2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee has an excellent blend of luxury, comfort and off-road capability.
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Whatever you're looking for in an SUV, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee likely offers it. Depending on how you equip it, it can be well-rounded and luxurious, an off-road specialist or a hot-rod SUV. It's one of our favorites in the midsize SUV class.

Since it's a Jeep, you'd expect that the Grand Cherokee will offer class-leading off-road abilities, and it delivers. With special four-wheel-drive systems, available skid plates and multiple drive modes for varying surfaces, it goes much further off-road than the average SUV. But what you might not expect is the the Grand Cherokee's performance side. On top of the decently powerful standard V6 engine, the Grand Cherokee offers three V8 engine options, including a 475-horsepower V8 under the hood of the SRT model and the truly bonkers 707-hp Trackhawk model.

Stack up all the unique features, add them to the Grand Cherokee's inherent utility and you've got an SUV with something for just about everyone.



what's new

Want power? Jeep is here to help you out by stuffing a 707-hp supercharged V8 into the nose of the new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It's more performance-focused than the existing 475-hp SRT. Finally, the 7-inch touchscreen is now standard; the 8.4-inch screen remains optional.

we recommend

There's no bad Grand Cherokee in the lineup, and picking one is largely about getting the capabilities you want or need. But if we had to choose just one, we'd go with the Trailhawk trim level. With special features such as off-road skid plates and low range gearing, it's prepared for any trail you might want to tackle. It's still useful for your daily commute, too, and can be fitted with pretty much all of Jeep's luxury-oriented features.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a five-passenger midsize SUV that comes in seven trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk.

Most Grand Cherokees are available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), Trailhawk is 4WD only and the SRT and Trackhawk get specialized all-wheel-drive systems. All Grand Cherokees are reasonably well equipped but certain upgrades are offered only on higher trims, including the 8.4-inch touchscreen and the optional V8 engines.

Standard feature highlights for the base Laredo include a 3.6-liter V6 engine (295 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and two USB ports.

The Laredo E package adds a power-adjustable driver's seat, a few visual tweaks and the further option to add 18-inch wheels, the upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate and remote start.

The Upland is a further optional Laredo package and comes standard with Jeep's Quadra-Trac I full-time 4WD system (similar to what's on the Trailhawk, but without a low-range gearbox). You also get 20-inch wheels, a blacked-out appearance package, heated seats and steering wheel, and the option to add a power sunroof and the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation.

The Altitude package for the Laredo trim keeps the blacked-out exterior trim but skips the standard 4WD. The Altitude comes standard with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, leather seats with simulated suede inserts, a power liftgate, remote start, and the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation. The higher trim levels' nine-speaker stereo is an optional upgrade, as is a sunroof.

If you're looking for more creature comforts, then check out the Limited trim level. On Limited and above, you can go with the standard V6 or you can opt for the optional turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel-powered V6 (240 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque). The 5.7-liter V8 (360 hp, 390 lb-ft) is available but only with 4WD.

Other standard equipment on the Limited includes 18-inch wheels, remote start, auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, a power liftgate, a 115-volt power outlet, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, power front seats and driver-seat memory settings.

Available options include a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment package, a suite of driver aids (adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, parking assist, and automatic wipers), and the Luxury Group II package, which adds the nine-speaker stereo, xenon headlights and automatic high beams, a dual-pane sunroof, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation.

Most of the Trailhawk's off-road gear can be added to the 4WD Limited with the Off-Road Adventure II package. The Limited can also be equipped with the Trailer Tow package, which adds a Class IV hitch receiver, 7- and 4- pin wiring harness, a full-size spare tire, load-leveling suspension, and additional engine cooling. This towing equipment is standard on higher-trim 4WD Grand Cherokee variants.

The Sterling Edition package is a variant of the Limited meant to celebrate the Grand Cherokee's 25th anniversary. It adds quite a bit of chrome exterior trim, some special Sterling Edition badging, 20-inch wheels, and on the inside unique leather upholstery and extended leather trim. The 8.4-inch touchscreen, nine-speaker stereo, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard with the Sterling Edition.

The off-road-oriented Trailhawk trim level is our choice for the Grand Cherokee. Without a doubt, it's one of the most capable off-road SUVs in its class. On top of the Limited trim, it adds unique exterior styling flourishes, different 18-inch wheels with off-road tires, four-wheel drive with low-range gearing (Quadra-Trac II) and an electronic rear differential that works with a terrain-selectable traction control system (Quadra-Drive II).

The Trailhawk also has an adjustable air suspension (Quadra-Lift) with increased suspension travel and other Trailhawk-specific tuning, hill ascent and descent control, underbody skid plates, trim-specific interior styling, and an upgraded instrument cluster display with exclusive off-road features, power-folding mirrors, ventilated front seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system and a nine-speaker sound system.

Next in the Grand Cherokee lineup is the Overland. It has a few more luxury options and shares the Trailhawk's latter four standard features as well as a mainstream version of its air suspension. It's also equipped with 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, xenon headlights with auto high-beam control, LED daytime running lights and foglights, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, a power-adjustable steering wheel and extended leather upholstery. The Off-Road Adventure II package is available, as is the rear-seat entertainment package, the active safety feature suite, and the Trailhawk's Quadra-Drive II system.

The High Altitude package adds blacked-out trim, the suite of driver aids, and a dual-pane sunroof to the Overland. Quadra-Drive II and rear-seat entertainment are available options for High Altitude-equipped Overlands, along with a 19-speaker stereo system.

If you want most of the creature comforts that the Grand Cherokee has to offer, definitely consider the Summit trim. It includes the Overland's standard equipment, plus polished 20-inch wheels, headlight washers, front parking sensors, a self-parking system (both parallel and perpendicular), additional noise-reducing window glass, active noise-canceling technology, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, upgraded leather upholstery with diamond-quilted accents, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. (A full leather interior with even more coverage is an extra-cost option.) Most of the Summit's safety equipment is also available on the Overland trim level via the High Altitude package.

A bit out of the standard structure is the high-horsepower SRT trim level. It is broadly equipped like the Summit trim level with a few distinctions. Unique standard equipment includes a 6.4-liter V8 (475 hp, 470 lb-ft), a specialized all-wheel-drive system (tuned more for high-performance driving than off-road use), 20-inch wheels with performance tires, an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, sport-tuned steering and brakes, a sport body kit, a limited-slip rear differential and selectable performance modes.

Options for the SRT include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, two different 20-inch wheel styles (carbon black or lightweight), upgraded brakes, extended and upgraded leather upholstery, the 19-speaker audio system, and a towing package.

Even further down the high-performance rabbit hole, there's the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Trackhawk gets most of the SRT's standard equipment plus the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (707 hp, 645 lb-ft), an upgraded eight-speed transmission, an upgraded adaptive suspension and Brembo brakes, more aggressive-looking bodywork, and lightweight 20-inch wheels with high-performance tires. There are also some unique interior design cues and upgraded upholstery to set the Trackhawk apart from the group.

Many of the higher trims' standard features are offered on lesser models as options. The dual-screen rear entertainment system with Blu-ray capability is also optional for the Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and SRT. Quite a few aesthetic upgrades are available as well, depending on trim level.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects.
The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit (turbo 3.0L V6 diesel | 8-speed automatic | 4WD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Grand Cherokee has received some revisions, including a new gearshift lever, the addition of electric-assist power steering and a weight reduction courtesy of some aluminum suspension components. Other findings remain applicable to this year's Grand Cherokee.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort2.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

driving

With many available engines and trim levels, there's a lot to choose from on the Grand Cherokee, but no matter which model you go with, off-road performance is rather good, even if handling isn't top-notch. The top-level Summit model we tested is the only Grand Cherokee that's not Trail Rated.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Grand Cherokee has excellent sound deadening, plus supportive seats and plenty of room to stretch out. Although we expected good things from the air suspension, it suffers in the city, struggling to soak up smaller bumps.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats are wide and overstuffed with padding, yet they are surprisingly firm. Adjustable lumbar and heating and cooling up front are complemented by well-padded armrests. The rear reclining seatbacks have easy-access levers. The rear middle seat is livable but not wide enough for adults.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Oddly, the optional air suspension struggles to absorb smaller pavement ripples, allowing significant vibration into the cabin. It's definitely not the best urban vehicle. Big bumps, on the other hand, are absorbed with ease.

noise & vibration

Engine noise will depend on which powertrain you choose, but dual-pane front glass means nearly zero wind noise on the highway.

climate control

The large primary buttons and knobs for the climate control system are easy to operate, and the system cools and warms the cabin well. But some secondary controls located in the infotainment screen are a bit harder to find and can be frustrating even for owners used to the system.

interior

edmunds rating
Jeep's most recent improvements certainly make the Grand Cherokee's cabin a nice place to be. The Uconnect infotainment system, materials and controls are at the top of the class, though the touchscreen forces too many steps for certain functions.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The centerpiece is an excellent chunky steering wheel paired with solid, substantial controls. Large, grippy knobs for stereo volume/tuning/fan speed are nice, but some climate control functions require three to four button pushes through the touchscreen.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The wide-opening front doors help entry. The step-in height is higher than average, but the air suspension can be lowered when parked. The rear doors also open wide, but the opening is compromised by the intrusive rear wheelwell and wide rocker panels.

roominess

edmunds rating
Despite the high seating position, there's still generous headroom up front and good elbow room, too. The center console leaves room for the driver's right knee. Excellent rear foot- and kneeroom, plus plenty of headroom.

visibility

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The windshield pillars are fairly long and thick, hampering views on curvy roads. Most other pillars are narrow, and the tall side windows facilitate lane changes. Standard rearview camera and parking sensors are especially handy in a tall SUV.

utility

edmunds rating
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a capable tow rig and has decent cargo space. But three-row SUVs offer even more interior space.

small-item storage

The main front bin isn't very big and is covered by a cheap-feeling door. Up front, the door pockets are too narrow for most hands. There are, however, good anti-tip cupholders.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The Grand Cherokee's trunk isn't the largest, and it also doesn't have a very low load floor. But with the optional air suspension you can lower the ride height when you park. The luggage area houses a full-size spare and still offers 36.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up.

child safety seat accomodation

There are two sets of two latches, each on the outboard positions of the rear seat. Realistically, you'll be able to put two child seats in the rear.

technology

Though the Uconnect system in the Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most user-friendly on the market, our test vehicle had several issues with reliability during operation. Knobs often failed to respond to inputs, and the satellite radio cut out so many times that we lost track.

audio & navigation

Audio and navigation controls are extremely user-friendly. Almost any novice can master the basic functions of the Uconnect system after just a few uses. The optional nine-speaker stereo has good sound quality and dynamic range.

smartphone integration

Connecting via Bluetooth or USB is easy and quick with the Grand Cherokee. Songs and podcasts are indexed with lightning speed.

driver aids

Optional systems such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision mitigation are nice to have, but unfortunately they're oversensitive in the Grand Cherokee. Warnings sound with the slightest encroachment on other cars or even when a car is two lanes away in your blind spot.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.