REVIEW | Could the Jeep Grand Cherokee be the best large family car in SA’s SUV market?

  • Jeep South Africa launched its new Grand Cherokee earlier in 2022.
  • It is a seven-seater SUV with a large list of standard options.
  • The all-new SUV followed the much-anticipated launch of the Jeep Rubicon Gladiator pickup (bakkie).

Americans have traditionally been good at building large family cars. I can’t think of a better large family car in our market than the new seven-seat Grand Cherokee.

Jeep built one of the original large SUVs back in the day with the first V8 Grand Cherokee. Well, they’ve really pulled out all the stops with this new big V6 beastie.

Let’s talk size. The car I’m reviewing is the L version (the only one available at the moment) which seats seven adults in comfort and still has plenty of space (436 litres) for luggage in the back. This means that it is wide and certainly very long (5.20 m).

Place. Did I mention the space; leg and shoulder room, Stetson headroom, big comfortable touring seats and big windows?

The new Grand Cherokee is a handsome car from every angle, front and rear, inside and out. The dashboard is one of the best I’ve experienced in both appearance and functionality. The perceived quality is high. It’s just a pleasure to drive, but parking in small bays or garages can be fun.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Looking at the interior, you immediately notice the eight-way electronically adjustable heated and ventilated seats with memory function and four-way headrests. There’s also the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster (choose between analog or digital instrumentation) and the 10.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, with an additional 10.25-inch interactive screen for the passenger.

The leather-bound multifunction steering wheel is also heated and has paddle shifters. This is the first production Jeep to offer a fully digital rearview mirror, which is a big plus because you can pack the “bag” on the roof and still see behind you – there’s also a camera to check what’s going on in the back seats. With rows two and three folded down, you can take your house with you for the weekend with 2,396 liters of boot space available. The second and third row of seats can be lowered or raised at the touch of a button.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The sound system in the Overlander model is a McIntosh 19-speaker 950-watt system with subwoofer and active noise control. To complete the cabin, it has Nappa leather seats and door trim, tri-zone climate control (the second row has its own controls), heated seats in the second row as well, plenty of cup holders and wait for it, 12 USB Type A and Type C ports throughout the vehicle . The legroom in the third row is in a class of its own. Actual adults can sit back there.

The full color head-up display is very efficient and highly customizable. I found the Bluetooth and infotainment interface particularly easy to use.

In the engine bay of this fifth-generation model, you’ll find the familiar 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar petrol engine in aluminium, generating 210kW and 344Nm via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Expect an average fuel consumption of 13.0 litres/100 km, around 9.0 litres/100 km on the open road at 110 km/h and 15.0 liters in the city in real life.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Quadra-Lift air suspension allows a superb ground clearance of 277 mm, which you can adjust up or down according to the circumstances. The Grand Cherokee lineup is packed with safety kits, far too numerous to mention, and luckily the more intrusive ones can be turned off or off. The emergency braking system works well. I accidentally tested it when a child walked in front of the car when I turned a street corner. It stopped the car immediately.

The impression you get when driving the car is that the engineers have brought in all the good bits from Jeep and the wider Stellantis group, which includes Citroen, Opel, Peugeot and Fiat. Perhaps the best “urban” Jeep to date. Don’t get me wrong, it has everything to do very well off the beaten track, but I think most Grand Cherokees will spend most of their time on roads. But they can ride off-road with rock, snow, sand and sports environments.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Acceleration, both from a standstill and overtaking, is fast. The V6 sings for joy when you give her her due. The admittedly large car feels planted, perhaps due to the air suspension, without a whiff of swell. It rides well over speed bumps and around bends and handles road imperfections with contempt. You can set the ride height to any of the six steps, but I kept it at step two for city driving.

This Grand Cherokee is fun to drive; the steering, brakes and accelerator are all excellently balanced and tuned. The 8-speed gearbox is silky smooth and the V6 delivers power from start to stop. It is a perfect large family car that ticks all the boxes.

The instrument cluster and displays are highly customizable, clear and easy to use. A plus factor is the actual physical knobs and buttons, which fall easily to hand.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Overland model has heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel. The entry lighting in the passenger compartment can be adjusted to your liking, and the entry lights and high beams are lit for a while (determined by you) when you get out of the car.

I think the “L” stands for “Larney” as long. For example, the door handles are illuminated when you approach the car at night. The driver’s seat is pushed back and the steering wheel is lifted to make it easier to get in. Your monitor setting can be customized for more than one driver. And so on. Some luxurious details.

Pricing is as follows: Limited R1.2 million, Overlander R1.5 million (the model we reviewed), and the range-topping Summit is R1.7 million. It seems quite steep, but remember that they are very well equipped, so you don’t need to add any accessories.

As standard, you get a five-year or 120,000 km warranty and roadside assistance as well as a 5-year or 100,000 km maintenance plan.

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