek engine, the Renegade has been designed with years of off road expertise and the results are quite impressive. For those of you who do not really intend on going for a bit of exploring in the woods, the Renegade is also offered in front wheel drive only format.
For its India release, we may see both avatars of the Renegade. Powering the mini Jeep is a 1.4 L turbocharged engine that puts out 160 HP. The American car maker also offers a 2.4 L four cylinder engine that produces 184 HP. While the former is mated to a six speed manual, the latter is offered with a first ever nine speed automatic.
A synonym for all things rugged, Jeep represents a facet of culture that has long been abandoned thanks to gizmos and concrete jungles. While some may buy a Jeep for its snob value, the brand’s range is strictly for the adventurous. Hopefully the Jeep moniker will evoke the same feelings of breaking free as the original Safari did and take it to new heights.