The new Jeep Grand Cherokee also offers for the first time the third row of seats and room for seven passengers, not marketed by the official importer but does come in a parallel import. Here is a first local impression
The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's best-selling model, with more than 7 million units sold over the past 30 years. It is also the model that is responsible for most of the innovations for the brand, and until the introduction of the latest Wagoneer, it was used by the manufacturer as a secret flagship, boasting a combination of high off-road qualities and a luxurious and well-equipped passenger compartment.
The new and fifth generation in the lineage we recently drove is called WL and frees its predecessor (WK2) to retire after more than a decade. And along the way, it also becomes one of the manufacturer's most important and intriguing models, among other things because it abandons the platform shared with the old Mercedes ML, a reminder of an ancient collaboration, in favor of a modern base shared with the Alfa Stelvio.
But not only, but also because it is marketed for the first time in an elongated L version, with room for seven passengers. And thus it is in a position against important marketing competitors in the US at least such as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Palisade, and Subaru Evolutis.
And it does not come to Israel through the official import channels. The importer Semlat continues to market the old Grand Cherokee, even though its production has long been discontinued in North America. The new and very updated model? It only comes through the corresponding import channels. In the case of the test vehicle by the Buy&Drive company.
Summary: The new Grand Cherokee surpasses its predecessor by a margin, although this is not great wisdom given the seniority of the latter. It looks better, offers a quality and a modern driver's environment, and now includes a third row of seats and room for seven. The modern platform is also responsible for superior comfort and dynamic ability, although the old gasoline engine is still a chronic waster.
A success story in the making? one moment. With a price tag that starts at NIS 435,000, it is also about NIS 100,000 more expensive than its competitors, and in the case of the top-of-the-line and tested version, it is close to luxury leisure models with seven seats such as the Genesis GV80 and Cadillac XT6. On the road, they will be better, in the field they have nothing to look for. Definitely recommended for a very discerning audience.
How does it look?
Excellent. The Grand Cherokee returns to the angular-hard look of the founding generation, not dragged into unnecessary extroversion a-la and a new Agonir and freed from the excessive and puzzling softness of the previous generation. Therefore, despite significantly increased dimensions, it does not look bulky and may be even more compact than its predecessor. And for that, the chief designer of Chrysler, Ralph Giles, gets most of the compliments.
But the main and more important upgrade is in the driver environment. With a digital dashboard ("10.25") and a high-quality and larger touch screen than before ("10.1 compared to "8.4"), both with variable and varied data display options. The quality of the materials is better, with a combination of two-tone leather and wood finishes, and a more luxurious and pleasing result to the eye and hand than before.
The gear selector has been replaced with a dial and this is a solution we don't like. It does make room for more storage compartments but the gear levers behind the steering wheel are too small. The driver's seat is comfortable but lacks support, with a good field of vision and a high and commanding driving position. As usual in American cars, the side mirrors are too small and include too much dead space.
The Grand Cherokee L is noticeably larger than the outgoing model, with an additional 32 cm in length (520 cm) and a very significant 18 cm more to the wheelbase (309 cm). In the test vehicle, a pair of "captain" seats were installed in the second row, which will be comfortable even for tall adults, but it is surprising and disappointing to discover that the rear windows do not have a one-click opening mechanism. The third row of seats offers a living space suitable for growing children, with fairly easy access thanks to an easy folding mechanism in the second-row seat.
Jeep invested in the rear seats and gave them a separate air conditioning system and a pair of USB sockets (type A and type C) for each passenger. There is also a camera in the back of the passenger cabin that allows the driver to observe the occupants there via the touch screen. Convenient and correct in case of a tef in a safety seat. The trunk has a decent volume in full passenger capacity (487 liters) while folding the third row of seats will increase it to 1,328 liters.
The equipment list of the test vehicle in the top Limited version - includes, among other things, leather upholstery, heating for the front seats and the second row, a wireless charging pad, an electric trunk door, and a sunny window. The safety equipment includes autonomous braking, lane departure correction, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot warning. A night vision system, projected on the dashboard with the ability to detect pedestrians and animals, is offered as an option at an additional cost.
How does it drive?
The drive system remains unchanged, with the old Fenster gasoline engine in the V6 structure, with a volume of 3.6 liters and 293 hp. With an eight-speed automatic transmission and dual-permanent drive. The performance is good, thanks, among other things, to a quick-reacting gearbox when it is required For that, but this engine is noisy, for some drivers it will be too noisy. And it is a fuel guzzler as expected - 7 km per liter on the test average.
The new platform includes a variety of materials, including lightweight aluminum (hood, trunk door, and suspension components), so its weight is even slightly lower despite the growth in dimensions of the outgoing model.
The front suspension is completely new, the axle breaks are wider (by 3.7 cm in the front and 3.3 cm in the back) and are responsible for a significant improvement in dynamic ability, with a safe feeling and neutralizing a significant part of the clumsy character in the past. A more direct ratio steering system and a shorter range of action are better than the previous one, but it still feels too light and lacks feedback in the driver's hands.
The ride comfort is good, especially compared to American competitors who usually do not excel in this respect. Both in dampening bumps in urban driving and maintaining vehicle restraint at low speed, but also at higher speed. However, when cruising, unnecessary road noise is evident.
Despite the obligatory brand name, the off-road capacity is limited compared to what is customary in a Jeep. In this version there is no power transmission, the body angles are limited (approach-departure 21.5-20.6 degrees) with a particularly vulnerable front bumper, the suspension strokes are short and the traction control (unlike other models of the brand) has difficulty dealing with grip losses. Undoubtedly, a vehicle is designed and intended mainly for the road.
For those who are also interested in going off-road with their Jeep, the parallel importer promises to import by special order the top version of the Overland, which may be an interesting alternative to the Toyota Land Cruiser or Land Rover Discovery 5. With air springs that allow the chassis to be raised by about 6 cm (27.6 cm of ground clearance) and improved approach and departure angles (23.6-30.1), and above all a real power transmission with a limited-slip rear differential and the addition of a dedicated "rock mode" in the driving selector.
Engine: V6, gasoline, 3.6 liters
Power: 293 hp at 6,400 rpm
Torque: 35.9 kgm at 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, permanent dual drive
Length: 520.4 cm
Width: 196.8 cm
Height: 181.5 cm
Wheelbase: 309.1 cm
Own weight: 2,128 kg
Trunk volume, row 3 folded: 487 liters, 1,328 liters
Belly space: 21.5 cm
Approach/departure angles: 21.5/20.6 degrees
Jump to 100 km/h, top speed: 8 seconds, 210 km/h
Fuel consumption, pollutant emissions: 8.9 km per liter, 300 grams of CO2 per km
Safety rating (Euro NCAP): not yet tested
Test car price (base): NIS 495,000 (NIS 435,000)