Jeep recently launched its luxurious Grand Cherokee L and we’ve experienced the top-of-the-line Summit Reserve previously. Now it’s the turn of the mid-grade Limited, which sells for a whopping $30,000 less. At $104,990, it forgoes some of the SR’s goodies such as the super-deluxe interior trim, air suspension and enhanced tech, so is the Limited then the better buy?
Still luxurious on the inside
It might be Limited in name but not for specification. The interior is still lavishly appointed, the seats and dash draped in leather and topped off with some tasteful faux woodgrain trim. Jeep has really stepped up its interior game. The knurled metal rotary gear selector feels high-end and even works well. The centre console is finished in piano black and while it looks swish, it was already a bit scuffed up.
Atop the console is a vibrant 10.1-inch touchscreen that’s CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. One trend we do like is the inclusion of hard buttons for commonly used functions – they’re so much easier and safer to use while driving than trying to jab at a screen, which in the GC can be a bit slow to react. The air-con has the option of using real buttons, as does the off switch for the rather sensitive lane departure warning. Our car was also fitted with the optional sunroof, head-up display and rear interior camera (for keeping an eye on the gremlins) package which adds $5000 to the bottom line (we wouldn’t bother).
All the important safety stuff is present such as active cruise with stop and go, blindspot monitoring, lane departure warning and AEB. The Limited adds auto high beam control, while the Summit Reserve upgrades to a ‘hands-free’ driving assistant and 360-degree reversing camera.
Seating for seven
Inside, there’s seats for seven and we tried them all. The third row is accommodating enough, but the squabs felt hard. Six-foot-tall folk will fit back there, but not comfortably for too long. On the upside, there are at least four USB ports back there so you can plug in all the gizmos. Even the middle seat is a nice place to sit with acres of leg and headroom. It too has plenty of USB ports, just in case you were wondering. The whole row slides and tilts and, coupled with the large doors, access to the rear is a breeze. In the Limited the third-row seats fold manually (Summit gets power folding) but given the operation is so easy it’s not a big deal. With the third row stowed the load space is huge. It’s not so generous with seven seats in use but there is some underfloor storage to compensate.
Up for anything
As Jeep is synonymous with adventure we felt it fitting to test the GC’s credentials with a typical weekend getaway. We took in a mix of highways and dynamically interesting backroads to our destination, all of which the Jeep took in its stride. The ride is agreeable across most surfaces with only the gnarliest bumps making themselves felt in the cabin. The steering and brakes are talkative enough to keep keen drivers interested while the handling through the bends is surprisingly good for such a big rig. Flicking the drive mode to Sport perks up the throttle and hangs on to the gears longer for faster progress. There are paddles for those who like total control but we found the silky smooth gearbox smart enough to leave it to its own devices.
The V6 emits a pleasing growl and while it’s stroppy enough around town, a bit more grunt for overtakes wouldn’t go amiss. At present, there are no other engine options. Jeep claims the biggest GC will consume petroleum at a rate of 10.6L/100km whereas the Rightcar website suggests 11.9L/100km. We say that’s closer to the mark. Our drive which involved a few days commuting, some long motorway stints, twisty back roads and a bit of light off-roading returned 12.3L/100km while the long-term average was sitting at just over 14.
It would have been rude to not check out the Jeep’s off-road ability so we hit the beach. With Sand and Mud mode selected the adaptive 4×4 system made short work of some super slippery sand sections. You can feel (and hear) the brakes nipping away at individual wheels to maintain traction while powering through the soft stuff. Even with its road-oriented rubber the Grand carved through the sand and proved to be much less of a workout at the wheel than the knobbly-shod 4WD we were following that was sliding all over the show.
Pick of the bunch?
The Grand Cherokee L occupies a unique spot in the marketplace. Buyers looking for a large, luxury seven-seat SUV at the $100k mark really only have the Hyundai Palisade (more expensive, plasticky inside), Nissan Patrol (outdated interior, thirsty V8), Volvo XC90 (stylish, but long in the tooth) or the Land Cruiser 300 VX (also more expensive, sold out until 2024!) to choose from. Unless you really need the extra towing capacity of the Cruiser or Patrol (3500kg vs 2813kg for the Jeep), we’d recommend the Grand Cherokee L, particularly in this Limited guise. All models incur a clean car fee but there is stock available right now. Looking to spend a bit less? Consider the Night Eagle model. This loses the chrome finishing and some of the (nice to have but not essential) tech to sneak in at under $100k.
|Model||Jeep Grand Cherokee|
|Clean Car Discount||Fee + $4887|
|Engine||3606cc, V6, EFI|
|Drivetrain||8-speed auto, AWD|