Our fancy-pants Managing Ed. is currently enjoying the sunny and rocky environs of Moab, sampling different variants of the new-for-’22 Jeep Grand Cherokee. His impressions will appear on these digital pages in due time but, until then, let’s examine what might just be The Right Spec of this popular SUV.
And yes – your author is steadfast in his description of the Grand Cherokee as an SUV and not a crossover, despite a unibody construction and available V6 engine. The GC is one of the founders of this class, a vehicle said to have been in the very beginning stages of development under AMC’s watch before Chrysler bought the place in the late ‘80s. Fun fact: Dodge also put forth a styling exercise for that model, which looks better than one might expect. With a very Dodge-like gunsight grille and its door handles turned 90 degrees, there is surely an alternate universe out there somewhere in which this thing was built.
At launch, the 2022 Grand Cherokee will be available in five trims, all of which should be familiar to the Jeep faithful. The stalwart Laredo will be its price leader, sliding in under 40 grand for a four-wheel-drive version. By the way, anyone who willingly chooses to buy a Grand Cherokee with only two driven wheels needs to reexamine their priorities. It’s a $4,500 walk to the next-level Altitude trim, then on to a Limited trim (which isn’t really limited at all in terms of production numbers, of course), before blasting through the $50,000 mark with the Trailhawk. A snazzy Summit Reserve, surely the trim on hand for Tim’s drive program, will sticker at $66,660 for a V8 model.
That’s a huge price spread, which is why we’re here to parse through it with The Right Spec. Putting aside the base Laredo which has cloth seats and lacks standard basics like a heated steering wheel, there’s a lot to like in the V6-equipped Limited with its upgraded sounds system and better seating options. Toss in neighbor-impressing goodies like ambient lighting (yes, that matters to some people) and a memory system so you’re not fussing with mirrors after your spouse is behind the wheel, and this trim might be a good option for many buyers.
However – and this author is writing these words with a bright blue 2020 Cherokee Trailhawk in his driveway – making the leap to a Trailhawk trim is worth considering if the budget allows. Not only does this model have a great deal more visual appeal than its more pavement-focused brothers, but it also packs the Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system which includes a limited-slip rear diff and electronic sway bar disconnect. Air suspension is also part of the Trailhawk deal, along with semi-active dampers and a two-speed transfer case with low range.
Am I far too optimistic that the majority of Trailhawk buyers will use these features in the fashion that I do with my own Cherokee? Probably. Still, a maximum of 11.3 inches of ground clearance is sure to help in the snow belt – and if it doesn’t, that’s what those bright red tow hooks are for. The only choice you have to make is between V6 power or spending an extra $3,300 (for a total of $54,570) on a snarling Hemi V8 engine.
Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and are currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.
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