Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: New Jeep Grand Cherokee offers cruise ship comfort

If you have one and a half bar lying around and don't mind forking out at the pumps, then this ride's a must-have.

A dozen years between models is a long time in the automotive world. And when a carmaker goes that long before renewing a nameplate, it’s mightily important to do it in style.

That is exactly the mantra parent company Stellantis followed with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee that finally arrived in South Africa last month.

Not only is the fifth-generation model larger than life – always handy when making a statement whether we are talking cars or rugby players – but well refined and good value too.


We spent some time with the seven seater, long wheelbase Grand Cherokee #jeep #grandcherokee #thecitizenmotoring #thecitizennews

♬ original sound – The Citizen

One of the first things to notice with the new generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is the letter “L” at the end of its official title. It indicates “long wheelbase” which at 3 091 mm has seen the overall length increase by 380 mm to a very lengthy 5 208 mm.

With the additional length clearly visible around the rear of the already huge car, the letters “BA” would also have been an accurate description. Albeit not that politically correct outside the rural southeast of the United States. Blurt out the words “big ass” in your best hillbilly accent…

Grand Cherokee
The third row don’t just make up the numbers.

Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 3rd row

While the new version of the standard wheelbase Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered on that side of the Atlantic, South Arica is not getting it in the foreseeable future.

The most prominent change that with the long wheelbase is the addition of a third row of seats. This means the entry-level Limited and mid-grade Overland are now seven-seaters by virtue of seating three in the second row and two in the third row.

The top-of-the-range Summit Reserve’s seats one less as it seating configuration in the second row consists of two captain’s chairs instead of a bench-type three-seater.

We recently had the Jeep Grand Cherokee L in Overland trim level as a week-long house guest and was massively impressed with both the interior space and comfort on offer.

The third row is much more than a marketing ploy which is so often the case when a vehicle is passed off as a seven-seater. There is no shortage in leg and headroom for those seated at the back.

ALSO READ: New Jeep Grand Cherokee L a grand-slam worth taking note of

The 436-litres on offer in the boot with all the seats up is enough for daily luggage, with this number going into four digits with the third row folded down. The 60/40 split second and 50/50 split third row fold down electronically via buttons in the boot.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland
In Overland guise, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L rides on 20-inch alloys.

Kitted to the brim

There is no shortage of creature comforts in the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland. What it offers as standard can cost you an arm and a leg as optional extras in rival stables. And the nice thing about it is that the love is spread throughout the cabin by means of a McIntosh 19-speaker 950-watt audio system with subwoofer, active noise control system, all-round Nappa leather seats and door trim, three-zone climate control, heated seats in the second row, cup holders aplenty and no less than 12 USB ports.

Front row occupants have the added benefit of eight-way electronically adjustable heated and ventilated seats with memory function and four-way headrests, plus a 10.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system featuring smartphone connectivity and satellite navigation.

In addition, the driver can rely on a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and heated leather steering wheel while the front passenger is entertained by a 10.25-inch interactive display screen on which movies can be viewed through HDMI input.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland
The interior has all the bells and whistles.

Powering the Jeep Grand Cherokee is familiar all-aluminium 3.6-litre V6 naturally aspirated Pentastar engine that also serves on the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. It produces 210 kW of power and 344 Nm of torque which is sent to all four wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission.

Powering the Jeep Grand Cherokee

The drivetrain does an excellent job of pulling the almost 2.3-ton monstrosity without any hassles while box felt supersmooth.

There is plenty of power and a rather feisty soundtrack too under hard acceleration, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee is more of a smooth cruising than anything else. Those wanting more power will have to patiently wait and see if the American moniker will release an SRT and Trackhawk down the line.

Grand Cherokee
The Overland trim level slots in between the entry-level Limited and flagship Summit Reserve.

Heaven knows what the fuel consumption in those beasts will be, as this version is already damn thirsty. While we achieved 11.8-litres per 100 km on a 200 km road trip with the cruise control set at the national limit, our average number over 600 km was a rather bloated 14.7 L/100 km.

We did not take the Jeep Grand Cherokee off the tarmac, but has no doubt it will live up to Jeep’s legendary reputation.

It features all the latest and fanciest off-road systems, with the added benefit of Quadra-Lift Air Suspension allowing superb ground clearance of 277 mm.

This Jeep also has such a comprehensive safety and security specification sheet, 110 to be exact, that it is simply too long to mention here. Just trust us when we say it is a very safe car.


Overall the Grand Cherokee L looks good, is very spacious, safe, technologically advanced and an absolute pleasure on the go.

At R1 479 900 the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland is not in reach of your average commuter, but if there has ever been such a thing at that price point, offers good value for money. If you can afford to fill up the tank of course.

For more information on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, visit the manufacturer’s website.

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