2022 The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the first three-line Grand Cherokee ever, and like its equally new two-line counterpart, it blends a sleek good-looking look with a heavily upgraded interior. So, how does it measure up to a larger Grand Cherokee with more seating? Although the cabin presents itself well at first glance, there are some problems with its spaciousness and how Jeep designed some of the switchgear. Let’s explain.
Large body, small interior
For a vehicle that looks so big on the outside, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited is not as spacious as some of its competitors. The driver’s sitting position, even at the lowest setting and does not extend the arms of a 6-footer, is solid, but the way Jeep angles the pedals almost vertically makes the driver’s foot feel like it has to be bent backwards to manipulate the throttle. It’s not very comfortable, and it’s a shame considering how supportive and comfortable the seats feel. Everyone who is taller than 6 feet sitting on the second row will have as much knee space as you have on a cheap plane – which does not mean much. If someone of the same height is sitting in front of you, kiss your knee room goodbye. The foot space under the front seats is good, while the ceiling height on the second row is also decent.
How about the seats in the third row? Yes, forget it for anyone taller than 5 feet. The room in L’s third row is clearly focused on children. With those seats in use, the storage area behind them is not as awful as it may be in some three-wheeled vehicles; apparently the cargo space is nicely expanded by folding down the rear seats.
The electric rear door controls are another bugaboo of the way back. When you need to close the tailgate, you notice that the control is not placed as comfortably as on other SUVs. Instead of placing the button on the tailgate itself, close to the handle. Jeep installs the button on the left side of the load opening, at the quarter panel. If you had groceries or just a few tall bags on that side of the trunk, you could easily cover the button. An advantage of this arrangement, once you get used to looking for the button there, is that it is easier for smaller users than it would be if it were at the end of a long, open tailgate.
Features for inconvenient convenience
Some of the other amenities of the Grand Cherokee L are also not very comfortable to use. To begin with, the button layout on the steering wheel places the innermost buttons very far from the steering wheel rim. Even for those with slightly larger gloves, it is a struggle for the thumbs to reach them without moving their hands while driving. The stems barely reach the fingertips if you hold the steering wheel normally in the 9 and 3 positions.
There are also two cruise control buttons, one for the standard, old-fashioned cruise control that maintains a fixed speed, and another for the adaptive, radar-monitored version that can slow down and speed up the car to maintain a set speed. On the one hand, it is nice that both buttons are presented rather than using a button and requires the driver to press and hold it to switch between fixed and adaptive settings; on the other hand, the two buttons look almost the same. (Hint: The adaptive control is the one between the adjustments of the tracking distance.) It is also easy to accidentally deactivate the radar cruise system, as there is no tactile difference between that button and the surrounding ones to adjust the distance.
Although the location of lane keeping, automatic stop-start, parking and other functions at the top of the dashboard above the touch screen are a good idea at first, they are difficult to read as they almost blend into the surrounding trim. Lights that shine directly on the top of the dashboard are also reflected from these buttons, making them even harder to read.
Checks only for the acquaintance
Both the instrument cluster and the infotainment screens also suffer from some usability issues, so we suggest that you consult the operating instructions for a complete review of their capabilities and how to use them. An outstanding one? It is completely unclear how to change settings on the digital driver display, and even switching from a digital speedometer layout to an analog-mimicking layout is not easy to find out without paying close attention to the dashboard. (You have to press a button on the left steering wheel that calls up alternative menu options, then you have to scroll between them. In short, it is not easy to do when standing still, much less when driving.)
Even the climate control buttons are not very intuitive, as it takes a moment to realize that the fan speed rocker switch is between the driver and passenger side heating and cooling switches, and all of these are stopped between two round knobs that are actually sound controls (volume left, setting to the right). Even worse, this mix of plumbing and sound controls lives on a dark panel located low in the center of the touch screen shadow. There is a learning curve, to say the least.
As for that touch screen, we wish the speed limit indicator was bigger and easier to see on the navigation map, and if you plan on towing and would not mind seeing any extra gauges like your transmission temperature, they are buried in the “off” road menu. ” That wording is not exactly what you think of when looking for that kind of towing-related information, otherwise the screen’s latest Uconnect software is as intuitive as previous versions, all of which were among the simplest in nature.
Hit D for Drive, but do not rush
A safety-related issue we bring with Jeep is the use of a dial without a clear enough lockout for reversing. It is far too easy to turn all the way to park or reverse by mistake when noodling around at low speeds during e.g. a parking maneuver, as long as the foot is on the brake (as it probably will be if you park). The notches are just so subtle that you do not realize that you have gone too far – or not far enough – until it is too late. There were times during the shooting for this Grand Cherokee L when we were not sure if we had parked it in the park until we did not feel the jeep moving. It is not trustworthy; there must be either better defined notches or a stricter lock that requires the vehicle to be stopped completely, not just the brake depressed, to access the hill, along with some form of audible signal when you put it in the hill.
Like I said … It’s pretty nice inside
In addition to these problems with the user experience, most of the materials inside the Jeep’s interior are pleasant. Plastic parts do not feel like plastic, and the leather looks and feels fantastic to the touch. What does not feel as nice is the fake wood upholstery, which feels like smooth, cheap plastic even though it looks like it has a nice structure. The leather-wrapped steering wheel, even if a little bulky, still feels right in your hands and the right three-and-nine position is easy to hold, but any hand position feels comfortable if you do not have to reach for any of the steering wheel controls. The seats prevent you from slipping around while driving hard, even though this is not a sports car.
Although the jeep is satisfactory to drive and good-looking inside and out, we wish that some of its functions were easier to use and that its control layout prioritized rapid manipulation over style.
Looks good! More details?