Superior off-road capability; first-rate build and interior quality; good driving dynamics; torquey and fuel-efficient turbodiesel V6
Indifferent fuel economy, except the diesel; diesel engine gets a little noisy; pricy upper-level models
Every Grand Cherokee is now slightly lighter because Jeep has installed aluminum suspension parts to replace steel components. Less weight brings benefits in fuel consumption and dynamics.
The shift lever has also changed. Drivers no longer have to select a gear by going through a stepped slot. This one just requires nudges -- push forward for park, pull back for drive and all stops in between.
With the exception of the high-performance SRT and diesel-powered versions, steering assistance now comes from an electric system. This brings an economy benefit and allows the model to be compatible with any active driver safety systems that might become available.
The 3.6-liter gasoline V6 has been updated for improvements in power and fuel efficiency, including a start/stop function. Jeep has also introduced a High Altitude trim, and the SRT receives new selectable driving modes, along with a re-designed instrument cluster housing a centrally located tachometer, because driving enthusiasts are considered to be more interested in engine speed than road speed.
Thanks to its extraordinary fuel economy and effortless low-end torque, the diesel version is the ideal choice, but a Limited with the 3.6-liter gasoline V6 should please most people a majority of the time.
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT forms.
The Laredo ($30,990) is the entry-level model, but it still comes with a decent interior. The dashboard and door panels are mostly covered in premium materials, and the list of standard equipment is generous. This model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry/start, Bluetooth, a 5-in touchscreen interface and a 6-speaker audio system.
At the Limited ($38,360) and Overland ($45,190) levels, cabin quality resembles BMW or Land Rover. Notable standard features include a power lift gate, power front seats with driver memory functions, heated front and rear seats, a rearview camera and a 9-speaker audio system. The Overland has 20-in wheels, xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel with wood trim, a 8.4-in touchscreen with navigation, premium leather upholstery and cooled front seats.
The Summit ($50,590) comes standard with practically every upgrade available, including adaptive cruise control, collision warning, blind spot monitoring, active noise cancellation, an extended wood trim and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
The performance-oriented SRT ($66,490) enjoys a 6.4-liter V8 and a lowered suspension that naturally compromises Jeep's traditional go-anywhere approach. And when it does go somewhere, it's quick.
Many features that are standard in pricier versions are optional on lower trim levels. Other extras include a rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray capability and a towing package.
The SRT aside, the Grand Cherokee comes with rear-wheel drive as standard. The all-wheel-drive systems on offer require some explanation.
Laredo trims feature the Quadra-Trac I permanent all-wheel drive setup.
Quadra-Trac II, with a 2-speed transfer case for greater off-road ability, can be installed in the Laredo, but is the default system in the Limited and Overland.
Quadra-Drive II is optional on all-wheel-drive Limited and Overland variants, and standard on the all-wheel-drive Summit. It adds an electronic limited-slip rear differential.
Selec-Terrain is paired with the above systems. It's a feature that has pre-programmed settings of engine response, gearshift points, suspension and hill descent control for optimum traction on tricky surfaces, such as rocks, sand and snow.
Extra comfort for all-wheel-drive versions comes from the Quadra-Lift optional air suspension that can also lower the vehicle for better aerodynamics or raise it for higher ground clearance. It operates automatically or manually.
Maximum cargo space with the rear seats folded is 68.3 cu ft. And there are two removable storage bins under the trunk floor that are ideal for muddy items.
Jeep's 75th anniversary is marked by special-edition 2016 models based on pre-existing trim levels, but adding various cosmetic differences (green paint, bronze highlights and tweaked headlamp designs) plus a few extras, such as a heated steering wheel.
A High Altitude package is based on the Overland, but has a sportier suspension tune, some cosmetic differences and several active safety features.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||5 Years/100,000 Miles|
2016 Ford Explorer -- The usual rival to a Grand Cherokee has become more of a crossover than a bona fide sport ute. It comes with third-row seating, and instead of a big V8, the Explorer employs a turbocharged V6.
2016 Lexus RX 350 -- The Lexus RX is new for 2016. Though it's not renowned for any off-road ability, it's one of the best-selling premium midsize crossovers.
2016 Volkswagen Touareg -- Although the Touareg can't match the Grand Cherokee's sophisticated all-wheel-drive skill set, it's still adept at medium-duty off-roading. And its on-road manners are impeccable.
Used Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- If you're willing to spend somewhere in the low to mid 30s region, a 2013 M-Class is feasible. It comes with great engines, superb build and high-class ambiance. And someone else has already taken the depreciation hit.