Depending on how you want to look at it either, the Grand Cherokee is one of the few remaining real SUVs.
That’s not luxury branded, or it is actually one of the very first crossovers ever sold in America, because even my old Grand Cherokee there in the distance could be called a crossover because it’s a combination of unibody car, light characteristics and truck light characteristics like solid axles. Rear-Wheel drive, bias, v8 engine, etc. Jeep prefers to call the Grand Cherokee an SUV and they dislike the crossover term, but in reality this is one of the only true crossovers left in America, because if you look at it forward edge and explore and escape a pathfinder, a Highlander, a pilot, etc. They’re all just really boxy lifted hatchbacks with all-wheel-drive, but that is not what we see in the Grand Cherokee, because this uses the same engines transmissions and a lot of other components from the truck line over at Ram.
This very combination of truck like and car like characteristics, is what allows this absolutely insane track, Hawk model that I’m standing right next to, and it simply wouldn’t be possible without the overall design of the Grand Cherokee. We won’t be talking just about this. Absolutely insane Grand Cherokee we’ll actually be talking about all of the models, because it has been some time since we’ve, given the Grand Cherokee a direct look. The overall look of the Grand Cherokee is distinctively Jeep, regardless of the trim level that you get now the front end does change a little bit from version to version.
We are in the track Hawk model, so we all these blacked out parts right here, but basically the same headlamp modules are used in a wide variety of different models. These are HID headlamps, not LEDs. At this particular time we have larger cooling ducts right down here. Instead of fog lights, front parking, sensors radar, adaptive cruise control sensor right there in the middle, those are all key elements that you’ll find in all Grand Cherokee models.
The track hawk. It’s a slightly different bumper down here because of the cooling demands of the larger engine, but the shapes are really very consistent from model to model at 189 point 8 inches long. The Grand Cherokee is a midsize 200 crossover, mid-size or SUV whatever you want to call us. This is almost exactly the same size as a Ford Edge, but slots right between options like the escape and the Explorer.
This is 10 inches larger than the escape 10 inches. Shorter than the Explorer, the Wrangler is, of course, the most off-road capable Jeep in America, but the Grand Cherokee is no slouch either, because this is the flagship Jeep and what surprised me about this track hawk model. Was they didn’t actually lower it very much versus the rest of the models? If you get a standard, Jeep Grand Cherokee with the regular steel spring suspension, you’ll get 8.6 inches of ground clearance.
If you get the SRT or the track Hawk, then they lower that by half an inch to eight point, one still very capable. Overall, if you get the optional air suspension, which is not available in the tracrac model that we’re looking at right here for obvious reasons, it will lift that clearance up to ten point eight inches. This version of the Grand Cherokee is now about eight years old, but Jeep has continually refreshed it over time to keep it more current. So we see their latest iteration of their tail out modules, with the accent strips running right there around red turn signals.
Obviously, those turn amber if you’re, looking at this in other world markets, backup lamps below that we have these quad exhaust tips on the track hawk model. It’s one easy way to identify it parking, sensors well integrated into the rear, bumper right there and then a hitch receiver right down there at the bottom. Under the hood, we find the biggest difference between the Grand Cherokee and any other crossover really in this segment. And that is the fact that we have a long de to Danelle engine which is sitting across the engine bay.
That way, not a transverse engine up front, and that’s because this is a rear-wheel drive based vehicle orienting. The engine in this way allowed Jeep to not only put physically larger engines under the hood, but more powerful engines as well. That’s because rear-wheel drive transmissions can simply handle more power than front-wheel drive transaxles because of the overall physical space constraints involved. That’s exactly why vehicles like the Ford Edge Sport has a high horsepower and high torque figure, but performance actually falls behind vehicles like the Grand Cherokee.
The reason for that is, they have to limit torque in low gears in order to keep from shredding the transmission, and this vehicle has no such limits. Under this hood, you’ll really find an engine for occasion. Things start out with a 3.6 liter v6 that competes directly with vehicles like the Ford Edge in base trims. It produces 295 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque.
If you want a v8, there are several of those available as well. The first one is a 5.7 liter v8. It produces 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque that’s very comparable overall in terms of performance to something like that edge sport. Then we have another interesting option: the only diesel engine in this segment, a 3 liter turbo diesel producing 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Now we don’t know when that will be available for 2019 in the grand cherokee, but we are told that it will be available at some point this model year from then we move on into the performance line where we have a 6.4 liter v8 engine producing 475 Horsepower and 475 feet of torque. I think personally, that’s my sweet spot for the Grand Cherokee and then we have this absolutely insane. Hellcat engine borrowed directly from the Challenger Hellcat and dumped under this hood. It produces 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque.
Thanks to this mess, his supercharger bolted right onto the top all models. He is an 8-speed automatic transmission that was designed by ZF of Germany, the same company that designs and manufactures transmissions for BMW, Audi, etc. In an interesting twist, the SRT versions actually use the same. 8-Speed automatic transmission that the brand-new BMW m5 uses and, for the same reason it is one of the few transmissions in the world that can handle this kind of power and this kind of torque. Now the downside for this kind of power and torque is obviously a fuel economy.
You get 13 miles per gallon on average in this particular Grand Cherokee things go up to 21 miles per gallon. If you get a rear-wheel drive, 3.6 liter version. In addition to being able to channel all that power to the wheels one of the other benefits to having a rear-wheel drive layout like this is the ability to tow because the transmission can handle more torque. So towing comes in at 6,400 pounds minimum for the Grand Cherokee and goes all the way up to 74 hundred pounds.
If you want to get the two-wheel drive diesel front seat, comfort is good in all versions of the Grand Cherokee. We have a very upright seating position, as you’d expect in a modern SUV or cross over Headroom is pretty generous, even though we are in the model with the panoramic moonroof Jeep does not change the seat. Design in the upper end terms versus the lower end trim. So, although we do get a little bit more bolstering in this track Hawk seat as we see in the SRT version, the range of motion is basically the same as the limited and other models with the power seat.
We have a four-way adjustable lumbar support and then we have a powered tilt, telescopic steering column. The passenger seat offers the same range of motion as the driver seat and we have a two position: seat memory button right over there on the door hopping into the back seat. We again find a generous amount of headroom thanks to the upright proportions. I’ve got an inch and a half of headroom left.
Even if I move over to the middle seat, Headroom is still very good and we have a rear bench. That is definitely wide enough for three adults, if you needed to do that now in this middle seat. My hair is brushing the ceiling, but my head is not touching the ceiling. If I move all the way over to the right side of the vehicle, this front seat is all the way back in its tracks and I still have a reasonable amount of legroom left.
Now legroom is not going to be as generous as the overall exterior proportions might indicate, because some of that space is used up by that long hood, we find up front over all rear-wheel drive. Packaging is not as efficient for interior volume and interior room as a front-wheel drive vehicle, so like a Ford, Edge, etc. Although again rear legroom is still pretty generous, these seats also recline. We have a more upright position right like this to help square off the rear cargo area, and then we have a reasonable amount of recline.
Behind the hatch, we find 36.3 cubic feet of storage space in all versions of the Grand Cherokee. Now it’s worth noting that this hatch is just a little bit close to the ground for my tastes in terms of overall comparisons. This puts this a little bit ahead of the 40 scape and a little bit behind the Ford Edge. The reason that cargo capacity Falls a little bit behind some of the competition is because this does have an offer admission in mind and in order to give us those departure angles.
They’ve had to raise the back end of the vehicle up a little bit also because of the offer admission. We find a spare tire under the load floor and this obviously takes up some of the available cargo space, because this is a pretty big spare tire. Even though it is technically a compact spare, if I take out those little dividers you can see, this is actually a pretty big spare in some compactor. Even some midsize sedan’s.
This would be considered a full-size spare, but because the tires are so enormous on this track hawk model @ e 195 is technically a compact, as we look around this interior, keep in mind that we are in the track hawk. But the vast majority of this interior is common between the various different grand cherokee versions. The model that we’re driving has the available large panoramic moonroof. It goes almost back there to the rear passengers heads it’s more like above their lap.
I suppose you would say moving over to the front again: we have height adjustable shoulder belts for the driver and front passenger because we’re driving the track hawk. We have these red seatbelts and then we have four-way adjustable headrests. They sort of move forward right like that. There’s no ratchet in them, and then we have these pretty stylized front seats that we find in all models with sort of an aggressive shoulder design right there, slightly more aggressive, bolstering in the track hawk model and track hawk embossed right there in the center of the Leather, the leather is perforated, because these seats are both heated and ventilated, as you work your way on up from the base grand cherokee models to the top-end trims, the price tag does double so we’re in a $ 100,000 SUV right now, but again, a lot of These components are shared with the lower end trims to dress up the interior.
A bit more Jeep covers the entire bottom portion of the door in leather. For this version, real wood trim is available in the grand cherokee, but the model that we’re driving has carbon fiber trim. Instead, the stitched leather components continue on the dashboard where both the upper and lower section, all the way down to the carpet are leather. The glovebox also has a leather wrap to it, and then we find a pretty small storage cubby right there.
I was not able to fit a large tablet. Computer inside that glove compartment in the very middle of the dashboard. We have a small center channel speaker. We do have the Harman Kardon audio system in this model.
We then have more stitch leather right there in the center and then this 8.4 inch color touchscreen infotainment system. You will not find this on all versions of the Grand Cherokee, but most of them will have this particular unit. The touchscreen is running the latest version of FCA’s. You connect software, which features Android, auto and apple carplay integration.
Unlike most implementations of these smart phone connected systems, it remains only in this center portion of the display due to the aspect ratio going on right here, and that allows you to do things like see. For instance, your google mapping display right there and still have access to the UConnect apps seat, controls right down there or factory navigation direct access buttons across the bottom and see what’s going on up top, so the clock, exterior temperature, etc. Srt versions of the Grand Cherokee get a few tweaks to the software, so we have the ability to change certain vehicle settings. Keep in mind that we are in the track, Hawk version, so we have even more ability to adjust things than you’d find in the regular SRT version below the infotainment screen.
We find some physical controls. We have a power and volume knob tune and browser knob right over there, a button to turn off the screen. So you can have it a little bit darker in the cabin a mute button, hazard, light button, the controls for the to zone, automatic climate control system right there and then a button bank or refined buttons like the automated parking system, a button turn on and off The parking sensors in the car Lane Keeping Assist insinde beliefs able econ on button that allows you to activate the cylinder deactivation system in models that have that particular option and then over here we have a traction control button below that button bank. We have a storage cubby, where we find two USB inputs, an auxilary input and just barely enough room to store larger smartphones like that there’s also a 12-volt power port.
In there the console shifter has been changed over time. At the moment we have a pretty traditional console shifter right. There drive all the way to the back sport mode over to the left: push away from the driver for gear down, pull towards the driver for gear up to large cup holders right over there without a lid behind that you get either a terrain management knob, or This drive mode bank right here, depending on the trim level you get since we’re in the sporty model. Obviously we have a launch control button right there we have drive modes like Sport, Trac, auto snow and tow.
We have a button to change the way. Those drive modes work that takes you over to the drive mode selection screen in the infotainment system, and then the button to activate the custom drive mode. The center armrest is also leather wrapped. It opens with two different levels: one where it’s a little bit more shallow, where you can put wallets keys, that sort of thing and then a deeper opening, but actually is reasonably large for a vehicle that is rear-wheel drive.
We have a 12-volt power port right there up front. The Grand Cherokee was one of the first mainstream vehicles to give us a partial LCD instrument cluster. Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed over time, so we don’t have a full LCD instrument. Cluster, like we are starting to see in other vehicles out there.
Instead, we have this large physical speedometer over here on the left, the engine, temperature and then fuel level over there on the right and then everything else is being delivered by that multifunction LCD. There’s some performance specific pages that we don’t see on the regular models, for instance, that recorded 1.3 lateral G’s, which is absolutely insane for something that is this big. You see a top speed right. There reaction timers zero to sixty timers readouts for the vehicles active safety system trip computer information.
If you want to see how bad your fuel economy is with a 700 horsepower, engine is also a more traditional trip. Computer screen we have media readouts, including apple carplay, information, vehicle messages and the ability to change certain screen settings. The steering wheel is a flat-bottomed sport wheel that we find in other FCA performance vehicles. Only a nice touch that differentiates this from some of those.
Others is that we actually have a leather airbag cover, and I really wish all of FCA’s luxury and performance vehicles had that particular touch. On the left side of the steering wheel. We find the controls that controlled that multifunction LCD instrument cluster along with dedicated phone buttons and a voice command button, and then we have the buttons that relate to the radar adaptive cruise control over here on the right side, a nice touch that I’ve noted in other Fca steering wheels is that we have an easy ability to change between regular cruise control and adaptive cruise control, if you want to so this button up here enables and disables regular cruise control. You use this one down here for the adaptive cruise control function, you’ll notice that we don’t have any track forward backward or volume buttons on the front of the wheel.
That’s because they’re on the back of the wheel, like we see in other FCA vehicles, we have volume up/down over here on the back up the right side of the wheel track up and down over here on the left. In addition, we have shift paddles on the back up on the right and then down on the left, but because we have those volume buttons on the back, it’s not a complete shift pedal. So it really is only about that tall. The rest of the steering wheel is where we find the buttons 0 to 60.
Acceleration goes from mild to wild. If you get the diesel engine, this will go zero to 60. In seven point, seven seconds bumping up to the 5.7 liter v8 engine, which i think is one of the big reasons to even buy the Grand Cherokee in the first place. You’ll goes zero-to-sixty just under six seconds in 5.7 seconds, interestingly enough, and if you get the 6.4 liter v8 SRT version that things drop down to four and a half seconds zero to sixty.
Then, if you get this absolutely insane track Hawk model, you will go zero to sixty, definitely less than four seconds. This is actually more than a second faster zero to sixty than the regular SRT version. If you’re using launch control, then you can get zero to sixty times as low as 3.2 seconds as long as traction is absolutely excellent, because even though this has all-wheel drive and it is going to be trying to split power fret to rear, you can still get Wheel, slip on initial acceleration launches in the track hawk model, there’s not too much variance between using launch control and not using launch control, because there is just simply so much power coming out of this engine now, how does this stack up against the competition? Well, the Ford Edge ST is actually a little bit slower than the 5.7 liter v8 version of the Grand Cherokee.
So, if you’re looking at that vehicle as an alternative note that the Grand Cherokee is actually going to be just a hair, faster and, of course, you’re going to get that v8 engine note from the back, but fuel economy is going to suffer a little bit versus The fort, and if you want to go faster than the Ford, that’s where the SRT versions come in the 475 horsepower SRT version of this is going to be faster than something like a GLC 43 AMG, and this version is notably faster, 0 to 60 than an M5 and m6 AG le 63s a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. All of those are going to be slower than this curb weights in the Grand Cherokee vary from 4500 pounds up to about 5,400 pounds, so this does get fairly heavy now, interestingly enough, this is not the heaviest version. The heaviest version would actually be the off-road oriented diesel trim with the optional adaptive air suspension, even though this is fairly heavy. Those 295 with grippy tires really help improve, braking and handling ability in our braking test.
This model stopped from 60 miles now we’re back to zero in 118 feet. That is not as short as the x5 m or x6 m/s that we’ve tested in the past, but it actually is about the equal of the GL e 63 when it comes to overall handling ability. It’s important to remember that kerb weight, remember mission of the Grand Cherokee as well, because this really is designed to be much more offer capable than something like the Ford Edge or the Lexus RX, or the tota Highlander, Honda, Pilot, etc and, as such handling does suffer a little bit. In terms of overall handling ability that continues, as we start looking at the lower end trims as well, so something like the Overland version of the Grand Cherokee will handle relatively well.
It’s not gon na handle, quite as well as something like the edge St in some trims, but overall it’s going to handle well in its segment now. Grip is one thing, but overall handling feel is something different, because even in this track model, where it actually handles better than the g le 43 overall handling feel is not as good as the mercedes. Things are definitely more disconnected feeling. As far as the steering goes.
Even if I were to put this in the sport or track mode where it’s going to firm up the steering, it doesn’t really do anything to the steering feel so it still feels disconnected compared to some of those other German options. In general terms, the suspension on the Grand Cherokee, regardless of the model, is relatively soft. So, whether you’re, comparing this to something like a mercedes-benz GLA in this very top end fastest trim or whether you’re comparing a regular Grand Cherokee to a base trim of a Ford Edge, they’re, going to be a little on the soft side. That’s because of the off-road mission on all models of the Grand Cherokee.
We have that high ride height high ground clearance, relatively soft suspension. So that way, you can go out on those larger gravel roads or tackle a rough course, and you won’t have to worry about it, jarring your teeth out. Speaking specifically about this track hawk model. I was actually a little bit surprised that FCA didn’t decide to make this even firmer than the SRT, because the suspension tuning actually feels right about the same.
That means that if you are shopping this as a cross alternative to luxury performance, SUVs and crossovers, this is going to be more comfortable on a long highway journey. Or if you live out in the country – and you actually have to go off-roading a little bit in order to get to your destination in terms of cabin noise, this vehicle actually surprised me a little bit. So I’m gon na give this an a because we scored 70 decibels in this cabin. It really doesn’t seem to be any louder than the other versions of the Grand Cherokee.
Now, if you floor it, we get a lot more engine noise from the back and it starts Honda immediately. But that said, when you’re just cruising down the road at 50 miles an hour, the cabin is going to be just about as quiet now. The one thing that will not be the same as the regular Grand Cherokee models is the fuel economy. We’ve been averaging about ten to eleven miles per gallon in this particular model, definitely making it one of the thirstiest SUVs or crossovers you can buy, but again 707 horsepower.
You have to pay the piper there and that is going to factor into your fuel efficiency. Now, if you’re taking a look at the other versions of the v8 Grand Cherokee, then things actually do quite well, because you can easily get over the epa combined score if you’re doing a lot of highway driving. Thanks to the cylinder deactivation system that we find on the 5.7 and the 6.4, of course, if you want the most fuel-efficient version of the Grand Cherokee, then that would be the diesel. We don’t have exact fuel economy numbers for that yet, but expect it to be.
In the high 20s, perhaps even 30 miles per gallon out on the open highway overall, the Grand Cherokee has aged extremely well in this segment. This is not the best handling vehicle, whether you’re talking about the bass version or this top-end track Hawk version, but it is still a very competent package and it’s also again one of the most capable offered versions. Even this track, Hawk version would have no problem going on the average off-road course. When things get a little bit more technical and you really need locking differentials or a two-speed transfer case, then obviously this will fall apart a little bit and you would need to move down to that 5.7 liter v8 or the v6 options.
But this is still going to be very, very capable and even in this form, much more capable than something like an edge st or arguably an x5 m or x6 m as well. Jeep has a very complicated Grand Cherokee lineup, there really is no direct competition for the Grand Cherokee seriously. Everything in the midsize or mainstream segment would be a well. I guess you could compare it to the Grand Cherokee, but they’re not really the same sort of thing.
For instance, I guess you could compare the Grand Cherokee to a Highlander except the Highlander is a 3-row crossover, whereas the Grand Cherokee is a two row, crossover with actual off-road ability, same sort of thing, with the Ford Edge, the Ford Edge. I guess you could compare to the Grand Cherokee, but the edge is going to be slower. It’s also going to be less offered capable, even though it is a similarly sized two row vehicle for 2019. The Grand Cherokee starts at 31,000 695 dollars so again within the relative starting range of many of the mainstream midsize crossovers out there, but things are definitely different when you start taking a look at that base model.
You’re gon na get the v6 engine and rear-wheel drive. Not v6 and front-wheel drive like most of the competition. If you want the v8 and all the drive that is going to cost you, notably more once you move on from the base model, you’ll see what I mean about the Grand Cherokee line it being really complicated, because there are no less than eleven terms of Grand Cherokee four different engines under the hood and four different all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive systems and the price tag will go all the way from that. Thirty one thousand six hundred ninety five dollars starting price, all the way on up to about a hundred thousand dollars.
If you get carried away with the engines and option packages, the limited trim of the Grand Cherokee, which has been perennially popular, starts at thirty eight thousand nine, forty five, but again, that is, for the rear. Wheel, drive v6 model because the v6 is now standard on a large number of trims across the Grand Cherokee lineup, and you have to option your way on up into the v8: that’s nor to help improve overall fuel economy at the Jeep brand. If you want the v8, you have to get the all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system that ends up at forty four thousand two hundred forty starting, which is, interestingly enough right around where the edge st lives – and i will make this one comparison with the grand cherokee. The edge st is a performance on road oriented.
Front-Wheel drive based crossover, that’s kind of a long, really weird description, but that’s the best way that I can describe it and, by its very nature, the st is just not the same thing as the Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee is off-road, intended it’s much higher off the ground. The suspension is softer, we have rear-wheel drive and a v8. We have a real transfer case.
We have a very capable four-wheel, drive or all-wheel drive system, whatever you want to call it now. On the bottom line numbers the edge st is going to handle better, but it’s not going to necessarily accelerate better than the grand Cherokee and that’s just due to the overall design of the different drive trains. The Grand Cherokee has a heavy-duty ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s a very efficient transmission and it can handle a lot of power.
It’s the same kind of 8-speed that we find under the hoods of Jaguars and Bentley’s Rolls Royces BMWs, etc. It can handle a great deal of power and torque. That’s not what we see in the edge st and the edge st. We find a front-wheel drive trans axle and those transaxles generally can’t handle as much power.
So the reason that the edge st is slower than the grand cherokee or just about the same speed, depending on who you want to talk to, is because that transmission can’t handle as much power. So they actually have to dial the power back on the engine, especially in the starting years, and you don’t see that in the grand cherokee. That’s one of the reasons that we see those high end performance versions of the grand cherokee that can actually compete with some of the european crossover entries when it comes to overall acceleration performance. If you want an american range rover, Jeep would love to sell you.
One of those too, that would be the summit trim of the grand cherokee sixty seven thousand one hundred ten buys you basically a fully loaded v8 all-wheel drive model with the full other interior. There is simply no direct american corollary to the summit version of the grand cherokee. The lincoln MKX, now known as the lincoln nautilus really is just a luxury version of the Ford Edge. So the same drivetrain limitations apply to that Lincoln model.
Speaking of the track hawk model, the one that we were testing this week started at eighty six thousand six hundred fifty and as we were testing, it ended right under one hundred thousand dollars. It gets quite expensive. Of course, there really is no direct competition for this model either because it is simply faster than an x5 m AG le 63, it’s faster than any of the Porsche Cayenne zero-to-sixty, it’s a very, very Swift model. Now it doesn’t handle like all of those other options, because again the Grand Cherokee marches to a different drummer and that’s again, why it’s difficult to compare.
They didn’t really lower the suspension. So arguably it’s just as capable in soft road situations or in snow or light off-roading situations as regular versions of the Grand Cherokee. Now you don’t get the optional air ride suspension. We don’t get the locking differentials, but it’s still a very, very intrinsically capable vehicle.
Personally, I think that the right amount of crazy for the Grand Cherokee, if you’re looking for a performance version, would be the SRT version, because it’s notably less expensive at sixty 9640. But it buys you a great deal of performance and it compares very well with entries like mid-level performance models of the Mercedes, GLA or mid-level performance models of the Porsche Cayenne. It’s worth noting that the regular SRT version with that 6.4 liter, naturally aspirated engine will also get you better fuel economy and likely be less expensive to insure. My bottom line with the Grand Cherokee is that, if you’re looking for one of the most capable midsize, crossovers or SUVs again, whatever you want to call the Grand Cherokee, this is going to be an excellent option and there’s a version of the Grand Cherokee for just About everyone again: 11 trims, 4 engines, 4 different four-wheel, drive or all-wheel drive systems.
They go from the very off-road, capable versions to the absolutely insane street versions and just about everything in between.