Words: Karston Chong
Photography: Karston Chong
Published: August 9, 2018
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is on my mind, one of the most prevalent 4x4s to first grace the civilian landscape during the SUV boom in the 90’s. Many years on and a few generational redesigns later, Jeep has maintained the Grand Cherokee’s off-roading integrity while at the same time succumbing to modern-day demands for comfort, luxury, and technology. Consequently my test vehicle for this week is a well-equipped 2018 Grand Cherokee Limited, and more specifically, the Sterling Edition ringing in at $65,395 as tested.
Clearly, amongst the Grand Cherokee’s vast lineup – from the base $40,895 Laredo to the maniacal $110,845 Trackhawk – this Limited model is aimed carefully for the mass market in search of a well-rounded and modestly-equipped commuter.
Starting off with the powertrain, my sample was aptly equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission: a popular choice for the masses and rightfully so. While the 5.7L Hemi V8 is a tempting option, the V6 provides a strong sensible choice that balances ample commuting power with reasonable fuel efficiency for a mid-size SUV. Rated at 11.3L/100 km combined, my week long tester averaged out to a respectable 12.0L/100 km under heavy city driving.
The most impressive aspect of the powertrain package however, goes to the 8-speed automatic, a transmission that cycles through its gears so seamlessly and decisively, it never impeded the driving experience. The big Jeep’s road manners also impressed. A high-swaying stance lends itself to some body roll, but it’s a fitting compromise for a supple and stress-free ride over imperfect commuter roads. While the Grand Cherokee may not be as nimble or as immediate as its competitors, it never felt unwieldy or cumbersome. Rather, it offered a compliant ride and was a thoroughly pleasant and soothing day-to-day vehicle. An undeniable sore spot would be the wind noise, a difficult item to overcome in large vehicles, and is most pronounced by the side mirrors. Otherwise, tire noise and other vibrations are kept to a minimum.
Within the cabin, the interior features and finishes are duly spec’d to match the market’s demands and ultimately the price tag. And in general, this grown up Jeep is a nice place to spend time in. Seats are well cushioned and supportive, and touch points are upholstered in leather and soft plastics. Technology offerings are also impressive with FCA’s UConnect touchscreen being one of the most intuitive to use on the market. However, nothing else within the interior caused for much excitement. In fact, a few design choices were a true cause for nuisance.
Storage space for front passengers was especially shocking. Aside from cubby space on the doors, the centre stack was surprisingly void of any usable space. Even more frustrating was the optional Rear DVD entertainment centre ($2,150) that occupied half of the centre armrest console, leaving behind a laughably small sliver of storage space. The front passenger compartment also left much to be desired, being far smaller than you would expect from an SUV of this size.
As an overall package, the Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers a good balance of off-roading prowess with everyday comfort and modern niceties. As the mid-size SUV segment grows stronger day by day however, the Grand Cherokee will find it difficult to keep up with the competition’s refreshed designs. Even with the long list of options equipped, the experience still felt slightly dated and traditional. For those in the market, there are likely better choices available, and for those set on the Jeep brand, there may be something worth waiting for in the near future.
Model: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Paint Type: Walnut Brown Metallic
Base Price: $52,845
Price as Tested: $65,395
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,859 / 2,156 / 1,760
Curb weight (kg): 2,252
Engine: 3.6L Pentastar V6
Horsepower: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4X4
Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 12.7 / 9.6 / 11.3
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season - P265/50R20