<a class=Cherokee Wheel 250" hspace="4" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/4070977118718511.JPG?0.5626507762495467" width="250" align="right" vspace="4" border="1" />I have to admit this is one of the first times a test vehicle's stereo has me playing CDs while driving. Usually I listen to talk radio so I can hear the car underneath me. Not so with the Boston Acoustic 6-disc changer in the Jeep. I love this stereo. I played the new …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead record and the first Queens of the Stone Age album and both blew my mind.

The rest of the interior is equally well sound conditioned. I?ve read reviews that say highway noise was horrible but during a 20 mile jaunt on the local expressway the new Grand Cherokee seemed fine to me. Even wind noise didn?t invade the interior too much despite the boxier shape of the new model.

Cherokee Interior

I?m still not loving all this plastic. It?s the kind of plastic you knock on and sounds hollow. That?s not what you want to hear in any new car, especially one priced over $30K. A reader wrote in that all cars are like this now. Well most Japanese cars aren?t. Somehow Scion can manage a decent plastic interior for almost a third of the money. Figure it out guys.

cherokee centerThe center stack is much improved though. Our tester?s fake wood isn?t even that bad. Controls are well laid out but the environmental control for the airflow is to the far right of the console making it a decent reach for the driver. It would have been easy to rearrange the knobs so the passenger?s separate temperature settings were located there instead. What really bugs me is the nav system and LCD that isn?t a touch-screen. The navigation controls are cumbersome to say the least and I just gave up and left the neat, folder-like radio settings up on the display.

I definitely like the leather seats though. They?re supportive and firm but very comfortable. That?s an unusual combination. And the answer to my fianc?e?s prayers was answered with the cup holder. Well sort of. In her 2004 Grand Cherokee the cup holders are so shallow those tall and skinny water bottles fall over every time you take a turn or hit a bump or sneeze. The new version has one deep holder and one shallow one. So the driver may partake in a nice refreshing bottle of water but the passenger is out of luck and left holding onto their own bottle.

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