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2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overview
For 2017, the Jeep Grand Cherokee takes the next step down its dual-path evolution. The 5-passenger mid/full-size SUV has been a favorite of SUV fans since the current generation began in 2011. Unlike many rivals, however, the Grand Cherokee does not reside in just one category. For many, the Grand Cherokee is a luxurious and comfortable vehicle with ample space, power, and panache. For others, the Grand Cherokee is workhorse capable of extreme off-road performance. Both camps should be pleased with what is coming to the Grand Cherokee family for the new model year.
The 2-row 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup is broad, with six trims. The base Grand Cherokee is the Laredo, offered with both rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrains. All Laredos are powered by the Jeep 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. The Limited trim, a step up in comfort and convenience, includes an optional 3.0-liter Eco Diesel engine or a 5.7-liter V8 engine that has to be chosen with AWD. The Overland and High Altitude Editions add such features as Jeep’s Quadra-lift air suspension.
Standing alone at the top of the range will be the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. This Grand Cherokee has a 6.4-liter V8 producing 475 hp. It also offers an optional premium Laguna leather interior, a Viper-like flat bottom steering wheel, and a performance-tuned suspension. As this is way too much vehicle for those not ready for it, the SRT has a valet mode that limits power and keeps shifts in the low torque range. The SRT also has its own wheel styles and front grille to differentiate it from the rest of the clan. Buyers should budget about $70K when considering this top-of-the-line trim. Many fans are hoping for a Hellcat version of the Grand Cherokee, and it may well come in 2017, though Jeep has not confirmed any such thing.
Instead, the 2017 model year will center on two other trims, the Grand Cherokee Summit and Trailhawk. The Summit will be the ultimate in comfort. Outside, new LED foglamps and polished 20-inch wheels complement a new grille treatment, while the interior will feature full-wrap Laguna leather, a suede headliner, and berber carpeting. Interior colors will include Ski Gray, Indigo, Black, Brown, and Dark Sienna Brown.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Summit should offer a very quiet ride. Jeep has fitted acoustic glass on both the side windows and windshield. What little road noise does enter the cabin will be eliminated with active noise cancellation, leaving plenty of space for an 825-watt audio system with three subwoofers. The Summit does not ignore the Grand Cherokee’s all-road mission, either: all Summit trims will come with Jeep’s AWD system and Quadra-Lift air suspension.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is an all-new trim for 2017. Just as it is the most off-road-capable trim in the Cherokee and Renegade lineups, the Trailhawk will be the choice for off-road enthusiasts interested in the Grand Cherokee as well. The special content begins with the Jeep Quadra-Drive II AWD system with a rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD). To this, Jeep adds a unique Quadra-lift air suspension system that has been modified to offer improved suspension articulation and up to 10.1 inches of ground clearance. Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control are standard, enabling the Jeep to rock-crawl with the best off-roaders out there. Keeping the important bits protected from rocks and stumps are Trailhawk-exclusive skid-plates.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has a unique front grille and fascia through which poke Jeep's signature red tow hooks. The lower fascia is also removable, making possible a more extreme approach angle of 36.1 degrees, and optional Mopar rock rails protect the lower sides. Though 18-inch Goodyear Adventure off-road tires with Kevlar come standard, 20-inch wheels and tires are optional.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk's interior has not been forgotten. Jeep includes a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen that can display off-road information like wheel articulation and suspension height. A black interior scheme with leather and suede further sets the Trailhawk apart from other Grand Cherokee trims.
Unlike most SUVs in its class, the 2017 Grand Cherokee may not be able to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ designation. Although it does have optional forward collision prevention, a score of just Marginal on the small frontal-overlap test in 2016 may keep it off the list.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee will start at about $30K for a bare-bones RWD trim. Mid-trim models will sell in the neighborhood of $45K, and the Summit and Trailhawk may approach $60K. Expect the new 2017 models to begin arriving at dealers in September 2016.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.
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