Welcome to a New Year, let me quickly touch on the important updates to a popular American-made SUV, especially since it has been difficult to have opportunities to drive other new domestics, due to supply and production issues.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I drove twice from Front Range to Breckenridge over Christmas weekend, certainly turned out to be the right kind of vehicle for snowy, car-packed winter highways.
It has gotten more and more sophisticated and has certainly taken a few steps forward in terms of technology, with plenty of passenger-friendly features to complement its off-road capabilities.
I was mostly concerned with navigating the deep, fresh snow and obnoxious conditions of Highway 70, and the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee did so with great confidence, even with less than stellar all-season tires.
I sampled an Overland Edition, priced at $ 62,885 with a fair amount of options including a 19-speaker, 950-watt McIntosh stereo system (audiophiles may recognize this name from top-of-the-range home stereos. range) as well as fancy gadgets, including a night vision camera in the electronic dashboard, nappa leather seats and massaging seats up front.
Power here was in the form of an all-aluminum 3.6-liter V6 delivering 293 horsepower hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission with subtle thumb-activated paddle shifters on the steering wheel. A 5.7-liter, 357-horsepower V8 is also available, giving the Grand Cherokee up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity. All 4 × 4 models feature a front axle disconnect, which allows the vehicle to be driven largely like a rear-wheel drive vehicle to save fuel.
The 2022 Jeep looks good and a bit chunkier and blockier than previous models, with more angular wheel arches, blackened window frames for a floating roof effect, and substantial 20-inch wheels.
The nose takes on a new vertical grille wall, flanked by low-profile headlights and LED running lights, all set above a bone-shaped front fairing with prominent tow hooks and fog panels. on each side. Out back, it’s a wide swathe of taillights – not as sci-fi as a Durango but close enough.
The overall update is neat but also clean enough that it doesn’t scare away existing Grand Cherokee fans.
The driving character also provides what I thought was a slightly more adult experience than the yahoos of their Wrangler Unlimited and my many Toyota 4Runners friends, who always seem to show or behave badly in the worst weather or traffic conditions.
The power of the V-6 Grand Cherokee is certainly more than adequate, but not blinding, and its Quadra-Trac 4 × 4 system (of which three grades are available) kept me absolutely grounded, even in pretty sketchy conditions. You can cycle through traction and performance modes, and a more grippy snow system was easy to click, allowing me to comfortably pass the long, long line of vehicles slowly and perpetually hogging Colorado’s icy left lane. Highway 9.
I was able to get around 23 mpg; it is rated at 26 mpg on the highway in less demanding conditions. In summer, you can take advantage of its sophisticated 4 × 4 system and navigate 2 feet of water or even disconnect the stabilizer bars for family exploration of the rocks.
The Overland Edition had just about every option available, and the hard, sporty, leather-trimmed seats looked very stylish. The front navigation and entertainment screens are crisp and feature-rich, and you can also get equally large rear entertainment screens with the built-in Amazon Fire TV.
I haven’t in my life been able to get the very stylish and detailed navigation maps to center or regularly display traffic data when I needed it most on the Summit side of my travels, possibly due to poor data connections.
Space has also increased significantly with 37.7 cubic feet of ample, fully carpeted rear storage space – the layout is indicative of the third row configuration of the new extended wheelbase model – plus a full spare. fullness and storage space under a large lid loading deck.
My model, one of the seven trim levels available, was part of an impressive range of versions that also include the plug-in hybrid electric version referenced in my recent review of the electrified Wrangler Rubicon, as well as an ultra-aggressive, off-road model. – Road-oriented Trailhawk edition.
Even in the standard configuration, the Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension system helps the vehicle achieve 11.3 inches of clearance, as well as get closer to the road for better aerodynamics on dry highways.
Andy Stonehouse’s “Mountain Wheels” column appears in the Summit Daily News on Saturdays. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on auto coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at [email protected].