2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4×4 Review - Aging Stalwart

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4x4

3.6-liter V6 (up to 295 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm; 260 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
18 city / 25 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
12.7 city, 9.6 highway, 11.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$41,855 (U.S) / $64,035* (Canada)
As Tested
$52,035 (U.S.) / $58,030 (Canada)
Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 (up to $2,695) for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared. Asterisk denotes $8,000 CAD discount appli
2020 jeep grand cherokee limited x 4 215 4 review aging stalwart

I knew I might need wheels during a week-long trip to Los Angeles. I was hoping for something well-suited for a run over the Angeles Crest Highway.

Instead, a Jeep Grand Cherokee was the vehicle available. I hadn’t driven one in years, but I’ve always been fond of the current generation — a generation that is aging rapidly. Would the ravages of time sour my opinions?

Short answer: No. While aging, the Grand Cherokee remains a pleasant SUV for around-town commuting, with off-road capability in its back pocket.

(Full disclosure: Jeep loaned me this Cherokee while I was in Los Angeles for the LA Auto Show).

My test JGC came equipped with the 3.6-liter V6, which I found during past drives to be an adequate replacement for Hemi V8 power, at least around town. That remains true, although LA’s hillier streets challenged the V6 a bit. That’s because asking “up to” 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to motivate over 4,500 pounds isn’t easy.

I took the Jeep to the famed Angeles Crest Highway northeast of LA, because why not, and the Grand Cherokee was a willing if awkward dance partner. Unsurprisingly, the V6 struggled a bit in them thar hills, but the steering feels rather well dialed-in for an electric unit, with appropriate weight. While the Grand Cherokee is no cornering champ – hello, body roll – its on-road manners are quite good for an SUV that’s more associated with venturing off-road.

At least until it’s time to brake. The Jeep’s binders predictably weren’t up to the task in the mountains, softening quickly as the road got tougher. This was somewhat expected – the fact that the brakes were just as soft around-town, even days after the mountain run, was not.

The Jeep worked just fine as a freeway cruiser, isolating noise well and riding smoothly on LA’s mostly pristine roads. The occasional broken pavement didn’t upset it.

I had plenty of head- and legroom and as usual, Jeep’s infotainment system and hard controls work well and are laid out simply and logically. Some of the materials are a let down, given that with options, my test vehicle rang the register at $52,035.

The Limited X is one of the lower available trims, but it still cost 40 large just to start. A $4,900 option package added a whole slew of features, including 20-inch wheels, black roof rails and exterior accents, body-color fascias and a body color sill extension, dual dark chrome exhaust tips, LED fog lamps, special badging, black grille, bi-xenon HID headlights, shift paddles, Pirelli performance all-season tires, and LED DRLs.

That’s on top of standard features such as in-car Wi-Fi, satellite radio, keyless entry, remote start, power liftgate, Uconnect infotainment, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual USB, auxiliary port, blind-spot detection, rear cross-path detection, and heated front seats.

Another $1,495 gets you adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, parking assist, and rain-sensitive wipers. A dual panoramic sunroof adds another $1,495. A subwoofer and amplifier and noise-control system pop you for another $795, and the destination charge is yet another $1,495.

Two packages and a D and D fee that all are the same price? Someone find Nic Cage — we have a clue towards the next national treasure.

At this point, the Grand Cherokee feels almost like a national treasure. It’s one of Jeep’s most iconic nameplates, along with Wrangler and Cherokee. When launched, it was one of the better mid-size SUVs on the market, and it remains competitive, if not long in the tooth.

Yes, it was a let down on the backroads, but I expected that from a JGC not wearing Trackhawk or SRT badging. While I never went off-road, I am sure it would’ve been plenty capable. Jeeps usually are.

Like so many SUVs, this is an around-town rig, no matter what it can do in the backwoods. For that purpose, it’s just fine. Yes, the brakes need firming, and yes, the vehicle’s weight can be felt even under normal stoplight-to-stoplight acceleration conditions. But it rides well and steers well, offers interior comfort and quiet, and has driver-friendly controls, plus a not-half-bad audio system.

It’s getting old, but it’s aging gracefully. The next generation may be on sale by the end of this year, if rumors prove true, but the current generation has just a bit of life left.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC, Jeep]

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2 of 36 comments
  • Monkeydelmagico Monkeydelmagico on Jan 10, 2020

    Unless you do a lot of off-roading you get more for your $$$ with the Durango. Durango looks the business. V8 only please.

  • Finderskeepers Finderskeepers on Jan 28, 2020

    I now have 140,000km on my 2014 JGC Ecodiesel. All of your complaints are addressed in mine, as I have terrific mileage, monster torque (420ft/lbs), and the diesel option gives you the trailering package with upsized rotors and way better brakes ( much stronger and less fade). What I don’t understand is why they have discontinued the diesel package for 2020, it really makes this vehicle nearly perfect

  • Carsofchaos I like it. But then again, I think the Aztek and Vehicross are cool, too.
  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.