By John Faulkner Clean Fleet Report
Off-Road Confidence + Refined Highway Ride
The Jeep® Grand Cherokee is both iconic and venerable, having earned these accolades since going on sale in 1992.
The 2019 Grand Cherokee Limited X 4X4 that Clean Fleet Report tested recently continues the tradition of a well-rounded, family-friendly, premium midsize SUV.
With four engine and two transmission choices, the 2019 Grand Cherokee has something for everyone. If you want raw power, then go for the Trackhawk (707 horsepower, 6.4-liter V8) or SRT (475 hp, 6.2-liter supercharged V8). For pure grunt the 5.7-liter V8 will do the trick, or the base engine that offers smooth V6 power.
We drove the 2019 Grand Cherokee Limited X 4X4, with a 3.6-liter V6 that produced 295 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters and Sport mode. The transmission was seamless in its shifts, responding well by being in the right gear at the right time. The EPA fuel economy estimates of 18 city/25 highway/21 combined was pretty much what Clean Fleet Report got over the 145 miles we drove, with the majority of the time on the highway (short of our goal for a 30 MPG AWD Club, but respectable).
Driving Experience: On the Road
Our Grand Cherokee was smooth cruising at highway speeds, partially due to the unibody construction, versus body-on-frame that rides more like a truck. The V6 performed strong in all instances and is a good match for the 4,476-pound curb weight. Acceleration was more than adequate and the engine was quiet at all times, even when accelerating hard while climbing a grade. We did find the accelerator pedal to be touchy; it took a bit of time to learn how to press it for maximum fuel efficiency.
The steering was a bit too light for our liking, but the grip from the Pirelli Scorpion Verde 265/50R20 all-season tires, on 20-inch alloy wheels, was up to the task at hand. Cornering was predictable with little body roll or drifting through turns. While the Grand Cherokee is called a sport utility vehicle, there isnʼt much sporty about it. Move up to the Trackhawk and it delivers excellent performance.
The Grand Cherokee Limited utilizes Jeepʼs Quadra-Trac II 4WD and the Selec-Terrain systems. The Selec-Terrain traction control system has driver-selectable settings of Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock. Add-in all-speed traction control, hill descent control, hill start assist and off-road suspension to aid in the Limitedʼs driving stability.
Stopping was very good, solid and straight. The power-assisted brakes had front and rear vented discs. Standard anti-lock brakes, vacuum brake assist and electronic stability control were all part of confident stops.
Driving Experience: Interior
The base Grand Cherokee is nicely appointed, and with 12 models there is something for everyone. The Limited X we drove had a premium feel (even though it is middle of the pack in both features and price). It reminded us that, for an SUV that has been around for so long, Jeep has stayed on top of what consumers want and demand.
The Limited X is a premium SUV, and the interior shows it. Leather is everywhere, including the seating surfaces, with the wide, comfortable front seats heated and power adjustable, including lumbar. The dash is clean and straight-forward in design with tasteful matte-finish aluminum trim. The dark wood trim on the dash is subtle and attractive. The leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel has audio, phone and cruise control buttons or toggles. A nice feature on the rear of the steering wheel is where the volume (right side) and channel selection (left) buttons are located. It is such a natural place for them that it’s a wonder other manufacturers donʼt go to this placement.
Rear seat head and legroom is generous even for three adults, but two on a long trip might be best. The leather-trimmed rear seats recline about as much as on an airplane. Storage with the 60/40 rear seat folded flat is large enough for a bicycle, without removing the wheels. Otherwise, with the rear seat raised, the cargo area is in-line for midsize SUVs. With a 20.5-inch sill height, access through wide doors leads to high driver and front passenger seating positions. We did notice that it required a head dip to get into the front seats, especially if the seats were in their upper position.
Driver controls are well positioned and easy to read. The 8.4-inch color touchscreen is the command center for the easy-to-use Uconnect operating system that includes navigation. The nine amplified speakers, a subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier deliver quality sound for the audio system that includes AM/FM/CD/MP3 HD Radio™. SiriusXM® satellite radio, Apple CarPlay™ and Google Android Auto™ are included. Voice command, with Bluetooth, for handsfree phone and streaming audio are operated by the steering wheel controls. A very nice feature for those long family road trips is the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Limited X had convenience features including remote start, memory for the driver seat and outside rearview mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, rear window wiper, power windows with one-touch express up and down, heated mirrors with turn signals, automatic dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, push-button start, 12V power outlets (front and rear), rear seat fold down armrest, AUX ports, and multiple cup holders.
Driving Experience: Exterior
Our Grand Cherokee was painted in a head-turning Velvet Red Pearl, complimented by the 20-inch low-gloss Granite Crystal wheels. The Limited X was fitted with a Customer Preferred Package including Bi-Xenon headlights, LED fog lights, a unique front fascia color and Granite Crystal body accents, including the familiar seven-bar grille.
The roof comes with gloss-black rails and shark-fin antenna plus a body-color spoiler above the power liftgate. The rear is finished with dark lens LED taillights and dual horizontal dark chrome exhaust tips.
Safety and Convenience
The Grand Cherokee was equipped with the Jeep Advanced Active Safety package. Additional safety features include a ParkView rear backup camera, Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection, ParkSense rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring system, headlight washers, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a full-size spare.
Clean Fleet Reportʼs 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X 4X4 had a base price of $40,945. With option packages adding $7,190, the total MSRP came to $48,135. Prices exclude the $1,495 destination charge.
Observations: 2019 Grand Cherokee Limited X 4X4
There are ten different Grand Cherokee models (and two variations of those models), ranging from the base Laredo to the incredible performing Trackhawk. The Limited X 4X4 that we drove for a week, falls towards the middle of the model spectrum. As a value proposition, as in getting more than what you pay for, this is a good choice for both performance and price.
A bit of heaviness can be felt at low speeds around town, but this disappears and becomes easy to drive on the open road. The low fuel economy and touchy accelerator pedal were the only concerns about what we feel is an otherwise very nice and capable midsize SUV. Need to venture off road? The Limited X will do, but if serious ventures await, then opt for the Trailhawk.
When visiting your local Jeep dealer take the time to drive a few different Grand Cherokee models, to help select and compare one that may be right for you.
John Faulkner is Road Test Editor at Clean Fleet Report. He has more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent’s 1950 Studebaker. He is a journalist member of the Motor Press Guild.
Grand Cherokee press fleet vehicle provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US LLC. Prices and vehicle information applies to U.S. models at the time of publication, not including destination, taxes, license, etc. All product information, including prices, features, and specifications, is subject to change without notice.
Photos (as noted) © 2019 John Faulkner. Additional photos courtesy FCA for editorial use
Story © 2019 Clean Fleet Report – This review is reposted with permission on CarNichiWa.com