A three-row Jeep without the Grand Wagoneer cost

2022 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4WD vs. 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited vs. 2022 Volkswagen Atlas SEL 4Motion: “Bargain” three-row SUV competition.

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 host of driver assists, ventilated front seats, memory fold/telescoping steering, wireless charging, and more. Sunroof added $1,795.

Marketer’s pitch: “An extended legacy.”

Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes the “tailored interior, roomy three-row layout, actually capable off-road,” but not that it’s “more expensive than most rival SUVs, V-6 could be more refined, V-8 is a gas guzzler.”

Reality: Tough enough for trails, but what about suburbs?

» READ MORE: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Mostly on the track vs. two rivals

What is new: Debuting in 2021, the Grand Cherokee L has three rows of seating and stretches out a bit to accommodate them. It’s basically a Dodge Durango with a Jeep look.

Up to speed: Like the Durango, if you need to transport a lot of people or in a big hurry, this is the ticket.

The base engine — a 3.6-liter V-6 — delivers 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It will get you to 60 mph in 8 seconds, according to Car and Driver. While not fast, the engine didn’t feel particularly sluggish, so it’s worth a test.

Buyers with more lead in their feet can opt for the 5.7-liter V-8, adding 64 horses and 130 pound-feet, and they get 1.9 seconds shaved off that acceleration time, according to Motor Trend. But they’ll want to skip ahead to the “Fuel Economy” section here.

Sneaky: All get 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 works easily too.

I’m getting used to the steering wheel, but I still don’t like it.

On the road: The Grand Cherokee L started off feeling bouncy and unwieldy, but like the Durango, it quickly becomes easy to adjust to. Drivers aren’t looking to roar around corners, but they don’t need to slow down much either.

Still, the Grand Cherokee L hits hard hard, bumping driver and passenger.

Driver’s seat: The perch on the Grand Cherokee L is comfortable and supportive. The Capri leather seats stood out even when just jumping in for the first time.

The gauges are highly adjustable electronic displays with a variety of choices. The SUV arrived with a very minimalistic setup chosen, with only digital numbers and scant other information. A few clicks allowed me to switch to the analog speedometer and tachometer with the usual info choices in between. And wooden moldings on the dashboard add a nice touch.

Like many SUVs, the large hood seems to sit high and makes it far too difficult to see over the vehicle.

Friends and stuff: The second row captain’s chairs provide almost as much comfort as the front row but sit a little on the lower side. Standing height and legroom are good, while the legroom is a bit snug.

They move forward and backward to create extra space for the rear.

The back row offers decent headroom, but legroom is at a premium as the floor climbs higher and higher as Grand Cherokee passengers peel into the back. Of course, there is no room for feet under the second row seats, so supporting them in the second row may be the only option.

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 tow up to 7,200 pounds, which is way, way 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 didn’t get off to a good start. CarPlay was started but stopped soon after and was not found again for a couple of days. Even when I was able to access it, the process was never automatic like in almost every other vehicle.

I may have blamed my phone, but another problem popped up right away. Without access to my music library, I switched to Sirius. As it fished around the dial it locked on and kept scanning and scanning through hundreds of channels. I thought that was the plan, but I pushed the 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 settings dials help, although the black dials on a black background mean they disappear on aging eyes. The touchscreen works well, as touchscreens go.

On the bright side, the sound from the system is clear with good reproduction, about an A-.

Keeping warm and cool: HVAC functions are available on the touchscreen, and many are replicated in buttons and switches just below the radio. But they sit really low, face down, are small and aren’t intuitive. Make up your mind before you drive.

Fuel Economy: I averaged a whopping 18 mpg in a fairly leisurely (for me) test run.

Where it is built: Detroit.

How it is built: Consumer Reports predicts Grand Cherokee L reliability is 2 out of 5.

Coming in two weeks: 2022 Volkswagen Atlas.

Clarification: In last week’s Nissan Pathfinder review, the second row console was mischaracterized. It actually removes for third row access.

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