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Jeep Says Toyota Can’t Match Its Rock-Climbing Prowess

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In general, automakers tend to keep things to themselves competitive. That’s why you often hear phrases like best in class or lead segment than Toyota can’t do what we do. So when a high-ranking executive at a large auto manufacturer makes such a claim, it tends to attract attention.

The comments regarding Toyota are exactly what Jeep’s Head of Global Marketing Jeff Ellsworth said, according to the Australia-based news outlet. Car Guide. It came during the international launch of the new Grand Cherokee 4xe, where Ellsworth offered a few friendly words to Toyota before proclaiming Jeep dominance. In particular, Car Guide citing Ellsworth as saying that Toyota has some advantages elsewhere in the off-road field, “but for rock crawling, it’s going to be a Jeep all the way.”

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It’s an oddly special call for a vehicle like the Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid. A sizable two-row SUV isn’t often associated with crawling through rough terrain, let alone an expensive electrified model with a luxurious feel. In the US market, the Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at under $60,000 and comes with a 17-kWh battery pack, which allows for an electric range of just 25 miles. Electric power works with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, offering a combined output of 375 hp (280 kW).

We suspect the Trailhawk trim level is the optimal rock crawl cover for the Grand Cherokee 4xe. It adds a Quadra-Lift air suspension system, offering an adjustable ride height of up to 11.3 inches (28.7 centimeters) of ground clearance. The Quadra-Drive II active transfer box also features an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. For is it right rough terrain, there’s a sway bar breaker system, and as every rock-crawling fan will tell you, having productive suspension articulation is key to overcoming obstacles.

It was clear that Jeep wanted a larger share of the Australian market where Toyota is firmly rooted. Would such a direct call from Jeep convince buyers to abandon the Land Cruiser in favor of the Grand Cherokee? That answer will come when the vehicles start hitting showrooms later this year.

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