From £37,3607
New-look Jeep Grand Cherokee also gets new technology and improved performance to take on the class best

Our Verdict

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The current Jeep Grand Cherokee is almost indescribably better than its predecessor

What is it?

It's the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee, revised with new technology, improved performance and cosmetic changes both inside and out.  

Most significant among the tweaks to this luxury SUV is the installation of the Chrysler Group's new ZF-derived eight-speed automatic transmission, which is available across the entire engine line-up.

The new transmission, says Jeep, reduces consumption and emissions while improving acceleration and gear-shifts. It's something the Grand Cherokee had been crying out for to replace the prehistoric five-speed auto.

The UK range ignores the petrol V6 and V8 engines and focuses solely on the 3.0-litre V6 diesel (apart, that is, from the monstrously powerful 6.4-litre Grand Cherokee SRT halo model, of which only about 20 will be sold here).

This new Grand Cherokee also gets an Eco Mode which optimises gear-shifts, although it can be disengaged if more sporty performance is desired. 

The economy-driven changes help the claimed fuel economy to increase by about ten per cent to 37.7mpg, with the attendant fall in CO2 emissions meaning the Grand Cherokee now dips below 200g/km, putting it on a more competitive footing with rivals such as the 3.0-litre V6 variants of the Volkswagen Touareg and BMW X5.

As for the styling changes, at the front the Grand Cherokee features a shorter upper grille, slimmer headlights, more pronounced fog lights and a front fascia that's been slightly elevated.

The rear end boasts larger tail lamps with LED lighting, a larger and more aerodynamic rear spoiler and a re-sculpted tailgate that offers greater rear-ward visibility.

In the UK the new Grand Cherokee will be offered in five trim levels, with the entry-level Laredo variant being followed by Limited, Limited Plus, Overland and Summit. 

Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit each features mild styling variations to distinguish them, and the higher-specification cars get Jeep's more sophisticated four-wheel-drive system and air suspension. 

Limited Plus is a UK specific level that adds extra toys such as satnav and 20in alloys to the Limited trim. It is expected to be the biggest seller in the UK range.

Although UK prices are still being finalised, it is expected that the range will start at about £37,000 and rise to just under £50,000 for top-of-the-range editions. Right-hand-drive cars will reach the UK in the middle of July. 

What's it like?

Appreciation of styling is subjective, but to our eyes, the minor exterior styling changes work much more effectively in the metal than they do in pictures. The new Grand Cherokee remains unmistakably Jeep, but the refresh has softened off some of the bluff edges enough to give the large SUV a touch more Euro-centric appeal.   

Like the outside of the outside Grand Cherokee, the cabin has benefited from a mild makeover and features some higher quality materials. Three rear passengers won't be left wanting for leg, shoulder or head room, and there's a 782-litre boot space with the rear seats in place.

One of the stand-out features in the cabin is a new infotainment and multimedia system, which is controlled via a modern-looking 8.4in touchscreen.

The big and bold graphics make it easy to use on the move without diverting attention from the road, and its useful that regularly adjusted systems such as aircon and seat heaters can be operated from the touchscreen without having to fumble around the cabin for switchgear.

Another new piece of technology, the TFT instrument display, gets a more cautious thumbs-up. It can be configured in hundreds of ways to show a seemingly endless torrent of information about the car – pretty much everything apart from what the driver had for breakfast, it seems – but at a quick glance the on-screen clutter can make it difficult to ascertain vital signs like speed and fuel levels.     

On the road, it doesn't take long for the qualities of the eight-speed automatic to become evident. It is a good match to the Grand Cherokee's flexible 3.0-litre V6 engine. The set-up is more suited to cruising than sporty driving; although the engine has a substantial amount of grunt from low revs, it still has to haul almost two-and-a-half tonnes up to speed, and the 0-62mph sprint takes 8.2sec and feels comfortable rather than exhilarating.

When the Jeep Grand Cherokee has selected the biggest cog and settled into a steady pace, it feels very composed. The engine sounds very refined apart from during heavy acceleration (such as the kind you might employ during an A-road overtaking move) when it coarsely grumbles about the extra demands. 

We sampled a top-spec Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, which comes with Jeep's air suspension as standard and rides on 20in wheels and tyres. It felt composed and effectively cushioned, yet also adapted well to keep body roll largely in check during cornering. By contrast, the standard mechanical suspension we tried in the lower-specification Limited variant wallowed more in bends.

The Grand Cherokee's light steering does a competent job of making a large vehicle feel easily manoeuvrable, which is particularly useful around town, although on twisty roads at higher speeds it lacks feel and communicates little to the driver.  

In keeping with Jeep's rugged 'go anywhere' roots, all Grand Cherokee models are equipped with a low-speed transfer 'box. Some light off-roading on our test route showed off the potential of Jeep's four-wheel-drive and the Selec-Terrain system, which offers pre-configured traction settings for snow, sand, mud and rock in addition to the standard 'auto' mode which makes its own mind up. 

The air suspension can be jacked up through five settings to a maximum ground clearance of 280mm, compared to the standard ride height of 220mm. Ultimately, though, even Jeep company chiefs concede that the majority of Grand Cherokee buyers won't venture near a green lane in their luxury SUVs.

Should I buy one?

The latest updates, in particular the eight-speed transmission, make the Jeep Grand Cherokee more worthy of consideration than ever before.

It's more appealing in terms of design, technology, emissions and all-round drivability, and makes a comfortable, spacious and rugged cruising machine.

It also makes an interesting alternative to cars such as the big German SUVs and Land Rover's Discovery.

The final UK price will be important; on paper it doesn't look as cheap as, say, an equivalent VW Touareg, although each trim level does come with a generous level of standard equipment.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

Price: £48,000 (est); 0-62mph: 8.2secs; Top speed: 125mph; Economy: 37.7mpg (combined); Co2: 198g/km; Kerbweight: 2403kg; Engine type: V6, 2987cc, turbodiesel; Power: 247bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 420lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic.

Join the debate

Comments
14

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jonboy4969 wrote:

Jonboy says your thick

16 May 2013

very funny tortellini

al_a_cart

16 May 2013

Ridiculous that the petrol engines are ignored

16 May 2013

bonifa wrote:

Ridiculous that the petrol engines are ignored

They do not bother to import Jeeps with petrol engines into Europe as there is no demand for them.

What percentage of Range Rovers, Discovery's, X5's, Land Cruisers, Mercedes ML's sold in Europe are petrol, maybe at most 5%? Hardly worth the effort.

The reason why the diesel version is so expensive in the US is probably due to the engine being "not made in the USA".

maxecat

16 May 2013

Usually I'd instantly head straight for the Discovery in this segment, but I really like this. It seems like such a vast improvment. Hopefully this makes for good underpinnings for the Maserati Levante.

16 May 2013

looks aside (being subjective) this sounds a huge step forward.

In the states the 3.0 diesel is $5,000 more than the 3.6 Petrol, and $2,000 more than the V8. That buys an awful lot of fuel at US prices, and quite a bit here. So its a shame they dont offer us the option. 

If you prefer the looks of the current car, and can cope with the old auto box you can get one for under £29k, no doubt as they try to shift the current stock

16 May 2013

Might limit appeal to some. X5, Q7 and Disco can now be had with seven seats, while Jeep, Touareg and M-Class can't (I think I'm right about that, but not certain!).

17 May 2013

This seems like a vast improvement on the outgoing Cherokee.No mention of the Japanese or Korean rivals in the article.Do Land Rover and the Germans dominate the SUV market?? I think not !!

TBC

17 May 2013

For business users the MPG and Co2 figures look very impressive compared with the LR Discovery. Looks like LR need to up their game.

17 May 2013

TBC wrote:

For business users the MPG and Co2 figures look very impressive compared with the LR Discovery. Looks like LR need to up their game.

To be fair to LR, the Discovery is at the tail end of its life.  There's a brand new model coming next year, and like the Range Rover and RR Sport, it'll be much lighter.  So the question now is: has Jeep gone far enough?

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