There’s something that has to be said about traditions – they are important and keep one connected with the past, whether familial, societal, or religious. But for one aspect of my life, it wasn’t any of these; and when I shared my heartfelt “traditional” desire with my very pregnant wife, she could care less. In fact, she got irritated that the neurons in my head were firing for such a frivolous thought. Why would it matter in which vehicle we were to bring our newborn home? Nope, she couldn’t, or didn’t’ want to, understand. But I couldn’t really blame her, especially when she was in her last two weeks of pregnancy.
You see, my first two daughters had the privilege of being brought home, after birth, in our 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, my pride and joy for over 18 years – that’s right, 18 years and 410,000 km. My GC, aka Basanti (pronounced ba-san-tee), was perfect for bringing home our precious bundles of joy – she was safe, strong, reliable, luxurious, and had true 4WD, just in case. But since Ihad sold Basanti last year, how could I keep the tradition alive? Thanks to Fiat Chrysler Canada, I was able to secure a brand new Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Overland Edition – yes, the tradition would continue! I was about to share the news with my wife, but one look at her preparing dinner suggested I keep my mouth shut.
The new 2015 Grand Cherokee is, in my opinion, a great looking mid-sized SUV. I’m probably biased towards the brand and model because of my previous emotional attachment; never-the-less, the current generation retains a masculine, brash look, and the new updates really make it look refined and modern. At the front, there’s bright LED marker lights and a narrower grill, and the inlay design really looks nice, as compared to previous years. And now standard on all models is the rear deck lid “spoiler” – kind of gives a BMW X5 look from the side. My EcoDiesel Overland tester was finished in Billet Metallic, complete with 20” satin carbon wheels. Completing the vehicle were dual exhausts, which boldly state, “I mean business.” This vehicle looks and feels at home whether on the back country roads, mud trails, pulling up to a cocktail party, or bringing home a newborn.
On July 10th, we welcomed baby girl Gurmehar to the world. Our elder daughters, now aged 8 and 6 years, immediately became protective of her, making sure she was warm, cuddled, and fed on time. We couldn’t wait to get our youngest and newest addition, with mommy too of course, home.
As a parent, I’m constantly concerned with the safety and protection of my children because after all, they are priceless. Thus, knowing that my wife and three princesses were coming home in a Grand Cherokee, gave me piece of mind. The 2015 Grand Cherokee is equipped with standard advanced multi-stage driver and front passenger airbags and supplemental side curtain airbags. There’s also standard crush zones in the front of the vehicle and side guard door beams, integrated into the design, that help absorb excess energy and decrease its transfer to the occupants. There’s also a plethora of available safety features, like lane departure warning, front collision warning, adaptive cruise control, etc. What this all means is that passengers are kept safe – period. Just as we protect our children within our arms’ embrace, this Jeep makes sure its occupants stay safe.
A couple of days after her birth, we were ready to take Gurmehar home. The elder girls were giddy with excitement that they barely slept the night. The only other time my girls stay up this late is to wait for Santa. We bundled Gurmehar in her car seat, said good bye to the nurses and doctors, and made our way to the awaiting SUV. Getting the car seat into the Grand Cherokee was quite simple thanks to the rear doors that open almost 80 degrees. I realize that most newer vehicles have wide-opening doors, but it never hit me until I had to get a car seat in again. And thanks to Jeep’s available Quadra-Lift air suspension system, selecting Park Mode ensures easy entry & exit and cargo loading & unloading. While the system isn’t as smooth as the one found in the Range Rover Sport or Mercedes GL, it still works quite well.
As we all nestled into our seats, my elder daughter got busy with what she does best – touching all the surfaces and playing with the gadgets in the vehicle. It’s amazing, or depressing, how an 8-year old can figure out new technology much faster than we could at that age. Some of you might disagree on my next comment but I’ll say it anyways – Chrysler’s UConnect system is definitely one of the best and easiest infotainment systems to use on the market. Within 10-15 minutes most everyone, including my wife (who hates many infotainment systems), is able to master this one. The large 8.4” screen is very good, providing crisp, clear readouts and images. Another great upgrade (done last year) is that most of the upper dash and door paneling is leather with real stitching, making the interior feel luxurious, similar to some of the luxury brands. The open wood inserts just add to the level of elegance. Front seats are comfortable and provide good support. Back seating space is also quite good – personally, losing a couple of inches in the cargo area while gaining just that little extra legroom for rear passenger is a much better trade-off for a family like mine, who really won’t be take this premium SUV into the wilderness for camping.
If you have children, driving comfort is important. The air suspension system gives the Grand Cherokee a soft ride. Yes, it does disconnect the driver from the road as compared to let’s say an X5, but the X5 can’t compare to the Grand Cherokee’s off-road capabilities. The Jeep is purpose-built to make it one of the best off-road vehicles and thus, there is some compromise in aggressive street driving. Of course, if you want to really burn the tires and blow away most SUV’s, then get the SRT8.
The drive home was one full of emotions for all of us: my daughters we filled with excitement that they had a new baby sister; my wife was dreading the long restless nights; and me, well I was overcome with the fact that I have three healthy, beautiful daughters who are my pillars of strength. As we pulled into our driveway and I took Gurmehar out of the Grand Cherokee, I whispered in here ear, “Welcome home, baby. Welcome home.”
I have a sticker about Jeeps that will need to be modified. It should now read, “God Drove a Jeep AND now, Angels travel in one as well”.