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2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overview
Everybody knows that Jeeps, at least most of them, are off-road beasts. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with some significant improvements late in the 2014 model year, personifies terrain-busting in style and comfort. This 5-seat full-size SUV, again available in the base Laredo, the up-featured Laredo E, the mid-level Limited, the distinctly styled Altitude, the off-road-ready Overland, the posh-pushing Overland Summit and the performance-driven SRT8, is on track to remain a favorite of the comfort-loving back-country snow-schlepping family.
Few changes are expected to grace this year’s edition of Jeep’s high-profile ute after said additions to the later 2014 versions, which included, among other things, the availability of auto engine stop/start technology and adaptive cruise control. For 2015, a couple of minor changes include standard illuminated sill plates for the plush-laden Summit, along with Active Noise Control and an acoustical windshield for the Summit and SRT trims. There is some talk that the Grand Cherokee, along with virtually all other Jeep offerings, is slated to get a major facelift and equipment upgrade starting late in the 2016 model year, while the demise of the Patriot and Compass has been all but confirmed at some point in the near future.
Again for this year, all Grand Cherokees but the SRT8 trim will be delivered with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) while remaining available in terrain-busting part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) garb as well. The SRT iteration, meantime, remains offered only in the 4WD configuration. Said 4WD mechanics, of course, include auto-locking hubs and a 2-speed transfer case.
The standard 3.6-liter V6 powerplant of yore still graces all Grand Cherokee variants except the SRT8. Look for 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque to be managed by an over-the-top 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission, with mileage still estimated at 17 mpg city/25 highway in RWD versions and 17/24 in 4WD trims. Towing, meanwhile, remains maxed out at 6,200 pounds with the proper equipment.
Those trims that don’t sport the SRT8 or Laredo moniker offer a pair of additional engines in the efficient and torque-toting 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 and the popular 5.8-liter Hemi V8. The turbodiesel boasts 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 pounds out 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, both again under the auspices of the 8-speed shiftable automatic. Expect an impressive 22/30 from RWD-equipped turbodiesel trims and 21/28 from 4WD editions, while V8-flaunting iterations drop to 14/22 in RWD versions and 14/20 in 4WD regalia. Both engines, by the way, can pull up to 7,400 pounds of trailer with the available towing package installed.
For those with a severe need for speed, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 returns with its 6.4-liter Hemi V8 sporting a beefed-up version of the 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission and standard 4WD. This added traction and shifting capability, however, is geared more to the track than the back 40. Anyhow, look for 470 hp from this V8 monster, along with 465 lb-ft of torque. Meantime, this performance-packing Jeep keeps a bunch of Middle-Eastern potentates mighty happy with its EPA-estimated 13/19.
Of course, the latest Grand Cherokee stable still promises more than just basic bling. Lower trims sport 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler outside, with cloth upholstery, reclining rear seats, full power accessories, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering gracing the inside. A fold-flat front passenger seat adds even more toting room to the already impressive 68.3 cubic feet of cargo area (with rear seatbacks folded), and it’s all kept cool via dual-zone auto climate control. Additionally lower trims also sport a 66-watt audio suite boasting a single-CD player, 6 speakers and auxiliary audio input, all interfaced with the standard 5-inch infotainment display that interfaces Bluetooth hands-free technology.
The Laredo E and higher trims add the Security and Convenience Group with power liftgate, remote engine start, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Limited and above trims, furthermore, boast heated rear seats and memory for driver's settings, along with a rear-view camera and remote garage door opener. Meanwhile, the Altitude comes delivered with all the above equipment in a unique gloss-black-trimmed package with distinct interior accents and badges.
Stepping up to the Overland and Overland Summit, look for standard 20-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and hard-drive-based navigation with an up-sized infotainment display, while the top-shelf Summit adds a 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system and upgraded 20-inch wheels.
The performance-oriented SRT8, meantime, relegates the standard sunroof to an option but throws in standard performance-tuned steering, further upgraded wheels, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, upgraded leather upholstery, carbon-fiber interior trim and LED running lights.
Again for 2015, lower Grand Cherokee trims get as optional equipment most of the features that come standard in higher trims, while the aforementioned towing package and a rear-seat DVD entertainment remain standalone options for all trims.
Standard safety equipment is expected to remain the usual 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active front headrests and airbags all around, along with daytime running lights (LED in the SRT8), front fog/driving lights, a post-collision safety system and, in the Limited and above iterations, a remote antitheft alarm. The optional Advanced Technology Group, meantime, is available to all 2015 Grand Cherokee trims and includes adaptive cruise control along with forward-collision alerts, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.