With a unique blend of off-road chops, decent highway manners and around-town maneuverability, the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of shoppers looking for an upscale midsize SUV. Even though controversial redesigns have softened some of the traditional Jeep styling cues, resulting in sleeker lines and a more aerodynamic look, the Grand Cherokee retains enough muscular Jeep DNA to preserve its appeal to purists. And the less trucklike appearance has allowed it to attract entirely new groups of buyers.
For 2017, Jeep has made a rearview camera and rear parking sensors standard equipment on all Grand Cherokee models. The line-topping Summit trim level gains updated styling and a more luxurious interior. Perhaps the most intriguing news for 2017 is the addition of the Trailhawk model with 18-inch off-road tires, air suspension with extra travel, skidplates and an electronic limited-slip differential.
Standard power for the Grand Cherokee comes from a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque and comes linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Other engine choices abound. There are V8s of 360 horsepower and 475 hp, as well as a 240-hp diesel V6. All models are available with four-wheel drive, except the off-road-oriented Trailhawk, on which it's standard.
Fuel economy for the base rear-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee with the V6 engine is EPA-rated at 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway). Choose the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with four-wheel drive and the rating drops to 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway).
The experience of driving the Grand Cherokee can vary, depending on which trim level you choose and what you ask it to do. Equipped with four-wheel drive, all models except the posh Summit are capable off-roaders. True, most buyers won't ever wander off into the dirt, but those who do will find Jeep's flagship able to conquer the majority of the competition. On the open road, the Grand Cherokee is surprisingly smooth and comfortable, thanks to suspension that is tuned to split the difference between utility hauler and people carrier. But there's no way this SUV can be can considered a sportster. It's just not oriented toward corner-carving.
There's a good story inside the Grand Cherokee as well. The interior of even the base Laredo model is well designed and pleasant, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, an infotainment center with Bluetooth connectivity and a 5-inch touchscreen. Moving up to the Limited and Overland trim levels adds a host of comfort and convenience features, and the top-of-the-line Summit piles on more of those, plus increasingly luxurious interior touches. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.