2022 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4WD vs. 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited vs. 2022 Volkswagen Atlas SEL 4Motion: “Bargain” three-row SUV race.
This week: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited.
Award: $ 52,685 as tested. Luxury Tech Group II added $ 2,795 for Capri leather seats, a variety of driver assistance, ventilated front seats, memory closure / telescopic steering, wireless charging and more. Soltak added $ 1,795.
Marketer’s pitch: “An extended legacy.”
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes the “tailor-made interior, spacious three-row layout, actually capable of off-road”, but not that it is “more expensive than most rival SUVs, the V-6 can be more refined, the V-8 is a gas guzzler.”
Reality: Tough enough for trails, but what about suburbs?
»READ MORE: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Mostly on the track versus two rivals
What is new: The Grand Cherokee L, which debuted in 2021, has three rows of seats and extends a bit to fit them. It’s basically a Dodge Durango with a Jeep look.
Up on the go: Like Durango, if you need to draw a lot of people or in a hurry, this is the ticket.
The base engine – a 3.6-liter V-6 – delivers 293 horsepower and 260 pounds of torque. It will get you to 60 mph in 8 seconds, according to Car and Driver. Although not fast, the engine did not feel very sluggish, so it’s worth a test.
Buyers with more lead in their feet can choose the 5.7-liter V-8, add 64 horsepower and 130 pound-feet, and they will have 1.9 seconds shaved off that acceleration time, according to Motor Trend. But they will want to jump on to the “Fuel Economy” section here.
Sneaky: Everyone gets the 8-speed gearbox. (You get an 8-speed. You get an 8-speed. And you get an 8-speed.) It works smoothly on the road, and shifting with the paddles also works easily.
I’m getting used to the steering wheel, but I still do not like it.
On the road: The Grand Cherokee L started to feel bouncy and awkward, but just like the Durango, it quickly becomes easy to adapt to. Drivers are not looking to roar around the curves, but they do not have to slow down that much either.
Still, the Grand Cherokee L hits hard, pushing drivers and passengers.
Driver’s seat: The perch on the Grand Cherokee L is comfortable and supportive. The Capri leather seats protruded even when they only jumped in for the first time.
The meters are highly adjustable electronic displays with a variety of choices. The SUV arrived with a very minimalist setting chosen, with only digital numbers and scanty other information. A few clicks allowed me to switch to the analog speedometer and tachometer with the usual information choices in between. And wooden slats on the dashboard give a nice touch.
Like many SUVs, the large hood seems to sit high and makes it far too difficult to overlook the vehicle.
Friends and stuff: The second row’s captain’s chairs provide almost as much comfort as the front row but sit a little on the underside. Standing height and legroom are good, while the footroom is a bit snug.
They move forwards and backwards to create extra space for the back.
The rear row provides decent headroom, but legroom is paramount as the floor climbs higher and higher as Grand Cherokee passengers step into the back. Of course, there is no room for feet under the seats in the second row, so supporting them in the second row may be the only option.
The cargo space is 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row and 84.6 with everything folded down.
Properly equipped, the Grand Cherokee L can pull up to 7,200 pounds, which is much, higher than the Pathfinder’s 6,000 pounds and in a completely different category than the Atlas 2,000.
Play some songs: The Connect 5 stereo did not get off to a good start. CarPlay was started but stopped shortly afterwards and was not found again in a couple of days. Even when I could access it, the process was never automatic as in almost all other vehicles.
I may have blamed my phone, but another problem appeared immediately. Without access to my music library, I switched to Sirius. As it fished around the dial, it locked and continued to scan and scan through hundreds of channels. I thought that was the plan, but I pushed the steering wheel again and we were back at my original station. No, it was stuck.
Fortunately, we worked well together after that, and the operation is quite simple. Volume and adjustment knobs help, even if the black knobs on a black background mean that they disappear for aging eyes. The touch screen works well, because touch screens work.
On the bright side, the sound from the system is clear with good reproduction, about an A-.
Keep warm and cool: Plumbing functions are available on the touch screen, and many are replicated in buttons and switches just below the radio. But they sit really low, are facing down, are small and are not intuitive. Decide before you drive.
Fuel economy: I had an average of a pig-like 18 mpg in a fairly calm (for me) round of tests.
Where it is built: Detroit.
How it is built: Consumer Reports predicts that Grand Cherokee L’s reliability is 2 out of 5.
Coming in two weeks: Volkswagen Atlas 2022.
Clarification: In last week’s Nissan Pathfinder review, the second-row console was incorrectly characterized. It actually removes for third-row access.