The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV ever, and for good reason. The mid-sized SUV, now in its fourth generation, has been at the forefront of design and capability in its segment since its introduction as the big brother to the Cherokee in 1993.
Sporting a unibody frame, yet still offering Jeep’s legendary off-road 4x4 performance, the Grand Cherokee offers more room than the Cherokee. The current Grand Cherokee continues to be on the cutting edge, offering more of what buyers are looking for in a premium SUV. It offers good fuel economy and driving range, available clean diesel technology, a wide choice of powertrain options in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations, user friendly in-cabin technology and four different trim levels.
Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers 30 miles per gallon on the highway on 4x2 models courtesy of a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine and an eight-speed transmission. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 also boasts an unmatched driving range of more than 730 miles. Producing 240 horsepower and a massive 420 lb.-ft. of torque, Jeep’s 24-valve dual-overhead cam 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 also delivers clean-diesel technology with low CO2 emissions.
An eight-speed transmission drives the EcoDiesel, as well as Grand Cherokee’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, which still offers up 25 miles per gallon on the highway and more than 600-miles driving range. An available 5.7-liter V8 achieves an estimated 22 miles per gallon highway.
Another contributor to Grand Cherokee’s improved fuel economy is an Eco Mode, which optimizes the transmission’s shifts and, in V8 models, fuel saver cylinder deactivation that deactivates cylinders while cruising on the highway. In addition, the Eco Mode activates Grand Cherokee’s air suspension system, lowering it to “Aero Ride Height” when the vehicle speed remains between 52 miles per hour and 56 miles per hour, or exceeds 56 miles per hour.
Eco Mode is automatically engaged upon vehicle startup. If you’d like more spirited performance, a button on the center stack allows drivers to disengage the electronic nanny.
In addition to enhancing fuel economy, the eight-speed transmission delivers quicker acceleration and precise, smooth shifting, enhancing ride quality on the road. An additional benefit is a lower crawl ratio of 44.1:1 to aid in climbing over – or through – tough off-road obstacles, when equipped with a two-speed transfer case.
Legendary Jeep off-road capability comes courtesy of three available 4x4 systems, Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension system and class-leading Selec-Terrain traction management system.
Quadra-Trac I delivers full-time four-wheel drive without any switches or levers to pull. The system provides smooth operation of the vehicle over a variety of road conditions. This light-weight single-speed case is both proven and efficient for enhanced fuel economy.
The Quadra-Trac II’s two-speed transfer case uses input from a variety of sensors to determine tire slip at the earliest possible moment and takes corrective action. The system also uses throttle anticipate to sense quick movement in the throttle from a stop and maximizes traction before tire slippage occurs. When wheel slippage is detected, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.
Quadra-Drive II, with a rear Electronic Limited-slip Differential, delivers excellent tractive capability. The system instantly detects tire slip and smoothly distributes engine torque to tires with traction. In some cases, the vehicle will anticipate low traction and adjust in order to proactively limit or eliminate slip.
Selec-Terrain is standard with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II. It allows you to choose for optimum performance in sand, mud, snow, rock or automatic settings.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers a wide range of safety and security features – more than 60 in total, including: front park assist; forward collision warning with crash mitigation; adaptive cruise control, and selec-speed control – as well as an array of advanced user-friendly technology features such as Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen radio with integrated climate and infotainment controls, a seven-inch customer configurable multiview display cluster, Uconnect Access Via Mobile and cloud-based voice texting.
Available in Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit trims, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is clearly at the top of its class. You’ll like the build quality as well, with tight tolerances on the exterior and the use of upscale materials inside the cabin. Indeed, the once rough and tumble cabins found inside Jeeps have been transformed quite nicely over the past few years. If you haven’t driven a Jeep lately, now is the time to take one out on the road, especially with adverse weather just a few months off here in Western Pennsylvania.