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#5

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,895 - $64,495
Invoice: $29,462 - $61,301
MPG: 17 City / 25 Hwy
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Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance

Automotive journalists praise the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee for its incredible off-roading capability, as well as its composed driving dynamics on pavement. Reviewers say its base V6 engine has plenty of power, and its available diesel model has strong acceleration and gets great fuel economy. The V8-powered models, especially the high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT, are incredibly fast. Reviewers are also impressed with the Grand Cherokee's responsive standard eight-speed automatic transmission.

  • "As one would expect of a proper Jeep, the Grand Cherokee's off-roading abilities are exceptional, while an inviting interior and a platform co-developed with Mercedes-Benz give it the daily-driving refinement of a more expensive luxury vehicle." -- Left Lane News
  • "Off-road chops aside, the 2015 Grand Cherokee is far more likely to spend its time on pavement, rather than off. Luckily, it's pretty good here. The resilient and composed highway ride belies the rugged demeanor." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In highway cruising situations, the diesel is whisper quiet and unobtrusive. Combined with its best-in-class highway fuel economy, it could prove to be a popular option for buyers interested in efficient towing or highway commuting." -- Cars.com (2014)
  • "On the road the SRT is two and a half tons of fun. We got to flog the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT around the Formula One course at Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas - a place where the big Jeep felt anything but out of place." -- MSN (2014)
  • "Its air suspension gives it a comfortable ride, while four-wheel-drive systems give it strong off-road capability." -- CNET (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower. The Grand Cherokee is available with a 3.0-liter diesel V6 that produces 240 horsepower. A 5.7-liter V8 that makes 360 horsepower is also optional. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. With the base engine, the 2015 Grand Cherokee returns an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for the class. With the diesel engine, the Grand Cherokee returns 22/30 mpg, which is excellent for the class.

The high-performance Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is powered by a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and has standard all-wheel drive.

Auto journalists say that the Grand Cherokee's base V6 delivers ample power. Some are impressed with the authoritative acceleration provided by the diesel V6, but others say it is a bit noisy at full throttle and question whether it is a good value, as the diesel engine commands a price premium over the V6 and must be treated with a urea solution every 10,000 miles to keep the exhaust clean. Reviewers agree that V8-powered Grand Cherokees deliver robust acceleration. The eight-speed transmission is praised for its smooth, timely shifts.

  • "Even when equipped with the base gasoline V6 engine, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is plenty powerful. It also provides a quiet, comfortable ride and commendable stability around turns. The eight-speed automatic transmission is a great ally, as it makes good use of the V6's power and shifts very smoothly to boot. All in all, most shoppers should be quite satisfied with the base-engine Grand Cherokee." -- Edmunds
  • "The EcoDiesel is smooth and refined, but its $4,500 premium and pricey urea refills every 10,000 miles drive us to recommend the standard V6 or 5.7-liter Hemi V8 instead. If you crave speed and family hauling, the 475-horsepower Grand Cherokee SRT is just the ticket. Speeding ticket, that is." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As much as we love the engine, the real standout in the Grand Cherokee's family of drivetrains is the new ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission. Shifts are smooth and seamless in normal operation, but turn to fast and focused in Sport mode." -- Motor Trend (2014)
  • "The immediacy of the diesel's torque is impressive. One never forgets that this is a diesel; while Jeep has done a commendable job damping the distinctive clatter from the motor, full-throttle applications sound like a tractor-pull at the county fair. The thing is, in a big SUV like this, that diesel rumble actually puts a grin on your face." -- Cars.com (2014)
  • "I did use the Hemi V8 in great effect. It's strong, sounds good and is adept at aggressive launches and jockeying for position on the expressway." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers write that the 2015 Grand Cherokee has a comfortable, quiet ride, though some comment that broken pavement causes some unwanted body motions. They say that it has composed handling and well-weighted steering, and that its small turning circle makes it easy to maneuver on the street or the trail. An available Quadra-Lift air suspension system offers selectable ride heights, which can improve ground clearance for off-road use, or lower the Grand Cherokee to improve fuel economy.

  • "This SUV's electrically assisted steering also feels good, lightly weighted in parking lots and appropriately heavier at speed." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "What really surprised me initially about the Grand Cherokee was, instead of a lumbering tank stripping side mirrors off of parked cars as I piloted down city streets, it proved to be excessively maneuverable, with easy and precise handling." -- CNET (2014)
  • "The Grand Cherokee in its Normal mode is tuned more for a comfortable ride than for athletic moves. But Sport mode is now available across the lineup, engaged with a pull on the transmission handle. In Grand Cherokees equipped with the air suspension, Sport mode wakes up the truck and transforms it significantly, changing shift patterns, suspension settings and ride height to minimize body roll and create a more surefooted performance in fast twisties." -- Cars.com (2014)
  • "This SUV with serious off-road abilities rides remarkably well. The suspension absorbs most bumps without harshness, though, in typical SUV style, the body wallows a bit and rocks unpleasantly over sharp pavement breaks." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The Grand Cherokee is quiet and composed at speed, and it's easy to pilot through curves and bends on the open road. As Raynal notes, there's a solid German feel underneath right through to the chassis. It makes for an energetic and relaxing experience, depending on the conditions." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Off-Roading

The 2015 Grand Cherokee is available with three four-wheel drive systems. Quadra-Trac I is essentially an all-wheel drive system, which routes power to all four wheels through a single-speed transfer case. Quadra-Trac II adds a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing and Quadra-Drive II includes a rear electronic limited-slip differential to further improve traction. Jeep's Selec-Terrain system is available, which features different drive modes for different types of terrain. Four-wheel drive models are also available with an air-adjustable suspension, which can be used to raise the Grand Cherokee up an additional 3.8 inches.

Reviewers are impressed with the ease with which the Jeep Grand Cherokee tackles challenging off-road courses, and appreciate the additional ground clearance afforded by the optional air suspension. Some remark that the Grand Cherokee's off-road capabilities are not hindered by having stock all-season tires, either.

  • "Off-road, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at the top of the mountain for its class. Trail obstacles and steep hills are easily dealt with regardless of which engine you choose (although the SRT version is built primarily for paved-road driving), thanks to the advanced four-wheel-drive systems and the Jeep's generous ground clearance." -- Edmunds
  • "With ample ground clearance, good power and multiple off-road modes, the Grand Cherokee excels." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Jeep vehicles have a reputation to uphold in regard to off-road prowess, and the Grand Cherokee doesn't disappoint thanks to a Quadra-Lift suspension system that adds up to 4.5 inches of ride height." -- Left Lane News
  • "We climbed impressive rocks with the 2014 Grand Cherokee, and it was as easy as slipping into a parking spot at Nordstrom's." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "And speaking of boulders, the Grand Cherokee performed very well on a trail drive, especially considering its stock Goodyear Fortera HL All-Season rubber." -- CNET
    (2014)
Review Last Updated: 11/7/14

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