The essence of Jeep, but nicer
January 28, 2019
We bought this 2016 Limited - 75th Anniv edition with 80,000 miles but all of them were highway driving and the price was reduced accordingly, making it possible to get a much nicer vehicle than the older Grand Cherokees we had been looking at. We sought out the 5.7L Hemi V8, as the V6 didn't really make us happy. We found that the V6 had adequate acceleration, but that was the best I could say. It had to work really hard to get up to speed quickly, and was very noisy under full throttle. The V8 gets there faster, has great passing power, and for a rating of 3 MPG difference, we immediately dismissed the V6 and only looked at V8 models. We're delighted we did that. This is a very comfortable road vehicle, and we especially like the stable, low vibration ride and road feel due to the Mercedes-designed chassis. The controls and large touch screen work nicely, and the physical knobs on the controls are a nice addition. USB ports are thoughtfully placed on the front console and the end of the center console. The paddle shifters on the steering wheel are extremely easy to use, and their logic of operation is excellent. I actually like their setup and operation better than the functions on my wife's 2009 BMW 3-series! Three things remind us this isn't really a sporty or driver's car, it's a utility vehicle: first, the seats are pretty flat and it's easy to slide around rather than feeling well located in the seat. 250-pound guys will like it, but I miss the seats in my BMW 3-series. Second, the gas pedal is a couple of inches closer to the driver than the other pedals, resulting in a slightly awkward "pulled back" angle for the driver's right leg. This becomes noticeable on longer drives, and there should be a "dead pedal" for the left foot so the driver can adjust the driving position to match. Third, the electrically boosted power steering conveys practically no road feel at all, and it's over-boosted and too easy to turn. Putting the Jeep into Sport Mode increases steering effort slightly, and that's what the normal steering feel should be like. I use Sport Mode in town because it provides faster throttle response and better engine braking, but on the road it would penalize gas mileage. I know that most drivers won't be bothered by these things, and the Jeep is so well made and solid that the overall comfort and driving experience is truly enjoyable. We've had no maintenance or repair issues yet, but all cars require periodic work, and we're not worried about it. The critical factors in a vehicle like this are the engine and drivetrain, and the Jeep's engine, transmission and drive axles are among the most robust in the world. We're looking forward to many years of Jeeping, as our last Grand Cherokee ran like a watch at 188,000 miles when we sold it.