2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Key Specs

of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Excellent interior quality
  • Off-road capability
  • 7,400-pound maximum towing capacity
  • Attractive styling
  • 8.4-inch touch-screen's usability
  • Acceleration, regardless of engine

The Bad

  • V-8 fuel economy
  • Diesel engine price premium
  • Thick pillars impede forward visibility
  • Tight rear legroom
  • Steering wheel too thick for smaller hands
  • Cylinder deactivation creates odd engine noise (SRT)

Notable Features of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • New Trailhawk trim level
  • Summit model gets new available leather interior, revised exterior styling
  • Backup camera, rear parking sensors now standard
  • Diesel V-6 available
  • Three 4x4 systems available
  • 475-horsepower SRT version offered

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test

Brian Wong
The Verdict:

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is the most off-road-capable mid-size SUV on the road today, but that comes both at the expense of on-road ride quality and with a steep price tag.

Versus The Competition:

The Trailhawk is a clear winner once the road ends, but for all the miles between adventures, the competition strikes back.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee gets only very mild updates for 2017, but it does add an exciting new trim level that raises the level of the mid-size SUV's off-road capability: the Trailhawk.

A five-seater, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is sold in six trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and SRT. Compare the 2017 Grand Cherokee with the 2016 model here

Jeep's goal with the Trailhawk was to make the most off-road-capable mid-size SUV on the market, a title that probably already belonged to one of the model's other trim levels. The Grand Cherokee's competition, such as the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Kia Sorento, are much more pavement-oriented. Compare the Grand Cherokee with those models here.

In fact, the 2016 version of the Grand Cherokee recently took on these three SUVs (as well as the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport) in our 2016 Midsize SUV Challenge at the end of last year. And it finished... dead last. One of the reasons was its more truck-like ride, but that isn't something I mind in an SUV — especially if it comes with added capability. And the Trailhawk takes that concept even further, adding a slew of mechanical upgrades that make it an off-road savant — plus rugged styling touches to match.

Exterior and Styling

The Grand Cherokee stands out from the rest of its class with its old-school, rugged styling, and the Trailhawk takes that motif further still with a few unique styling touches. Each Trailhawk features fla...

The Jeep Grand Cherokee gets only very mild updates for 2017, but it does add an exciting new trim level that raises the level of the mid-size SUV's off-road capability: the Trailhawk.

A five-seater, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is sold in six trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and SRT. Compare the 2017 Grand Cherokee with the 2016 model here

Jeep's goal with the Trailhawk was to make the most off-road-capable mid-size SUV on the market, a title that probably already belonged to one of the model's other trim levels. The Grand Cherokee's competition, such as the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Kia Sorento, are much more pavement-oriented. Compare the Grand Cherokee with those models here.

In fact, the 2016 version of the Grand Cherokee recently took on these three SUVs (as well as the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport) in our 2016 Midsize SUV Challenge at the end of last year. And it finished... dead last. One of the reasons was its more truck-like ride, but that isn't something I mind in an SUV — especially if it comes with added capability. And the Trailhawk takes that concept even further, adding a slew of mechanical upgrades that make it an off-road savant — plus rugged styling touches to match.

Exterior and Styling

The Grand Cherokee stands out from the rest of its class with its old-school, rugged styling, and the Trailhawk takes that motif further still with a few unique styling touches. Each Trailhawk features flat-black appliques on the hood, plus front and rear tow hooks that are painted bright red. There are also gray side mirrors and roof-rack accents.

To protect its underbody, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has standard skid plates front and rear. Mopar rock rails are optional if you require rocker panel protection. The front air dam is removable for added clearance when traversing obstacles.

How It Drives

Under the hood, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk I tested came with the standard Jeep Grand Cherokee engine: a 293-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 260 pounds-feet of torque. A 360-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 that makes 390 pounds-feet of torque is available, as well. Jeep says that a 240-hp, 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 that makes 420 pounds-feet of torque will be an option on Trailhawk and Summit models, but it wasn't available as of publication; according to the EPA, it violates the Clean Air Act and has not been certified for use in 2017 models (though the latest word is that it will be). An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission option.

Jeep outfitted the Trailhawk with Quadra-Drive II full-time all-wheel drive with an electronic limited-slip rear differential and an adjustable air suspension that's unique in this price range. It takes the Grand Cherokee to another level of off-road prowess, raising the Trailhawk as needed for added ground clearance and greater suspension travel. The all-wheel drive also includes an advanced traction control system called Quadra-Trac II, which can anticipate wheel slippage and send more torque to the wheels with traction. It also adds a Low range suitable for slower crawling. 

 

A control panel behind the shift lever gives the driver full control over off-road settings, including hill ascent and descent control, raising and lowering the air suspension, Low range and a knob for the Selec-Terrain traction control system, which has five settings for types of terrain (Snow, Sand, Auto, Mud and Rock).

These changes all pay huge dividends off-road, where the Trailhawk truly shines, especially with its smart traction control system. There was a point where the Trailhawk was up on three wheels, and the system immediately halted power to the wheel that was up in the air and directed it to the other wheels, helping pull the Trailhawk over the obstacle.

We took the Trailhawk out with a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon on the same trails and obstacles. Though it wasn't as naturally suited to the exercises as the Wrangler was, the Trailhawk made it through everything with its combination of ground clearance, excellent traction control, all-wheel drive and plenty of power from the V-6, delivered in a linear fashion that was easy to control.

There are tradeoffs to the Trailhawk's emphasis on capability, however. The unique suspension is great off-road but offers a worse ride on pavement. The suspension, with its extra travel and softer tuning, didn't really feel settled on the highway — much less so than other Grand Cherokee trims I've driven. It was prone to rebounding on road imperfections, which gave the ride an undulating quality.

Fuel economy figures vary by engine choice. Our Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with the V-6 engine gets an EPA-estimated 18/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined on regular gas, while the V-8 is rated 14/22/17 mpg on mid-grade fuel. The potential EcoDiesel engine had been the mileage champ, rating as high as 30 mpg in the city with rear-wheel drive; that would make it as attractive as its high torque rating should it be cleared for sale.

Interior

Other than some Trailhawk badging on the seats and steering wheel, the interior is what you'll find in most other Grand Cherokee trims — good materials and plenty of room, front and rear.  
And even though there's a beefy all-wheel-drive system, there isn't a floor hump, so three passengers can fit more comfortably across the rear seat and won't be forced into playing footsie. 

Ergonomics and Electronics

Though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't offered, their absence is mitigated by Uconnect, which is a solid multimedia system in its own right. The system hasn't changed much throughout the years and remains one of my favorites to use, with intuitive operation. The optional, larger 8.4-inch screen in our test vehicle was easily visible and reachable from both front seats. The standard screen is 5 inches.

One part of the Grand Cherokee's interior design that I really appreciated was the back of the center console, which houses not only vents for air circulation but also a pair of easily accessible USB charge ports and a 110-volt household outlet. This provides plenty of charging options for backseat passengers, and the outlet means a larger mobile device or laptop can be charged while on the go, as well.

Cargo and Storage

The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind its 60/40-split folding backseat, which expands to 68.3 cubic feet when the seats are dropped. That places the Grand Cherokee in the middle of the pack compared with other members of this class, ahead of the Murano (32.1/67.0 cubic feet) but trailing the Edge (39.2/73.4 cubic feet).

With standard towing capacity of 6,200 pounds (up to 7,200 or 7,400 pounds with the other engines, depending on driveline), the Trailhawk obliterates the Murano, Edge, Sorento and Explorer, which can tow only 1,500 or 2,000 pounds in their standard forms.

Safety

The Grand Cherokee received a score of good (out of a possible good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in each of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's tests except the small overlap front test, where it's rated marginal. This makes it one of the lower performers in the Institute's mid-size SUVs class.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee includes a standard backup camera. The Trailhawk I drove also came with the Active Safety Group option package ($1,495) that adds adaptive cruise control; forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking that operates at all speeds; lane departure warning; and parallel/perpendicular park assist that will steer the Grand Cherokee into a parking space while the driver controls the gas and brake. It also came with optional blind spot warning ($595).

Value in Its Class

The Trailhawk has a base price of $44,990 including destination charge and comes standard with many convenience features in addition to the mechanical upgrades mentioned previously: heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Uconnect, 18-inch off-road wheels, a heated steering wheel and power front seats.

Our test vehicle came with several option packages not already mentioned, including the Trailhawk Luxury Group (automatic high beams, panoramic moonroof, LED daytime running lights and a power-adjustable steering column, among other options) for $2,695. Rock rails ($900) and navigation ($450) gave it a final price of $50,125 as tested.

Considering that the price cap for our 2016 Midsize SUV Challenge was $45,000, the Trailhawk would be in the higher echelon of that class. But then again, it's much more capable, and for a consumer who puts a priority on off-road capability, the Trailhawk is a welcome addition to the field.

It may be more apt to compare the Trailhawk to two other SUVs with more of that focus — the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock (which starts at $43,240 but was $48,120 in the configuration we tested against the Trailhawk) and the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, which starts at $43,340. Neither offers the same towing capacity as the Grand Cherokee, with the Wrangler Unlimited towing just 3,500 pounds and the 4Runner 5,000 pounds.

It should be noted that the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is much better on pavement than these two, plus it offers extra creature comforts and safety features that justify its price premium.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.


Latest 2017 Grand Cherokee Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

I love my Jeep!! Hands down, the best!!

by Jonib81 from Elberton, Ga on October 17, 2018

I can?t say enough about my Jeep. I actually own a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, and it handles like an absolute dream. The suspension is great, as well as the off road capabilities. Luxury and ... Read full review

(2.0)

Horribly overpriced for what the vehicle offered.

by No more Jeeps for me from Sherman, TX on September 17, 2018

The exterior styling is dated, the interior is plastic, and it drove like a soap-box Derby car. The brakes were wooden, the steering was vague, numb, and it wallowed through corners like the 5000-... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
marginal

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
marginal
Overall Evaluation
marginal
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Jeep
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    3 months/3,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    125-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Grand Cherokee received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker