The iconic American SUV turns over a new leaf and makes its debut in the USA in a brand new seven-seater L version. A five-seater version is expected later, with petrol and plug-in hybrid engines.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always followed the mantra of ‘absolute freedom of movement, even on challenging terrain, and affordability of luxury.’ And now, it has been renewed – a generational leap after ten years. The new, fifth-generation of the American SUV changes everything – it’s larger and more versatile, elegantly stylish, features more tech than the version it replaces and is well equipped to offer a serious challenge to the competition.
Perhaps, this is one of the reasons behind the fact that it was unveiled in the United States in a brand new seven-seater L version, with a wheelbase of 3,090mm. However, this long-wheelbase version, at least for the time being, will not be offered in Europe. Instead, the classic five-seater will arrive in the European continent, although not before the end of the year. Details of the 5-seater version are sparse at the moment, but it’s expected to be a little larger than the current version and feature different engines than the ones offered with the ‘L’ version.
The Wagoneer Connection
Despite many novelties that the Grand Cherokee brings to the table, one can’t help but be concerned about its position in the range. What do I mean? Well, there is little doubt that the Wagoneer will be positioned above it in the future. Now, Wagoneer is a name that, until 1991, represented the luxury sport utility model – according to Jeep – and recently has become a brand for Jeep’s top-of-the-range products. The first offering in this line-up will be the future flagship anticipated by the Grand Wagoneer Concept, from which the Grand Cherokee has borrowed a lot in terms of design and personality.
On the mechanical side, it has said adieu to the old platform, which was of Mercedes origin, and has opted for a brand-new one. And although there are no official confirmations as yet, based on some inside information and some clues, like the semi-virtual steering axis of the front suspension, we guess that it’s likely to be the Giorgio platform of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, which is enough to get us petrolheads excited.
That said, the Grand Cherokee is a Jeep and, therefore, it cannot do without qualities that are essentially associated with the Jeep brand. So, here goes. The QuadraLift air suspension (optional), now complete with adaptive dampers, offers a wider range of ground clearance adjustments – from the standard 21.2cm up to 27.7cm (with fording ability of up to 61cm) and down to 16.6cm (Parking mode). Thus, it has off-road approach, departure, and break-over angles of 30.1, 23.6, and 22.6 degrees, respectively.
There are three all-wheel-drive systems – Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and, at the top, Quadra-Drive II with electronic limited-slip rear self-locking differential. All this is controlled via the Selec-Terrain, which offers five different modes – Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, and Mud / Sand. The fifth-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee was designed to have improved off-road abilities and offer a more precise driving feel (active engine mounts can also be ordered), which it seems to have accomplished, at least on paper.
Under the hood of the European range of models would be turbocharged and plug-in hybrid 4xe units, but they won’t get the V6 and V8 of the US models.
The Interior Effect
The generational gap is also evident in the cabin, which is elegant and technologically modern. At the centre of the extended dashboard lies a slim 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen of the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. There is also a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel for menus related to driver assistance technologies, such as active cruise control, night vision, highway assist, and intersection collision assist.
There’s an optional rear-seat-monitoring camera, which projects images onto the touchscreen, and a digital rear-view mirror – a real treat, indeed. The centre console houses an automatic transmission knob and a lever for selecting traction programs. The central storage compartment, moreover, can contain two wireless devices.
In terms of safety, the Grand Cherokee L is equipped with Level 2 driver assistance, which, by the end of the year (depending on local regulations), will also be available in the variant that allows hands-free driving.
NEW TWO-SIDED SERIES
Stylish, elegant, and clean. The Overland trim (on the left) and the more ‘urban’ Summit (on the right) exhibit one of its strong points – the vertical front, where new slim and extended light clusters stand out along with the larger seven-slot grille. The adjustable ground clearance is 21.2cm as standard.
‘L’ BY NAME, 'XL' BY SIZE
To launch the new Grand Cherokee, Jeep has chosen the brand new seven-seater L version, with an imposing length of 5,200mm and a wheelbase of 3,090mm. The wheel tracks are 36mm wider than the current model, and its large wheel arches can, for the first time, house 21-inch rims.
The cabin is a refined world of space, technology, and flowing forms. In the L version, there are three rows of seats – the second-row slides, and the last row is electrically foldable (optional). Below: the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster & the new slim LED lighting clusters.
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