Cars > Driven

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited: A gloriously excessive people-hauler

For the family that wants it all

The Grand Cherokee nameplate is back in the Philippines, and it's longer than ever. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

For a good while, most people have known Jeep for its Wrangler and Gladiator because these two are (literally and figuratively) the face of the brand. It does have other options, but none are truly premium enough to be considered a flagship.

Fans will be quick to point out that the Grand Cherokee did exist in the lineup back then, but the five-seater crossover was discontinued in the latter half of the 2010s.

The marque is finally back on our shores in long-wheelbase form after a grand reintroduction last March where it smashed through a glass pane, which is a homage to its introduction during the 1992 Detroit Auto Show.

Get this behemoth in black, and you'll have people instinctively getting out of your way. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The ‘L’ stands for long, obviously. At 5.2m long and 1.9m wide, driving this through narrow streets is a very nerve-racking affair, especially within narrow condominium parking. This car is made for private villages and suburbia, but this isn’t a soccer mom’s three-row SUV.

In our streets, the sight of a vehicle of this stature would instinctively tell others to get out of the way, but the Grand Cherokee manages to look elegant with enough off-road flair to distinguish you from the Suburbans and the Escalades found in political convoys, as long as you don’t get it in black.

It manages to maintain some of that tough, off-road elements Jeeps are known for. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The slim (and bright) LED lighting, the sleek seven-slot grille, and the right amount of plastic cladding and chrome brightwork make this look like something a car-loving father would be proud to own. In fact, my favorite design touch would have to be that unbroken chrome strip that starts from the side mirrors, meeting together at the rear window.

The five-spoke, 20-inch wheels are shod by 265/50 Pirelli Scorpion rubber. Oddly, the full-size spare has an 18-inch wheel, so if you don’t mind the mismatched look, consider it as a more capable temporary backup.

Yup, this Jeep still has all the quirks and features that you can entertain yourself with. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Now, this isn’t some soulless seven-seater. It still retains all of the hidden Jeep (and FCA!) Easter eggs, and the satisfying click and thump of the doors, the hood, and the trunk latch. It’s full of personality, and I love how the automaker has that small attention to detail.

Stellantis has done well to make this a premium interior. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

It isn’t a Grand Cherokee if it doesn’t have everything but the kitchen sink in terms of luxuries and features.

Luxury amenities include black Capri Leather upholstery; soft white ambient lighting; panoramic sunroof; three-zone climate control; power-adjustable, memory, and heated/ventilated front seats; and power-adjustable steering wheel and second-row bench that are heated.

While we praise the physical switchgear, the excessive amount of piano-black trim cheapens the experience. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Apart from the rotary-style shifter, the interior is full of intuitive physical controls, which are a trademark of Jeep vehicles. Annoyingly, all of the switchgear is surrounded by an abundance of piano-black trim, which will get scratched and be full of fingerprints. On this tester, it was near-impossible to keep that center console dust-free.

More amenities inside than your average four-star hotel room. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Meanwhile, the grocery list of tech features starts off with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, a large heads-up display, and a 10.1-inch central touchscreen running Uconnect 5.

The Android Automotive-based OS has decent built-in navigation, and even comes with over-the-air updates for system upgrades. Most will just use the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, made great by the nine-speaker Alpine sound system with a subwoofer.

Of course, it has multiple charging options, which include USB-A, USB-C, multiple 12V outlets, and wireless charging.

You can see all around this vehicle at the push of a button. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

While space is not an issue up front, it feels more like you are sitting in the vehicle, rather than the sitting-on feeling that you get from its body-on-frame siblings. Plus, visibility can become an issue, especially with all three rows up.

This is why there are three different ways to see around the car. Aside from the 360° camera, there is a digital rearview mirror that will allow you to see behind yourself when you’ve got a fully loaded cabin. And for busy parents, the FamCam is a feature that allows you to peer into the second and third rows without any issue—perfect for keeping an eye on troublesome tots and reckless teens.

Nobody will be fighting over aircon vents or USB ports in this SUV. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

And while the Grand Cherokee L is offered with the option for two captain’s seats in other markets, we get a spacious, full three-pax rear bench seat complete with Isofix anchors.

That doesn’t make it any less luxurious, though, as second-row occupants have a dedicated climate control zone, rear-seat window shades, and a 230V power outlet. Even the third row also has dedicated charge points, air vents, and lighting, so they aren’t shortchanged.

Who needs a pickup truck with this much space inside? PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The vehicle has a respectable 487L of space behind the third row with extra storage underneath, but that can expand up to 1,328L with the third row down, or 2,395L with both rows folded down. And there’s a foldable cargo cover, too, a rarity for three-row SUVs.

Do you think this vehicle's off-road prowess is enough to justify its excessive thirst? PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 makes another appearance here. Despite being naturally aspirated, it punches out a respectable 282hp and 344Nm, and an eight-speed automatic sends it to all four wheels all the time. Even without forced induction, this engine lunges the 2,128kg vehicle forward with ease.

The downside? It drinks fuel with a painfully hilarious reading of 2.9km/L from crawling in rush-hour traffic (improving to 4.3km/L in moving traffic). On the open road, I managed at least 10km/L, but having to power all four wheels all the time is one of the biggest factors to its horrible fuel economy.

You will feel this vehicle’s mass as you go around corners. It has a good suspension system that’s capable of tackling light trails (as a Jeep should), so the pockmarked roads of Metro Manila are no challenge for it, but it is a little floaty and bumpy on uneven roads like C5 and EDSA.

It's a family SUV that embraces its American origins. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Finally, a family SUV wouldn’t be complete without a suite of safety and driver-assistance systems. Apart from the usual affair of adaptive cruise control as well as automatic emergency braking for front and rear, there is a tire pressure monitor, a terrain selector mode for the 4×4 system, and a dual-battery system for the start-stop system to help eke out as much fuel economy from the thirsty V6.

But that’s the thing, if you have enough cash to comfortably afford the P5.49-million asking price, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about the exorbitant fuel costs. Compared to its soft-roader competitors, this Jeep has its actual off-road prowess and heritage to back it up should you decide to bring your entire family to some place like Lake Mapanuepe.


Engine3.6-liter V6 gasoline
Transmission8-speed automatic
Power282hp @ 6,400rpm
Torque334Nm @ 4,000rpm
Dimensions5,204mm x 1,979mm x 1,816mm
Drive layout4WD
UpsideA plush, luxury family-hauler with off-road chops.
DownsideIt’s huge and very thirsty.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.