The 3.0-litre diesel engine produces a healthy 237bhp and 405lb ft of torque. This is put down through a five-speed automatic gearbox, which although fairly smooth, is also pretty lethargic. The upchanges make the engine have to work below its comfort zone, which hurts flexibility. If you like stopping for fuel a lot, the SRT8 version has a 6.4-litre V8 petrol with 470bhp.
The Jeep's suspension isn’t a big fan of the UK’s bumpy roads, allowing too many ripples and potholes to shudder their way through the cabin. It keeps the body in reasonable control at speed, but the light steering tells you nothing about how much grip the front tyres have. Jeep owners should have little fear about taking the Grand Cherokee off-road.
Wind noise is kept pretty well in check, but there’s too much road noise from those large tyres. Not only that, the diesel engine is a little too keen to let you know how hard it’s working.
Prices match those of much more capable rivals, but resale values are significantly weaker. Contract hire rates are costly compared with rivals’ as a result. However, average economy of 34mpg is acceptable, and CO2 emissions of 218g/km are reasonable for the class. Don’t even ask about the SRT8, though – the costs involved will be laugh-out-loud ridiculous.
The quality of trims simply doesn’t feel worthy of such an expensive machine. The dashboard is trimmed with hide, but it’s still unyielding to the touch; the leather on the seats feels more durable than luxurious, and the wood and metallic-effect trims aren’t nearly classy enough.
The Jeep has front-, side-, curtain- and driver’s knee airbags, plus various systems to warn you if you’re about to have an incident. However, it's disappointing that the car only scored four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. There’s also a proximity-based keyless entry and go system.
The dash is simple and reasonably clear, but there isn’t enough room in the driver’s footwell. On top of that, there’s no footrest, so you’re forced to keep your foot underneath the pedal for the foot-operated parking brake, which sticks out just above the driver’s shin. If you have a crash, the first thing your shin will hit is a sharp piece of metal.
The 782-litre boot doesn’t seem particularly large, because its height is compromised by the fact that there’s a full-size wheel beneath the floor. The Jeep also has only five seats, whereas many rivals offer at least the option of seven.
The basic Grand Cherokee has everything you could need, including climate control, leather trim, electrically adjustable seats, an electric sunroof and a heated steering wheel. It also has Jeep’s version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. The Overland adds radar cruise control and sat-nav, while Overland Summit models don’t seem to add much else.
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Our money would go on one of the Grand Cherokee’s more accomplished rivals, but if you must have one, go for the cheaper Limited model