In-depth reviews

Jeep Grand Cherokee review - Engines, performance and drive

Standard air suspension ensures comfort on tarmac, but the Grand Cherokee excels off road

The Grand Cherokee is much more comfortable than its predecessor on road, even on enormous alloy wheels. However, the big SUV is really showing its age in the way it drives.

Air-suspension is standard on the two standard models and while it’s reasonably comfortable at cruising speeds, the big 4x4’s ride is best described as lumpy, while the worst surfaces will still make you wince. There’s a fair degree of body lean if you corner eagerly, too, although the slightly slack steering won’t encourage you to do so.

Where the Grand Cherokee excels is off-road, as here the commanding driving position, high ground clearance and air-suspension make it adept at tackling the toughest terrain. All models get a Selec-Terrain control system, which is similar to the Range Rover’s Terrain Response system and allows you to opt for sand, mud, auto, rock and snow mode depending on the environment you’re driving in.

Steering is reasonably light for such a large car, and there’s a surprisingly tight turning circle, although the steering itself is devoid of feedback.

Thankfully, there are plenty of driving aids to help you get this 2,300kg 4x4 moving. Front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are standard, while adaptive cruise control helps keep your distance to the car in front with little input.

Engines

There are two engines in the range: the 3.0-litre MultiJet II diesel and the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 Hemi in the Trackhawk. Both use automatic gearboxes.

The 247bhp diesel model can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. Gear changes are quick and smooth and this has helped improve the car’s impact on the environment, with better economy and lower emissions than before.

The Trackhawk version boasts 700bhp can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds. Off-road ability comes second to handling in this variant, and comfort is also sacrificed – but straight-line performance is massive and the appeal of that muscular engine is hard to ignore.

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