MOAB, Utah – Welcome to the primary drive of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee! Hey, didn’t we already do that? Nicely, sure and no. Jeep launched the redesigned (now with three rows!) 2021 Grand Cherokee L earlier this 12 months. This time, we’re driving the all-new two-row and it’s a 2022. Yeah, sorry. The world is unusual.

Briefly (sorry), you are taking the three-row L mannequin, hack off a couple of inches of size and an accompanying 250 kilos or so of mass, and also you get the brand new, customary Grand Cherokee. The longer model is a little more difficult as a result of a couple of objects weren’t fairly prepared for prime time when the L landed earlier in 2021, however have been as soon as the two-row’s on-sale date got here round. Probably the most noteworthy amongst these is the dash-mounted passenger infotainment display.

Regardless of its superior age, which is a theme with regards to Stellantis merchandise right here in america, the outgoing Grand Cherokee was really a fairly stable entry. As its direct alternative, the brand new two-row actually solely had a handful of key bugbears to deal with. Its inside, whereas nonetheless of first rate high quality and possessing a wonderful infotainment suite, couldn’t cover its historical design that dated again to the Cerberus period. Consequently, it was a step or two behind the Grand Cherokee’s premium SUV aspirations.

We comprehensively mentioned the brand new Grand Cherokee’s inside once we drove the three-row L mannequin, however the two-row arrives with a brand-new celebration piece: a ten.25-inch passenger-side infotainment display. Using a tile-style UI, it’s meant to supply leisure and luxury choices for front-row passengers with out tempting the driving force with distraction. It additionally features a few objects that Uconnect’s engineers name “copilot” options, equivalent to entry to the navigation and digicam programs, lowering the passenger’s attain to those controls when referred to as upon to help the driving force.

This, and the accessible rear-seat leisure screens, are all Amazon Alexa-enabled and passengers in every seat can watch completely different packages (or completely different episodes of the identical program). Every place has its personal Bluetooth receivers to maintain from crossing audio streams. Jeep is not going to formally verify that the passenger-side leisure display is coming to the three-row L mannequin, however the sensible cash says it’ll arrive by the 2023 mannequin 12 months on the newest, if not within the forthcoming 2022 updates.

Whereas the dated inside received a serious improve, the identical can’t be stated of the dated powertrains. The 2022 Grand Cherokee’s base 3.6-liter V6 and non-obligatory 5.7-liter V8 each carry over from the ’21 other than a trivial discount in ponies. The Pentastar V6 drops from 295 horsepower to 293 and the Hemi V8 from 360 to 357. Like we stated, trivial, and because the automobile misplaced about 200 kilos within the generational transition, you gained’t miss ‘em. A plug-in hybrid 4xe mannequin is coming with 25 miles of all-electric vary, however that’s not but absolutely baked.

Whereas the Grand Cherokee depends on the tried-and-true, car-based SUV formulation that’s now employed just about universally all through the business (aka crossover), Grand Cherokee’s rear-wheel-drive format is little bit of an outlier. Its age-old nemesis, the Ford Explorer, can be the opposite uncommon instance of a non-luxury, RWD SUV with crossover structure. That is nearer in dimension to the Grand Cherokee L, nonetheless, and all else being equal, the two-row’s FWD-based opponents have a packaging benefit by way of passenger and cargo room. Regardless of being shorter in each wheelbase and general size, a Honda Passport presents a barely roomier entrance seat and extra cargo quantity behind the second row, for instance.

There’s one other RWD-based competitor, in fact, however the Toyota 4Runner sticks to body-on-frame building to lean extra closely into its 4×4 persona. The Grand Cherokee’s mission is oriented extra towards on-road luxurious than off-road prowess. Whereas that will sound odd for a Jeep, it’s nothing new for Grand Cherokee. In contrast to the Wrangler and Gladiator, which get locking rear (and entrance on Rubicon) differentials, the Grand Cherokee stops at a limited-slip rear axle and brake-based entrance differential.

For the on-road portion of our drive, Jeep set us up with a V6-powered Summit Reserve mannequin. Other than the engine, that is about as loaded because it will get. Uconnect 5 pairs brilliantly with the non-obligatory McIntosh audio system. Granted, you’re paying so much for a Grand Cherokee with this technique (it’s non-obligatory on Overland and Summit fashions, and customary on Summit Reserve), but it surely’s pretty much as good as you’ll discover within the mainstream market. Excessive-quality audio information sound glorious; low-quality sources are cleanly processed, and whereas even McIntosh can’t save satellite tv for pc radio from itself, it may very well be so much worse. Wi-fi smartphone integration is dirt-simple to arrange too.

The Grand Cherokee’s accessible air suspension has 5 accessible heights. Customary (8.4 inches off the bottom) is lifeless within the center and the default setting for the Auto drive mode. Sport mode drops the peak barely however corporations up the springs, letting the Grand Cherokee hunker down a bit. There’s a noticeable enchancment in responsiveness at little expense in consolation. In actual fact, if it weren’t for the powertrain calibration included in Sport mode (the fixed excessive revs are a bit a lot), this might be a wonderfully wonderful on a regular basis setting for anyone who doesn’t repeatedly take care of pockmarked highway surfaces.

Even when residing within the “Sport” finish of the rev vary, the V6 presents merely enough energy. It’s completely enough for the midsize SUV class, but it surely’s not remotely invigorating. Against this, the 5.7-liter Hemi actually sounds the half and pulls like a freight prepare on the freeway. It makes for a greater cruiser and will get you one other 1,000 kilos of towing capability (7,200 vs. 6,200), however the iron block V8’s appreciable mass makes itself identified.

This brings us to the two-row mannequin’s different edge over the three-row L: Trailhawk. It is to Grand Cherokee what Rubicon is to Wrangler and Gladiator. That is the mannequin that actually earns Jeep’s “Path Rated” badge. Trailhawk fashions with the V6 and V8 get an additional 0.4 inches of floor clearance on the air suspension’s max peak setting (topping out at 11.3 inches). Trailhawks additionally get probably the most sturdy of the Grand Cherokee’s three 4×4 programs, incorporating a two-speed switch case with a 2.72:1 low-range ratio.

For 2022, Trailhawk additionally beneficial properties a class-exclusive digital sway bar disconnect, permitting for extra articulation when issues get notably tough underfoot. Trailhawks additionally come customary with all-terrain tires, an digital rear limited-slip differential, extra Selec-Terrain drive modes, skid plates, tow hooks and an anti-glare decal on the hood, which really turns out to be useful. Its bumpers have been additionally redesigned to enhance off-road clearances. 

Altogether, its most strategy angle improves to 35.7 levels, breakover angle to 24.4 levels and departure angle to 30.2 levels vs. 30.1/24.0/30.2 for the air suspension on the Overland (the Summit has a barely worse strategy), and 20.5/19.1/26.6 for these outfitted with the usual multi-link metal suspension. Since they arrive with each the brake-based biasing and upgraded rear differential, Trailhawk fashions can put as a lot as 100% of accessible torque to the entrance or rear. Of that, it will possibly then vector as a lot as 100% to both rear wheel or as a lot as 85% to both entrance wheel.

To point out off all this tech, Jeep took us as much as Raven’s Rim, a personal path perched above downtown Moab. Our small parade of V6-powered Trailhawks wound up by means of the switchbacks and have been guided over a fairly technical sequence of boulders and washes, alternating noses and tailgates within the air over the trickier bits. It was way more strenuous than something a typical proprietor would ever do with their Grand Cherokee, but it surely was Jeep’s probability to indicate off simply how succesful its midsizer is even with out the advantage of locking differentials.

And as cool because the digital sway-bar disconnect is, the true hero right here was the Grand Cherokee’s front-facing digicam, which might be accessed from the app display in Uconnect. It fully eliminates the hood as a blind spot, eradicating guesswork from the equation in tight spots and blind crests. As with all digital visible help, it alters the angle barely and might take away some constancy and depth, but it surely beats the heck out of educated guesses. And whereas few will want the Grand Cherokee’s full vary of suspension articulation on their each day commutes, that very same digicam is simply as able to revealing a misplaced tricycle that’s about to satisfy its doom beneath the wheels of your shiny new Jeep.

And that shiny new Jeep is a bit more costly too. The bottom Laredo RWD V6 prices $2,130 extra for ’22 than it did for ’21, checking in at $39,185 after vacation spot (which went up by $200 to $1,795). Right here’s the essential pricing construction, with vacation spot included:

  • Grand Cherokee Laredo: $39,185
  • Grand Cherokee Altitude: $43,740
  • Grand Cherokee Restricted: $45,505
  • Grand Cherokee Trailhawk: $53,070
  • Grand Cherokee Overland: $55,100
  • Grand Cherokee Summit: $59,160
  • Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve: $65,160

Word the costs listed are for the bottom mannequin of every trim. Including 4×4 to V6 fashions prices $2,000 and the premium for the V8 the place accessible (Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, Summit Reserve) is roughly $3,300. Jeep has not but launched pricing for the 2022 Grand Cherokee L, so we’ll have to attend and see how that shakes out earlier than drawing any additional conclusions.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is an virtually 50/50 mix of the brand new and acquainted. The tech, inside upgrades and weight reduction are all welcome advances — the brand new. The powertrain, nonetheless, strikes us as dated. It’s acquainted and purposeful, but it surely’s not thrilling and it would not transfer the ball ahead. Sure, sure, the upcoming 4xe is and it’ll. That’s nice. In actual fact, even with out driving it, we’re ready to say that it’s in all probability the one to purchase except your most important occasional-use case is towing (its score is overshadowed even by the V6). However for now, these getting old ICEs are snoozers.

Thankfully for Jeep, the true story is contained in the cabin, and we’re happy with the narrative. The enhancements aren’t practically as dramatic as these Ram achieved with its half-ton redesign, however as affordable because the Grand Cherokee’s premium proposition was earlier than, it’s way more convincing with the newest updates. And you may already super-size it as well. What’s to not like?