By on November 16, 2021


2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Jeep has one of the tougher challenges in the business, especially when it comes to its longest-running nameplates, such as Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

That challenge is this – how to keep models that are based on an old-school formula, one that heavily involves off-road chops and, in this case, an optional V8 engine, modern.

Jeep has been up to the task so far with the Wrangler, even introducing a hybrid to the line. Now it’s the Grand Cherokee’s turn.

Electrification is part of the story, but not yet – the Grand Cherokee 4xe is coming but won’t be here for a bit. For now, Jeep has replaced the aging yet venerable fourth-generation Grand Cherokee with a vehicle that feels thoroughly modernized while still keeping the old-school charm.

(Full disclosure: Jeep flew me to Moab, Utah, and fed and housed me for two nights. I didn’t see what swag was offered, if any. All I took was a notebook.)

It starts with the cabin. Jeep has given the Grand Cherokee a wholly different look that’s heavily influenced by the larger Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer line. And it mostly works.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

I did initially find the steering wheel – which looks larger than normal – to be a bit off-putting. But steering-wheel size aside, the design is sleek and cohesive. The center console area seamlessly blends into the main infotainment screen, which itself blends nicely into the dash. There’s even a 10.25-inch screen for passengers, and it’s not visible from the driver’s seat, much to the relief of all those who care about safety. Available for rear-seat passengers are individual 10.1-inch screens.

The infotainment screen itself is easy to customize and runs Chrysler’s Stellantis’ Uconnect 5 infotainment system, which is one of the best on the market. It’s also large at 10.1 inches, and easy to read.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Less impressive was the digital-gauge cluster. My beef isn’t the use of digital, per se – it works fine in other vehicles – but that the menus have a bit more of a learning curve than they should. To be fair, it’s the kind of thing owners will get used to. Perhaps chalk it up to the necessity of car reviewing – us scribes are always dealing with operations that are new to us but would quickly become old hat to someone driving the vehicle daily for several years.

Jeep sent us to play along the Colorado River on Utah 128 before climbing a mountain via a twisty, serpentine two-lane. I set out in a V8, with 5.7 liters of displacement (357 horsepower, 390 lb-ft of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Cherokee isn’t the best dance partner for this kind of road, even in Sport mode, and it exhibited a predictable amount of body roll, though the steering was accurate enough and weighted just fine – at least in Sport. There was a bit too much play for my taste in Auto mode.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

The V8s power wasn’t quite enough to make quick work of the straights – this isn’t a light-weight SUV – and the noises it made in the upper rev range weren’t the pleasing rumbles you’d expect from an eight-cylinder engine. Instead, I heard the primal scream of a car that wasn’t quite prepared to be pushed like this.

All that said, no one is selecting a Jeep Grand Cherokee for that kind of road. It’s built for luxury calm when driven sedately, and for off-road ability, especially in the Trailhawk trim.

And it does both of those things perfectly well. When I was driving in a more relaxed manner, the JGC rode nicely and was nicely quiet, with wind noise nearly fully muted and tire noise kept to a minimum. The engine also faded into the background as long as the RPMs were kept below four grand. As expected, the vehicle was calmer in Auto mode than Sport. Considering that most Grand Cherokee buyers will do 90 percent or more of their driving in suburban commute mode, the JGC is perfectly setup for the daily grind.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

If you consider the Grand Cherokee to be a luxury SUV – and in terms of features and price, it is, at least in the upper trim levels – then it does that job really well.

It also handles the dirt and rocks just fine, at least in Trailhawk trim. We drove V6 Trailhawks in a lead-follow up a challenging trail that leads to Moab’s famed Hell’s Revenge route, and the Jeep acquitted itself just fine. While automakers sometimes stack the deck, this path was tough enough to require spotters, and skid plates smacked rock at times. I do think a Rubicon Wrangler wouldn’t have broken a sweat here, but then, it’s more purpose-built than the Grand Cherokee.


There are off-road goodies such as a sway-bar disconnect on the Trailhawk, and that feature was helpful when rock crawling. I also dug the hill-descent system that used the shift paddles to maintain a set speed, which increased in increments of 0.6 mph. The only flaw with it was that when the wheel was turned to lock, the system wouldn’t allow the paddles to make adjustments – a staffer told me this was to prevent accidental changes, and Jeep might change the programming to allow drivers to use the paddles even when the wheel is wrenched over. At least one can use the pedals to override the system in the meantime.

Other Cherokee off-road features, depending on trim, include ground clearance up to 11.3 inches, up to 24 inches of water-fording ability, Quadra-Trac I/II or Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive systems, and an air suspension with electronic semi-active damping. Trailhawks specifically get all-terrain tires, an off-road camera, Quadra-Drive II with electronic rear limited-slip differential, air suspension, 11.3-inches of ground clearance, sway-bar disconnect, skid plates, tow hooks, Selec-Speed hill-descent control, Trailhawk decal, and 18-inch tires.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Back on the pavement, I took a V6 out for a quick spin. I didn’t find it all that lacking, in terms of power, compared to the V8, despite a big power gap (293 hp/260 lb-ft), though I didn’t have the chance to really push it. If I were buying a JGC, I might consider the V6 over the V8, unless towing was important to me – the V8 tows up to 7,200 pounds. The upfront savings and improved fuel economy make it a tempting choice. For reference, the V6 also uses an eight-speed auto.

The trim walk reads as follows: Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Trailhawk, Summit, and Summit Reserve trims. When the 4xe model arrives, it will be available in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Base pricing starts at $37,390 for a 4×2 Laredo. A Trailhawk will set you back $51,275 for the V6 and $54,570 for the V8. A Summit Reserve V8 will start at $66,660. Destination is $1,795. Production is slated for Detroit, with the ICE versions of the Grand Cherokee reaching stores in the fourth quarter of this year. 4xes will arrive in North America early in 2022 and in global markets later in the year, assuming all goes to plan.

Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Both the vehicles I drove on-road were Summit Reserves with a base price of $59,365. The Hemi V8 cost $3,295 while the Summit Reserve Package added four grand – and along with that, the excellent McIntosh premium stereo. The V6 I drove totaled out at $69,790, the Trailhawk at $61,040, and the V8 Summit Reserve was $73,085.

Available features include Alpine or McIntosh audio, Amazon Fire TV for the passenger screens, leather seats, heated front and rear seats, cooled front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, head-up display, wireless cell-phone charging, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital rearview mirror, Bluetooth with multi-device pairing, Uconnect mobile app, Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, satellite radio, a power liftgate, up to six USB (Type A and C) ports, and more.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

Standard driver-aid tech includes forward-collision warning with active braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane management, lane-departure warning with lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, drowsy-driver detection, 360-degree camera, intersection collision assist, and more.

Wheels are 17-, 18-, 20-, or 21-inches. Fuel economy is listed at 19/26/22 for the V6 with either two- or four-wheel drive and 14/22/17 for the 4WD-only V8.

As I thought things over in advance of writing this review, I kept coming back to the same conclusion – the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee does what it always has, and just does it better than before. It continues to be an upscale five-seat SUV with some off-road abilities that are rare in the segment. It’s still a comfortable around-town cruiser but not particularly at home when hustled on a twisty road.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tim Healey/TTAC

The biggest change is here is that the interior leaps forward. The previous-gen rig had a decent, if aging, cabin, but this one manages to be a nice place to hang out without falling into the techno trap that other automakers have got themselves into (cough, Volkswagen, cough). Everything is modern and pleasing to the eye, but knobs and buttons remain used for most key controls.

The prices do make my eyes pop, but I can’t imagine most buyers will be disappointed. The overall package works better here than with Jeep’s larger Wagoneer family, and I found it more pleasant to drive than even the three-row L version I sampled earlier this year. In fact, I’d steer any perspective well-heeled Jeep buyer toward the two-row GC unless they absolutely needed three-row seating and/or the extra space of a larger SUV.

It’s not perfect – the on-road manners are still not great when you want to push the pace, and the sticker price is eye-watering – but Jeep was up to the challenge.

What’s New for 2022

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is redesigned, with new features, new exterior styling, a revamped interior, and more.

Who Should Buy It

The Jeep loyalist, the off-roading family person, those who are drawn to tech and luxury.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC, Jeep]

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40 Comments on “2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee First Drive – Keeping the Flame...”

  • avatar

    This is the first chrysler product ( Grand Wagoneer ) that is popping up on the streets of Newport Beach, CA in many many years. They look very good some wealthy people are choosing the Grand Wagoneer over the Range Rover. Good job Detroit.

    • 0 avatar

      Since the Grand Cherokee resembles the unusually good looks of the Grand Wagoneer, I expect it will be a hit, especially with its lower price point. We will see.

    • 0 avatar

      Wait until the those bougie folks figure out that Jeeps are crap quality, like this one:

      And then they have to show up to the Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler dealer and hobnob with the Great Unwashed Masses driving Journeys. Then again, they drive Range Rovers as it is, so maybe they’re used to it, just without the spa-ambience service department.

      Seriously, if Jeep wants to chase this kind of consumers, their dealerships need a makeover. None of them in my area seem even remotely like a place I’d go to buy a six-figure blingmobile.

      • 0 avatar

        Both my Mother and Grandfather have leased Grand Cherokees for 20+ years. Combined they have had at least 10 Grand Cherokees. Out of all of them there were only 3 events that required dealer service. A 2007 Grand Cherokee that needed a rear pinion seal. A first year WK2 that had the defective Pentastar engine, the dealer ended up buying it back. And most recently a 2016 that had the A/C fail at the end of the lease, it was out of warranty but the dealer didn’t charge for the non-working A/C.

        Grand Cherokees are great vehicles, Chrysler/FCA/Stellantis know they have to get them right.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not sure if an engine failure and an HVAC failure on more recent leased vehicles is a glowing anecdote.

          • 0 avatar

            First year of the WK2 was 2011. So we are nearly 11 years past that. Things happen. There have not been any widespread issues with the Grand Cherokee since at least the introduction of the WK2. In 2014 when they redesigned the front, rear, powertrains (and introduced the best transmission on the market, the ZF 8-Speed) and completely redid the interior, it only enhanced its reliability.

            Sure the Grand Cherokee doesn’t have the reliability record of other manufacturers who have recently had to send their vehicles to another factory to be fixed immediately after being built but I think that’s a good thing

          • 0 avatar

            “other manufacturers who have recently had to send their vehicles to another factory to be fixed immediately after being built”

            Too bad for Jeep then that their only competition isn’t Ford.

            I’m not sure what the Grand Cherokee’s statistical reliability has been recently but if it has been below average then “things happen” isn’t much of a salve.
            Also, after such an extensive redesign waiting a model year before buying would likely be a good idea.

          • 0 avatar

            “I’m not sure if an engine failure and an HVAC failure on more recent leased vehicles is a glowing anecdote.”

            The engine did not fail, it was ticking. Brought it into the dealer, they diagnosed it and immediately offered to buy the Jeep back. This was a very early WK2 and my Grandfather was told Jeep engineers wanted it back to tear down the engine.

            The recent HVAC failure is unfortunate but it seems relatively common for ~2016 era vehicles. I know Ford had a huge problem with evaporators failing in mustangs, I suspect it’s from the switch to r-1234yf refrigerant.

            3 failures out of 10+ vehicles over a 20+ year span is absolutely a “glowing anecdote”.

            “Also, after such an extensive redesign waiting a model year before buying would likely be a good idea.”

            If you’re willing to wait yes. But my grandfather has the dealer drop off a new Grand Cherokee and pick up with old one every 3 years. He’s not interested in complicating that.

          • 0 avatar

            “absolutely a “glowing anecdote”.”

            I disagree but it’s your money. If I had an engine-related buy back and an HVAC failure on two relatively new vehicles over a 10 year span I think I’d be gone.

          • 0 avatar

            “The engine did not fail, it was ticking.”

            “The recent HVAC failure is unfortunate but it seems relatively common for ~2016 era vehicles.”

            Engine fails, total HVAC fails on 3-year-old cars…nothing to see here!

            If the engine fail wasn’t enough to send me permanently out of the Jeep fold, the HVAC fail would have done the trick.

      • 0 avatar

        “Seriously, if Jeep wants to chase this kind of consumers, their dealerships need a makeover. None of them in my area seem even remotely like a place I’d go to buy a six-figure blingmobile.”

        I am likely the only person on this site who has actually purchased and serviced a six figure vehicle at a CDJR dealership, so I can add some perspective to this. I will preface by saying that I don’t use the dealer for anything besides warranty work. I don’t go there regularly. That said:

        -I may not be the typical “luxury vehicle” buyer, but I am probably fairly close to the average or desired average JGW buyer. I do think the type of person willing to spend $100K on a Jeep is going to be a bit more practical thinking than a Range Rover or GLS buyer.

        -A nicer waiting room/dealership is not a draw to me. I’m not spending any time there. If I need work done, I’m scheduling it and leaving the car. When I’m buying the car, I’m likewise spending as little time as possible inside. If the decor is old, or the chairs are uncomfortable, well, I just find that to be a hard thing to care very much about.

        -The metrics I judge a service department by are whether or not they get the work done correctly in the time they say they will, for the cost they quote. I see no particular reason a mass market brand would be better or worse at this than a luxury dealer.

        -I will expect a loaner car commensurate to the one I drop off. It doesn’t need to be another $100K car, but it can’t be a Journey. My experience on this front is mixed.

        -The one thing I worry about is a tech joyriding my car. This I think is much more of a concern with a Viper or Hellcat than a Jeep, no matter how nice. I have a trusted dealer with a trusted tech who is the only one allowed to touch my car.

        -I’ve never bought a new vehicle from a luxury dealer. But I have gone in several times to discuss the prospect of doing so/test driving. I haven’t noticed much difference in sales techniques or pressure between luxury and mass market dealerships. There’s good and bad apples at both.

        Ultimately, I don’t think this is as big a deal as you think. The typical Wagoneer buyer is probably trading up from a JGC and has a Challenger or Ram at home too. The CDJR dealer experience is not going to be a new thing for them. Even if someone is coming from a European brand or Lexus, the step down in service likely isn’t a dealbreaker, or they’d never have come in in the first place. I have a hard time believing there are enough people out there in 2021 who value the dealership experience enough to make it a critical factor in their purchase decision. With online scheduling and even vehicle ordering, you just don’t spend enough time there for it to matter.

        • 0 avatar

          “If I need work done, I’m scheduling it and leaving the car. ”

          Maybe I’m being dense, but your Dodge dealer would provide loaner cars for maintenance services? Or are you taking a Lyft back home?

          • 0 avatar

            “I disagree but it’s your money. If I had an engine-related buy back and an HVAC failure on two relatively new vehicles over a 10 year span I think I’d be gone.”

            Every manufacturer has issues. Honda 1.5L oil consumption, or the V6 transmissions from the early 2000’s. Ford Focus transmissions, Toyota Tacoma rusty frames, Hyundai/Kia 2.0L Engine failures, VW/Audi oil consumption, DSG failures, Dieselgate, timing chain failures, BMW rod bearings, HPFP failures, GM bolt batteries, etc.

            Every single manufacturer has had some item fail. Some much worse than others. None of the failures on the 10+ Jeeps have left us stranded or cost us any money to repair.

          • 0 avatar

            “your Dodge dealer would provide loaner cars for maintenance services?”

            For warranty work, they have. Ford has done the same. I don’t bring my cars in for basic maintenance, but if I did, I would get a ride from my wife and still leave the car. My schedule rarely allows me to spend time at the dealer sitting around.

          • 0 avatar

            “Every single manufacturer has had some item fail. Some much worse than others.”

            If you’re happy with your Jeeps then that’s all that matters.

            “For warranty work, they have.”

            That’s pretty nice. I’ve never had a dealer offer a loaner unless the repair was going to take more than a day. Maybe I need to more assertive about it.

          • 0 avatar

            The local Jeep dealer to me will offer a loaner on simple maintenance service if available, if not they run 3-4 service shuttles that pick you up and drop you off at work or home.

          • 0 avatar

            The local Mopar dealer took my wife over to the grocery store so she could get her shopping done, then brought the car to her when it was done. It was about 1 hour of work and the grocery store is about a block away.

        • 0 avatar

          YMMV, of course, Jack, but there’s a reason why luxury car brands tend to have boujee dealerships.

          But I don’t think the volume Wagoneer seller is going to be the six-figure version anyway – it’ll be the $60-70,000 one that competes with a Tahoe or Expedition. For those buyers, the current dealerships should be fine.

          • 0 avatar

            Mike, my point was I think that for most customers, those dealerships are wasting their money. Certainly my father as a long time Acura customer is of that opinion. A mass-market dealer spending money to upgrade to those amenities would be even more of a waste.

            Maybe there are people out there whose ego demands fine leather furniture and gourmet coffee in the waiting room, but I’m not sure those types of people are “gettable” for Jeep even if the waiting rooms were plated in gold and champagne was served.

      • 0 avatar

        Too new so I’m not trying to defend it- but I watched the Savage Geese on GW which should be similar underneath. It was impressive. This series (gc thru gw) appears to have hit on a number of improvements. And whatever issues there have been in the past- the 3.6 and 5.7 plus the 8speed are pretty well dialed by now.

        Not the vehicle class I’m looking for but it definitely seems very competitive.

  • avatar

    I’m seeing the Grand Wagoneer everywhere in my rural Wisconsin area, that says a lot for an area that doesn’t take to things new very quickly. This new Jeep Grand Cherokee is a natural evolution of an SUV that was long over due for an update. Although too pricey for me to return to Jeep I suspect it will do just fine. I think it’s gorgeous inside and out

  • avatar

    I assume this will continue to do well here in New England. Grand Cherokees are popular here with the higher income folks as they fit in at the country club without the luxury badge of a rover. The interiors are very nice. My teenage son who is a euro luxury car nut sat in one of the new L’s over the summer and said it’s one of the best interiors he has seen and liked it more then the MB’s and BMW’s at the car show.

  • avatar

    1- I like the deep red. Is that a black top? Nice !
    2- Once again, this SUV maker violates redapple’s rule #1 in design. Luxury SUV must hang the rear wiper from the top.
    a – looks better
    b – Keeps it clean of ice and snow
    c – prevents car wash damage
    d – shorter wire – $avings. Easier assy and routing !
    e – motor and assy sees less impact when closing- less damage- longer life

    Get off my lawn.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    $70k buys a very nice interior.

  • avatar

    The Laredo 4×4 seems fine to me. It’s $43.6K with off-road tires and a package that gives heated seats, heated steering, power lift gate, remote start, auto wipers, and a wireless charging pad.

  • avatar

    “Base pricing starts at $37,390 for a 4×2 Laredo. A Trailhawk will set you back $51,275 for the V6 and $54,570 for the V8. A Summit Reserve V8 will start at $66,660. Destination is $1,795.”

    $17K upcharge for a V8? Waht? Can I get a V8 in the base 2WD?

    Also, is there really a need for a 4×2 in a GC? I realize in parts of the nation 2WD is sufficient but its a Jeep for crying out loud. Just because your crappy repackaged transverse FWD have an up charge for the rear “AWD” diff doesn’t mean your actual Jeep should as well. If anything a *credit* for 2WD on a GC, not as if those are built to an economy price point.

  • avatar

    As a former JGC Overland Hemi owner, the new one is just too little, too late. Jeep milked the last GC for 10+ years, that was OK as it started out a superb 2 row SUV and 10 years later was still pretty competitive, if old in tooth. The new one offers little more than the old one, except for a much glitzier dash and a couple hundred pounds more “road hugging” weight. No improvements in the powertrain, which was the biggest area of opportunity. As mentioned, mine had the Hemi, outside of it’s ability to match my 20 year old 10-cylinder Excursion for fuel consumption, the Hemi in the Jeep felt burdened, choked down and didn’t really offer a marked improvement over the V6 which I have lots of seat time in as well. Compared to a 3.5L EcoBoost or GM’s 6.2L V8 the Hemi just feels impotent. Especially for 3k+ that Jeep charges. Plus, it’s cast-iron block makes it heavy and moves the weight up front over the nose, the lighter aluminum V6 steers and turns in much more crisply as a result. Finally, my ’12 JGC Overland Hemi was 40k, 70k + is insane and puts you X5, Q7, Aviator or Defender territory. Even the base Laredo is up about 6-7k over last year without much appreciable benefit. I don’t hate the new Jeep and really considered replacing our ’12 with the last of the ’21s but the chip debacle has made them difficult to come by so I got a MDX AWD.

  • avatar

    Current Jeep Grand Cherokee owner, the Pentastar V6 is solid. Not fast. It makes noise when you rev. But reliable. Thermostats are finicky. Otherwise, it is a solid vehicle.

    I don’t like the fact Jeep chose Fiat Alfa platform as replacement. Nothing reliable comes from Italy. Outside great leather.

    Patiently waiting for my green Tahoe RST scheduled for delivery in Jan 2022 with 6.2 liter Lionheart engine. That is the vehicle to get my friends.

    • 0 avatar


      If i were you. I keep it for 20 years and give it tender loving care.

      The BEV and PHEV being rammed down our throats will be a nightmare that I will not participate in.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The next to last picture is from the future. The Cherokee is pulled over on the side of the road and the Bronco in the background is driving over some big rocks.

    A Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the best Stellantis SUV.

  • avatar

    I am starting to see those pop up all over the place in my corner of the Midwest as well. And they look LOADED. I’m thinking two main thought about this: Smart move by putting what chips they have into their most expensive vehicles that will print money and also I’m betting that these models, fully loaded, will be replacing the 2 and 3-year leased Land Rovers in their McMansion driveways.

  • avatar

    If I am not mistaken, the Wrangler and JGC both have a V8 option?

  • avatar

    After looking at the nauseatingly dull numb and forgettable Mercedes electric thing (insert letters and numbers here) in the other article I was brought back to identifiable and decent styling and good looks with this. I suspect it will fly off the shelfs if they ever figure out how to obtain chips of course.

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