“Cruiser not a bruiser” Jeep Grand Cherokee L 4×4 – Review

When one thinks about Jeep the images your mind conjures up are of the Wrangler and Gladiator, these are the vehicles that cement the brand’s modern reputation as no-nonsense and outdoorsy. Most would forget that before the Gladiator the brand relied heavily on two legendary nameplates the Wrangler and the Cherokee.

The latter of which has just been given the once-over, so is there still a place for the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L to thrive?


The Gladiator and Wrangler are like American Footballers dressed in full gear, they most definitely look scary and stick out like sore thumbs. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the same footballer but decked out in fine formal clothing more at home and less shouty about how tough it really is.

I must say though that the Grand in the name checks out, this thing is massive. I mean that in a good way, the Grand Cherokee is much longer than its predecessor. In terms of width, I would say that it’s just a tad wider, which shows when you sit and drive in the Grand Cherokee the length is much more apparent than the width.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior Side

What I like most about the Grand Cherokee’s looks though is the fact that it manages to retain classic Jeep design principles but with elevated modern twists. It looks like a small Grand Wagoneer (imagine how big that thing is) providing a classy yet rugged look.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Passenger Second Row


Inside the Grand Cherokee, you’re greeted by an almost completely black interior (although there is a two-tone option). As expected from a big American car it’s swathed in very supple and fragrant leather.

What’s also refreshing is the seemingly minimalist approach, no strange floating panels or over-the-top button-infested spaces just clean and easy to navigate. The only modern touches to the interior that stand out are the massive digital instrument cluster and the infotainment screen, which are both very detailed and legible, it’s also nice to have wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Dashboard

Other noteworthy features are heated (AND COOLED) seats that are also power adjustable, a massive sunroof, a wireless charging pad, and a boatload of USB charging ports. The most interesting feature though has to be the “Fam Cam” which is a CCTV-like feature bolted to the headliner, which enables the driver and front passenger to check on what the rear occupants are doing. You can even select individual seats for a close-up. It’s creepy but if you’ve got a naughty and rowdy family it might come in handy.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Third Row

In terms of space, there’s plenty and that’s without exaggeration, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s interior is well packaged so that each individual seat can provide enough space for long journeys, which could help keep the “Are we there yet?” questions at bay. I even managed to comfortably sit in the 3rd row without having to chop my legs off.

Lastly, the rearview mirror also doubles as a rear camera that provides a wider and clearer view of what’s behind. Personally, I found it unnerving so I stuck to the traditional view, nonetheless, it’s there if you want it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Engine

Engine and Safety

Powering this mansion on wheels is the famously reliable (but quite old) Pentastar V6 that churns out 282 Hp and 344 Nm of torque. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and in this version is always in 4×4 mode.

Being a modern car it thankfully has a host of autonomous driving aides like adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, and the like. Safety for yourself and your family was high on the brand’s priority.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Gauge

Driving impressions

Having never driven any Jeep Cherokee and only the Gladiator and Wrangler, I more or less expected the same experience. I could not have been more wrong, the Grand Cherokee is in a (legit) league of its own.

The Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler are purpose-built vehicles, designed to primarily tackle any road or conditions thrown at them and then the brand decided to make them ‘usable’ for daily driving. The Grand Cherokee though retains the go-anywhere appeal like a true Jeep but hides it perfectly under a veneer of comfort, luxury, and overall practicality.

In the city, the Jeep Grand Cherokee happily plods along at reasonable speeds and it feels as comfortable and easy to use as any other vehicle, with the only exception of how commanding the driving position is. One thing to point out is how cocooned the interior is in terms of noise, vibration, and harshness, passengers can comfortably speak to each other without yelling.

Furthermore, the ride is actually quite good, it’s not Rolls-Royce good but for something built to climb mountains, it was comfortable. I’m used to slowing down over bumpy roads and before potholes but I have a sneaking suspicion that I could drive over 80kph over EDSA and sip piping hot coffee without spilling it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior Radio Head Unit

The NVH and ride obviously translate well on the Grand Cherokee’s favorite place; the highway. On NLEX it seemed as though the big brutish SUV took on the form of a cloud, it was comfortable and very relaxing, especially with all the autonomous driving aides to help. I must shamefully admit that I was lulled into a very comfortable and quite sleepy state deep into the journey.

My one wake-up call is the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s beast of an engine, the figures might not seem powerful but my oh my is it more than enough to elicit giggles. Even during start-up, the engine bursts into life with a low rumbling burble at idle, giving the impression that it’s a chained beast. During stately driving conditions, it is very smooth and actually quiet, but if you plop it into sport mode or floor the accelerator it comes to life and snarls its way up to around 6,500 rpm. You’d be wrong to say it’s violent, in fact, all it does is surge the hulking SUV forward and before you know it you’re breaking the speed limit.

Another nice thing is the driving dynamics, despite the bulk the steering is light enough for city driving and when you decide to tackle bends and winding roads like a madman the Grand Cherokee is surprisingly agile and lively.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior Rear

Points for improvement

I really only have one problem, there is no way that you can change the driving mode from 4×4 to 4×2. That feature is frustratingly only reserved for the Hemi version (which we don’t get locally). The lack of such a feature makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee a grand fuel drinker. I struggled to get more than 5 km/l in the city and my best on the highway was 12 km/l.

Jeep Grand Cherokee


Priced at a cool PHP 5,490,000 the Jeep Grand Cherokee L 4×4 is an indulgence for anybody. There are much more affordable options that can do more or less what it does. I must say though that despite my practical alarm bells going off every time I drove it, I thoroughly love the car.

It’s a statement vehicle that makes very little practical sense but is enjoyable (and comfortable) for anyone. I can summarize it best as it’s like owning a very big and expensive dog, thirsty/hungry, show-offy, that needs a lot of tender loving care but everybody in the family loves it because it’s so endearing and capable.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee truly is a “cruiser, not a bruiser”, an indulgence that you and the whole family can take part in.

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo's first word was probably "Car", and this has developed into a personal passion that has consumed his professional life as well.

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