2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee can handle everything. With advanced four-wheel drive systems, accessible air suspension and plenty of ground clearance, this SUV is a skilled mountaineer. But thanks to its handsome style and first-class interior, it is still an excellent alternative for family service or a night on the town. Whether it’s about taking the Rubicon Trail or driving you and your spouse to the orchestra hall, the Grand Cherokee is ready for almost anything.
The aggressively lightweight but extraordinarily habitable Trailhawk model sits yummy in the middle of the Grand Cherokee series. This trim level is only available with two rows of seats and is designed for off-road driving. Consequently, it comes standard with a Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system and an electronic rear differential with limited slip. There’s also a Quadra-Lift air suspension, a detachable swivel and standard 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires.
The Grand Cherokee you see here is powered by a 3.6-liter V6, although there is nothing basic about this entry-level offer. Steady throughout the rev range and quiet, to boot, the Stellantis Pentastar V6 is always a delight, delivering a class-competitive 293 horsepower along with 260-pound torque. Sure, those numbers are far from what the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 offers (357 hp, 390 lb-ft), but the Pentastar engine can do more than the challenge of pulling around a large-legged, 4,747-pound SUV. That V6 even allows the Grand Cherokee to pull up to 6,200 pounds, although you can pull half a ton more if you choose the Hemi.
A well-stocked eight-speed automatic transmission helps this SUV accelerate with ease. As smart as it is silky smooth, this gearbox shifts smoothly with imperceptible softness, and when you roll the accelerator pedal, it easily lowers the gears to let that V6 engine breathe, which it does especially well at higher engine speeds. Switching to sport mode enlivens the throttle response and transmission performance considerably, much more than in other mid-size SUVs.
The four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is EPA-rated to 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined – figures that, strangely enough, are exactly the same as two-wheel drive models. In mixed use, I only get shy for 18 mpg, not a great view.
Dynamically, Jeep engineers have a lot to be proud of. The structure of the Grand Cherokee feels completely stone-safe, as unshakable as a granite boulder. This rigidity helps provide a ride that is well controlled but very comfortable, the Trailhawks air suspension absorbs imperfections without letting the body flop around. These adjustable braces are also a gift from God when driving off-road as they give you up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance, almost as much as a maxed out Wrangler Rubicon.
The steering wheel reflects its well-assorted driving and feels tight and robust through the thick wheel. This SUV is always planted, but it feels smaller and much smoother than you ever expected.
Grand Cherokee’s doors open ker-chunk when you open or close them. It sounds loud and old-fashioned, but also soothing, like that USB battery pack you have in your computer bag even though it has not been charged for several months. Inside, this SUV’s interior is regal and classy, even though this tester’s blacker than a soot-soaked chimney. From leather to hard plastic to seams, all the materials used here are wonderful – yes, almost all. Piano black is never a good idea, not even on stringed keyboard instruments. This glossy black material attracts dust and fingerprints like crows to carcasses and the gadgets are easily scratched. The interior of this jeep already looks as if it has been towed on a gravel road and the vehicle has only 1,600 km on its odometer.
Grand Cherokee’s dashboard looks good and all standard controls – such as gear controls, infotainment screen and air valves – are easy to see and reach. The electric front seats are comfortable all day and both heated and ventilated in the Trailhawk. The second row bench is similarly accommodating and offers plenty of ceiling height and legroom, as well as plenty of support from its fixed cushions. Riders in the back seat also get butt warmers, which are standard on all but the base model. If you need three rows of springs for the Grand Cherokee L, which is more than 11 inches longer than the standard model, or you can grab one Jeep Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer, but none of these SUVs get the Trailhawk treatment.
The Grand Cherokee keeps pace with other premium SUVs and offers plenty of technology. To begin with, an 8.4-inch infotainment screen with navigation is standard in the Trailhawks, but the optional 10.1-inch is worth every penny of the $ 1,495 upgrade fee. Bright, colorful and sharp, this screen is home to a Uconnect 5 infotainment system that is super responsive and easy to navigate. Each Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 10.3-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster that is unfortunately less commendable. The interface is not well thought out and cycling through menus is surprisingly unintuitive. In addition to all these features, driver aids such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, blind spot and lane keeping assistance are standard throughout the model range.
You can also get this Jeep with an optional digital rearview mirror and 10.3-inch passenger side display. Invisible to the driver, the touch screen on the dashboard for 1,095 USD allows the person with a shotgun to play with the vehicle’s cameras, enter a destination in the navigation system or consume their own entertainment via Bluetooth-paired devices or an HDMI port. Overall, this is a pretty nice feature, although the interface on the screen lags noticeably compared to the main infotainment display.
Other common Trailhawk goodies include automatic headlights and high beams, LED fog lights, remote start and a heated steering wheel. The example you see here is also equipped with the Luxury Tech Group III package for $ 1,295, which gives you rain-sensing windshield wipers, parasols on the second row, a hands-free electric drive and more. $ 1,995 Advanced Protech Group II includes parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system and night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, which is especially useful at low speeds in urban areas. A full-color head-up display is available in this SUV, but only on more elegant Overland and Summit models.
From most angles, the new Grand Cherokee and its long siblings look good, although the styling for my yellow-eyed eye is a step backwards compared to this vehicle’s predecessor. The latest generation does not look as handsome or well-proportioned and the slightly angled grille makes the vehicle look like an awkward overbite.
With its unique blend of capability and luxury, the Grand Cherokee should perform better in the dirt than rivals such as the Ford Explorer and Kia Telluride. Depending on the upholstery, this Jeep’s interior is also rich enough to give the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 a run for their euros.
This 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk checks out for $ 61,040, including $ 1,795 in destination fees. Options not already mentioned include $ 1,695 for a double-glazed sunroof and $ 395 for silver zynithic paint (yes, that’s how they chose to spell zenith). Avoid anything extra and you can take a Trailhawk for about 53 thousand bucks or if you are particularly frugal, a base Grand Cherokee Laredo for less than 40.
As it stands, the Trailhawk is an impressive SUV, one that is undeniably capable of dirt, but still refined enough to compete with some luxury commercial vehicles. With generous amounts of standard and available technology, rock-solid dynamics and an exclusive interior, this Jeep can handle almost anything.