Want a luxury SUV with serious go-anywhere capability? Grand Cherokee might fit.
For those CEOs who want to move their desk to a mountaintop or a beach, Jeep has a solution. The Grand Cherokee is a unique offering that offers the luxury you’d want from a top-of-the-line SUV, but with the capability of a go-anywhere SUV. But exactly how good is it?
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Exterior Design
Now in its fifth generation, the Grand Cherokee has matured and caught up with today’s times, and it has done so without disturbing its core character, which is a tough, bullish SUV. It has the road presence check box that is almost five meters long and almost two meters wide. And if you think it’s an amalgamation of the compass and the meridian, you’d hold back a little when you see one in the flesh, especially in black.
It’s a simple design with the seven-slat grille dominating the front and adding some perceived width as well. The elegant and traditionally rectangular LED headlights fit the role well, and in the rear-view mirrors of other puny cars, it has an impressive appearance. That aside, the chunky 20-inch wheels fit the wheel arches well, but Jeep could have done with a sleeker design, for dual-tone alloys for added appeal.
20-inch wheels enhance the butch appeal.
At the back, it’s as simple as they come with a one-piece chrome strip on the bumpers and stylish LED taillights. No strong exhaust tips or dramatic lighting. It’s all clean and simple, which doesn’t do much for the typical luxury car crowd that wants some bling and jazz, but it’s true to its roots and personality.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Interior, Space
Step inside, or rather climb in, and you’re greeted by a layout that’s not only modern but also rough and tough. The all-black, functional interior is easy to take care of on adventures, and the cabin’s spaciousness is a big plus. The width of the cabin provides enough room for two large seats that are hugely comfortable and supportive, along with the right amount of cushioning.
In addition, the front seats also get 8-way power adjustment and the driver’s seat is also equipped with a memory function. Ventilation and heating are also available for the front seats, meaning you have everything you need to spend long hours here. Although a massage function after a day of roughing it would have completed the package.
The center console is dominated by the touchscreen, but there’s also a good mix of open-pore dark wood, lots of piano black and brushed aluminum, and thankfully a plethora of physical buttons and dials that are simple and convenient. The center armrest is big enough for loose items and the door cushions also have enough storage. And while the extensive use of leather feels plush, the quality of certain areas and plastics could have been better.
The chunky steering wheel also gets a heated feature, and you might wonder about its need in India, but the winters in the north are cold enough to make it work like a charm. What is also superb is the driving position and the placement of the dashboard which allows the driver to have a commanding view. Small details like the sunshade with an extension to cover the entire window are appreciated.
The rear seats are set low but are comfortable and spacious.
At the back, since the Grand Cherokee in India is the standard version and not the ‘L’, you have a bench without the third row. As a result, space is good enough, and despite being an AWD, the transmission tunnel is relatively flat too. The seats, like the front, are comfortable, but the position is low, and that limits it from having the theater-like seating position of most SUVs and also requires you to sit up with your knees. The seat backs may seem short, especially if you have long legs, but they are enough for most adults.
However, knee and headroom are good enough with some space for the feet even under the front seats. For added comfort, you can also recline the backrest, which makes the seat much more comfortable. The huge panoramic sunroof is a bonus along with sunshades for the rear windows. Passengers sitting in the middle won’t be too uncomfortable either, as there’s enough legroom and headroom.
Taking advantage of the lack of a third row is the boot, which can swallow up to 1,076 liters of luggage, and is quite easy to load too. The electric tailgate opens quickly and the trunk also holds an 18-inch space-saving wheel under the floor.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Features, Equipment
True to its luxury SUV tag, there’s plenty of kit in the Grand Cherokee. The 10.1-inch touchscreen is smooth and responsive, and while it takes a while to get the hang of, it includes the likes of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, terrain information and temperatures for essentials like oil, engine and transmission. Then there’s the 360-degree front and rear tray camera that’s no less than a navigator when you’re between a rock and a hard place.
The screen from the back is very helpful.
Also impressive are the power sockets on offer. Two Type C ports along with two USB A ports, wireless charging, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm AUX port and a front charging socket. And two Type-C ports along with two USB A ports and a three-pin socket on the back make it the perfect excuse to make it your workstation.
There’s even a seat heating function for the rear seats, just for when you’re taking the family to the Himalayas. A neat touch is a sharp screen in the rearview mirror that projects real-time images via the rear camera and an individual screen for the front passenger for entertainment. However, the audio output isn’t connected to the Alpine 9-speaker system, meaning if you’re playing a movie on the screen, you’ll need to bring your own audio in the form of Bluetooth speakers/headphones or an AUX cable.
The passenger screen has limited use.
Safety has also been focused on with eight airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, TPMS, hill start and all your basic electronic babysitters along with level 2 ADAS features such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic braking and cross traffic alert.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Engine, Performance
The Grand Cherokee is powered by a 2.0-liter petrol engine that produces 272 hp and 400 Nm and is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission by ZF. Right from the start, the engine squashes all assumptions about being ill-suited for a car of this size. It’s refined and smooth and the linear acceleration makes it diesel-like too.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine is smooth and has sufficient power.
The twin-scroll turbocharger takes a while to come into play and after a slight hesitation the Grand Cherokee lunges forward. The middle range is where the magic is. Hold the rev needle here and the Cherokee can cruise with little effort. Being a petrol though, there is better throttle response and as a result overtaking is also easy.
The gearbox is smooth and eager to upshift early, so a jab at the accelerator requires it to drop down a couple of gears before surging forward. There’s also a sport mode that speeds up the engine and transmission, but the initial lag remains. Refinement is impressive though and it’s only when pushing the engine past 4,000rpm that it sounds strained. But for a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit that has to move a screen over a two-tonne SUV, it does the job very well.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Ride and Handling
The suspension on the Grand Cherokee is also a highlight. Available with steel springs instead of air suspension may seem less sophisticated, but on Indian roads with sharper bumps than undulations, it is better. Also, unlike air suspension, a conventional setup is easier to maintain and much more robust for offroading. But on rough roads, the Cherokee rides with remarkable confidence, cushioning cracks and potholes. That said, at high speeds, over expansion joints, there is some vertical movement due to the soft setup.
Speaking of which, the soft suspension also results in a noticeable level of body roll in corners, and handling, as a result, is as you’d expect from an SUV weighing over two tonnes. The new Grand Cherokee is based on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio – an SUV aimed at driving enthusiasts – but there have been some changes to the chassis set-up and it is more India-proof. Therefore, it leans in corners, and although the 265-section tires are wide enough for grip, it has a lot of understeer. That is, of course, you should drive it like a sedan. Over the rough stuff, the Cherokee comes into its own.
Off-road modes to go the extra mile.
The Quadra-Trac 1 all-wheel drive system is advanced enough to take you to the most remote locations along with Selec-Terrain modes that let you choose between Auto, Mud/Sand and Snow. Safe to say if there’s even a little rut where you want to be, the Grand Cherokee will get you through it.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: price, verdict
With the previous iteration, price was the biggest obstacle for the Grand Cherokee. However, with this new version, it is no longer. The Grand Cherokee is assembled at the Ranjangaon plant, which has enabled Jeep to price it at Rs 77.5 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Now, if that seems like a steep ask, know that every European SUV of the same size is around 10 lakh more and much less capable. Yes, the Jeep isn’t as flashy as a Merc, as fun to drive as a BMW, or as sophisticated as an Audi, but it has an appeal that none of these SUVs have.
It’s simple and no nonsense with more focus on function over form.
It can actually take you to places that are unexplored and connect with the adventurer in you, and it’s there, specifically, for a specific set of audiences who want to do specific things. If you can do away with the value of the badge, need a tough, go-anywhere SUV with lots of kit, and will actually use it for what it’s intended to do, the Grand Cherokee is second to none.
New Jeep Grand Cherokee India Video Review