|Positives: Great build quality, best-looking Grand Cherokee ever, ample thrust, interior that's both handsome and accommodating.|
|Negatives: Small-ish cargo space, sometimes skittish Uconnect system.|
|Bottom Line: An excellent choice for a family SUV that has both luxury and ruggedness baked right in. The fact that the Grand Cherokee also looks handsome and drives satisfyingly on pavement are icing on the cake. Next to the Dodge Durango, we think it's the best American SUV on the market today.|
|View Our 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overview|
The current Grand Cherokee is wonderfully outfitted, well-designed, potent in both V6 and V8 formats and exceedingly comfortable in both civilized and rougher environments. In a segment where competition is especially fierce, the Grand Cherokee has to fight it out and display versatile talents. Our week-long drive fleshed it all out. Read on for the vital details.
When we can get our hands on a bonafide SUV that drives well on pavement, it's cause for much celebration, especially since so many of them are dullards on road. Like the smaller Cherokee brother, the Grand Cherokee shines on civilized roads, but even more so with the flagship.
The fact that it also manages off-road beautifully is what Jeeps are all about, and it's expected with this brand. We took ours on some steep, muddy hills in rural areas and didn't even have to engage 4 Low. It handled things like a champ and kept the ride from being even remotely choppy.
The Grand Cherokee comes standard with a V6 engine that makes just about 300 horsepower. Thatâ€™s the most powerful base engine in the class, and it will get you where you need to go without any problems. An eight-speed automatic transmission comes with all models, and it makes for brisk acceleration with seamless shifts. Fuel economy is average for the class, at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Similarly priced competitors donâ€™t offer too much of an advantage in fuel efficiency: The Mazda CX-9 will get you 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the Nissan Murano is good for 21/28 mpg city/highway.
Ride Quality: Excellent both on-road and off. The Grand Cherokee never ceased to amaze us with its abilities.
Acceleration: The V6 is strong and never had us craving the HEMI V8. Well, not all the time.
Braking: Good progressive brakes with solid pedal feel. It was nevery spongy nor grabby.
Steering: The steering was good with decent turn in and a modicum of feedback, which is more than we can ask for a rugged SUV.
Handling: The Grand Cherokee's chassis kept body roll in check, and handling felt pretty tight.
The Uconnect infotainment system is typically quite good in FCA's cars, but our model made it a bit painful to pair, stream music and make phone calls. The big screen looks great, and the grey color scheme is way better than the red one in Dodge vehicles. Voice command also works pretty well and adds an extra layer of convenience. We like the fact that the car is tech-laden without being difficult to use.
Infotainment System: For some odd reason, our tester's Uconnect system had trouble pairing and streaming music. At least it's pretty easy to find information and adjust controls. It's also one of the better-looking systems out there. The 8.4-inch touchscreen is well-sized and clear.
Controls: Audio and climate control knobs are big and easy to use. We would've preferred physical buttons for the heated/ventilated seats instead of touchscreen controls, which take too much time.
Bluetooth Pairing: Inconsistent with the Uconnect reputation, our tester made it difficult. Streaming music and re-pairing also were a bit barometric.
Voice Call Quality: A couple of times, we couldn't actually make the call through the system, but once connected, calls were clear and crisp.
No one will accuse the Grand Cherokee of being a serious head-turner, but that doesn't equate to unattractiveness. In fact, we think the Grand Cherokee is one of the better looking SUVs out there because it's well-proportioned, far from overwrought and dramatic, while keeping the Jeep ethos in tact. The same mindset and style carries over to the tasteful interior. It's a vehicle that will still look good in a decade, and that's a testament to the designers at Jeep.
Front: The seven-slatted grille looks Jeep-worthy with mild chrome trim surrounding each opening. The slim headlights and foglights looks great, as does the properly muscled hood.
Rear: The taillight portion mimics the shape of the headlights, and the roof spoiler and round exhaust outlet add sportiness to the mix.
Profile: A nice mix of ruggedness and class with black wheel arch trim and the smallest bit of chrome in the thin window surrounds and the door handles. The character line and body sculpting are done just right.
Cabin: We love the Grand Cherokee's interior thanks to good materials quality and the right combination of sophistication and toughness.
We were won over even more by the Grand Cherokee's cabin than we were the great body. It's one of the best interiors in its class and for good reason. All occupants will be comfortable since there's plenty of room for five adults. The aesthetics and materials quality are spot on. None of it feels cheap, and there's just the right amount of wood trim and chrome. The high-grade leather is a pleasure to sit on, and view from the driver's seat is excellent.
Front Seats: One of the better SUV seats we've experienced. Supportive, well-bolstered and very good leather. Great heat and ventilation, too.
Rear Seats: Great legroom and headroom, as well as perfect heat for those cold winters.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The whole vehicle is solidly built. There were no creaks, rattles and no noticeable wind noise./p>
Visibility: The Grand Cherokee has great visibility all around with great management of pillar width and a good seating position.
Climate: Heating and cooling were excellent with great controls, and the heated and ventilated features, as well.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee does very well in the safety department, and it's equipped with a high level of standard safety equipment. Buyers should take comfort in the fact that it provides great levels of safety with standard features and optional equipment. The Grand Cherokee offers about as many advanced safety or driver assistance technologies as most rivals in the class. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are now standard. No other competitor offers standard equipment beyond the rearview camera. You can also purchase additional features as part of a package or as standalone options, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, parking assist, automatic high-beam assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
IIHS Rating: The Grand Cherokee just misses the Top Safety Pick mark, earning a "good" in every category except for a "moderate" in the small front overlap crash.
Standard Tech: Rearview camera, parking sensors
Optional Tech: Our tester was well-outfitted with adaptive cruise control with stop, advanced brake assist, full speed forward collision warning, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning Plus, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, Blind Spot and Cross path detection.
The Grand Cherokee's cargo capacity isn't the biggest in the segment, but it's more than adequate for most. At least the storage areas are well-placed and easy to use.
Storage Space: We liked the sizeable armrest compartment, and the well-placed cupholders. Door pockets were deep enough, and the storage binnacle with charging ports in the center stack can hold small daily items.
Cargo Room: 36.3 cubic feet with the seats in place and 68.3 with the second row folded flat. It's plenty of room for a weekend's worth of luggage and gear.
Probably the Grand Cherokee's only real deficiency is it's fuel efficiency. Sure, we don't expect a lot from a potent SUV, but its competitors do better.
Observed: 18.3 in combined driving
Driving Factors: We were a bit heavy-footed in mostly suburban driving and in Sport Mode. Owners will likely see better numbers in the low twenties, combined. We never drove it in Eco mode.
We weren't that impressed with the Grand Cherokee's upgraded audio system, even with the 9-speakers, subwoofer and amplfier. It just lacked fullness that we would expect by ponying up the extra dough.