Jeep Grand Cherokee
What is It?
Four-door, five-passenger midsize SUV. Notable features on test vehicle: automatic and lockable four-wheel drive with low range and neutral, stability control, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, SmartBeam headlamps, rear DVD-entertainment system, engine-block heater, DVD-based navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio, tire-pressure monitor, and multifunction steering wheel.
What We Like
Jeep knows a thing or two about building supportive seats, and the dual front chairs are no exception. Both serve up excellent support with manually adjustable lumbar, deep side bolsters, and firm thigh support. Big thumbs up for the clean faceted center stack that leaves all of the controls easily accessible, the excellent color and grain matching between the hard- and soft-plastic items, and the chrome accents and plastic wood trim that adds an air of luxury. Designed to be a true family vehicle, cubby storage spaces are abundant, and the optional rear entertainment center will keep kids occupied for miles. There's plenty of headroom for all, and the AM/FM/six-disc CD/MP3/Nav stereo system sounds as if it was tuned for Carnegie Hall.
What We Don't Like
Rear-seat occupants may think they've been placed in the steerage section: The aft couch offers limited leg-, knee, and toe room. The back seat also is mounted extremely low to the floor, so much so that anyone six-feet and taller will ride with his chin resting upon his knees. And, unlike the Ford and GMC, our tester didn't have provisions for rear-seat climate control.
How It Works
The interior on the previous-generation Grand Cherokee was well thought-out, but this new iteration raises the bar a few notches. DaimlerChrysler has hopscotched Ford in the finishing of hard plastic panels that look as though they're molded soft-touch, with color and grain pattern-matching that's near perfect. The driver and front passenger will find their seats comfortable for long stints, but you couldn't pay us enough to ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in the back seat. Filled with cubbies, cupholders, and power points, the Grand Cherokee's interior is almost a living room away from home.