It’s been eight long years that the Grand Cherokee has remained largely the same since the introduction of its fourth generation, and yet it still looks pretty darn contemporary. For 2019 the Grand Cherokee is back with its usual large coterie of versions – 11 to be exact – in order to meet a wide range of needs and tastes. Overkill, you say? Jeep lovers will tell you there can never be too much choice.
By now you might think there’s not much still to be learned about the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but there are still discoveries to be made. Our tester for a week was the Grand Cherokee Limited X.
Here’s our review of a high-ish-end midsize SUV that comes in a number of excellent configurations without overtaxing most buyers’ budgets.
Zero doubt this is a Jeep!
The seven-bar front grille immediately tells you this is a Jeep, though of course there are any number of clear indications of this SUV’s DNA.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but to this beholder the Grand Cherokee is quite looker. Then the Limited X package adds another layer of attractiveness. This is not an SUV that tries too hard to be elegant; rather the philosophy behind it is to have a bold look, one that can disconcert while retaining all of its SUV practicality.
The Limited X version brings with it front and back fairings also seen on the more-expensive Summit version, plus 20-inch wheels, a sport hood and a Velvet Red Pearl colour that put quite an exclamation point on our test vehicle.
In appearance this Limited X is actually quite close to the Trackhawk, but the important difference is that it doesn’t cost as much as that version.
Inside, the SUV’s vibe is all neatness and good ergonomics. There’s no comparing this utilitarian model with luxury models like the Mercedes GLE and BMW X5, but the 2019 Grand Cherokee has some great qualities nonetheless.
Once seated, the driving position is comfortable, even for taller folks which is not always a given. Seats, steering wheel and pedals are perfectly placed to put the driver at ease.
I particularly appreciated the wide flat edges of the windows, wonderful for resting forearms on.
The black-on-black seat covering is maybe not the best choice, as it creates a over-simplistic impression, but luckily Jeep does include a variety of colour options if you want to liven things up.
In terms of materials chose, it’s a mishmash of high-quality elements and hard, fragile plastic ones. Overall the Grand Cherokee Limited X’s score here is fair to middling.
We alluded to the superior ergonomics of the models’ interior, but it’s a shame those are compromised slightly by the central console and by the glovebox, too small in our view when you compare with many other models out there today. Jeep could have provided more useful storage space in the Grand Cherokee Limited X given its identity as a vehicle suitable for adventuring.
In back, the space is ample for adults or teens, who will appreciate the USB ports and the power outlet. Cargo space in the trunk is nothing to sneeze at with 1,934 litres once the second-row seats are folded down.
In terms of functionality the Grand Cherokee is well-adapted to managing our Canadian winters; for example both front and back seats are heated. Jeep has also installed a system for memorizing seat positions, which activates automatically when you enter the vehicle. Pretty cool.
The new glass screen is fully integrated in the dash and more brightly lit, and it displays improved graphics, at a faster speed than before. You can now navigate using pinch-to-zoom on the 8.4-inch interface. The quality of the screen image is certainly high-end, comparable to what you find in Volkswagens or even Audis.
Safety-wide, our Limited X tester was equipped with blind spot monitor, Parkview backup camera and ParkSense backup assist, among other goodies.
A $1,495 option is the Advance Active Safety Group package that includes a parallel and three-point-turn parking assist system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert with automatic braking and rain-detecting front wipers.
In addition to the safety features, the Grand Cherokee delivers an uncluttered view of the hood, although the A-pillars are more prominent than we’d like.
The Grand Cherokee with its 11 versions comes with a choice of four different powertrains. Our test vehicle ran on a 3.6L Pentastar V6 delivering 360 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is certainly enough to satisfy owners’ needs, but at the same time the V8 would probably have been more fun to have.
According to Jeep, the Grand Cherokee consumes 9.6L/100 km on highway and 12.7L/100 km in the city. These aren’t the best figures around in the category, but we doubt that will trouble the typical Grand Cherokee owner too much.
On the road
The least you can say is that the Grand Cherokee delivers a pretty impressive drive. It’s the perfect vehicle for taking you where comparably comfortable and high-end vehicles generally don’t dare tread.
Importantly, though, even when on smooth roads and in the city, the Limited X behaves impeccably with its smooth and pleasant ride. All of the road’s imperfections or almost are easily absorbed, and the steering is pleasingly crisp. On the other hand, the Grand Cherokee braking is only middling; they could do with better calibrating.
The stop/start function worked perfectly when stopped at red lights, and once back in motion the 8-speed automatic transmission did its job well, transitioning smoothly from gear to gear.
Overall, the drive offered by this Jeep deftly combines power and smoothness, with occasional asterisks like the climate control buttons that require taking your eyes off the road to find them. Nothing major, but it’s worth noting.
We’re not in the category of premium German brands here, but the offering is more than respectable when you take into account the reasonable pricing. The Limited X model we tested runs to $50,650. This version sits in the middle of the product range, between the Laredo ($38,499) and the top-end Trackhawk ($102,851).
As we mentioned up top, the Grand Cherokee has changed not very much over the course of its current generations, but we still managed to discover some new things about it this year. It remains the rugged midsize SUV we appreciate. The fuel consumption figures won’t bowl anyone over, and the storage spaces could be improved, those pale in comparison with the positives, namely the very functional infotainment system, the comfortable seating and the robust powertrains available.
While many motorists will be satisfied with a crossover SUV that delivers all-wheel drive, the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed for those who plan on taking on challenging driving and weather conditions.
- Comfortable seats and good ergonomics
- The infotainment system
- Eleven versions to choose from
- Reasonable pricing for the product
We like less
- Insufficient storage spaces
- Braking need work
- Fuel economy not great