By Chris Haak
When evaluating a particular vehicle, it’s always telling to get the entry-level version of that vehicle. It’s quickly apparent what kind of vehicle the manufacturer is able to build on a tighter budget; for instance, a base Chevy Silverado may not be nearly as desirable as a Silverado LTZ, but a base Chevy Malibu LS is a pretty good car, even stacked against the Malibu LTZ. That being said, it’s always a little fun to get my hands on the loaded, top-of-the-line version of a particular model as well. There’s something to be said for a vehicle that doesn’t have any missing switches or buttons, has the nice seats, larger wheels, and biggest engine. For this reason, I thought it was pretty cool when Chrysler delivered a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland to my driveway for me to evaluate for a week.
The Overland edition of the Grand Cherokee is the top trim level; the name comes from a chapter in Jeep’s long heritage. Overland Motors was purchased by John North Willys in 1908, who renamed the company Willys-Overland in 1912. Of course, Willys was the company that produced Jeeps during and after World War II. No Overland-badged vehicle was built after 1926 until the 2003 Grand Cherokee Overland. The Overland model includes everything that that lesser Grand Cherokees do, but also makes nearly everything optional on those other models (if it’s even available on them) standard. While I appreciate the heritage and capabilities of the Jeep Wrangler, my vote for the best Jeep vehicle currently in production goes to the Grand Cherokee. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a pretty good vehicle. Unless you’re a complete purist, you’d probably also consider the Grand Cherokee to be Jeep’s best-looking vehicle as well. Continue Reading →