The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit, and SRT versions. Within those versions are several noteworthy packages and special editions.
While you'll likely be very happy with the Laredo or Limited if you're seeking a comfortable, versatile family vehicle, the Overland and Summit models are the way to go if you want an appearance that's a little more distinct—as well as a feature set that really does align with rival models bearing luxury badges.
One of those places where the Grand Cherokee is on better footing than some rivals is in infotainment technology. The Grand Cherokee plugs into the data slipstream via the available Uconnect mobile package, and includes an 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen that controls infotainment and climate systems, in tandem with voice and steering-wheel controls. Data connectivity is wired into the car, bringing streaming audio capability, as well as wireless connectivity and in-car hotspot capability, making it even easier to stream video to portable devices and to passengers needing entertainment. A smaller, 5.0-inch center touchscreen is standard on Laredo and Limited models.
The main takeaway from Uconnect is that it's a bit easier and quicker to learn than Cadillac's CUE or Ford's systems. While it has just as many steering-wheel buttons, it also has a persistent row of virtual buttons—shortcuts to favorite controls—on the center display. On top of all that, it's laid out with clean, pretty, and well-rendered screens. It isn't perfect, though: voice commands are usually understood, but the underlying functions aren't always as rich as you might hope.
On the 2016 Grand Cherokee Laredo, standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels; air conditioning; a tilt/telescope steering wheel; cloth seats; power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; keyless entry; an audio system with an AM/FM/CD player and SiriusXM satellite radio; and rear-wheel drive.
Options on the Laredo are more limited than in the rest of the lineup. But you can add a number of upgrades, including an off-road package that has skid plates, Selec-Terrain, and all the extras, with a bottom-line price that's still under $36,000.
Beyond the Laredo models, the Grand Cherokee starts to pivot from family crossover into high-end hardware. Ascend to the Limited and you'll get 18-inch wheels; leather seating with a power front passenger seat; a power tailgate; remote start; heated front seats; and a rearview camera.
Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, navigation, and off-reading-assistance systems are among the many options on the Limited, which also has a different appearance, with more body-color trim.
The Ecodiesel V-6 and Hemi V-8 engine are both optional on Limited models and above.
The Overland adds 20-inch wheels; LED daytime running lights; navigation; an air suspension on four-wheel drive models; Nappa leather seating with ventilated front seats; a panoramic sunroof; and a leather-trimmed dash. The interior features Overland-embroidered seats, as well.
At the nearly-$50,000 Summit, you'll be rewarded with almost all of these features as standard equipment, as well as fancy steering headlights; unique wheel and wood choices, including a matte "open-pore" finish; and a suede headliner. Only a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system and a center-console CD changer are options. New for 2015, the Summit included an active noise-canceling function routed through its Harman Kardon audio system. There's also a new Summit California Edition monochrome/satin-trim exterior package, as well as a newly available Argentina Tan leather interior. Summits also get a Berber carpet cargo mat, illuminated "Summit" door sills, and acoustic glass for 2015.
As the most expensive model in the lineup, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT carries the halo—but in a way that's not entirely rough-and-rugged.
It's more rooted in the racetrack than it is on the trail, and it has its own standard features, from luxury touches like leather and suede seats; carbon-fiber interior trim; metallic pedal pads; power tilt/telescope steering; active noise cancellation; and a leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel. The SRT also includes Performance Pages, which displays different timers and performance data such as 0-60 mph times, braking distances, and quarter-mile times, for those places and times that let you exercise the SRT's massive tires and Hemi horsepower.
Options on the SRT include a dual-pane sunroof; a luxury package with leather trim and a power tailgate; and a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon audio system.
For the buyer who can't leave any option box unchecked, the SRT Night package adds special black wheels; blacked-out pillars, roof, spoiler and grille; and black hides inside for $4,980 more. That can run the price for a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT up past $70,000 and yeah, we don't get it either.