2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
October 30, 2018

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a hugely capable off-roader—or track warrior—wrapped in a smart package.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is an automotive moment in time: a family hauler that can crawl through a blizzard, blitz a racetrack, tow a boat—or all three.

It’s an excellent choice for a family hauler, performance SUV, off-road champ, or anything in the middle.

Our overall score of 6.8 is weighted heavily toward the Jeep’s performance, style, and comfort, with huge divots for fuel economy and safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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This year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee adds an uprated top-shelf infotainment system, blind-spot monitors, and appearance packages. It pares back the available trim levels to Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk trim levels.

The Grand Cherokee sheds some of its blue-collar looks for a more upscale look, complete with lashings of chrome and available 20-inch wheels.

Inside, the cabin is appointed with high-quality materials, shod with leather and suede in some trim levels.

A quartet of engines is available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, all mated to an 8-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive will be fitted most Grand Cherokees that leave the lot.

The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes nearly 300 horsepower and adequately powers the Grand Cherokee in most trim levels, even off road. Frequent towers will consider a 5.7-liter V-8 for its 7,200-pound tow rating, but it’s less efficient than the V-6. An available turbodiesel offers the best of both worlds: better fuel economy and a 7,400-pound tow rating, but its premium adds thousands to the bottom line.

A 6.4-liter V-8 adds extreme performance, 475 hp, and a 0-60 mph time at less than 5 seconds.

It gets pricier—and faster.

A supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 makes 707 hp and slingshots the two-ton SUV up to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It’s a living legend—and hilariously entertaining.

Regardless of powertrain, the Grand Cherokee is well-equipped with plenty of creature comforts at the base level including 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, two USB charging ports, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert.

Our pick is an Overland trim with active safety features including automatic emergency braking and off-road accessories or luxury trim appointments. Choose your adventure in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

9

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Styling

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s looks defy its age.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is more grown up than prior generations, projecting a more affluent attitude than in the past.

It’s less blue collar, but better. It earns a 9 out of 10 on our scale.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Grand Cherokee’s shape is less aggressive than some of its rivals, but still retains the cues of iconic Jeeps: it still has the right proportions, trapezoidal wheel arches, and a seven-slot grille.

Top trims wear lashings of chrome, while Trailhawk versions wear rough-and-tumble accents like red tow hooks and matte black hood details.

Inside, the Jeep stands out as a near-luxury hauler, with a warm and ornate interior. The center stack features logical controls and convincing metallic silver trim pieces.

Spend more and get more: Limited, Overland, and Summit editions heap on wood and leather accents on the steering wheel, doors, and dash. It’s an organic look that works well, we say.

SRT and Trackhawk trims are racier, but not less comfortable.

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10

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Performance

No Jeep Grand Cherokee is lacking in impressive hardware—either storming a track or climbing a mountain.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee can be a trail wizard or a track animal, depending on configuration.

Few new cars offer as wide of a performance spectrum as the Grand Cherokee, which is how it aces our performance scale. It gets a 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Jeep Grand Cherokee sports a choice among four gasoline or one turbodiesel engines, multiple four-wheel-drive systems, and multiple suspension setups.

The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that spins out 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It’s the standard engine in every trim level except SRT and Trackhawk and shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s a strong performer—on road and off—with enough pull low in the rev range to convince us that it’s all the muscle the Grand Cherokee really needs.

We accept that many will want more power, however.

The figurative tip of the V-8 iceberg is a 5.7-liter V-8 that’s optional on Limited, Overland, Summit, and Trailhawk trims. The V-8 makes 360 hp and a convincing rumble, and is rated to tow up to 7,200 pounds.

The 3.0-liter turbodiesel returned last year after a brief emissions timeout and returns 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of twist. Its towing capability is up ever-so-slightly over the 5.7-liter V-8—up to 7,400 pounds—and the turbodiesel returns better fuel economy than any other gas-powered engine.

From there the Grand Cherokee gets more entertaining, proportionate to your spending power and courage.

The 6.4-liter V-8 found underhood of the Grand Cherokee SRT makes 475 horsepower and can propel the SUV up to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. It’ll take around 13 seconds to run a quarter-mile, according to Jeep. We encourage you to send a video.

The supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 under the hoods of Grand Cherokee Trackhawks is legendary: 707 hp, 3.5 seconds to 60 mph, and a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds. It’s loud, silly, and a moment in time: muscle-car performance meets buyers’ preference for SUVs.

Regardless of engine, the Grand Cherokee uses an 8-speed automatic that’s seamless and responsive. Some trim levels are fitted with small, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters that don’t feel very convincing.

Despite its heft of more than two tons, the Grand Cherokee drives and steers well in any powertrain configuration. The Grand Cherokee’s secret is a unibody construction—heresy in some off-road circles—that keeps the Jeep calm on road, without the bounding, trucky ride of a body-on-frame SUV.

Not that it needs a truck frame. The Limited, Overland, and Summit editions feature a Quadra-Lift air suspension that can raise the ride height from 6.4 to 11.3 inches. The same suspension lowers slightly the Grand Cherokee on highway cruises for better fuel economy.

Off road

Jeep offers four different four-wheel-drive systems in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, ranging from all weather to all comers.

The rugged stuff starts with the Quadra-Trac I system, which is standard on Laredo 4WD models. It has a locking center differential, and a 50/50 power split, front to rear, but without low-range gearing, it’s best for all-weather conditions.

The Quadra-Trac II system is standard on Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, and Summit trims and features a low-speed transfer case and hill-descent control for tricky terrain. Nearly 100 percent of power (before driveline losses) can be shifted toward the rear, and an electronic rear limited-slip rear differential (called “Quadra-Drive II”) is available on Limited, Overland, and Summit models, depending on engine.

Jeep adds a terrain selection system to Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II systems that switches between Auto, Sand, Mud, Snow, and Rock modes to optimize traction-control systems for better grip on tough terrain.

Most Jeeps will be able to tackle far tougher terrain than they’re ever asked. We’ve scrambled up nearly impossible terrain on slick rock and sand in the Grand Cherokee without fuss.

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10

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is as impressive in its luxury as it is in its capability.

Few new SUVs do what the 2019 Grand Cherokee can do—even fewer do it as comfortably.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee aces our comfort score: excellent front and rear seats, excellent space for cargo, excellent fit and finish in top trims, and another point for, well, excellence. It gets a 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Jeep uses the same 114.8-inch wheelbase for the Grand Cherokee that Dodge uses for the Durango but just packs seats for five. That means the Grand Cherokee gets better spread out space in the rear and wide-swinging doors that open as far as 78 degrees—a boon to parents using the Grand Cherokee as a family hauler.

The front seats are typical fare for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: wide and comfortable, with plenty of cushion for Midwestern builds. All but the base Laredo seats are friendly (the seat bottoms are a little thin for our liking) and SRT and Trackhawk versions get supportive, snug cushions.

The rear seats recline up to 12 degrees in the Grand Cherokee, and rear-seat riders get more than 38 inches of leg room.

Head room is good too, even with the sunroof, and 6-footers won’t have issues sitting behind other 6-footers.

The cargo room is a better story in the 2019 Grand Cherokee. Behind the second row, there’s 36.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which grows to more than 63 cubes with the rear seats folded. A power tailgate is standard on Limited and higher trim levels, and some spendy trims add padded cargo areas.

Overall, the Grand Cherokee’s fittings and appointments are high-quality and pleasant to touch. Spending more on a Jeep Grand Cherokee gets more luxury appointments, but most mid-level trims are reasonably luxurious places to be for the price.

Opting for high-po SRT and Trackhawk models add racy-looking bits like sueded interior accents and trim pieces, but still manage to be respectable when it’s time to simmer down.

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2

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Safety

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee shows its age in crash-test scores.

Time has caught up with the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s safety scores.

The relatively aged structure underneath the big Jeep can’t keep up with competitors in crash-test scores, but available active safety features help the Jeep stay relevant.

Federal testers give it a four-star overall score, while independent testers ding it for front crash safety. We give the Jeep a 2 for safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

About those crash scores: they’re for 2018 models. We expect the 2019 versions to perform the same, based on their mechanical similarities, but will update the score here if those change.

Federal testers gave the Jeep Grand Cherokee a four-star overall score, including four stars from front crash protection and a four-star rollover safety score. (Rear-drive versions of the Grand Cherokee earn three stars on the calculated rollover test.)

The IIHS says that the Grand Cherokee offers “Marginal” front crash protection for the driver in its small-overlap test. The passenger side rates “Poor.”

Other IIHS tests rated the Grand Cherokee “Good” in crash protection, and its active safety features that include forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking rated “Superior” at avoiding front crashes up to 25 mph.

Those life-saving features are walled off to top trims—Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk—but a spend-up extra on lower trims. That’s behind the curve for new family SUVs.

There’s better news: blind-spot monitors are standard on all models now.

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7

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Features

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is proof that capability (or outright speed) doesn’t have to come at the expense of comfort.

Not long ago, a $100,000 Jeep was a laughable idea. Times and tastes change.

Now, the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee can touch six figures and 60 mph faster than a Saturday spit-take.

The base Jeep Grand Cherokees Laredo is at least equipped with 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, two USB charging ports, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert—the last two are new for 2019.

That’s good equipment, but automatic emergency braking isn’t available on the base model and only standard on top trims. There are many bundles and trims to choose from, and all are equipped with a good infotainment system that earn points above average. We land at a 7 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Jeep offers the 2019 Grand Cherokee in seven trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk that we distill down to three: Street, Trail, and Track.

The street versions, Laredo, Limited, and Summit editions are geared more toward on-road duty and daily detail. The trail versions, Trailhawk and Overland, can be fitted with beefier tires, tow hooks, off-road assist features, and an air suspension. The track versions: SRT and Trackhawk sub in go-fast gear that’s hardly believable on an SUV.

For the record: You can pay more than $100,000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 2019 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk starts in the mid-$80,000s and all-in with premium paint, rear-seat entertainment, a panoramic sunroof, premium audio and premium leather, it rings the bell at more than $100,000. On one hand, it’s the first six-figure Jeep from the factory. On the other hand, it’s a relative bargain next to Porsche Cayennes and BMW X5Ms. We’re not sold on its value, but those who may be swayed should consider that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with active dampers, 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, premium audio that’s upgradeable to a 19-speaker system, active safety features (covered above), an 8.4-inch touchscreen for infotainment with navigation, and launch control. Guess what feature is our favorite.

We bring it back down to earth at the Overland trim level, which starts at half the cost of the fire-breathing Trailhawk, but offers the best mix of luxury and off-road features that we think will serve Jeep buyers well.

The Overland is equipped as standard with an air suspension, panoramic sunroof, 20-inch tires (18s are an option with off-road rubber), leather upholstery, premium audio, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Options include active safety features, which we recommend, or hardcore off-road add-ons such as skid plates, a full-size spare, and uprated four-wheel drive system with electronic locking rear differential.

Jeep infotainment

This year’s big upgrade inside for the 2019 Grand Cherokee is a high-resolution 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s standard in all trim levels above base Laredo, where it’s optional.

The 8.4-inch touchscreen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, but we’re not so sure we’d give up control to the smartphones yet.

Jeep’s baked-in system, dubbed Uconnect, is responsive and intuitive, one of the best systems we’ve used. The icons are bright and clear along the bottom, with common-sense ways to navigate through the menus to set climate controls, radio station, or clock lap times.

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4

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is capable, but costly at the pump.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is exceptional in many ways, but not in fuel economy.

Offered with a wide range of gas-powered engines, the 2019 Grand Cherokee doesn’t have any tricks to keep the truck from sliding down our fuel-efficiency scale.

The most common Grand Cherokee rates 18 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined, that’s with four-wheel drive and a V-6. That rates a 4 out of 10 on our efficiency scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Opt for rear-wheel drive and a V-6 and the numbers are marginally better: 19/26/21 mpg.

The prolific, mighty V-8s are mighty thirsty in the Grand Cherokee.

With a 5.7-liter V-8 and four-wheel drive, the Cherokee rates 14/22/17 mpg on mid-grade gasoline.

Fire-breathing V-8s found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk are less restrained than new puppy.

The 475-hp Grand Cherokee SRT is rated at 13/19/15 mpg and the 707-hp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is rated at 11/17/13 mpg. Both are rated for premium fuel and maximum fun.

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel is the most efficient option: 21/28/24 mpg with four-wheel drive, or 22/30/25 mpg with rear-drive.

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$31,395
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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 10
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety 2
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Grand Cherokee arriving; 2018s remain on sale
  • Up to $5,000 rebate on 2018s; $1,250 on 2019s
  • Lease a 2018 from $219 for 24 months
  • 0% APR for 36 months on both model years
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