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Introduction

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is famously marketed as the most awarded SUV ever, but that’s less about its suitability for British roads and has more to do with it being a very long-standing model in a country where a lot of awards are dished out. However, it’s big, roomy and comfortable, and among a growing number of large SUVs, Jeep owners rank it among the very best on the road.

 

Body Styles: 5-dr SUV         Seats: 5              MRP from £47,135 - £71,950 

 

Did you know? The Grand Cherokee is the only SUV on sale in the UK to provide five heated seats as standard. 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 6.7/10

The Grand Cherokee is the sort of car you would expect to have seven seats, but it doesn’t. Nonetheless, it uses its huge cabin to provide masses of space for five, plus one of the biggest boots available in any SUV, estate or MPV. It’s a strange vehicle, majoring on practicality in such a way, but then only offering comparatively thirsty, unrefined engines. Likewise, it’s equipment list is admirable, but there are interior quality issues that should have been sorted out.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ (4/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

 

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

We Like

Huge standard specification

Practical all-year-round ability

Strong V6 diesel engines

We Don't Like

Sub-par on-road handling

Interior quality for the price

Boot surfaces vulnerable to damage

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

There is something rather appealing about the Grand Cherokee’s looks. It’s clearly American but not too much so, and the key design features all seem to work well together. The headlights, seven-slot grille and lower bumper, which almost apes an A-bar look, disguise the bonnet’s considerable height from the ground and help to shrink the overall sense of size.

All models come with 20-inch alloy wheels, which really help stop the cheaper models looking cheap. Also, the squared-off arches above them blend well with the straight door crease at knee height and the equally linear window line. It’s among the simplest designs of all SUVs, but is one of the best-executed.

Compare it to a Hollywood American army sergeant. It’s clean-cut, tightly muscular and obviously brawny, without showing off about it.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Leather upholstery of some kind is par for the course on SUVs of this price, and while the cheapest Limited Plus model makes do with a lower grade of material than those above it, this still adds to the interior ambience.

Jeep cabins have been becoming more European in design and function for a few years. The recent addition of a better screen from the ‘Uconnect’ family has helped modernise things, and unlike some of Jeep’s older, cheaper cars, details like the door handles, door-lock buttons and speakers are trimmed properly, rather than being forgotten and left to their own devices.

The seats are broad and clearly biased towards straight-line comfort, lacking any meaningful side bolster support. Sitting in them is no chore, and there’s plenty of adjustment in the driving position, for example, but they aren’t meant for corners.

Practicality

As befits an American car, the interior is huge. Not having to worry about adding a third row of seats means that neither passenger legroom nor boot capacity have been sacrificed. The boot floor features four silver runners that help reduce friction when sliding luggage in and out, and there are a number of bag hooks at the sides. For charging devices or for powering a portable coolbox, there’s a 12-volt socket.

The rear seats split 60:40 and fold almost flat independently, but there’s no remote release lever like in some cars. The one real problem with the Grand Cherokee’s impressive on-paper practicality is that the boot materials are easy to damage. The silver runners quickly get scratched by hard suitcases and the carpets are no more wear- or stain-resistant than average. A liner is essential for outdoorsy types, but be aware that makeshift ones can cover the boot-mounted subwoofer.

Boot space

Min: 782 litres
Max: 1,554 litres 

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

There’s not much to complain about in terms of standard technology. Even the lowest trim grade has five heated seats, bi-xenon headlights, keyless entry and start, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and acoustic, sound-insulated front-side glass. The driver’s seat is eight-way electrically adjustable with six-way adjustment for the passenger..

Automatic transmissions come as standard, along with four-wheel drive, a reversing camera and selectable driving modes, for a firmer, sportier drive or a more relaxed feel.

Higher up the range are air suspension, a more complex four-wheel-drive system, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, extra acoustic glass and adaptive cruise control. The top-spec Summit model even has active noise-cancelling technology, which listens to intrusive frequencies in the cabin and tries to counter them with so-called ‘white noise’.

Then, of course, there’s the Uconnect interface with navigation as standard across the range, an 8.4-inch screen, voice control and DAB radio. As part of the same connectivity box ahead of the gearstick, there are Aux and USB ports, an SD card slot and a 12-volt charging socket. There’s also a CD player hidden in the centre armrest.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Defaulting to V6 diesel power is the right thing for Jeep to do, because even the most powerful four-cylinder diesels just don’t have the off-boost torque to manage a car of this weight: they would risk stalling. The V6 has good all-round performance and never feels overwhelmed, even with passengers on board. However, it gets noisy under load and doesn’t fade into the background quite as much as you’d like on the motorway.

The 6.4-litre Hemi V8 of the SRT is a bombastic, characterful and laugh-out-loud fun powerplant that makes obvious sacrifices elsewhere in the name of outright smiles per gallon. Straight-line acceleration, particularly from a standstill, is fearsomely quick and makes a mockery of the car’s 2.4-tonne weight.

Handling isn’t brilliant, as per usual for a car weighing this much. The steering weight doesn’t match the body’s inertia around bends and it’s tough to build the confidence to really push the Jeep in the way smaller, lighter cars are happier with.

Recommended engine: 3.0 V6 diesel

0-62mph

8.2 seconds

Fuel economy

40mpg

Emissions

184g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep has covered the basics off well. LED daytime running lights give the car a more visible front impression, as if it needed it. Then there’s the standard auto-dimming rear-view mirror and handy rear-view camera that overcomes the obvious and significant shortfalls in rearward visibility. Parking sensors at both ends mean that mishaps in car parks should be unlikely.

Interestingly, the Grand Cherokee runs on special three-season tyres, made from a compound better suited to chilly spring and autumn days than outright summer tyres are. Combined with four-wheel drive, owners should find it hard to run out of traction, even when pulling away hard from slippery junctions.

The top-spec trim grade comes with a few useful active safety features. As well as cornering headlights that illuminate further around the turn than normal ones do, there is adaptive cruise control that adjusts the car’s speed to match the vehicle in front, maintaining a safe distance. There’s also Forward Collision Warning, which does what it says, as well as helping you stop that vital split-second sooner if you do hit the brakes. Finally, the range-topper also monitors the car’s blind spots and warns the driver not to change lanes if it’s unsafe.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Colours

It’s a very traditional colour wheel for the Grand Cherokee, but there’s not a single shade that it doesn’t look good in. Limited Plus and Overland models have seven choices, from Bright White and Brilliant Black to Granite Crystal grey and Maximum Steel grey, which is a bluer shade.

True Blue and Velvet Red are the proper colour options and there’s also Billet Silver, which is perhaps the least effective choice of them all. Ivory White is a special tri-coat paint restricted to the Summit model, but for £2,000 it looks like the wrong move. This model doesn’t come in True Blue, Billet Silver or Maximum Steel, while the SRT gains Redline.

Trim Levels

Every trim level is well stocked with kit, from the climate control, powered tailgate and universally heated seats to the leather upholstery, bi-xenon lights and comprehensive infotainment system.

The mid-range Overland is marked out by a panoramic sunroof and air suspension, with a leather-trimmed instrument binnacle. The top of the tree for the regular models is the appropriately-named Summit, which has polished wheels, a powerful Harman Kardon stereo and the most luxurious kind of leather for the seats.

There can be no forgetting the SRT version, with its V8 engine and arguably greater American prestige. With bizarrely inappropriate features like launch control, alongside styling touches like black wheels, it’s easy to tell it apart.

Size and Dimensions

The Grand Cherokee is clearly a big car and there will be some issues with its size at some point. It will be too big for a lot of garage entrances and it might be tight for some urban car park height restrictions. It’s nowhere near as tall as the Land Rover Discovery 4, though, so it doesn’t need a lowering device.

Length

4,821 mm

Width

1,943 mm (2,154 mm with mirrors)

Height

1,749 mm

Max towing weight without brake

750kg

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ (4/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Running a Grand Cherokee is going to take a degree of commitment, because a car this heavy with a powerful V6 diesel will never be cheap to keep on the road. An estimated average of 40mpg is optimistic, and low-30s is more like it. Servicing is no more expensive than for a similar car from Audi, and insurance will also be comparable. Fuel economy is the main area where rivals do better.

A car like this is also going to cost a lot in terms of consumables. The Jeep’s 20-inch tyres are very pricey, as are its brakes. Long-term maintenance could also break the bank if it starts to develop faults outside of the warranty period.

Reliability and servicing

Jeep still isn’t doing well for reliability, with the latest surveys still rating the company comfortably in the bottom-half of the manufacturers’ table. The Grand Cherokee, though, is loved so much for its overall ownership experience that it recorded an incredible ninth place overall in the 2016 JD Power survey, making it one of the best-performing SUVs.

However, while the diesels have a standard service interval of 12,500 miles, the V8 SRT’s is just 6,000 miles, and servicing for that model is very expensive.

Minor

12 months or 12,500 miles - £240 est.

Major

24 months or 25,000 miles - £400 est.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The cheapest Grand Cherokee is actually more expensive than the cheapest Audi Q7, but the Audi can’t match the Jeep for standard kit. For the level of luxury a buyer is getting, the Grand Cherokee doesn’t seem like bad value.

However, when you look past the on-paper comparisons and sit inside the car, there are inevitable question marks over various areas of material quality that shouldn’t even be under consideration on a £47,000 car. The Limited Plus starts at £47,135, the Overland at £50,835 and the Summit is £54,635. There aren’t many options, but those there are expensive.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

New Parents

3.0 V6 diesel Limited Plus – lots of standard equipment and a muscular engine mean fuss-free driving.

Trend Setter

3.0 V6 diesel Overland – not the highest trim level, but has the best-looking wheels and more colour options.

Tech Junkie

3.0 V6 diesel Summit – with extra active safety, an upgraded stereo and adaptive headlights, the Summit is the most techy model.

Rivals

Audi Q7

It’s not pretty, but the Q7 is the benchmark for interior quality, with great infotainment and technology.

Land Rover Discovery

Lifestyle-biased but highly capable off-roader has reliability issues, but is supremely comfortable.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Quiet, refined and capable, the Santa Fe is spacious, lightly off-road capable and well-equipped.

Skoda Kodiaq

Amazingly spacious for five people, with extremely good interior quality, decent engines and lots of tech.

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Great to look at and phenomenal in the rough stuff when specified with the optional off-road pack.

What others say

What Car?

“The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a big, spacious and well-equipped five-seat SUV that has some serious off-road credentials.”

Auto Express

In an era where most SUVs have gone soft, the Grand Cherokee offers a beacon of hope for those who want their vehicles with backbone.”

 

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee