Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the flagship model from the iconic SUV brand. As a 2-row, 5-passenger SUV, it competes on paper with midsize sport-utility vehicles like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. But the Grand Cherokee is unique in its "Jeep-ness" — that is, its purpose-built ability to go off-road.
You'll Like The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee If...
The Grand Cherokee is the best all-around player in the Jeep lineup. It’s comfortable, available with serious off-road hardware, and can tow up to 7,400 pounds. Variants widen appeal, from a diesel model that earns up to 30 mpg to the bad-boy Grand Cherokee SRT packing 475 horsepower.
You May Not Like The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee If...
If you don’t plan to do much off-roading or substantial towing, check out a less-rugged crossover SUV such as the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Sorento or Honda Pilot, which also can seat seven or eight passengers.
Only slight revisions are in store for the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee. They include enhanced fuel economy, electric power steering, and a 5-horsepower increase in 3.6-liter V6 models (to 295). The high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT receives a new instrument-panel gauge cluster and drive modes. Also, V8 Grand Cherokees are now only offered in 4-wheel drive.
The new Grand Cherokee spans from a reasonably comfortable SUV to one that could give luxury brands a run for their money. All models are 2-row/5-passenger — there is no option for a third row. This layout offers good room for passengers and a healthy 36.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats. Folded, that space expands to 68.3 cubic feet. Base Laredo models look the part with cloth, manually adjusted front seats, but stepping up just one trim brings power operation to the driver. Higher-end models are awash in leather and feature heated and ventilated front seats.
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a muscular, handsome design. True to its off-road intent, the GC has 8.6 inches of ground clearance, with the performance-oriented SRT model sitting slightly lower. The Limited 75th Anniversary model gets a unique front end with mesh grille and accents. All Grand Cherokees have Jeep’s signature 7-slot grille, and higher-end models feature extra helpings of chrome. Despite its tall 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, but you can opt for the power-operated liftgate.
Considerable off-road chops aside, the 2016 Grand Cherokee is more likely to spend its life on pavement. Unlike the rougher-riding Jeep Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee is pleasing on the highway and around town. The GC’s resilient and composed highway ride belies its rugged demeanor. But 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.
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $31,000 for a base Laredo model. You can get better value spending a few thousand more on the 75th Anniversary Edition. Higher trims run from the mid- to high-$40,000 mark, and options can add thousands more. At the top is the Grand Cherokee SRT, a specialized version more tuned for on-road speed and handling, which begins over $65,000 and can blow past the $70,000 mark with options. At these prices the Grand Cherokee starts less than a Toyota 4Runner and slightly above a Ford Edge and Nissan Murano, though the last two are clearly oranges to this apple. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to have good resale value, but can’t match the stellar heights of the Toyota 4Runner.
As mentioned, the least expensive Grand Cherokee, the Laredo, still requires drivers to manually adjust their seat, but does come with dual-zone climate control, a digital instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and a 6-speaker audio system with a 5-inch touch screen. For less than $5,000 more, we recommend stepping up to at least the Laredo 75th Anniversary Edition, which includes the 8.4-inch Uconnect system, heated and power-operated front seats, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera with backup sensors and 18-inch wheels.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system is optional, and a must if you intend to go Jeeping in your Jeep. The Quadra-Lift air suspension plus the top-spec Quadra-Drive II 4WD system are essential for any hard-core off-roader. 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. Other options: a Blu-ray entertainment center, dual-pane sunroof and 19-speaker harman/kardon audio system, plus blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning with crash mitigation and lane-departure warning.
UCONNECT ACCESSJeep’s Uconnect combines easy-to-use, easy-to-see connected-car technology with a simple interface. Key to its user-friendliness are the optional large 8.4-inch touch panel and 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 SUSPENSIONThe 2016 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.
Under the Hood
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered with several 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. The Grand Cherokee SRT is a completely different animal. With a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter V8, its standard 4-wheel-drive system is meant for the street, not the trail, proven by its 4.8-second 0-60-mph time. All Grand Cherokees come with an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) models are now only available with V6 engines, while 4-wheel drive (4WD) is optional on all models and standard on the SRT. 3.6-liter V6290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (2WD), 18/25 mpg (4WD) 5.7-liter V8360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg (4WD) 3.0-liter diesel V6240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (2WD), 21/28 mpg (4WD) 6.4-liter V8475 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm470 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the flagship model from the iconic SUV brand. As a 2-row, 5-passenger SUV, it competes on paper with midsize sport-utility vehicles like the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. But the Grand Cherokee is unique in its "Jeep-ness" — its purpose-built ability to go off-road. In this respect it’s more like a tough Toyota 4Runner. But the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in a wider variety of trims, with multiple engine choices that include a Hemi V8 and diesel V6, and a host of comfort and safety features. The Grand Cherokee is as adept on-road as it is off. For adventurous individuals and families desiring a roomy, competent and comfortable SUV, it’s hard to beat the Jeep Grand Cherokee.