If you’re in the market for an off-road vehicle that also looks like it belongs in the valet line at the Pelican Hill Resort, look no further than the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. All the bells and whistles are there, the cabin is top notch and its off-road capabilities are unmatched for the price.
Jeep introduces a new Trailhawk model for the Grand Cherokee this model year, and the company says it’s the most capable version ever produced.
The Grand Cherokee is available in six trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit, SRT and the new Trailhawk. Our test Jeep for the week was the Overland, and it was loaded to the gills. With an amenity list as long as your arm, the Overland had a bottom line just north of $50-grand. You won’t find a vehicle with this much capability and panache for less. The starting price for a base 2017 Grand Cherokee 4x4 is $32,695.
The Grand Cherokee offers a stable of strong power trains, including a V6, a V8 and a terrific EcoDiesel V6 with best-in-class highway mileage of 30 mpg. The SRT model has a 475-horsepower V8 that can launch this fairly heavy vehicle to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
The standard V6 is rated at 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and it can tow up to 6,200 pounds. The available 5.7-liter V8 kicks out 360 horses and 390 lb.-ft. of torque and can tow up to 7,400 pounds. Finally, the EcoDiesel V6 – my personal favorite – develops 240 horsepower and a whopping 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The diesel can tow as much as the V8, 7,400 pounds. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
The V6 engine has a standard stop/start feature that kills the engine at red lights to save gas. Thank goodness though, it can be disabled with the push of a button.
If you’re like most drivers, you want a reliable ride that can tow your boat, has room inside for all your stuff and cleans up nicely after a hard day’s work. The 2017 Grand Cherokee can handle that with ease.
My Overland test Jeep had a dynamite black interior with contrast stitching and the Overland logo embroidered on the front seats. A panoramic sunroof stretched over row 2, giving second-row passengers an open air feeling.
The Grand Cherokee is officially a mid-size SUV, but it feels larger and more substantial. Headroom in front was plenty for my 6-foot-1 frame. At 39.2 inches, rear seat headroom is ok, but my hair brushed the edge of the sunroof. With legroom of 38.6 inches, the back seat still felt roomy, and the seats were firm and comfortable.
Cargo space behind the second row is 36.3 cubic feet, and maximum cargo room with the seats folded down is 68.3 cubic feet.
Up front, FCA’s Uconnect infotainment and connectivity system is one of the best on the market, intuitive and simple to master on the big 8.4-inch touch screen.
The guts of my Grand Cherokee test vehicle included a traction control system a la Land Rover. With a rotary controller on the console, there are settings for snow, sand, auto, mud and rocks. There is also a power suspension system that raises and lowers the vehicle with the push of a button. Raise it up for maximum ground clearance and lower it for highway travel and unloading cargo.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee wins top safety marks from the government, earning five stars in every test except rollover, where it scored four. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Grand Cherokee its best rating of good in most categories, but dings it in the difficult small overlap front crash test, rating it marginal.
2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4
$47,695 ($51,775 as tested plus freight)
EPA mileage rating:
18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: