2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Review - Filling Niches And Climbing Over Them
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited 4x4 Fast Facts
Jeeps are meant to do Jeep things. Forgetting the unforgivable first-generation Compass - which offered an optional Rallye package with more plastic lower-body cladding than a Pontiac parts department circa 1993 - and a few others, a Jeep had better be able to live up to the stories being told by that seven-slot grille. Perhaps by being rated somehow - for trails?
Indeed, I have no doubts that this 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L can manage just about any path, blazed or not, one might choose to follow. It’s not likely happening any time soon - not until this big three-row SUV is on its third or fourth owner and a set of more suitable wheels and tires have been put in place of the glossy twenty inchers seen here. For now, the tarmac will be home - with some side excursions on weekends down a dusty trail to a campsite or maybe dragging a trailer up a slippery boat ramp, perhaps. Let us see, then, if Pavement Rated is a virtue or an epithet.
You know that I didn’t venture deep into the muck if all of my photos are of a clean Jeep. I’ve made that mistake before a few times, and have rewarded you with photographic proof of my driving hubris. After all, the all-wheel drive system fitted to my tester includes neither a low-range nor a locking differential. I’d have had to move well up the options list for either of these. Nope, this was all terra-paved-very-firma for the first three-row Grand Cherokee. Not the largest SUV to come from a Jeep showroom now that the Wagoneer is taking aim at Tahoe, Expedition, and Escalade - but still nicely sized.
Third-row space is actually decent for normal-sized humans. If you’re shaped like I am - picture a guy who maybe was going to be a D1 linebacker but blew out his knee his junior year of high school and instead found his passion in stress-testing Barcaloungers - then the third row is not the place for a cross-country journey. But most will be fine. Folding that third row down yields 46.9 cubes of space, giving a bit more utility over the two-row Grand Cherokee for Costco binges.
Willys - no, AMC. Crap. Chrysler. Nope...Dammit. It’s Stellantis, right? Stellantis is doing some mighty nice things on their interiors when they want to. The Ram 1500 can be had with some lovely leather and comfy chairs, and the Pacifica does a nice job as well for interior comfort. This Grand Cherokee L - even in this midrange Limited trim - is just as nice, with plush perforated leather seats and nicely surfaced interior panels.
I’ve been a fan of the UConnect systems for a decade - ever since I bought my departed Town & Country, and on the Wrangler I’ve purchased to replace it. The UConnect 5 which appeared initially in the Pacifica is stellar, with snappy reactions to inputs and logical, intuitive controls for audio, comfort, and navigation. Mercifully, real knobs remain here for volume and tuning controls.
I don’t love the push across the industry toward knob-style shift controls, however. They work fine, I guess, but at least in this Grand Cherokee L, the knob doesn’t give any appreciable improvement in available console real estate. I could have four more cupholders in the space afforded that knob, gosh darn it! Further, I always worry that I’ll mistake it for a volume knob in a panic and decide to toss the truck into reverse when I’m trying to hear something. I never do. But the concern remains.
The exterior styling is all too familiar Grand Cherokee. It’s slowly evolved since crashing through the glass at the Detroit Auto Show back in the early ‘90s. It’s generally handsome and understated - and sure to blend into the background of suburbia quite soon. One minor quibble that I can’t quite capture in photos - the grille, for lack of a better term, seems to have a bit of an overbite. When viewing the profile of the grille/headlamps, it feels as if the upper leading edge is somewhat forward of the bottom of the grille. It’s subtle, but it looks a bit unbalanced to me.
Handling and ride quality are excellent. Wind noise is well hushed, though I do hear a bit of tire noise while on the interstate. The venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 has a subtle, familiar growl when pedal meets plush carpet, but is well muted otherwise. Despite a suspension that should handle the rough stuff quite well, the ride is well damped on the pavement.
Should the trail turn gnarly, the front overhang seems sufficiently short to manage not bashing the bumper too severely. The rear overhang is a bit long, but with 8.5 inches of ground clearance, it should be fine once more appropriate tires are fitted. I’d have loved to see the optional air suspension system here - it’s standard on higher trims, but I’m hearing it’s hard to come by due to the ongoing chip shortage.
This ain’t a crossover. Yeah, it’s a unibody construction where most traditional rigs are a body on frame. No, there isn’t incredible articulation since it wears four-wheel independent suspension. But Stellantis engineers know what they’re doing off-road, so should the need arise, this 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L can go well beyond the parking lot.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
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