2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk: The refined off-road vehicle

Jeep knows the type of people who buy its SUVs and for the past decade or so has catered its vehicles to those consumers. The Wrangler is the purpose-built off-roader with minimal convenience features, the Renegade offers the looks of a Wrangler in an easier-to-drive package, and the Cherokee is for people who want to go off-road but don’t feel the need to shout about it at a corporate party. While there are plenty of Jeeps to choose from, without a shadow of a doubt, there’s no disputing the fact that the Grand Cherokee is the most important SUV in Jeep’s lineup.

Once the brand’s flagship SUV, the Grand Cherokee sees its position in the Jeep lineup challenged with the introduction of the Wagoneer models. Do not let yourself be fooled. The all-new 2022 Grand Cherokee may not have the price tag to match the larger SUVs that carry the Wagoneer badge, but it offers a level of refinement and luxury that you won’t find in most other Jeeps. It still retains the characteristic that makes a Jeep a Jeep: being able to go anywhere.

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People have been waiting for over a decade to see a new Grand Cherokee model come out. Jeep has been slow to make changes, but it didn’t need to be fast. People will buy a Grand Cherokee because it is truly unique in its class. There are many other midsize SUVs to choose from, but there is only one Jeep. And this Jeep, unlike the others, really has it all. Luxury, off-road capability, technology, interior space and comfort. There’s a reason why the Grand Cherokee is so popular. Jeep took all these features, doubled them down and released the 2022 model.

Design and interior design

This may be a new Jeep, but you won’t mistake it for anything else. It’s not a total departure from the old Grand Cherokee but more of a glow. Instead of shopping at the Gap, the 2022 Grand Cherokee chooses to spend money at the Banana Republic. It looks good. Chunky and muscular in all the right places while still having modern lighting. You’ll also find the necessary Easter eggs throughout the body to Instagram about.

The Trailhawk trim you see here represents the angriest and most off-road trim. It gets red towbars, large skid plates, Trailhawk decals, off-road tires and 18-inch wheels. This is the only Grand Cherokee in the lineup to carry a Trail Rated badge, so you know it means business.

Depending on how far up the Grand Cherokee ladder you want to go, the SUV can feel like a luxury option. Even the Trailhawk, which is positioned as an off-road vehicle and placed in the middle of the range, can be equipped with features that will make you question whether you are in a Jeep – as long as you are willing to go above and beyond the necessary means.

The infotainment system is wonderful, the digital instrument cluster has just the right number of modes to scroll through, and the SUV just looks plush on the inside. There’s one button too many on the center console, and the closer you look at the materials, the worse they start to feel, but the Grand Cherokee continues to feel like a bridge between the mainstream world and upscale options. Of course, the two-row SUV offers a huge amount of interior space and plenty of cargo space for gear.

Driving experience

Trailhawk means business. With air suspension, Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive system, a disconnect sway bar, up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance, a wading depth of up to two feet, and knobby tires, you’ll have trouble finding terrain the Trailhawk can’t conquer. That dirt road behind your house or by your favorite hiking trail is child’s play. Forget having to activate one of the SUV’s four driving modes, raise the suspension or activate 4WD Low. Seriously, this Jeep is more than capable enough for 95% of its buyers. The other 5% would probably be better off with the Wrangler.

Under the hood, the 2022 Grand Cherokee continues to come with the same 3.6-liter V6 engine as the previous model. The V6 is a fine engine that provides enough grunt for everyday tasks and pushes the SUV up to highway speeds. There are 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque on tap, which is nowhere near the available 5.7-liter V8 engine, but it’s an extra $3,795. The V6 guzzles fuel like a V8, though, in averaged 11.3 mpg during our week with the vehicle in mostly city driving. With current gas prices, you’ll want to reconsider the move to the V8 and look at the available plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Quiet and refined, even the Trailhawk offers a much better ride than most other Jeeps. The problem is that all the off-road goodies result in a ride that shakes on roads with constant imperfections. The ride smooths out on roads that are smooth and turns into a capable highway cruiser, but you’ll feel those potholes. For the level of off-road capability you get, we think this is an understandable trade-off. Being honest about your off-road needs is a good way to see if you need to compromise on road comfort for the annual off-road runs.

Should you get one?

Yes. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is so good it will turn someone who doesn’t like Jeeps into a Jeep fan. It does everything you expect from a Jeep but doesn’t go overboard. On the whole, it’s always about off-road philosophy. The new Grand Cherokee is (not including Wagoneers) the best Jeep for non-Jeeps. It’s also the best Jeep that Jeep sells.

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