Americans have traditionally been good at building big family cars or just big cars in general and are the original home of the Luxury SUV’s before the rest of the world caught onto the concept Jeep built one of the original big SUVs with the first V8 Grand Cherokee. Well, True to the heritage they have certainly pulled out all the stops with this new big V6 version.
What’s new on the outside?
Let’s talk size. The car I am reviewing is the 5-seeater not the 7-seater version which seats five adults in comfort and still has loads of space (436 litres) for baggage at the back. This means it is wide and certainly plenty long (4.80m).
Did I mention the space; leg and shoulder room, Stetson roof height, big comfortable typical american touring seats and big windows?
The new Grand Cherokee is an impressive SUV from all angles, front and back, in and out. The dash is one of the best I have experienced in both looks and functionality, they have a few mistakes converting it from a left to a right hand drive, but the perceived quality is high. It’s just an absolute pleasure to drive, and it was easy enough to park with all the cameras and available camera angles.
Looking at the interior, you immediately notice the eight-way electronically adjustable heated and ventilated seats with memory function and four-way headrests. There’s also the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster (choose between analogue or digital instrumentation) and the 10.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, with an additional 10.25-inch interactive screen for the passenger, the passenger screen felt little wasted due to its limited functions, it would be nice if they added more to it to keep the passenger entertained without forcing them to add an additional device as well as maybe adding more of the main infotainment functions.
The leather-bound multi-function steering wheel is also heated, cooled and has paddle shifters. This is the first production Jeep vehicle to offer a fully digital rearview mirror which is a big plus as you can pack the ‘boot’ to the roof and still see behind you – there is also an optional camera to check what is happening in the back seats on the L which has the extra row of seating.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The sound system in the Overlander model is a McIntosh 19-speaker 950-watt system with a subwoofer and active noise control. To complete the cabin, it has Nappa leather seats and door trim, three-zone climate control (the second row has its own controls), heated seats in the rear, too, many cup holders and, wait for it, 10 USB Type A and Type C ports throughout the vehicle.
The full-colour head-up display is very effective and highly customisable. It was nice to have so many custom options generally the headset displays are very limited on what you can select to display, so this was a nice feature. we found the Bluetooth and infotainment interface particularly easy to use.
In the engine bay of this fifth-generation model, you will find the familiar aluminium 3.6-litre V6 naturally aspirated Pentastar petrol engine generating 210kW and 344Nm via an eight-speed auto box. Expect an average fuel consumption of 112.9 litres/100km, around 8.9 litres/100km on the open road at 110km/h and 14.50 litres in town in real life. I really hope they bring the Hybrid 4Xe its a far better engine configuration and offers much better fuel consumption, the 3.6L feels very analog in this tech savvy SUV.
The Quadra-Lift Air Suspension allows a superb ground clearance of 277mm, which you can adjust up or down, allowing for circumstances. The Grand Cherokee range is packed with safety kits, just too numerous to mention, and fortunately, the more intrusive ones can be switched off or muted. The emergency braking system works well.
The impression you get driving the car is that the engineers have included all the good bits from Jeep and the wider Stellantis Group, which includes Citroen, Opel, Peugeot and Fiat. Perhaps the best “urban” Jeep yet. Don’t get me wrong, it has all the kit to do very well off the beaten track, but I think most Grand Cherokees will spend most of their time on roads. But they can go off-road, having rock, snow, sand and sport settings.
Engine option and Drive
Acceleration, both from standing and overtaking, is rapid. The V6 sings when you get into the throttle. The admittedly big car feels planted, perhaps due to the air suspension, without a whiff of wafting. It rides well over speed bumps but they can feel little harsh sometimes which is strange and around corners swell as dealing with road imperfections. You can set the ride height to any of the six stages, but I kept it on stage two which was Aero for town driving. It gives it a more raked look
This Grand Cherokee is pleasant to drive; the steering, brakes and accelerator are all superbly balanced and set up. The 8-speed box is silky smooth, and the V6 delivers power from start to stop. It is a perfect big family car that ticks all the boxes.
The instrument cluster and displays are highly customisable, clear and easy to use yet the have kept it focused.
The Overland model has heated and cooling seats up front and a heated steering wheel. Courtesy lighting in the cabin can be adjusted to your liking, and the courtesy lights and main beams stay on for a while (user profile settings) when you exit the car.
Some features that make you feel special, for example, the door handles are illuminated when you approach the car at night. The driver’s seat slides back, and the steering lifts to make entering easier, as well the car lowers to Easy Entry/Exit mode and lastly your display setup can be personalised for more than one driver. And so on. Little luxury touches.
Price and Warranty
Pricing is as follows: Limited R1 376 900, Overlander R1 570 900 (the model we reviewed), and the top-of-the-range Summit Reserve is R1 790 900. It seems pretty steep, but bear in mind they come very comprehensively equipped, If you want the extra row of seating it’s going to cost you about R20 000 for the L version.
As standard, you get a five-year or 120 000km warranty and Roadside Assistance as well as a 5 year or 100 000km maintenance plan.
The overall Jeep Grand Cherokee package does all the right things in a very sophisticated package, and because South Africans tend to swing towards the usual suspects there’s an air of exclusivity about it, as rightly there should.
Price: R1 529 900