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2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance Review


Performance: 6.9

The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is an excellent vehicle, whether you're driving on paved or unpaved roads. Many of its positive performance traits are a product of its unusual options list. Few rivals are available with as many off-roading upgrades, and this Jeep's available V8 engines are among the most powerful in the class. The Grand Cherokee has few weaknesses in the performance department, aside from below-average fuel economy ratings and a ride that isn't as cushy as some rivals.

  • "Owners who end up with a middle-grade Grand Cherokee are likely to be happy with its driving dynamics. And those who are looking for something more specialized - be that on or off paved roads - probably already know what they're getting into." -- Autoblog
  • "The Grand Cherokee's excellent ground clearance and choice of various 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems give consumers plenty of off-road possibilities, as do the powerful standard V6 and optional V8 engines." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "With a revised and more rugged air-suspension, the 2017 Trailhawk lets owners go anywhere they wish in a plush and comfortable cabin. … Nothing along our route was able to flummox the Trailhawk, and we couldn't ask for a more comfortable ride over bouncy terrain." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Grand Cherokee is unusual when it comes to powertrain choices. Many of its midsize SUV rivals come standard with four-cylinder engines, and the typical upgrade is a V6, if one is even offered at all. By contrast, the Grand Cherokee has four engine choices. Even the base V6 has a decent amount of power, though acceleration rates and the maximum towing capacity increases noticeably with the optional V8s. Unfortunately, these models also take a pretty big hit when it comes to fuel economy. Every engine comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission that feels refined and responsive.

The base engine is a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. It comes standard in every trim level except for the SRT and the Trackhawk. With this engine, the Grand Cherokee gets 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. This rating is slightly below the class average.

A 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine is available in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, and Summit trims. Fuel economy with this engine slips to 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

The SRT features a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 and gets 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway. The range-topping Trackhawk is powered by the same 707-horsepower V8 found in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Dodge Charger Hellcat. Gas mileage drops to 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway with this supercharged 6.2-liter engine.

  • "This base powertrain's 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque feels perfectly adequate for normal daily driving duties. … Most buyers will find the V8's extra power unnecessary (an exception would be those who tow), but it's a unique selling point that Jeep's most popular competitors don't offer." -- Autoblog
  • "All in all, most shoppers should be happy with the base-engine Grand Cherokee. Of course, the optional 5.7-liter V8 serves up comparatively effortless thrust and an all-American soundtrack, but you'll feel the pinch at the pump, so that's something to keep in mind." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "With the base V6, acceleration is perfectly adequate … and the V8 engines are plain awesome." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

On the highway, the Grand Cherokee feels composed and balanced. It doesn't have the cushiest ride, but the suspension system soaks up most pavement imperfections and provides a relatively comfortable ride. You can also expect a mild amount of body lean around turns.

Rear-wheel drive is standard in most trim levels, and four-wheel drive is available in every model. There are four different 4WD systems to choose from: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, Quadra-Drive II, and Quadra-Trac Active On Demand. The Grand Cherokee is also available with the Selec-Terrain and Selec-Trac traction management systems, the Quadra-Lift air suspension system, and a limited-slip differential.

  • "Although it isn't built atop the guts of a pickup truck, the Jeep rides rougher and handles worse than crossover competitors like the aforementioned Chevy Blazer, Honda Passport and Kia Telluride, but is smoother and offers more luxury than the Toyota 4Runner." -- Autoblog
  • "On pavement, the Grand Cherokee delivers a solid, reassuring drive that's more indicative of a luxury SUV than Jeep's other models. The suspension is firm but not harsh, absorbing bumps quickly and confidently. The available air suspension makes things even better." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "For all its off-road capability, the 2018 Grand Cherokee is remarkably refined in the city and on highways. That's a good thing, because that's where most will spend their time." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee

MSRP: $32,150 - $87,400

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