Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SUV just got grander with the addition of a third-row seat. But that’s now all. It’s a bit larger, more luxurious, has upgraded technology and offers a plug-in hybrid 4xe version.
For years, the Grand Cherokee has been the benchmark for 4WD SUVs which grew out of the smaller Cherokee 4WD SUV. Today, it’s offered in Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve L versions, with the latter representing the longer length and third row seat.
We tested the L model and it was luxuriously outfitted with quilted, cooled/heated Palermo leather front seats with a massage function, along with splashes of faux wood trim on dash and doors.
Perched on the vertical stack is a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen that offers 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity and serves the gamut of audio, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity, Jeep Connect, satellite radio, some voice control and more.
After a low 18.4-inch step-in into the cockpit you’ll notice the absence of a gear selector. Jeep engineers replaced it with a rotary shifter like that offered in Ram pickup trucks.
Flanking the selector are toggle switches for the 4WD system that offers Auto, Sand/Mud, Snow and Sport driving modes. On the opposite side is the toggle for the air suspension system that can lift the body from 8.4 to 11.3 inches for added ground clearance. This helps when going off-road, for deep snow, 20 inches of water and it can automatically or manually adjust for tongue weight when attaching a trailer to the receiver hitch. The system also automatically adjusts the suspension for driving on-road smoothness.
Comfy second row seats are also heated/cooled and slide forward seven inches to make ingress/egress into the third row easier for three youngsters. With seating for seven, second row seats offer generous leg and head room.
Back in the cargo area that has a 30-inch lift-over and hands-free lift-gate, and with the third-row seats upright, there’s 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 21 inches deep, 45 wide and 30.5 high. Press two buttons and the third-row power folds for 46.9 cubic feet for 51 inches of load depth. Flip the second row and it opens up 84.6 cubic feet for a whopping 84 inches (7 feet) of cargo loading depth. Beneath the cargo floor is a 5-inch deep bin for small item storage.
Aside from the 4xe hybrid version, there are two gasoline engine choices. Standard that we tested was a 3.6-liter, V6 putting out 293-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque. This is a proven powerplant that is used is other Stellantis (sure miss the name Chrysler) vehicles. Coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission, EPA rates the combination at 18 city, 25-highway estimated mpg. So equipped, the Grand Cherokee has a tow rating of up to 6,200 pounds. Acceleration was robust and actually felt like a small V8 under the hood despite its hefty 5,065 curb weight.
Optional is a 5.7L V8 with 357-hp and 390 lb/ft of torque for EPA estimates of 14 city, 22-highway mpg. Using the same transmission, it carries a tow rating of 7,200 pounds. If you have a sizable boat, large camper or utility trailer to tow, this may be the better engine choice.
Driving wise, the Grand Cherokee feels large but doesn’t handle as such. Shod with Continental 21-inch all-season tires, this full-size SUV rides smoothly and quietly on coil springs front and rear. The test car came with parallel and perpendicular park assist (parks itself).
Grand Cherokee’s are available with a choice of 4WD systems. The test vehicle came with Jeep’s proven Quadra-Trac 4WD that offer sure-footed traction in any weather. It also came with Jeep’s Select Terrain system. It’s doubtful many owners would take this beauty off-road, but it’s nice to know the capability is there.
Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve L came with a host of the latest technological safety features that included Active Driving Assist that steers for you but you must keep the hands on the wheel, adaptive cruise control with Stop-Go system, full speed forward collision warning plus, surround view camera, blind spot and cross path detection, side distance warning, intersection collision assist system, pedestrian/cyclist emergency braking, drowsy driver detection, tire pressure monitoring and more. An exhaustive and most complete list to say the least.
Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve L 4X4 carried a base price of $59,660. Options included Red Pear paint ($395), Summit Reserve Group ($3,000) that included Palermo leather seating, high-performance audio, active noise control system; 950 watt amplifier, 19-inch aluminum wheels and more; Advanced ProTech Group ($1,995); Head Up Display, Night Vision w/pedestrian and animal detection, interior rear-facing camera; Luxury Tech Group ($245) with wireless charging pad and 2nd row shades plus delivery ($1,795) brought the bottom line up to $67,090.
That’s about on par with other 4WD SUVs and below that of say the Range Rover, BMW/Mercedes comparables.
Grand Cherokee’s come with a 5 year, 60K powertrain warranty and to its credit, there are more local Jeep dealers for service as compared to the aforementioned competitors.
Added to this, the Grand Cherokee L was among Forbes Wheels Best 7-passenger SUV for 2022. It also won a Best Full-Size Award from Good Housekeeping’s Best Family Car competition.
If you want a Trail Rated SUV even though you won’t use it as such, Jeep’s proven Grand Cherokee does that and more.