A slice of badass in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is the American brand’s latest offering, and in pictures, it may not say much, but it speaks volumes in the flesh. A lot has changed in this new model, including the addition of an extra row of seats for the first time in its history.
Who is it for?
This is the kind of SUV you buy if you have an expanding family, it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. Why? Because of its sheer size. Still images don’t do justice to this vehicle, it's simply large in all aspects, and that translates to a roomy interior. Fun fact - you can fit seven adults with an average height of 1.8m comfortably in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Space and legroom in the second and third rows of seats are impressive. The former can be fully adjusted by moving forwards, backwards or reclining, meaning passengers in this space can enjoy the ride in comfort.
Space and size are one of the Jeep's standout traits. Witnessing it live gives one a new appreciation for the American SUV. Its size embodies the American mantra that bigger is better, and as such, it is imposing in appearance, in a way that even critics are forced to admire. With standard air suspension, you can adjust and pre-set your ride height. Leave it in one of the lower settings and the Jeep oozes cool factor from all angles. This isn’t all that the air ride is good for. On the road, it translates to a very plush ride, where you instantly know that you’re riding on air.
V6 engines are known for being the sweet spot in powertrains - the Jeep’s 3.6-litre V6 is one such motor. It not only produces a deep reassuring hum while idling and under load, but it also carries the SUV's weight very well. Responsive in character, the petrol V6 produces 210 kW and 344 Nm, which may not seem like a lot but in the real world, it gets the job done. Towing may produce a different outcome but with a braked towing capacity of 2813kg, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Since it is a family vehicle the Jeep has a feature called FamCam. One click of FamCam on the large infotainment screen and it becomes a surveillance screen, allowing you to monitor the kids from the pilot and co-pilot's seats. The screen is split into frames, and you can select a frame to view each of the rear seats. Speaking of screens, the Jeep does have a party trick. Its passenger-side dash converts into a media screen with the touch of a button, meaning the front passenger can consume media on the move through USB or HDMI. It's more of a novelty than a practical feature. It would make more sense if the screen were in the rear quarters.
The Jeep caters to all of its passengers with USB and USB C ports, including those in the third and final row of seats. Each passenger is allocated one of each type, with a total of 8 USB ports throughout the cabin. The days of squabbles over charging ports will be behind you. For the parents, you can enjoy front seat cooling or heating during family vacation trips - a useful feature that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. A heated steering wheel is also part of the package to defrost the digits on frosty days. You also get a standard dual panoramic sunroof that lets in sufficient light for all on board. It can be closed for complete protection from the sun's rays.
Have you heard of the McIntosh brand in the world of audio systems? Well, neither had we until we drove the new Grand Cherokee. It may be one of the lesser-known brands but be assured that it will give some of the popular names a run for their money. If you’re a fan of good sound and bass, you’ll enjoy the McIntosh audio system in the Jeep. With a subwoofer at the rear, drop off the little ones and you can cruise in your low-riding SUV while jamming your favourite hip-hop track at full tilt for the ultimate American experience.
For the modest parents, raise the suspension and engage 4X4 mode, and the Jeep will happily take you off-road for a different experience. With a variety of terrain modes on offer, the SUV is confident in its ability to take on any surface, or you can simply leave it in Auto which decides for you. Low range and hill descent control are also on standby should you need them.
Having decided to go off-roading in this 5.2m SUV be warned that the only eyes you have outside are through a reverse camera. It is a barge to manoeuvre, and with all the tech and standard features on offer here, Jeep somehow overlooked a 360-degree camera system.
Generally, SUVs of this size are offered with a diesel engine - it makes sense. High torque and all. The Jeep, however, is only available with a 3.6-litre petrol engine, and as you can imagine, it isn't modest in its fuel consumption. Do not bank on your average fuel reading being anywhere below 10 litres/100km. Jeep’s stated average is 10.6-litres/100km.
Is it worth the money?
In the mid-spec Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, you're getting a full house of features, some of which we haven’t mentioned, plus space for seven occupants. It comes fully specced, air suspension included. The downer is that there isn’t an option for a diesel powertrain - but if that won’t phase you, there aren’t too many reasons why you wouldn’t want one in your garage as a family SUV with style. Click on the link to browse through a selection of new and used Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs on the ChangeCars platform.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee price
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited: R 1 299 900
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland: R 1 479 900
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve: R 1 679 900
Words: Gugu Masuku