2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee First Drive Review: A Better Family Off-Roader
There are plenty of places where you can go off-roading in the United States, but few offer the striking vistas and endless opportunities for rock crawling found in Moab, Utah. That makes it an ideal location for the first drive of the new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. There are paved roads, gravel surfaces, and plenty of opportunities for heading off the beaten path, if you have a vehicle that’s capable enough for the challenge.
We spent the day driving up winding mountain roads, cruising along the highway, and avoiding rogue elk. The highlight of the drive was making our way over rocks on a somewhat precarious hillside. That last bit is the kind of thing many an SUV owner wouldn’t dare to try, but this is a Jeep and off-roading is sort of its thing.
There’s no shortage of power under the hood of the Grand Cherokee. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It has plenty of grunt to get this large SUV up to speed. If you’re not satisfied with the V6, then there’s a V8 that becomes an option midway through the Grand Cherokee lineup. Numbers jump to 357 horsepower with 390 pound-feet of torque for stronger acceleration. Both are paired to a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s responsive in either guise, but this is still a big, heavy SUV. A sports car it is not.
You might be wondering about the plug-in hybrid 4xe. So are we, but Jeep wasn’t quite ready to let us drive that one. It sat perched on a rock during the presentation, but that’s as close as we got to getting behind the wheel. When it does arrive early next year, it will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a combined 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the V6 is 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. The V8 is unsurprisingly a bit thirstier at 14 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. It’s not the most fuel efficient option in the segment and you’ll do better with the Toyota 4Runner, Subaru Outback, or Nissan Pathfinder (although none of those are even available with a V8).