A Distinctive American Contender in the UK SUV Market
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, now in its fifth generation, arrives in the UK with a distinctive approach to the SUV formula. Known globally for its rugged capability, Jeep has long been a brand associated with adventure and durability. The introduction of the Grand Cherokee into the UK market, where it faces stiff competition from established players, is a bold move that highlights Jeep's commitment to expanding its presence outside its traditional stronghold in the American market.
This latest iteration of the Grand Cherokee embodies the essence of the Jeep brand – a blend of off-road prowess and everyday usability, wrapped in a distinctly American design. Measuring an imposing 4.91m in length and 1.97m in width, it's a vehicle that demands attention, not just for its size but also for its striking design elements. It stands as a contrast to the more conservative styling cues of its European rivals, making a statement that's hard to ignore.
Design and Dimensions
The Grand Cherokee is unapologetically American in its design. With a flat-topped bonnet, a prominent chrome seven-slot Jeep grille, and slimmer, more aggressive headlights, it echoes a retro charm that's both bold and brash. This approach is refreshing in an era where car designs often tend towards the derivative.
However, its size, notably its 2149mm width including mirrors, can be a challenge on some of the narrower UK roads. Another quirk is its charging port placement on the passenger-side wing, which might complicate charging logistics, especially for those who prefer reversing into charging spaces.
Performance and Engine Options
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, in its latest UK iteration, offers an intriguing blend of performance and efficiency, primarily through its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain. This model is equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, paired seamlessly with an electric motor. The synergy between the petrol engine and the electric motor provides a combined output that's both respectable in power and efficient in fuel consumption.
However, it's worth noting that, as of now, the UK market does not have access to the range of engine options available in other regions, such as the potent V8 engines or the diesel variants that might appeal to certain buyers. The focus on the PHEV model aligns with the growing trend towards electrification and sustainability in the automotive industry.
Transmission and Driving Dynamics
The transmission in the Grand Cherokee is a smooth-operating eight-speed automatic, which complements the hybrid powertrain well. It delivers power efficiently, ensuring a balance between responsiveness and fuel efficiency. On the road, the Grand Cherokee performs with a level of refinement that makes for a comfortable and relaxed driving experience, particularly on motorways and long journeys.
Where the Grand Cherokee truly shines is in its off-road capabilities. Jeep's legacy as an off-road specialist is evident in this latest model. The vehicle is equipped with Jeep's renowned Quadra-Lift air suspension system, which allows for a variable ride height. This feature is particularly beneficial when tackling challenging off-road terrain, as it provides significant ground clearance.
Furthermore, the Grand Cherokee's all-wheel-drive system is sophisticated, offering various modes to tackle different off-road conditions, whether it's mud, sand, or rocks. The vehicle's traction control and stability systems are finely tuned to deliver confidence-inspiring off-road performance, a hallmark of the Jeep brand.
Interior Design and Quality
The interior of the Jeep Grand Cherokee strikes a balance between rugged charm and contemporary luxury. It doesn't quite emulate the sleekness of some of its European counterparts, but it carves out its own niche with a distinctive design ethos. The cabin features quality materials, with a mix of soft-touch surfaces and sturdy elements that reflect its off-road heritage. The overall ambiance is one of durability combined with comfort, fitting for a vehicle of its stature.
Comfort and Seating
Comfort in the Grand Cherokee is a high priority. The seats are designed for long journeys, offering ample support and cushioning. Both the front and rear seats provide generous headroom and legroom, accommodating passengers of all sizes comfortably. The front seats, often with heating and ventilation options, add to the driving comfort, making the Grand Cherokee a pleasant place to be on long drives.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Grand Cherokee is well-equipped in terms of technology. The central infotainment system features a touchscreen that is responsive and intuitive, with user-friendly interfaces. It includes modern necessities such as wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a reliable navigation system. Unique to the Grand Cherokee is the addition of a secondary touchscreen for the front passenger, allowing them to interact with various functions without disturbing the driver.
Practicality and Storage
Practicality is a key aspect of the Grand Cherokee's design. The boot space, while not the largest in its class, is adequately sized at 533 litres. It's versatile, too, thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seats that allow for an expanded cargo area when needed. The inclusion of a full-sized spare wheel is a thoughtful addition, particularly for those venturing off-road.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee emerges as a formidable player in the UK's luxury SUV market, offering a unique American take on the segment. While it may not match the refinement or engine variety of European rivals like the Land Rover Discovery or BMW X5, it stands out with its rugged charm, superior off-road capabilities, and a well-appointed interior that balances practicality and comfort. Although it lacks the prestige of some European brands, its competitive pricing and the dual capability of urban comfort and off-road readiness make it an intriguing option.