Our WK's Stay Continues
Our loaner 2009 Grand Cherokee Overland continues to serve. It's the vehicle of choice when there are chores to be done and always goes when there's exploring to be done as long as the trail isn't too rough. As we mentioned in the last installment, it would be able to tackle the roughest trails if it had more ground clearance, but we're not allowed to modify these loaner vehicles. It is what it is.
The Overland's four-wheel-drive system continues to impress us. It's all-wheel-drive in high range, but in low range the transfer case locks and is just like our Wranglers. The computer-controlled locking differentials are the best working traction aids we've ever seen. When the tires slip, the computer locks the differentials until tire slippage is gone. The system is seamless and transparent. On the trail, the WK makes heroes out of neophyte drivers. We aren't fans of rack-and-pinion steering on off-highway vehicles, but so far we've had no issues with the Grand Cherokee's.
Besides gasoline, our only other cost has been an oil change. We wrote that the WK was getting excellent mileage, running between 17 to 20 mpg. Our old place required a highway drive into town and back. The new place is in town, so it's stop-and-go right out of the driveway. Because of this, our mileage has gone down to 14 to 15 mpg in town and 18 to 20 on the highway. Remember, this is while doing aggressive driving. We seldom have our foot out of it because the Hemi's power and torque are so much fun to experience. These numbers are still impressive for a 4x4 that drives like a muscle car.
Some things annoy us. Somebody in Jeep's interior styling department thought painting some of the dash parts silver would look upscale. It doesn't. The silver looks cheap, just like dash pieces we painted with Krylon in the old days. The silver is reflective and when the sun is at the right angle, it reflects into our eyes. Add to this the little chromed T-handle transfer case shifter, which is placed perfectly to reflect the sun, too. With blinding sunlight reflecting into your eyes at certain times during the day, you had better have good sunglasses.
We've noticed something else. At certain speeds and at full throttle acceleration, the WK "pulses," or surges. This annoyance doesn't stop our forward momentum, but is noticeable. We heard there’s a TSB and flash for a torque converter problem, but we have no dealers nearby where we can get the WK looked at. If it was the torque converter locking and unlocking, the tachometer would show it. The tach is rock steady during the surging, though. If we get this problem addressed, we'll let you know.
Every vehicle has issues, and the WK is no different. The small negatives don't outweigh the fact that we're still enjoying the Grand Cherokee. We'd written that we were going to try to buy the WK at the end of the loan. We still would, but the price quoted for the purchase was what a new one would cost, so we'll be sad to see the Overland go back to Chrysler when the time comes.