Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
Price £45,050 - £69,865
- Spacious interior
- Well equipped for the price
- Better to drive than older Jeeps
- Some interior materials feel cheap
- Engine noisy on motorway
- Limited engine choice
At a glance
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee is big, bold and characterful.”
The Jeep Grand Cherokee if a full-size SUV that competes with cars like the BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7. Unlike those cars, the Grand Cherokee is strictly a five-seater – there's no option of extra seats to carry seven. In fact, underneath the Grand Cherokee is the same car as the Mercedes GLE-Class, which is also a five-seater.
If you order a Grand Cherokee, there are two engines to choose from: a 3.0-litre diesel and a 6.4-litre petrol. The petrol engine is – as you might expect given its size – an expensive proposition that's aimed at buyers after a seriously swift SUV, making the diesel the default choice for the vast majority of buyers.
The Grand Cherokee looks more distinctive than many other cars on the road, and it's also a more capable off-roader than the vast majority of SUVs. Other plus points include a generous equipment list, a truly huge interior and positive reports from existing owners.
The Grand Cherokee's predominant focus is on luxury and comfort, rather than driver involvement. While some may prefer that setup, those buyers after an SUV that performs in a sportier manner may find the BMW X5 more suitable.
If you’re swung by the Grand Cherokee's charms, do check out the Land Rover Discovery, too. While it's due for imminent replacement, the Discovery comes with seven seats as standard. It's at least as luxurious, spacious and capable off-road as the Grand Cherokee – though it's more expensive to run than the diesel Cherokee.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The diesel engine could be more economical
A Grand Cherokee with a petrol engine is best thought of as a completely different model compared to the standard diesel car. Choosing the vast 6.4-litre V8 petrol adds about £20,000 to the list price, while economy of 20.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 315g/km (making road tax £515 a year) mean it’ll be more expensive to run than almost anything else on the road. We’re not saying that it’s without charm, but few SUV customers are really after such a colossally powerful and thirsty engine.
Given the petrol engine’s limited audience, it’s a shame that the only other engine choice – a 3.0-litre diesel – isn’t more economical. This engine returns 40.4mpg and emits 184g/km of CO2, making road tax £210 a year. While these figures are by no means disastrous, they’re off the pace compared to the Grand Cherokee’s rivals. The most economical BMW X5 (aside from the hybrid model) returns 53.3mpg and costs £130 a year in road tax, for example.
Engines, drive & performance
Relaxing rather than exciting to drive
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been deliberately set up to prioritise comfort over outright handling, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While some hanker for an SUV that can be enjoyed on the twisting corners of a winding B-road, others seek a more cosseting driving experience. If you fall into the latter camp, the Grand Cherokee may well appeal.
On the road, the Grand Cherokee’s light steering and powerful diesel engine make driving an effortless endeavour, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox can be left in ‘drive’ and forgotten about as it shifts smoothly through the gears. There’s a fair bit of body lean when cornering, though, meaning if you try to drive in a sporty manner, you may find that you and your passengers have a bit of a woozy journey.
The 3.0-litre diesel is powerful enough to get the Grand Cherokee from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and it’s the only sensible engine choice. The 6.4-litre V8 petrol is simply too thirsty to justify, even if it has an almost musical exhaust note and endows the Grand Cherokee with a frankly ludicrous turn of speed – 0-62mph takes just five seconds with this engine.
We advise you avoid the entry-level Limited+ model, as in all other trims (Overland, Summit and SRT) the Grand Cherokee comes with adjustable air suspension, which does a much better job of absorbing potholes and bumps than the standard setup.
Despite some slight shortcomings on the road, the Grand Cherokee is undoubtedly hugely capable off road. Jeep’s 4x4 know-how goes back all the way to the Second World War, and the Grand Cherokee comes with a five-mode off-road controller, allowing you to set the car up perfectly depending on the terrain. While the Land Rover Discovery is similarly capable, there are few other cars that can match the Grand Cherokee when it comes to off-road prowess.
Interior & comfort
The noisy diesel engine detracts from an otherwise comfortable experience
The Grand Cherokee was facelifted in 2013, and that update brought with it an improvement in interior materials. As a result, the Grand Cherokee’s seats are comfortable and supportive, while the dashboard plastics feel more premium than before – although they’re still not up to Audi or BMW standards.
Getting comfortable is a breeze thanks to sheer amount of space on offer. While many cars in this class come with seven seats as standard, the Grand Cherokee’s five seat setup means front and rear passengers get acres of leg and headroom. The panoramic sunroof (standard on Overland, Summit and SRT cars), meanwhile, complements the high driving position and gives the Grand Cherokee a light and spacious feel.
As we mentioned earlier, avoid the standard suspension if you can. Jeep charges about £3,500 to move from entry-level Limited+ trim up to Overland, and the adjustable suspension this adds (as well as some additional creature comforts) make this upgrade a wise one. With the standard suspension, we found the Grand Cherokee occasionally uncomfortable on poor road surfaces.
Assuming you go for the air suspension, the only other thing that takes away slightly from the cosseting driving experience is the diesel engine, which is a little to noisy at higher speeds and under acceleration.
Practicality & boot space
A huge interior and boot give the Grand Cherokee impressive practicality
Inside, the Grand Cherokee makes good use of its large exterior dimensions. Front and rear passengers get genuinely impressive legroom, while interior storage is taken care of by a variety of cupholders, cubbies and doorbins. It's a shame, though, that despite being such a large car, the Grand Cherokee isn’t available with seven seats. Rivals like the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 come with an extra pair of seats as standard, making them more practical than the Grand Cherokee.
The 782-litre boot is accessed via an electronically opening tailgate and will easily be big enough for most families. There’s also a retractable load cover to hide valuables out of sight, while dropping the rear seats sees boot space grow to 1,554 litres.
Like many cars of this size, parking can be tricky and some tighter spaces will simply be inaccessible. All Grand Cherokees come with a reversing camera, though, so once you’ve found a space, getting in is relatively hassle-free.
Reliability & safety
Positive reports from owners, but a four-star safety rating is uncompetitive
Jeep had a good year in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The brand came 11th out of 32 manufacturers, placing it above Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The Grand Cherokee, meanwhile, came ninth out of 150 models indicating owners are very satisfied with their cars. High scores for performance, practicality, seat comfort and in-car technology impress, although one note of caution: the Grand Cherokee came 102nd for reliability, while Jeep as a brand came second from bottom in this area.
The Grand Cherokee gained four out of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash-worthiness assessments. Compare that to the five-star ratings of the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLE-Class and it’s clear the Grand Cherokee is a little off the pace. The big Jeep scored poorly (45%) in pedestrian protection tests, while a 69% child occupant safety rating is reasonable, rather than exceptional.
Price, value for money & options
Generous standard equipment, but second hand values may be a worry
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is undoubtedly a well-equipped car. All models come with LED running lights, electrically adjustable leather seats (heated front and rear), 20-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and sat nav. Do note that the entry-level Laredo and Limited trims are no longer offered, while the SRT trim is reserved for the 6.4-litre petrol engine.
You should also be aware that the Grand Cherokee loses money quite quickly, particularly when compared to cars like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7. This may be great news for second-hand buyers, but those who bought new may be disappointed when it’s time to trade in or sell on.