Jeep welcomes a fifth-generation Grand Cherokee; and not a moment too soon. Since its introduction in the early 1990s, more than seven million units have sold worldwide, setting the standard as a five-seat, go-anywhere adventurer.
This updated platform replaces a Gen Four version in service for more than a decade (a long stretch within the vehicle universe). Its unibody underpinnings represent a more car-like driving sensation rather than a body-on-frame construction utilized in most full-size pickup trucks.
Don’t blink or think for a second Grand Cherokee rates as an off-pavement pushover as it’s offered with a variety of off-road chops handling just about anything a Midwest Muddy Buddy adventure throws its way. Generation Five is better suited for off-roading than most mid-size offerings such as the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride or Toyota Highlander.
Off-road opportunities include a quadra-lift air suspension, utilizing four-corner air suspension, allowing up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance addressed by a push tab located between front bucket seats, near a select-terrain management dial for choosing from five distinct on/off-road conditions.
Wheelbase (distance between front and rear axles) expands two inches while overall length grows by 3.5 inches. Styling wise, Gen Five rates as evolutionary not revolutionary; easily recognized as a sculpted Jeep product, but insides present a fashion-forward upscale redo.
Within Jeep’s nomenclature, the Cherokee name holds just about as much cache as the all-purpose Wrangler. While Grand Cherokee entered in the 1993 model year, the slightly smaller Cherokee name surfaced first in the mid-1970s.
During its 80 plus years on and off road, the Jeep brand’s been a cog in many corporate portfolios. Currently, Stellantis counts Jeep as a member as it absorbed the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in 2019. The Jeep name resonates not only with American audiences, but brings along worldwide recognition.
Size wise, the two-row Grand Cherokee slots between the mid-size Cherokee and the relatively new, lushly appointed full-size Wagoneer. Think of Grand Cherokee as a super-sized mid sizer, especially since it adds even more length thanks to an extended “L” edition introduced in the 2021 model year.
This newly-minted ‘Grand Cherokee L,’ squeezes in an additional third seating row, one more than what’s historically found within Cherokee’s confines while adding additional length. The 2021 intro marked the first time any Cherokee accommodated more than five riders.
Seven 2022 Grand Cherokee trim levels include Laredo, Limited, Altitude, Overland, Summit, Summit Reserve and off-road specialist Trailhawk.
Interior volume grows by a substantial 4.1 cubic feet when compared to the previous generation. Despite this growth, overall weight’s been trimmed while noise, vibration and harshness have been tamed yet further; it’s a remarkable quiet ride when highway bound and V-8-engine pumping compared with previous Grand Cherokee platforms.
Our plush Summit Reserve 4 x 4 with nifty Silver Zynith exterior paint (a $395 extra) started at $59,365. Option packages include the Protech Group (head’s up display, night-time pedestrian/animal detection)- $1,995 and rear-seat video group (two head-rest mounted video screens with Amazon Fire TV)- also $1,995. The $245 for the Luxury Tech Group seems a small price to pay for a wireless charging pad and second-row window shades.
The recommended $4,000 Summit Reserve Group bundles together a unique front passenger 10.3-inch interactive display, deluxe suede-like headliner, ventilated rear seats, comfy Palermo leather seats/door trim and high-performance audio with 950-watt amplifier.
With a $1,795 destination charge, the bottom line hit $73,085 with an interior on par with luxury nameplates foreign or domestic. It’s all by design as Grand Cherokee borrowed some mojo from the all-new full-size Grand Wagoneer, with high-minded, high-end tastes in mind. A two-wheel drive Laredo starts at $38,720.
Two internal combustion engines carryover from 2021; a V-6 and V-8. The tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 comes standard with 293 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It utilizes regular 87-octane fuel and finds time under hood of other familiar nameplates including Jeep’s funky Gladiator pickup and Dodge’s Challenger/Charger sports duo.
The optional ($3,295) 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 churns out 357 horsepower recommending mid-grade 89 octane fuel for maximum potential while accepting regular 87 octane. If towing weekend toys, this provides 7,200-pounds of class leading towing capacity. It’s found as the standard engine powering the luxury-tinted Jeep Wagoneer and also utilizes an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V-8 also includes cylinder deactivation, quieting half the cylinders when traveling highway speeds. Both engines absorb a rather large 23-gallon fuel tank. The electronic eight-speed transmission motivator takes the form of a tactile circular dial located between front buckets along with side-by-side beverage holders and aforementioned off-road dynamics.
Choosing a 4 x 4 also necessitates selecting from three distinct systems: hassle-free, Quadra-Trac I with full-time, 50-50 torque split four-wheel drive and single-speed transfer case, Quadra-Trac II with two-speed transfer case and variable front-rear torque split and Quadra drive II with a rear electronic slip differential. All have a long history with Jeep products.
In 2022, these 4 x 4 systems introduce a front axle disconnect. If conditions dictate only two-wheel drive, front axle disconnect automatically moves Grand Cherokee into two-wheel drive, reducing driveline drag and boosting fuel economy. The 4 x 4 automatically re-engages when sensing slippage.
The straight-across exterior side belt line gets lowered, increasing window proportions and improving outward visibility. It starts at the tip of headlight housing that wraps gently to front fenders, continuing through strap-like door handles and ending at narrow taillight housing wrap arounds.
Jeep’s trademark seven slot grill structure returns, as do trapezoidal wheel wells rather than a circular structure. These wells push farther our to the edges in 2022. Dual inboard exhausts frame corners of the lower backside.
Inside, the circular electronic push start-stop button resides at a 45-degree angle on the dashboard right of the steering column. At night, narrow red pen accent lighting adorns all four side doors creating a warm glow.
As with most crossovers and Sport Utility Vehicles, pilots sit at a higher level, providing a commanding view of the road ahead. Jeep accomplishes this while also providing huge headroom clearance in both rows while also offering in a moonroof. Generation Five’s extra two inches of additional height plays a part delivering superior head space.
With the 70/30 split second row seatbacks manually folding down flat onto bottom seat cushions, Grand Cherokee welcomes 70.8 cubic feet, 37.7 cubic feet with row two at attention. Both figures reflect a segment average. When in use, row two easily welcomes three adult-sized riders.
The center flat screen now tilts at an angle, helping cut glare down and allowing a row of push-buttons atop monitoring traction control shut-off and hazard flashers, among others.
For those appreciating extended screen time, Grand Cherokee delvers a 10.3-inch display built into the far-right dashboard built specifically for the shot gun traveler to summon entertainment and navigation items. Polarized glass angles keep the screen’s visibility out of recognition (and less of a distraction) to drivers. It comes standard in Summit Reserve while optional in Limited, Overland and Summit.
In addition, two available flat screens attach to the backsides of front seat headrests provide row two with their personal screen time. Combine this with the sizeable, standard 10.1-inch fully-animated instrument cluster, and Jeep gives birth to a multi-plex on wheels.
Grand Cherokee now accepts plug-in ports of all sizes and types, including an HDMI port allowing front passengers to watch movies through their own screen. Also onboard, a 12-volt socket once home to old-school cigarette lighters.
This all contributes to a top-shelf infotainment system reflective of Jeep’s fifth-generation U-connect now with five times faster processing speed. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow quick Smartphone pairing with the 8.4-inch center screen presenting quick touch responses and a friendly finger layout. Secondary volume and station preset toggle buttons locate on the steering wheel’s back side where fingers effortlessly control the tempo in a natural resting state. Primary volume controls return in the form of tactile twist knobs.
Grand Cherokee now includes Jeep’s five-year ‘Worry-Free’ maintenance program including complimentary dealership scheduled oil changes and tire rotation. This lengthy timeframe usually associates with high-end luxury autos. 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Price as tested: $73.085
Wheelbase: 116.7 inches
Length: 193.5 inches
Width: 77.5 inches
Height: 70.8 inches
Engine: 5.7-liter, V-8
Powertrain warranty: Five years/60,000 miles
City/Highway economy: 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway
Assembly: Detroit, Michigan