NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Jeep Grand Cherokee (JGC) offered by Fiat (FIATY) subsidiary Chrysler is a large two-row (five-seat) SUV that unlike most other SUVs these days is "trail rated" and truly ready for off-road performance. It's basically the American Range Rover.
For many years, the JGC badly trailed the competition in terms of overall comfort and refinement. Finally, those dark years are over. In an overhaul that recently entered production, the JGC got three things that has put it near the top of the SUV game:
- The interior was improved on all fronts, including new electronics and infotainment.
- The transmission is now a German 8-speed, sort of like BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
- The new optional engine is a diesel, yielding 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
So what we have here is a car that is assembled in Detroit but has an Italian diesel engine, and a German 8-speed automatic transmission. David Ricardo must be smiling from his grave because this is international comparative advantage at its finest.
The JGC is a car with off-road capabilities that most people probably don't need, and almost no other quiet and comfortable car offers. It has higher ground clearance, more aggressive approach and departure angles, and more settings for off-road behaviors, than most other non-exotically-priced off-roaders such as the Mercedes G and equivalent.These superior off-road capabilities make the JGC suitable for people who face harsh physical obstacles where they drive. Perhaps you are a farmer, a hunter, oil driller or live where there is lots of snow. You might live in North Dakota, Montana or Alaska. Normally, this kind of vehicle could never exceed 25 mpg on the highway, typically yielding less. One of the reasons is that all of this high ground clearance and 4x4 capability adds weight and reduces aerodynamic performance. The addition of a diesel option for the JGC has now improved both the torque and fuel economy materially. It is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. In 850 miles of driving over 11 days, I achieved 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The diesel engine is a $4,500 option and will therefore take a long time, and many miles, to pay off. That said, in recent years diesel versions of all other cars have yielded better second-hand values. I suppose this will be the case here as well.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV