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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most capable vehicles in its class, providing one of the best combinations of on-road refinement and off-road ability. Even though it's a unibody platform, similar to modern crossovers, the Grand Cherokee is available with sophisticated four-wheel drive systems, air suspension and a computer system that can be adapted for various terrains. But inside, the Jeep has one of the nicest interiors and is downright plush in uplevel Overland trims. There's even a high-performance SRT8 model.
Even the base Laredo trim comes well-equipped. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 found in many Chrysler Group products, making here 290 horsepower and mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry are standard, along with cruise control, automatic headlamps, air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels and six-speaker audio system with AUX input. Stepping up to Limited adds heated leather seats, a navigation system, chrome grille, dual-zone automatic climate control, Xenon headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic moonroof.
The even more posh Overland trim adds Nappa leather seats with a leather dashboard, chrome mesh grille and air suspension. Finally, the hot-rod SRT8 model adds a 6.4-liter V8 engine with 470 horsepower and four-wheel drive. A 5.7-liter V8 is optional on all trims except the SRT8, along with either the Quadra-Trac I or Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive systems. The V8 also comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. The SRT8 gets a unique exterior treatment with lowered suspension and more aggressive springs and settings. An adaptive suspension and Brembo brakes are also added, along with sport seats.
The Ford Explorer has a third-row seat and fuel-efficient four-cylinder option, but it's not as good off-road. The Toyota 4Runner also offers a third row and has a rugged platform for off-roading, but its interior is poorly finished and is less refined on-road. The Volkswagen Touareg comes with comprehensive off-road gear and offers efficient diesel and Hybrid options, but is much more expensive. And the Nissan Pathfinder also offers a V8 engine and boasts a standard third-row, but it's cumbersome on the road and has a cheap interior.
When compared to crossovers, the Grand Cherokee is much more adept off-road and boasts much better towing capacity, as well as offering a V8 engine. Against truck-based SUVs, the Jeep is more civilized and efficient. While the base Laredo is well-equipped, the leather-lined Overland trim and performance SRT8 rival SUVs with prestigious badges costing tens of thousands more. If you're in the market for a midsize SUV, there's likely a Grand Cherokee that suits your needs.
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