Some say that Jeeps are too expensive and unreliable, but these vehicles are an undeniable hit among most consumers. The Jeep Wrangler is probably the most iconic, known for its door-free versatility and unbeatable off-roading ability. However, even Jeep’s conventionally-styled SUVs like the Grand Cherokee are built for adventure.
According to Consumer Reports, this is one of the reasons so many drivers love their Jeep Grand Cherokee. CR chooses the most satisfying vehicles based on how many drivers would definitely purchase that model again. 74 percent of Jeep Grand Cherokee owners would buy another one, making it one of the most popular in its segment.
What makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee so satisfying?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has powertrain options for every type of driver. The base motor is a 3.6-liter V6 capable of 295 hp, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. CR praises this powertrain for its consistent improvements over the years, like the additional gears and quicker acceleration.
Drivers can also opt for Hemi V8 engines, making 360 hp in all trims besides the SRT, which makes 475 hp. The fully-loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk gets an exclusive 707-hp supercharged V8, giving it a racecar-like performance. Both the SRT and Trackhawk trims come with enhancements like Brembo brakes and an adaptive suspension.
On the road, CR testers reported responsive steering and only subtle body lean inside the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The ride feels firm at lower speeds, but surprisingly comfortable once the vehicle really gets moving. The brakes are easy to modulate and gave the Grand Cherokee a good result on its avoidance maneuver test.
Off-road, the Grand Cherokee definitely has an edge over other SUVs in its class. It has drive modes programmed to tackle any kind of unsteady terrain, even rocky hills. Drivers can also choose between a few off-roading packages that include low-range gearing, an air suspension, and skid plates. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has these features as standard equipment, plus a limited rear-slip differential.
With the base engine, this model can tow 6,200 pounds. According to CR’s testing, this SUV reaches 60 mph in a respectable 18.1 seconds when pulling a 5,000-pound trailer. V8-powered Grand Cherokees are quicker and can tow up to 7,400 pounds. A heavy-duty tow package is also on offer, providing a self-leveling rear suspension and better alternator.
What it’s like on the inside?
Even with its rugged performance, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s interior is surprisingly fancy. Most surfaces are nicely padded and complemented by neat chrome trim and wood. Drivers enjoy many adjustability options in the front seat, plus great visibility and big side door mirrors. Both front seats are firmly cushioned, but CR says that they’re still comfortable and supportive.
The same goes for the second row, which even allows passengers to recline their seatbacks. Stretch-out space is generous, so three adults should have no problems getting inside. Cargo space is slightly below its competitors, with 36 cubic feet behind the back seats.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s technology options
The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, satellite radio, and a few USB ports. CR recommends getting the optional 8.4-inch touchscreen, which makes it easier to read and navigate through Uconnect’s useful but simplistic menus.
This upgrade is available starting in the Laredo X, which also adds on synthetic leather seats and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The system provides almost too much information, to the point where testers wished they could switch it off during nighttime driving. Any collision-prevention features are reserved for the higher trims, but base models get blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors.