For the last several years, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been the leader among mid-size, off-road SUVs with its legendary Jeep off-road equipment, luxury like interior finishes, sharp exterior styling and powerful V8 engines. Now available with a 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel engine, the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is now at a level where competitors don’t dare to go. It is pricey, yet so, so good.
Styling Sets It Apart
From the first day I received the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland as a press loan, I remarked at how stylish it was. This isn’t always the case with the blacked-out treatment applied to this press loan. Typically, I find blacked-out models to be odd looking and extremely difficult to photograph. Not so with this one.
What makes it different, in my view, is the nice balance between the gray and black. Many blacked-out models are simply black on black and devoid of any styling. The size and shape of the Jeep Grand Cherokee help here as well with the blacked-out elements being proportional to the vehicle instead of overwhelming it.
Besides the color, the Jeep has a great stance with wide shoulders from the front and a nice finish in the rear. The sides carry the strong styling throughout the vehicle and it just looks like perfect blend of style for the size.
The interior will often fool many consumers with the voluminous amount of luxury-like materials. There are soft-touch materials and upgraded finishes everywhere complementing some of the best technology offerings in the industry.
While the style is really good, the interior room is just ample. The driver and passenger seats are setup to be more of a cockpit with a large center console which works for some and not for others (I personally like it). However, it does cut down the amount of room for bags, purses and other such items.
The rear is tight for three adults and, during my week of driving, we took a road trip with two kids and an adult in the rear. I wouldn’t advise doing this cross country and it was just OK for our 350 mile trip.
What about that EcoDiesel?
Speaking of long trips, what about that fuel economy and power from the EcoDiesel? As most consumers know, diesel engines provide better fuel economy and more off-the-line speed versus their gasoline equivalents. This is the case for the EcoDiesel.
The small V6 diesel is EPA estimated at 21/28/24 city/highway/combined fuel economy and after my week of driving I was averaging 26 MPG with the long-road trip.
Keep in mind; I never really get the estimated fuel economy when I go through Cheyenne, Wyoming like I did with my family. There are several reasons for not hitting the fuel economy rating. For example, elevation plays a big role. The city sits at 6,062 feet (FYI – more than Denver) and requires climbing thousands of feet from my house to it. Plus, it is always windy in Wyoming with side and front gusts blowing into the vehicle. Finally, the speed limit through that part of the country is 80 MPH with 75 MPH speeds near a few of the outlying cities as well as in Cheyenne, WY. These factors just suck down the fuel.
In my view, the 26 MPG is pretty dang good for this size of SUV considering the elements. Plus, I wasn’t so gentle with it since the EcoDiesel is really fun to put the pedal down.
Jeep engineers have done a great job of mating the 8-speed automatic transmission with the engine to produce 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. These specs translate into a quick off-the-line SUV with plenty of torque for passing and/or towing.
While FCA doesn’t have a luxury brand (Alfa is starting to fill that role), the Jeep Grand Cherokee could easily be considered one. The options list for this SUV read more like a BMW than the fact it is a Toyota Highlander competitor (?). Yes, it is true. Jeep considers the Highlander, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot as key competitors. I don’t see it.
My press loan 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee simply came with more features than any of those competitors. From Jeep’s legendary off-road equipment in the Quadra-Trac II system to the air suspension and 8-way driver and passenger seats with memory, heat and cooling, the Grand Cherokee is just that – Grand.
It also came with all my favorite options like adaptive cruise control (in optional 22s package), keyless enter-n-go and blind spot and cross path detection (also in 22s package). This SUV is easy to use and offers all the on-road perks you need.
In the end, there is a host of reasons the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is both an off-road machine and, in my view, a luxury vehicle. Its only drawback for many is the luxury-like price tag of $56,180, but that, like all the off-road equipment in the Jeep, isn’t much of an obstacle for this SUV.
Model: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
Engine: 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 21/28/24 city/highway/combined
Price as Tested: $56,180 with $995 Destination Fee