Preview: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Gains Sophistication
Redesigned two-row SUV adds infotainment tech, safety features, and a plug-in hybrid
What it competes with: Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Bronco, Ford Edge, Honda Passport, Land Rover Defender, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
What it looks like: A Grand Cherokee L, but shorter.
Powertrains: 293-hp, 3.6-liter V6; 357-hp, 5.7-liter V8; 375-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged plug-in hybrid four-cylinder; 8-speed automatic transmission; rear- and four-wheel drive
Price: $37,390-$66,660 (estimated)
Destination charge: $1,795
On sale: Late 2021; 4xe, early 2022
True to the established Jeep formula, the 2022 Grand Cherokee combines off-road credentials and upscale pretensions, with many trims and configurations to choose from. Consequently, it is certain to appeal to previous customers and shoppers drawn to Jeep by its heritage.
We purchased a Grand Cherokee L for testing, and thus far, we find it to be roomy, comfortable, quiet, and well-finished. These virtues are likely to carry over to the five-seat model as well.
Fuel economy and reliability will be two key factors that we will be watching. Even the base V6 in the outgoing model netted only 18 mpg overall in our tests. And despite its long production run, reliability never rose above average. We hope that changes with the new model.
The 2022 Grand Cherokee is slightly larger than the previous version, measuring 3.5 inches longer and 2 inches taller. It’s also 11.4 inches shorter than the Grand Cherokee L, with a wheelbase that’s 5 inches shorter.
The exterior draws clear influence from the current model, with its simple, squared-off lines. But it looks fresh and more upscale, with its shallow grille, horizontal LED headlights, harmonious lines, and floating roofline accented with chrome. Some versions have a contrasting glass black top and/or hood decals. The wheel arches again have a somewhat squared shape that has become a defining styling cue for the brand.
The new design features increased ground clearance (ranging from 8.4 to 11.13 inches), improvements to approach and departure angles, deeper water fording, and more suspension articulation—all enhancing its off-road capabilities for Trailhawk, Overland, and Summit versions.
The cabin is inviting and modern, and arguably more premium than some rivals. The presentation will vary across the Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Trailhawk, Summit, and Summit Reserve trim levels. Among the luxe touches is abundant ambient lighting that can be cast in a choice of five colors on top trim versions.
The chief attraction is the 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch screen that houses the Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Stellantis has typically shined with its Uconnect system in other models, for its clear graphics and ease of use. But our first impressions of this new system were mixed in our Grand Cherokee L. There’s an available, and rather unique, 10.25-inch screen to entertain and inform the front passenger and 10.1-inch screens for the rear passengers with built-in Amazon Fire TV.
The infotainment system is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. There is an available wireless phone charging pad and a 4G LTE WiFi hot spot.
Top trims can rock out to a 950-watt, 19-speaker audio system from McIntosh, a company known for its premium, and pricey, stereos.
The driver’s seats on top trims have 16-way adjustments, with heat and massage functions. Heated and cooled seats are available for the front and second row.
What Drives It
The Grand Cherokee uses an all-new architecture, with front and rear independent suspensions. An available air suspension will enable the driver to lower the vehicle for access and raise it to a 11.3-inch maximum ground clearance.
The core powertrains carry over from the current two-row Grand Cherokee. This means the base engine is the ubiquitous 293-hp, 3.6-liter V6 that is used throughout the Stellantis portfolio. As with several other models, the step up is a 5.7-liter V8, here putting out 357 hp. Both engines are mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Tow capacities are up to 6,200 pounds for the V6 and up to 7,200 pounds for the V8—same as the Grand Cherokee L.
The new 4xe plug-in hybrid version uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a 400-volt, 17-kWh battery mounted underneath the vehicle, where it is protected by skid plates. The battery is waterproof, and Jeep claims the 4xe can ford water up to 24 inches deep. Total power is 375 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful in the lineup. The 4xe has a 6,000-pound tow capacity and estimated 25-mile electric-only range. There are three driver-selectable modes to determine how the electric power is used: hybrid to combine electric and gas power, electric to draw strictly from the battery, and eSave to preserve or charge the battery for later use.
This engine is offered with Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, and Summit trim levels. (See our review of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe.)
Not all versions have a low range. Many Grand Cherokees will come with all-wheel-drive. Only off-road oriented versions will come with low-range gearing and a third system adds a locking rear differential. To further tailor the SUV to road or trail conditions, there are several driver-selectable modes that adjust the engine, transmission, steering, and on some variations, the ride height. These modes include Auto, Sport, Sand/Mud, Rock, and Snow.
Trailhawk models get a new front sway bar disconnect system, a feature normally found on more extreme off roaders such as the Wrangler and new Ford Bronco, that improves suspension articulation in extreme situations such as climbing boulders.
The V6 is available in two- and four-wheel-drive, but the plug-in hybrid and V8 are offered strictly as AWD.
Safety and Driver Assistance Systems
All Grand Cherokee trims will be equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic warning, and adaptive cruise control.
A head-up display and night vision camera with infrared sensors to detect heat signatures of pedestrians and animals will be offered, as will driver attention monitoring.
Jeep will offer a hands-on-the-wheel driver assistance system that operates at all speeds, with lane centering, on approved roads. The system will adjust speed for curves automatically. It will take control only when it knows the driver is paying attention.