Before it was brand-new in 2011, the Jeep Grand Cherokee looked old, and low-rent. It was dated when it was new. The lavish, on-point renovation that came for the 2011 model year fixed all that, giving the Grand Cherokee the spot-on proportions and stance it has today.This year's light retouching doesn't backtrack at all, but it does water down the Jeep appeal up front. The Grand Cherokee used to wear seven chrome bars on its face like it was passing time in some fabulous supermax facility. For 2014, for reasons we can't fathom, the grille is smaller, thinner, and those chrome bars are all but gone. The Grand Cherokee has an "innie" now, with body-color bars and wan little chrome lines around them, an anti-Jeep at least from that narrow perspective. A statement this concise needs the perfect punctuation. If Mercedes can flaunt Flavor Flav-sized logos on the M-Class, the Grand Cherokee's grille bars should be wide enough for Weber.
Otherwise, today's Grand Cherokee is one pretty, sophisticated piece. The details are fine, if the sideview reminds us some, or a lot, of the BMW X5 or VW Touareg. The LED taillights, at least, have more bite this year, and that addresses the derivative look of the rear end nicely. Rear LED taillights and a spoiler lifted from the SRT edition are standard on all versions now, while from the nose and tail, the lower fascias are different, pierced by dual exhausts on most models and on the SRT.
The Grand Cherokee's cabin went from deer blind to Sundance studio back in 2011, and the new stitched-leather dash and ambient lighting are perfect touches for a glamping atmosphere on the top trim levels. Even on the basic versions, there's a chunky three-spoke steering wheel, a usefully arranged center stack of controls capped with inoffensive metallic-plastic trim, and a five-inch LCD touchscreen for audio. On Limiteds, Overlands, and Summits, Jeep applies real wood trim on the dash, doors, and the steering wheel. It begs to be touched, in the same amount the last-generation vehicle wanted to be left alone. It's in its best light in Summit's organic coloring, under the natural light of the panoramic roof. This is Chrysler's best interior, and it's fairly amazing in how it feels like an M-Class, which is sort of is, or a Cayenne, which it supersedes in many ways.