Last year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee got a facelift, new technology and some serious interior updates. This year is all about dotting the last few i's and crossing a couple final t's on Jeep's premiere SUV. It's all part of Jeep's ongoing effort to keep up not just with traditional rivals like the Toyota 4Runner and Volkswagen Touareg, but also more premium offerings like the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. One of the most surprising things about the Jeep Grand Cherokee is that it has improved its on-road manners without compromising its off-road ability. Buyers, on the other hand, have a wide range to choose from, be it a frugal 3.0-liter diesel, a powerful and practical V6, or a pavement-shredding Grand Cherokee SRT with 475 horsepower.
You'll Like This Car If...
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV comes closest to having it all: a high-tech and comfortable 5-passenger interior, genuine off-road capability and an array of engine choices. If you take the road less traveled, this is your ride.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Of course, not everyone who drives an SUV actually goes off road. In that case, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's on-pavement ride and noticeable interior noise may be turnoffs. Instead, check out the Volkswagen Touareg, or if you need a 7- or 8-passenger carryall, the Nissan Pathfinder or Honda Pilot.
This year, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gets an additional 5 horsepower for a total of 475 horsepower. The SRT and the luxurious Summit model also get Active Noise Cancellation, giving the cabin a much-needed dose of sophistication. There's also a new California Edition package available for Summit models.
Driving the Grand Cherokee
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. This SUV's electrically assisted steering also feels good, lightly weighted in parking lots and appropriately heavier at speed. However, there's no escaping the wind noise rushing around the outside mirrors and boxy shape at highway speeds. Still, it's a reasonable compromise, especially considering how capable the Grand Cherokee is when the pavement ends. With ample ground clearance, good power and multiple off-road modes, the Grand Cherokee excels. 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.
UCONNECT ACCESS Jeep's Uconnect combines cutting-edge connected-car technology with a simple interface. Offering as much as any competitor's system you'd care to mention, you use the huge 8.4-inch touch panel or voice recognition to access the navigation, or mobile apps like Bing Local Search and Pandora. It also includes hands-free text messaging.
QUADRA-LIFT AIR SUSPENSION The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee's optional Quadra-Lift air suspension lets Jeep owners pick from five different vehicle height settings. At its highest, the 10.6 inches of ground clearance beat even the Wrangler Rubicon. The system can also be lowered, improving aerodynamics as well as facilitating entry and exit.
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Details
"Jeep Grand Cherokee" may be a venerable nameplate, but the SUV's interior is as contemporary as you'll find anywhere. This well-finished space accommodates up to five adult passengers, and soft-touch surfaces are plentiful, accented by tasteful wood trims. The optional Uconnect system is complemented by redundant physical controls for technophobes. Behind the rear seats are 35.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which expand to 68.7 with the rear seats folded, figures right in line with the Ford Edge and VW Touareg, but considerably less than Toyota's 4Runner. Summit and SRT models are quieter, too, thanks to standard active noise cancellation.
The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee's modern exterior is further enhanced this year with the Summit model's California Edition package. It adds body-color lower body trim, mirror caps and door handles, plus platinum chrome on the grille and lower parts of the vehicle. All Grand Cherokees have Jeep's signature 7-slot grille, and higher-end models feature extra helpings of chrome. Despite its tall SUV profile, the Grand Cherokee is easy to get into, making it convenient for the vertically challenged. Conversely, the liftgate can be a bit difficult to reach when fully extended, so if you're short, opt for the power-operated liftgate.
The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in four trims, not counting the SRT: Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit. Entry-level 2-wheel-drive (2WD) Laredo models are well equipped, featuring dual-zone climate control, a digital instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 6-speaker audio system with a 5-inch touch screen. The Limited adds larger 18-inch wheels and heated leather seats, Overland models get a panoramic moonroof, Uconnect Access infotainment and xenon headlights as standard. The Grand Cherokee Summit is essentially loaded. All Grand Cherokee models get six airbags, a raft of stability-control systems, and Uconnect emergency assistance with a complimentary trial subscription.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee's 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system is optional, and a must if you intend to go Jeeping in your Jeep. Speaking of which, the Quadra-Lift air suspension plus the top-spec Quadra-Drive II 4WD system are essential for any hard-core off-road enthusiast. On your way to the trails, your family will like the Blu-ray entertainment center, which is compatible with most gaming consoles. The standard halogen headlights are so-so at best, so the optional xenon setup is a better bet. In a true sign of the times, a CD player has been relegated to the options list.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a wide variety of engine choices. There's the standard 3.6-liter V6, which offers good power and fuel economy. The 5.7-liter V8 amps up the power noticeably, but fuel economy suffers. On the flip side, there's the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, which offers the most torque of any engine save the SRT's V8 and gets great fuel economy, but is a pricey proposition at $4,500. The Grand Cherokee SRT is a completely different animal. With a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter V8, its standard all-wheel-drive system is meant for the street, not the trail. All Grand Cherokees come with an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission.
Base Laredo models start with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $30,500, including destination. Next is the $35,500 Altitude, then the mid-level $37,500 Limited, which we think strikes the best balance between price and luxury. Adding 4WD to any of those costs $2,000. Luxury models Overland and Summit are $44,000 and $49,500, respectively; their 4WD system adds $3,000. SRT models start at a bit over $65,000. That's more than crossover SUVs like the Ford Edge, but on par with the off-road-ready Toyota 4Runner. The Volkswagen Touareg starts far higher, but includes a more extensive set of standard features and luxury-car ride quality. Check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and know that your Jeep will hold its price better than a Nissan Pathfinder or VW Touareg, but less than the Toyota 4Runner.
Cons: "Reliability? So I have read. Not with mine so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited after doing exhaustive comparisons with both domestic and imports. I have been a Japanese and German car owner for a couple of decades and never thought I would go back to a domestic. I do a lot of business travel and have driven a lot of SUVs. I was not even going to consider the Jeep until I rented one and drove it for a couple of weeks. After that I always looked for one on the National Car lot. When I went to buy, I just could not find a better value for what was offered. I sold a 12 year old Acura MDX (a great SUV) and replaced it with the Jeep. So far, the Jeep has been great. V6 power is adequate, but not exceptional, interior is super, exterior is stylish. My only issues are: 1) a buzz in the dash when driving at low revs in lower gears, the finicky electronic shifter, that I can never seem to work correctly, lots of panels, and nooks and crannies in the exterior that I continue to get road salt and sand out of when I wash it even into July, a bit high to step into, no dealer loaners when it is serviced (I keep forgetting this is not an Audi). It has been great in the snow and on the highway. So far (admittedly I have low miles on it) it has been a great vehicle and ran me over $10K less than buying another Acura MDX. In fact, this Grand Cherokee cost me exactly what my 2002 MDX cost me way back then. Better SUV with many more features over 10 years later for the same price....I will take it. I will check back in 10K miles or so."
"Bought this car second hand and it is my second GC. I love the car and mostly everything about it. Pros: The looks--I get compliments all the time. It drives very smooth and makes me feel confident on the road. The Alpine stereo is amazing. The design, fit and finish, details and materials are all nice. I opted for the Altitude trim which gives the truck a very distinct look and a good collection of options. I haven't had time to fully test the 4x4 but I am confident it will be top-notch. Fuel economy is what you would expect for a large and heavy Jeep. (18-24)
Cons: Wanted the 5.7 but chickened out for the V6. I just took the Jeep cross country while towing a 4,000 lbs Uhaul. The Jeep did OK but if you are towing anything on the regular, I would opt for the Hemi. The 5 speed transmission is irritating at times when gunning for a pass or getting off the line-- very much geared for fuel economy and not low end power. I would also recommend getting a newer model with the 8-speed. Finally, Chrysler dealerships (for service) in general do not treat customers very well I think, especially compared to other brand names that charge 40-60k for an SUV."
Pros: "Better seats, ride height and rear bench room"
Cons: "V6 Take off not as responsive as previous models."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I'm a jeep guy, been driving them for decades. In addition to three CJ's (still have the 86 I'm rebuilding), and two grand wagoneers, this will be my third Grand Cherokee with the Laredo package. I favor the Grands for everyday, on-road with some trail use, primarily for my wife and kids and safe travel in snowy conditions. I would never take these out 'muddin'.
My first was a 98, a solid little wagon with thickly padded seats and a very responsive in-line six. Small and light for it's size, it was great off-road. I put 130k on it without issue, (gave it my Son).
I then purchased a 2005, I was not crazy about the V6, but it was quick and responsive. Nor was I crazy about the Diamler SKU that made parts/labor much more expensive. Lots of cheap plastic components that broke and were expensive to replace/repair. The rear bench lacked room/padding and was useless for long trips, (it's not fun taking the minivan on vacation). I blew a head gasket at 110k, drove it to 129k and traded the 2005 in for a post-leased 2012 with 48k miles in practically new condition.
With the 2012, I was quickly impressed with the heavily padded seats (like my '98) and the much improved rear bench (to the kids approval). There were many improvements/organization under the hood, (and moving the battery inside the cabin to reduce corrosion was a plus).
I also liked the improved ride height, it's more like a truck. The improved interior head room is also noticeable and nice over the 2005.
My only gripe is that the V6, from a take-off, is not as responsive as the previous two models, (giving it lower marks in my book). Otherwise, the ride is much improved, (more car like than truck like with previous models).
The Nav/Entertainment panel is confusing to my wife,(read the manual, hun).
Overall, I'm confident that Jeep has done much to raise the bar in terms of comfort,(as expected of the Grands) to provide another vehicle that will, (hopefully like the '98 and '05) outlive it's payments and be a joy to keep for many years to come."