Sitting on the high-set seat of the Jeep Wrangler, the only instructions I got were, “Drive as gently as you can and keep the acceleration steady, when required.” That’s all the instructor said before I set off to experience the Rs 71.59 lakh Jeep Wrangler and the Rs 1.03 crore Grand Cherokee. Jeep also sells the performance-oriented Rs 1.12 crore Grand Cherokee SRT in India, but was not a part of the Camp Jeep experience, it being a more street-special unit.
The event was held to give the media and prospective buyers an experience of driving a Jeep “in its natural habitat”. The specially prepared track was around 2km long, located on the outskirts of Mumbai and comprised seven different challenges.
Both the Jeep models on sale in India and made available for the experience come with rugged 4WD tech. The Grand Cherokee SUV offers capable off-road prowess in a more comfortable environment, whereas the Wrangler is the more hardcore off-roader with an iconic old-school character.
The track first started with a steep downward incline showcasing the Wrangler’s superb Hill Descent Control (HDC) capability. To engage this feature, one has to put the gearbox in neutral, select 4L (4-low) on the transfer case of the Wrangler’s Command Track part-time 4WD system and hit the HDC button on the centre console. To move the vehicle, the driver has to again engage Drive on the gear selector to start moving. Once HDC is engaged, it senses the terrain and the gradient which the vehicle is being driven on and adjusts its speed automatically depending on the gear, bringing the vehicle to a safe and controlled descent. We tried this on the incline and the Wrangler was moving downwards at a speed of close to 5kph on its own. The driver can override this HDC function and take control if he wishes to, by pressing the brake which disengages HDC.
Send a message to Akbar Merchant
Issue: 211 | Autocar India: March 2017
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