Jeep Grand Cherokee — New and vastly improved

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(January 16, 2021) Although it has grown old in a sea of new, tech-infused mid-sized sport utility vehicles, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has continued to sell quite well. Old in terms of the automotive industry is more than five years, and the outgoing Grand Cherokee has gone 11 long years without a complete redesign. For that reason, the two-row fourth-generation Grand Cherokee has finally been replaced with an all-new redesigned model that catches up with the rest of the segment in design, technology, interior comforts and drivability.

The transformation actually started for the 2021 model year when Jeep introduced a three-row Grand Cherokee L that foretold the big changes coming to the standard, familiar two-row Grand Cherokee.

We were awed by the refinement and luxury feel of the 2022 Grand Cherokee that puts it on a par with such new segment stars as the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade as well as the newest truck-based Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The Grand Cherokee continues to offer an appealing mix of upscale features and — setting it apart from many of its competitors — impressive off-road capability.

While we enjoyed driving the new crossover, we were surprised by the excellent sales numbers of the aging outgoing model. It sold nearly 210,000 copies in 2020, and through the first nine months of 2021 had sold 189,000 copies in a tough sales year because of the pandemic and the microchip shortage.

We think when all the results are tabulated for the 2022 sales year the Grand Cherokee may be the industry's best selling mid-sized SUV, not only because of its new and desirable stance, but because there's now a new larger three-row Grand Cherokee L that should scoop up additional sales.  The L has been in the mix for nearly a year as a 2021 model.

The two-row Grand Cherokee is 11.4 inches shorter than the stretched seven-passenger L, but it is 3.7 inches longer, an inch wider and rides on a 116.7-inch wheelbase that is two inches longer than the outgoing vehicle. Its larger proportions are mostly undetectable from a driving perspective, but they are felt inside where rear-seat passenger legroom is generous and in its cargo-hauling capability where it has gained 1.4 cubic feet (37.7) behind the rear seats and 2.5 cubic feet (70.8) with the rear seatbacks folded.

And while the dimensions have grown, designers have managed to reduce curb weight by about 250 pounds through the use of more high-strength-steel, and aluminum and lightweight composite materials.

The two available engines at the outset, which are essentially carryovers from the 2021 model, are the standard 3.6-liter V-6 making 293 horsepower and an optional 5.7-liter V-8 generating 357 horsepower. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capability remains unchanged at 6,200 pounds for the V-6 and 7,200 pounds for the V-8. The Grand Cherokee is expected to get an electrified version sometime this year.

We drove the V-8 and found it supremely adequate for propelling the Grand Cherokee with an estimated 0-to-60 time in the mid-six-second range. We think that will translate into confident hauling and towing. We've driven the V-6, which has been around for years, in several Stellantis applications, and we think it will provide adequate motivation as well with the capability to tow most weekend toys.

The pleasantly surprising aspect in driving the new Grand Cherokee compared to the outgoing model, is its quiet and calm cabin even under high speeds, and its compliant ride that soaked up road imperfections like a luxury sedan. More impressive perhaps is that the exceptional ride quality came in the more rugged Overland model with 20-inch wheels and four-wheel drive.  At the same time the steering was direct, and our test vehicle was composed during hard cornering.

Interior materials are among best in class and technology includes a responsive Uconnect 5 infotainment system and a 10.1-inch touchscreen on all but the base Laredo, which gets an 8.5-inch screen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment, and in the included apps is Amazon Alexa, which we found a hoot to use inside the car. Also included as an option in our Overland test vehicle was the optional 19-speaker McIntosh high-performance audio system with a 950-watt amplifier that produced excellent sound quality.  

To Jeep's credit it has provided a solid list of standard safety features including adaptive cruise, control, blindspot monitor with cross-traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, and rear parking sensors. Our Overland trim included as a $1,995 option other safety features including intersection collision assistance, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, head-up display, a surround view camera system, and an integrated off-road camera.

The Grand Cherokee comes in five trim levels — Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland and Summit — starting at $39,185 including a rather steep $1,795 destination charge, which in most cases is non-negotiable. The Trailhawk is the off-road star with a load of off-road equipment including air springs, which can increase ground clearance to 11.3 inches in the highest setting. It has a starting price of $53,070. Our Overland trim carried a starting price of $55,100 and a bottom line of a breathtaking $68,765 with several high-dollar options.

Warranties include a basic 3-year/36-mile warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty and roadside assistance for 5-years/60,000 miles.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee


Base price: $39,185; as driven, $68,765
Engine: 5.7-liter V-8
Horsepower: 357 @ 5,150 rpm
Torque: 390 pound-feet @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: four-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 116.7 inches
Length: 193.5 inches
Curb weight: 4,995 pounds
Luggage capacity: 37.7 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 70.8 cubic feet
Towing capacity: 7,200 pounds
Fuel capacity: 23 gallons (mid-grade)
EPA rating: 14 city, 22 highway, 17 combined
0-60: 6.5 seconds (estimated)
Also consider: Kia Telluride, Chevy Tahoe, Ford Explorer

The Good
• Better off-road capability than most in segment
• Rugged, handsome styling
• Generous standard safety features

The Bad
• Thirsty V-8 engine

The Ugly
• Commands a high price especially in top trims