2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland: JGC Just Keeps Getting Better

It has been no secret that the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been one of my favorite vehicles in recent years. The latest platform is very stable and solid both on road and off despite the model line going to unibody chassis. Our recent Overland tester showed some nice (and needed) upgrades to the JGC line.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee/Images courtesy Jeep

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee/Images courtesy Jeep

The first noticeable change for me was the new shifter. I had been critical of the Jeep Grand Cherokee electronic shifter since its arrival several years back and since then Jeep has seen some trouble with that item. The new Grand Cherokees now feature what Jeep calls a polystable shifter in the center console. It is more traditional while also being easier to operate and there is no more confusion as to what gear you are truly in. Our Overland tester arrived with a Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine that sees a slight bump in power rating to 296hp over the previous 3.6. And all V-6 JGCs get Jeep’s engine stop-start technology for added fuel savings. Thankfully this is a feature that can be overridden in the Grand Cherokee as I am not a fan of the engine starting and stopping in traffic. Sure, it works OK but it is not for me.

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All new Jeep Grand Cherokee models have engines mated to the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission and there are four 4×4 systems available along with an optional Quadra-Lift air suspension and Selec-Terrain traction management system. Our Overland tester arrived with both of these latter features and was outfitted with the Quadra-Trac II 4×4 system. We also enjoyed the upgraded 20-inch tech gray aluminum wheels with all season tires.

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Inside the new Jeep we enjoyed leather seating with heated and ventilated front buckets along with the availability of heat in the steering wheel. A technology upgrade package brought the base premium audio system from nine speakers/506-watts to 19 Harman Kardon speakers with subwoofer and 825-watt amplifier. The Jeep Active Safety Group package also brought us adaptive cruise control with stop feature, advanced brake assist, full speed forward collision warning, LaneSense lane departure warning, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and blind spot and cross path detection. Basically we were swimming in safety.

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Driving on the highway I noticed an indicator in the instrument panel that read “aero” that told me the air suspension system detects highway travel and automatically lowers the vehicle slightly for better aerodynamics and some improved fuel economy as well. Speaking of fuel economy, the Jeep Grand Cherokee with V-6 is rated for 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

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The V-6 is a perfect mate for this midsize SUV. It offers more than ample power around town or on the highway and operates fairly quiet and smooth, nothing like the engines before the days of Pentastar. The Grand Cherokee is quite maneuverable in urban congestion as well as out on a mountain trail, almost surprisingly so. There are times when I had to be careful not to turn too sharply, especially into and out of parking spaces. The ride is very comfortable thanks to that aforementioned air suspension and it is very well controlled when turning the steering wheel to follow the course of a winding road. In offroad mode, the air suspension can provide up to 10.4 inches ground clearance for a water-fording depth of 20 inches.

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Pricing for this 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland model begins at $47,695 with our tester arriving with a final sticker of $51,775. Overland sits about in the middle of the Grand Cherokee trim lineup that includes Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and SRT.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV ever and after spending another week behind the wheel of it I can easily see why the automotive press loves this vehicle. Ditto.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.