Overall: The legendary Grand Cherokee gets some small changes under the hood to stay competitive with the best all-around sport-utility vehicles; turbo-diesel engine is a very interesting option; stoplight-racer SRT has standard launch control and eight-speed transmission for fast getaways.
Drivetrain: Turbo-diesel V6 has more torque than a gasoline “Hemi” V8; base 3.6-litre V6 gets slightly more power for 2016; optional 360-horse V8 is a towing and heavy-hauling favorite; the SRT8’s 470-horsepower “Hemi” V8 lights a rocket under the Grand Cherokee’s platform, if that’s your thing; eight-speed automatics standard across the board.
As one of the most familiar faces across the country, the rugged five-passenger Grand Cherokee just happens to be one of the most capable vehicles in its class. To keep it there, Jeep has come up with a few upgrades, although mostly below the surface. Under the hood it uses the corporate 3.6-litre V6, which has been reworked slightly to produce five more horsepower for 2016, now 295. And it has an automatic engine-start-stop system that should boost range and city efficiency figures. Both the 360-horsepower 5.7-litre “Hemi” V8 and the turbo-diesel engine remain optional, although every non-SRT engine gets standard electric power steering and some lighter suspension pieces in a bid to save more fuel. The 3.0-litre “EcoDiesel” (240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque) and can deliver up 11.2 l/100 km in the city and 8.4 on the highway. Part of those savings are attributable to the eight-speed automatic transmission that also comes in the high-powered SRT8. With a 470-horsepower 6.4-litre “Hemi”, 20-inch wheels with stickier road-biased tires, upgraded brakes, active suspension and active limited-slip differentials that are now re-tuned to send more power to the rear in enthusiastic driving, the SRT is one Jeep that’s as much fun through corners as it is from a standing start. Other more “normal” GC models — Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit — are available with varying levels of features. The Summit is a full-on luxury model that eclipses even the already spangly Overland and includes adaptive high-intensity-discharge headlights and dual exhaust tips, while inside everything is slathered in “Natura Plus” leather, open-pore wood trim, a faux-suede headliner and dual-pane moonroof. The Summit has an 825-watt 19-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound system. All GC’s are ordered with four-wheel-drive, using either Jeep’s Quadra Trac II or Quadra Drive II, which includes Jeep’s Selec-Terrain control with settings for Sand/Mud; Snow; and Rock for off-road terrain plus a Sport setting for dry pavement.
Base price (incl. destination): $41,700; $66,600 (SRT) (2015)
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 3.6-litre DOHC V6 (295)
Optional engines (hp): 5.7-litre OHV V8 (360); 3.0-litre DOHC V6, turbo-diesel (240); 6.4-litre OHV V8 (470, SRT)
Layout: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
l/100 km (city/highway): 13.9/9.8 (3.6)
Weight (kg): 2,030
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