With Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee Laredo now revealed, it’s as good a time as ever to consider one of the most popular, yet somewhat overlooked mid-size SUVs on the market. Here are 5 things you need to know before getting behind the wheel:
1. It’s successful for a reason
As good looking as it is good value (not to mention, capable), the Grand Cherokee has been a tremendously successful model for Jeep for a while now. Incredibly, 2019 was the Grand Cherokee’s best sales year to date and it continues to dominate the mid-size SUV Category. There’s a version for everyone (unless you need a third row of seats, which you’ll be able to get in the next generation), from the airport rental specials, to the corporate fleet option, the air-suspended luxury Pinnacle models, the SRT V8s, and the King of the Hill Trackhawks, with their 707-hp supercharged, tar sands depleting monster engines. Seven. Hundred. And seven horsepower. Madness.
2. It’s not cheap
While nobody would call a Jeep a luxury vehicle, there is something decidedly “premium” about the Grand Cherokee. Maybe it’s because of how refined it is to drive — it is based on Mercedes technology, after all — or maybe it’s the Dieter Rams-like simplification of traditional Jeep aesthetic elements. It’s not cheaply made, and it’s not inexpensive either. Most variations cost between $50,000 to $140, 365, which includes $95 for red seatbelts. By way of comparison, a Cayenne Turbo S with only 670-hp will set you back $187,000 before adding a single option. And red seatbelts are $750. Makes the choice easy, right?
3. It really is “right sized”
Not too small and not too big, the Grand Cherokee is a perfectly mid-sized SUV with plenty of space for four adults and their gear. While the A-pillars are thick and hamper visibility, its manageable dimensions and plush ride make it suitable to urban, suburban, and extra-urban environments alike.
4. It can turn up to 11…and beyond
The SRT versions are what float our boats, and Jeep has seen given us two options: wild and totally insane. The Cherokee SRT-8 really is a bargain in the world of brawny high-powered SUVs with it’s 470-hp 6.4-litre HEMI engine, giant Brembo brakes, oil drum-sized tires, and subtly menacing bodywork. The Trackhawk, however, is for the lunatic fringe of car enthusiasts. Either that or you really want to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles by single-handedly sucking up all the dino juice. The good news is that only an electric can even compete with the thrust you experience in the Trackhawk.
5. There’s a new one on the way
By the time you’ve read this, spent a couple of weeks researching your next ride, argued with yourself and your partner about what colour to get, you’ll probably be able to get your hands on the new 7-seater 2022 Grand Cherokee L. It’s set to take the brand to new heights in terms of technology, design, aesthetics, features, and quality. You’ll have to be patient for non-L 5-seater and V8-powered versions, so if that’s what you’re after, you better snap one up while you can. They won’t be making them like this forever.