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Reviews

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Driving Impressions


Grand Cherokee is one of the best handling, best steering SUVs in its class. Road manners are smooth and crossover-like, without a bounding ride. Upper trim levels can get an optional Quadra-Lift air suspension, able to raise the Grand Cherokee from 6.4 inches to 11.3 inches off the ground. The air suspension can also lower the Jeep all the way for entry/exit.

The refined 3.6-liter V6 offers strong midrange response, plus sufficient low-rpm torque to handle demanding off-road tasks. With the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, Grand Cherokee feels almost like a muscular Dodge Charger sedan, including a great-sounding engine; but the performance improvement over a V6 doesn’t quite offset the gas-mileage penalty. The admirably responsive 8-speed ZF automatic includes paddle shifters.

The most costly choice is the 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder. Despite producing strong low- and mid-range torque, it doesn’t feel as potent as the V8. Engine clatter can be heard at idle and lower speeds.

Maximum towing is rated at 6,200 pounds with the V6, while the rear-drive diesel manages 7,400 pounds.

Three four-wheel-drive systems are available. Basic Quadra-Trac I has a locking differential with 50/50 power split, but no low range. Quadra-Trac II splits front/rear torque variably. Quadra-Drive II adds an electronic limited-slip differential. Selec-Terrain lets the driver choose among five traction-control modes: Auto, Sand, Mud, Snow, and Rock.

The SRT is in a performance class by itself, unbridled in ways you’d never expect from the Jeep brand. Not only does it promise 0-60 mph acceleration in about 4.8 seconds, SRT ranks among the top-handling SUVs we’ve driven.

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* Images, prices, and options shown, including vehicle color, trim, options, pricing and other specifications are subject to availability, incentive offerings, current pricing and credit worthiness.

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