A dozen years between models is a long time in the automotive world. And when an automaker goes to such lengths before revamping a nameplate, it’s extremely important to do it in style.
That’s exactly the mantra that parent company Stellantis followed with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee that finally arrived in South Africa last month.
Not only is the fifth-generation model larger than life – always handy when making a statement whether we’re talking cars or rugby players – but it’s also well-refined and affordable.
We spent some time with the seven-seat, long-wheelbase Grand Cherokee #jeep #grandcherokee #thecitizenmotoring #thecitizennews
♬ Original Sound – The Citizen
One of the first things to notice about the new generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is the letter “L” at the end of its official title. It indicates ‘long wheelbase’ which at 3091mm has seen the overall length increase by 380mm to a very long 5208mm.
With the extra length clearly visible around the rear of the already huge car, the letters “BA” would also have been an accurate description. Albeit not so politically correct outside of the rural southeastern United States. Drop the words “big ass” in your best hillbilly accent…
Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 3rd row
While the new version of the standard wheelbase Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered on that side of the Atlantic, South Arica won’t be getting it anytime soon.
The most prominent change with the long wheelbase is the addition of a third row of seats. This means the entry-level Limited and mid-level Overland are now seven-seaters due to the three second-row and two third-row seats.
The top-of-the-range Summit Reserve seats one less as the second-row seating consists of two captain’s chairs instead of a three-seat bench.
We recently had the Jeep Grand Cherokee L in Overland trim level as a week-long house guest and were hugely impressed with both the interior space and comfort offered.
The third row is much more than a marketing gimmick, as is so often the case when a vehicle is abandoned as a seven-seater. There is no shortage of legroom and headroom for those sitting in the back.
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The 436 liters on offer in the boot with all seats up is enough for everyday luggage, with this number reaching four figures with the third row folded down. The 60/40 split second and 50/50 split third rows fold down electronically via buttons in the trunk.
Kitted to the brim
There is no shortage of amenities in the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland. What it offers as standard could cost you an arm and a leg as an option in rival stables. And the beauty of it is that the love is spread throughout the cabin with the help of a McIntosh 19-speaker 950-watt sound system with subwoofer, active noise control system, all-round Nappa leather seats and door trim, tri-zone climate control, heated second-row seats, cup holders galore and no less than 12 USB ports.
Front-row passengers have the added benefit of eight-way electronically adjustable heated and ventilated seats with memory function and four-way headrests, plus a 10.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity and satellite navigation.
Additionally, the driver can rely on a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and heated leather steering wheel while the front passenger is entertained by a 10.25-inch interactive screen where movies can be viewed via HDMI input.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is powered by the familiar 3.6-liter naturally aspirated aluminum Pentastar V6 engine that also powers the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. It produces 210 kW of power and 344 Nm of torque which is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee
The drivetrain does an excellent job of pulling the nearly 2.3 ton monstrosity without any fuss while the box felt super smooth.
There’s plenty of power and a pretty awesome soundtrack even under hard acceleration, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee is more of a smooth cruiser than anything else. Those wanting more power will have to wait patiently to see if the American moniker will release an SRT and Trackhawk down the road.
Heaven knows what the fuel consumption in those beasts will be, as this version is already bloody thirsty. While we achieved 11.8L/100km on a 200km journey with cruise control set to the national limit, our average over 600km was a rather bloated 14.7L/100km.
We didn’t take the Jeep Grand Cherokee off the road, but have no doubt it will live up to Jeep’s legendary reputation.
It has all the latest and greatest off-road systems, with the added benefit of Quadra-Lift air suspension which allows an outstanding 277mm of ground clearance.
This Jeep also has such an extensive safety and security spec sheet, 110 to be exact, that it is simply too long to mention here. Just trust us when we say it’s a very safe car.
Overall, the Grand Cherokee L looks good, is very spacious, safe, technologically advanced and an absolute pleasure on the go.
At R1 479 900, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland isn’t out of reach for your average commuter, but if ever there was one at that price, it offers good value for money. If you can afford to fill the tank, of course.
For more information on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, visit the manufacturer’s website.