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2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review: Grander Across the Board | Expert review

The verdict: A redesign that brings the latest tech and standard advanced safety features is just what the doctor ordered for the aging Grand Cherokee.

Versus the competition: With such a broad range of trim levels, powertrains and prices (even without designated performance models), the Grand Cherokee’s competition ranges from relatively affordable mid-size SUVs to established luxury players — and it goes toe-to-toe with all of them.

The previous generation of the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee lasted from the 2011 model year until 2021, but a new-for-2021 three-row Grand Cherokee L heralded the imminent arrival of new styling and updated comfort, convenience and safety tech for the two-row version.

That’s certainly what we get in the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Related: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Goes High-Tech, Gets Hybrid

I drove a Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve. It’s the most luxurious trim level of the new Grand Cherokee, adding an extra $4,000 worth of opulent options. Total sticker price: $73,085 (including $1,795 destination fee). Unfortunately, we haven’t driven any other versions of the new Grand Cherokee, be they lower trims, the off-roading Trailhawk or the new plug-in hybrid 4xe version.

New but Familiar

Jeep says the new Grand Cherokee has all-new architecture: It’s longer, taller and wider, with a wider track to boot. Non-PHEV powertrains remain the previous 293-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and 357-hp, 5.7-liter V-8, but power for both is down a few horsepower versus the previous generation. It’s not particularly noticeable, and the vehicle has shed more than 300 pounds. The Grand Cherokee still feels more substantial on the road compared with some of its mass-market competitors, and the driving experience feels largely unchanged. That, unfortunately, includes some forward visibility problems from my seating position, where both the A-pillars and the rearview mirror interfered with my line of sight.

The Grand Cherokee isn’t quick with the V-8 under the hood, but it does feel more than adequately powered — and it sounds lovely, with a nice, deep rumble. The eight-speed automatic transmission is responsive and had no problem finding the right gear for a given situation. Handling characteristics are pleasant, if not sporty, thanks to the rear-wheel-drive platform; other competitors use front-wheel-drive architecture and can be prone to understeer, even with optional all-wheel drive. The Grand Cherokee navigates corners pleasantly, if not eagerly. Perhaps eagerness will be reserved for future performance versions to replace last generation’s SRT and Trackhawk trim levels, but none have yet appeared — and federal fuel economy standards and a move toward electrification by Jeep parent company Stellantis may change what those versions look like.

Speaking of fuel economy, that’s still a weak point in the V-8 Grand Cherokee — even with what Jeep calls aerodynamic improvements in the name of efficiency for the new model. The V-8 is rated 14/22/17 mpg city/highway/combined by the EPA, while the V-6 fares somewhat better with a 19/26/22 mpg rating. Interestingly, that rating applies to both RWD and 4WD versions. (Four-wheel drive is standard on V-8 Grand Cherokees.)

The Grand Cherokee we tested was equipped with a top-of-the-line Quadra-Lift air suspension, which now features electronic semi-active damping. I’ve always found the ride in air-suspension-equipped Jeeps (and other Stellantis products) to be a bit stiffer overall, but with better isolation from bumps and less body roll in corners than I’ve felt in models with coil-spring suspensions, and that continues here. I would’ve preferred smaller wheels than the 21-inchers on our test vehicle, however, as they created a bit of impact harshness over road imperfections.