The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee boasts best-in-class towing of 7,200 pounds and a crawl ratio of 44.1:1. All Grand Cherokee models now feature Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection as standard equipment. Jeep photo

Jeep Grand Cherokee is elder statesman of Jeep SUV family

When you hear the name Jeep, most people think of the old Army Willys or today’s modern Wrangler. But there’s a whole family of Jeep vehicles, and one in particular has had a long existence.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV that has been around since 1993 and is in its fourth generation. It often gets overshadowed by the iconic Wrangler or the smaller, more youthful Cherokee. But, make no mistake, the Grand Cherokee still deserves some time in the limelight.

This week, I drove the 2019 Grand Cherokee Limited. It has that prototypical Jeep front end. And it also has timeless SUV looks. The Grand Cherokee may be a little long in the tooth, as it’s toward the end of the fourth generation, but it still feels fresh. Squinty headlights add pizzazz to the front end. The taillights have a similar shape as the headlights, giving it a consistent look. A rear spoiler adds a touch of sportiness. The classic, chiseled SUV profile gives the Grand Cherokee a throwback vibe. I still enjoy stout, less angular looks of SUVs. Put me down as a fan.

The last time I drove a Grand Cherokee, I was in the ultra-powerful SRT version, which was “too powerful” to be on the street. That might be blasphemous for some of you to hear, but it’s the truth. Replacing the SRT is the 6.2-liter V8 Trackhawk which cranks out more than 700 hp. I stand by the statement that that is just too much power for an SUV. It’s a rollover waiting to happen.

My tester had the 3.6-liter V6 with a tame 295 hp. There are three other engine options, too, for the Grand Cherokee, with two other V8s and also a 240-hp turbodiesel. With the V6, the Grand Cherokee can tow up to 7,500 pounds.

The eight-speed automatic transmission is outstanding. It is efficient and smooth. The steering is a little loose and could be more responsive. The brakes are fantastic as they’re neither too mushy nor too sensitive.

Inside, the Grand Cherokee really separates itself from the Wrangler and even the Cherokee. It has a mature interior, with soft touchpoints and a spacious interior. It’s aimed at those Jeep owners who have a family and require creature comforts and legroom. The Grand Cherokee offers that, and then some. This is why midsize SUVs continue to be popular as they are just so comfortable and offer plenty of technology.

Chrysler’s Uconnect continues to be one of my favorite infotainment systems. It’s intuitive and the 7-inch touch screen is responsive. There’s integration with smart phones through two USB ports and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. For an additional $795 there are nine amplified speakers to boost the sound system further.

The Grand Cherokee has dizzying amounts of options, trims and specs. It’s a win for the customer in that you can tailor it to be what you want, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming on the car lot. My tester was the Limited trim with 4-wheel drive. Base price for this trim was $40,945. With options and packages like 20-inch wheels, roof rails, LED running lights and a special grille, my tester had a final MSRP of $49,630.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of average, suburban driving, I averaged nearly 21 mpg. That was sufficient to me. If you want this vehicle to tow, you may want one of the V8 engines or even the turbodiesel. But as a daily driver, with a comfortable interior, it serves its purpose.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee may be getting a little dated and may not be the star under the Jeep umbrella. But it certainly has put in the time and continues to earn its stripes with a quality SUV that is both enjoyable to drive and full of fine technology and a comfortable interior.

2019 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LIMITED 4X4

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $40,945/$49,630
  • Mileage…………………………………… 18 mpg/city; 25 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 3.6-liter V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 295 hp/289 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. Four-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Detroit, Michigan

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