Reflections On Chrome II

This could have been a Picture for Sunday. Instead it’s more about materials and form. 

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Background: the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (which is what I think this is) appeared on the world stage as a derivative of the Mercedes W-166 platform which also made its way to showrooms in 2011. That’s news to me. Did Mercedes license this? The whole of the Grand Cherokee Wikipedia entry reads like it has been airbrushed by someone with corporate interests so I have my doubts.

To the pictures. At the front we find a chrome grille and a chamfer feature around the lamp. Confusingly, the chamfer runs across from the body colour area to the chrome part. Thus the material selection runs counter to the form´s expression or dominates it. It’s only after a second glance do you realise that the chamfer (marked in green) is sculpturally speaking really associated with the lamp. Later versions of this car avoid this by having the same colour running all the way around the lamp.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland badge

On the plus side, the engineers managed to make the chrome frame around the side glass look like one piece by means of a very fine joint. Helpfully, the split is on the straight and nowhere near the radius.

My heart leapt when I saw the Overland Summit badge. I thought it was  a special edition. But it’s a standard trim package. Judging by the smart interior this indeed was the top of the Jeep Grand Cherokee tree. We often kick FCA here: in this case I think they did a nice job of presenting a tasty interior. The leather was plastered over every thing, and in a nice way.

[2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee source]


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

16 thoughts on “Reflections On Chrome II”

  1. One of the final products of the failed Daimler Chrysler merger, now airbrushed from history…

    1. The BMW E92 also has a rather beautiful chrome frame. Small details such as this can have an exponential effect on the impression one gets of the entire vehicle.

  2. I find the Grand Cherokee a rather bland car, but can excuse that it does its job competently – Jeeps usually do.

    The mild solecisms of surface detailing are as nothing compared with the entirety of the Compass – or have I trodden on the hoof of a DTW sacred cow?

    The Renegade is a welcome move forward from the anodyne tendency. I rather like it, but can’t get away from the reality that above all, it’s a jacked-up Punto.

    1. The Renegade is really nice and much more convincing than its Fiat 500-Wotsit cousin. It’s the first CUV that isn’t a Landrover that I actually find compelling.

    2. The Compass? I had to look that one up and it still didn’t ring a bell. It may be I’ve never seen one. Denmark is not Jeep territory and when I’m in Dublin I see Land Rovers and RAVs.
      The Compass doesn’t look like it’s worth having a strong opinion about. To do so I’d need a much broader and deeper knowledge of automotive tat than I do. It’s unusual we are even discussing an SUV/CUV as I don’t even consider them as cars. That dealers sell them and quondam-car buyers drive them doesn’t stop them eluding my attention

    3. The Compass is an eye troubling device. The square pushed out wings remind me of shoulder pads, plus it has a particularly nasty implementation of the rising triangular three quarter window du jour. At least the facelift released the poor car from the curse of its round headlights.

    4. In comparison to its immediate predecessor, this Grand Cherokee was/is sheer class.

      I consider WH generation part of the breed of DaimlerChryslers From Hell. While I couldn’t tell you what exactly went all wrong between Möhringen (‘Bullshit Castle’) and Auburn Hills, the results of this unholy alliance tend to speak for themselves, namely a generation of cars designed with all the delicacy and intrinsic quality of a particularly blunt Tonka toy. The Dodge Caliper remains, to me at least, one of the worst-designed/styled production cars of all time. I remain baffled how a group of professional stylists, engineers and executives could ever consider this car fit for purpose.

      Ghastly stuff.

    5. As a concept the Dodge Caliber isn’t so bad, but it is let down by poor execution. Solid plastic indeed…

  3. think you’ll fing the Jeep GC is based on the W164 chassis from 2006, when MB still owned Chrysler as a quick Google search will show. The Wikipedia entry, well ……

    1. Thanks, Bill. The unreliability of Wikipedia comes into play. If the basis is the W-164 that makes it potentially less competent than it should be but perhaps the structure was so worked over it hardly mattered. Do you wonder how much they have in common, dimensionally. I’m not a Benz/Chrysler archealologist so I won’t research this- do they have any common engines? If they did then I’d expect commonalities; if not then the “shared platform” is probably notional.

  4. The year before last, I found myself stranded in an FCA showroom for a couple of hours, during which I sat in a whole raft of Fiats and Alfas and got thoroughly depressed. In fact, the only vehicles I sat in that felt in the least bit special were Jeep products. Even odder, I ended up in a Wrangler and was within a whisker of beckoning over the salesman and asking about availability before I came to my senses. A close call.

  5. Another look at the Compass brought me to my senses. It is quite bad. That there are none in my region is great. A lot of Dodge and Chrysler cars are like this: not Aztek bad, to be fair, more unmatured and of questionable taste.

    1. In the case of the Compass, you’re far too kind.

      I’m much more favourably disposed towards the Dodge “Caliper” (I like that!), one of the cars which acted its part in defining the crossover as we know it, but also played an interesting game of scale with its “big rig” frontal treatment. At the risk of sounding Bayley-ish, the trick of introducing elements of monumentality to a relatively small object put me in mind of the architectural work of H H Richardson and F T Pilkington, shamelessly blagged by Stirling and Wilford in their Staatsgalerie era.

      On the matter of shameless blagging, Subaru seem to have purloined the Caliber – tamed a little – for the Impreza GP/ XV / Crosstrek. The high-riding examples work best, at least in appearance terms.

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