Looking for a truly off-road-ready SUV at a reasonable price? The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
TRAVIS LANGNESS: I'm Travis Langness, Edmunds editor. And this is the Expert Rundown of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 2017 Grand Cherokee gets an off-road Trailhawk model. And the top of the line Summit model gets some new styling. And there are a few new features, like self-parking system and lane departure warning. In its class, it's definitely a standout. All the trim levels, other than top of the line Summit are Trail Rated. So pretty much each one of them can go pretty far off-road. The base trim level comes with a decent V6 gasoline engine, but it's not our favorite. If we're honest, we'd upgrade to the diesel or the available V8. Those are both great. And they improve tow ratings quite a bit. No matter what model you get for the Grand Cherokee, it's got a plush interior, lots of luxury and available tech, and comfortable seats, easy to use Uconnect interface. Those are two of the best parts of the interior. The ride quality is a bit disappointing, especially with the air suspension. We'd think it'd be a little bit better. But it's totally livable. The Grand Cherokee we recommend is the Trailhawk model. Even in the base levels, you get a lot of standard kit. But the Trailhawk model comes with the extra off-road equipment as well as all the swanky stuff, like ventilated seats and the 8.4-inch touchscreen. Bottom line, the Jeep Grand Cherokee may be getting on in age, but it's definitely still one of our favorite SUVs on the road. For more reviews of key competitors, go to YouTube and check out more of the Edmunds Expert Rundowns.
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.