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2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude 4X4 Review By John Heilig


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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

AUTO PAGE SPECS

MODEL: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude 4X4
ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed paddle shift automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 114.8 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 189.8 x 76.5 x 69.3 in.
TIRES: P265/50R20
CARGO: 36.3/68.3 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/18.7 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 24.6 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,677 lbs.
STICKER: $40,830 (includes $995 delivery, $7,840 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a solid standard SUV with all the features. Grand Cherokee may be considered the original 4-door SUV, and it maintains its reputation.          

Before Ford and Chevrolet converted their 2-door Broncos and Blazers to four doors, there was the Grand Cherokee. And while the lines may have softened a bit over 30 years or so, the Grand Cherokee is still the gold standard. You know that if you take a Grand Cherokee off road, there’s a very good chance you’ll get it back in one piece, no matter what the conditions. You can’t be that sure with some of the others.          

One thing that’s nice with full size anythings is that there is usually an abundance of power. The Grand Cherokee’s 3.6-liter V6 delivers a healthy 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s enough power for essentially all conditions. There is never a thought that it might be inadequate. We had very good acceleration.          

I had some problems with the T-shaped shifter, but by the end of the week I was able to finesse shifts better. My problem is that I back into my driveway, and sometimes I didn’t hit reverse as quickly as I wanted, especially when there were oncoming vehicles.          

Of immediate importance to my wife and me was the quality ride of the GC. It wasn’t super soft, but it was comfortable for both Interstate and local runs. An advantage is that he front seats are comfortable. They are leather with cloth inserts (part of the $5,805 Customer Preferred Package 232).          

The driver grasps a nice fat wheel with cruise switches on the right and audio controls on the left. In addition, volume controls are behind the wheel on the right and Mode changes are behind on the left.          

Rear seat leg and knee room is excellent. In addition, a low center hump makes center passenger riding a lot more comfortable. Rear seat passengers have their own HVAC controls, located at the rear of the center console. The rear seat backs fold easily to extend carrying capacity, which is already a healthy 36 cubic feet. Under the cargo floor is a temporary spare. The liftgate is power operated and can be actuated through the key fob.          

In front of the driver is a clear instrument panel with the standard assortment of instruments. The canter stack is dominated by an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display.          

Wen enjoyed the excellent audio system that included nine speakers and a subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier ($495 option). The HVAC system worked well in (thankfully) fairly benign temperatures.          

Inside the front passenger compartment is a cubby at the base of the center stack that has 12-volt, AUX, USB and SD plugs. There’s also a 12-volt plug inside the deep center console/arm rest. There is a pair of cupholders up front and water bottle holders in all four doors. I liked that the cup holders “gripped” whatever was in them. Often, cupholders are not deep enough to hold a good-sized cup and also don’t grip them so you run the risk of spilling a drink all over the car. There’s another small cubby on the center console that is ideal for holding keys, since they aren’t needed (except for proximity) for the pushbutton start/stop.          

A feature I’ve seen with manufacturers other than Ford is the capless fuel filler, and I like it.          

I am not an off-roader, at least in the Jeep Wrangler definition. I do, however, enjoy traversing dirt roads and often encounter a lot of mud and puddles, etc. My main driving mode is on paved roads, and the jeep Grand Cherokee offers a quality ride over all road surfaces. It’s also nice to know that if I DID decide to go serious off-roading, the Grand Cherokee wouldn’t disappoint me.

© 2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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