Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4

The top of the Jeep model range needs a little explanation: Once upon a time there was a full-size Wagoneer, favored by summer residents in large old cottages by the sea in New England. Because it is of the truck type, body-on-frame construction, it gave birth to a Jeep pickup, called the Gladiator, now long extinct. Eventually (after 30 years), Wagoneer’s seat on top of the Jeep series was taken over, in 1993, by a modern, two-row crossover-type SUV called the Grand Cherokee.

Ever since then, the Grand Cherokee has ruled supremely – until now. For model year 2022, the old Wagoneer name was dusted off and applied again to a full-size vehicle with a body on a frame, this time based on the Ram 1500 pickup. (Jeep and Ram / Dodge are both Stellantis brands; Stellantis is a new entity bringing in FCA — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which owned Jeep — plus Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Vauxhall, and who knows what else.)

But wait, there’s more: With loans from its Cherokee line, Jeep also introduced a deluxe-er version of the new Wagoneer called, well, the Grand Wagoneer. Both of today’s Wagoneers have three rows of seats, but the Grand is one foot longer, which makes it about the size of a Chevrolet Suburban. Since it is Grand, it can also be selected up to far north of $ 100,000. It is proportionally decadent.

At the same time, the dethroned Grand Cherokee, which obviously knows the gravity of its new, bigger siblings, has been redesigned and enlarged. Last year, we drove the L-model with extended wheelbase of this new, fifth-generation Grand Cherokee, which also has three rows of seats but is 10 inches shorter than the new Wagoneer and 22 inches shorter than the Grand Wagoneer. Understood it?

Today’s topic is the smaller, non-L 2022 Grand Cherokee. It has two rows of seats but lacks nothing else in terms of amenities or options. Stylistically, the new GC has left the more chiseled lines of the old Grand Cherokee behind for the rounder look of the new Wagoneer, but it remains unmistakably the Jeep. This is critical, as Jeep relies on its experienced off-road, grandfather-won-war cachet to justify high prices.

The Wrangler stone ax embodies Jeep’s traditional capabilities; The Grand Cherokee is supposed to offer almost the same off-road skill, but with a lot of comfort and friendliness on the road at the top – an American Range Rover, if you will. Although, since our loaded upper-end Overland 4X4 stickers for $ 70,360 (base price $ 55,305), barely half of what an approximately similar Range Rover costs, it’s not a real comparison between apples and apples.

The most expensive extra on our Overland is the 357-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 engine, an upgrade of $ 3,295 compared to the standard V-6 of 293 horsepower. The larger engine offers an additional 1,000 pounds of towing capacity, to 7,200 pounds, and slightly more zip while reducing fuel efficiency to a rated 14/22 MPG city / highway. (We had an average of about 18 miles per gallon in total.) The V-8 only comes with 4-wheel drive; Rear-wheel drive is an option with the 6-cylinder Grand Cherokees. All GCs receive an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep offers three drive systems, with varying degrees of off-road driving: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II, which are standard on the all-conquering GC Trailhawk. Our Overland was configured for more normal driving: comfort on the road and competence with sufficient capacity to get to the distant mountain cabin. The air suspension, with electronic damping, can raise the Overland for as much as 11.3 inches of ground clearance and the ability to rush 24 inches of water.

Our Overland has the upgraded 10.1-inch touch screen and a separate screen above the glove compartment for the front passenger. It also has a McIntosh sound system with 19 speakers and 950 watts which is so good that I can hear the difference.

The Luxury Tech Group IV and Advanced Protech Group III packages are also impressive, with a head-up display, an adjustable 360-degree and off-road camera system (with rear lens washer), night vision with animal and pedestrian detection, rain-sensing wipers, a cordless phone charger , stylish upholstery and upholstery, heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, an electrically adjustable steering wheel, window protection for the rear seats and more, plus all the usual active driver aids.

My wife never liked the fourth generation Grand Cherokee. She is happy with this: “it is comfortable and easy to get in and out of.”

If she could still drive, she might add: “Thanks to a handful of different driving modes, the experience behind the wheel is safe and responsive and can range from relaxed – if the job is to just get home after a long day – to aggressive, if empty, winding mountain road attracts. ”

She heard an odd tone, a slightly hoarse chuffing sound at idle: the no longer familiar sound of a normally aspirated V-8 engine sucking and pumping.

A plug-in hybrid version of the Grand Cherokee, 4xe, is coming soon. This should help atone for the outdated fuel efficiency of the gas version. Jeep claims that 4xe can cross the entire length – 22 miles – of Moab’s famous Rubicon terrain trail on electricity alone. The most expensive Grand Cherokee will be the Summit Reserve 4xe, with a starting price of about $ 76,000. At the other end of the scale, a basic RWD V-6 Laredo starts at just over $ 40,000.


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