2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 Review
No matter what kind of utility you need, the Grand Cherokee has it.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: January 30th, 2015
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a big car for big people. Lots of them. And not just any ordinary people. The Grand Cherokee is meant for big people with big plans. Plans that include driving over all manner of surfaces, including good old fashioned concrete pavement.
The 2015 Grand Cherokee remains unchanged from the 2014 model, which isn't such a bad thing, as it already does many more things than it ever needs to.
Some Jeep enthusiasts dislike the pinched-nose grille that is the hallmark of Jeep's new design language because it breaks away from one of the brand's hallowed traditions. Some of us, instead, simply dislike it because it's ugly. But aesthetics are of course a matter of personal taste, and we don't find the new Jeep look particularly upsetting; in fact, we're open to the possibility that it may one day grow on us. That day has just yet to come, that's all.
Once you move back from the dolphin-nose front end, things get considerably better. The Grand Cherokee looks very much like what it is - a station wagon that's been hitting the gym for the last several decades.
Jeep, like many of its fellow SUV-makers, offers an absurd level of expensive options, meaning that a car that lists for as little as $29,000 can end up costing $42,000 once it's loaded up. (Our Limited trim model lists for $38,795, but prices out at $47,780 once options and destination are added to the mix.)
Customizability is a great thing - we think every car should be offered with an optional panoramic sunroof - but one of its downsides is you can end up with a vehicle that seems well-priced at its base level, but starts to feel a bit cheap once you see the bottom line.
That's the case with our nearly $48k Grand Cherokee Limited. The interior is nicely appointed, ergonomically sensible, and not overly complex, but even with the leather seats, there's so much hard plastic everywhere that it's not always easy to remember that this is supposed to be a quasi-luxury off-roader.
That's also one of the problems with having a vehicle that serves so many purposes at once. If you're going to take your car off road (and you should definitely take the Grand Cherokee as off-road as you can get if you want to really enjoy it) you need an interior that's going to stand up to the kind of abuse to which outdoor hobbies expose a car's interior.
But if you're looking for more of a luxury vehicle and less of a rock-hopping, river-fording one, you may find the Grand Cherokee's interior a bit too pedestrian and partsbin-y.
On the Road
Performance-wise there's very little to find fault with in the Grand Cherokee. But it's important to remember that there are tradeoffs depending on which trim level you choose. For example, if you opt for the 18-inch off-road-capable tires, be prepared to feel (and hear) every square centimeter of the road during normal driving.
Otherwise, the Grand Cherokee is a more-than-capable about-towner. Its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gives it just enough oomph to keep you rolling along at a fair clip, and the steering and handling are well tuned for city driving. Although visually it's impossible to ever forget you're in an SUV (the ride height seems more elevated in this vehicle versus other competing off-roaders), performance-wise, you never feel like you're in a big truck.
You won't be bobbing and weaving through traffic like a Winston Cup wannabe, but you won't find yourself feeling underpowered either.
And when it comes to off-roading, the Grand Cherokee is no poser. With the optional Off-Road-Adventure package, the Grand Cherokee may not have quite the pampas-prowling prowess of the Wrangler, but it's far from a Compass or Patriot either. With air suspension, five drive modes (Sand, Mud, Auto, Snow, and Rock -- each of which adjusts the suspension, traction control, and throttle response according to the terrain), and an 11.3-inch ground clearance, the Grand Cherokee will definitely get you over the hills and through the woods, whether or not it's to grandmother's house you need to go.
Anyone not planning on doing some off-roading should probably skip the off-road package, as it's costly and will only make around-town driving a more cumbersome experience than it needs to be.
The Grand Cherokee is an impressive multi-purpose vehicle, but it's a less-than-impressive luxury vehicle. If you're looking for serious rock-hopping chops it's well worth a look, if you're looking for a big car in which to luxuriate in extreme comfort, you might want to look elsewhere.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: front engine, full-time four-wheel drive
Power Output: 290 hp / 260 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 17 city / 24 highway
Base Price: $38,795
As Tested: $47,780 (incl. $995 destination)
Advanced Technology Group: Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist, blind spot and cross path detection, automatic dimming exterior passenger mirror.
Luxury Group: Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, LED running lights, rain-sensitive wipers, nav-capable 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect, leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats.
Off-Road Adventure Group:18-inch on/off-road tires, rear load-leveling springs, "trail rated" badge, tow hooks, skid plates, tow hooks.
Trailer Tow Group: Full-size spare tire, quadra-lift air suspension, heavy-duty engine cooling, 7- and 4-pin wiring harness, class IV receiver hitch.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, click here: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.