2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited diesel review (video)

Direct from the land of the great, Jeep pushes into 2020 with its paradigmatic model, the Grand Cherokee. It continues to build on the fourth-generation which was initially released in Australia in 2011. Jeep prides the Grand Cherokee on being purpose-built for off-road adventures and towing. But it also battles with recent quality challenges from the wider brand, and a swarm of newer products from others.

The latest version brings with it an updated interior and infotainment system, minor changes to the exterior, added safety tech, and improved fuel economy from an updated transmission. The extensive lineup begins with the Laredo, then moves to the Night Eagle, the Limited, S-Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and at the top, the Trackhawk. Only the Laredo comes with 4×2 rear-wheel drive, and the rest consist of a 4×4 setup as standard. Sadly for some, eight-speed autos are the only option – no manual gearboxes to be found here.

There are also five different engines to choose from, depending on which variant you opt for. There’s a 3.6L V6 petrol, a 5.7L V8 petrol, a 3.0L turbo-diesel V6, a 6.4L V8 petrol, and a 6.2L supercharged V8 petrol. We’re testing the Limited matched to the V6 diesel.

The base model Laredo starts its pricing from $47,500. The Limited in this specification will set you back $69,950 (excluding on-road costs).

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – THE SPECS

Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6
Output: 184kW@4000rpm / 570Nm@2000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive, dual-range
Wheels: F & R: 20×8.0, 265/50
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 2281kg
Power-to-weight: 12.39:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 7.5L/100km
Economy during test: 9.6L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 93L/Diesel

Power efficiency: 24.53kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.49 seconds*
0-100km/h: 7.89 seconds*
60-110km/h: 5.98 seconds*
1/4 mile: 15.77 seconds at 141.2km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.913g
100-0km/h braking: 3.38 seconds at 41.05 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.060g
Decibel at idle: 47*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 75*
Priced from: $69,950

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – THE PACKAGE

Big, bold and grand like the name suggests. And you receive that equipment-wise in the Limited. You get forward collision warning and mitigation (although it only works up to 42km/h), rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot sensors and lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and tyre pressure sensors. It also comes with a power adjustable steering column, 20-inch alloys, leather seats, a heated steering wheel and front seats, and a nine-speaker Alpine stereo with a sub-woofer, digital radio, GPS, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

In 2020, the exterior design keeps with what buyers have come to love. You still get that bold, strong stance from the six-bar front grille that joins the beautiful new bi-xenon headlights. A tough theme is enhanced by a bulging bonnet, squared wheel arches, and straight-creased and sunken doors. The rear looks much the same with a conservative and neat design and large LED taillights.

On the inside you’re presented with an updated finish that uses a mixture of hard and soft plastics and chrome accents. Compared to some of the competition, its style is starting to fall behind. The centre screen that Jeep calls Uconnect 8.4 is quite busy at first, with many buttons fitted into a small area. It gets easier to use after some time, and most of the air-conditioning controls have been separated out of the screen to dedicated buttons for quicker access.

The beefy front seats provide good levels of comfort, especially for bigger passengers as side bolstering is kept minimal for wider loads. But this means lateral support is limited. One thing you can count on from a Jeep is a high diving position. It is a little worrying that this review car is already starting to show minor creasing and wrinkling of the leather driver’s seat, but overall fit and finish isn’t too bad for the price.

There’s tonnes of space and storage spots scattered throughout the entire cabin. Whether you’re in the front or rear, you won’t feel squashed in. One drawback is in the cupholders; they are a one-size design and they won’t fit a typical 750mL bottle. Also, the rear seats are not on rails and there is no seven-seat option. However, boot space is highly commendable at 782 litres with the rear seats in place, and 1544 litres with the seats folded down.

Usable space feels slightly lower than the numbers suggest. For example, a sub-woofer on the right side of the boot wall shrinks the floor’s surface area. We love the thick rubber mat that came with this test car though, and the handy 12V socket and tie-hooks that are presented.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – THE DRIVE

Under the bonnet the 3.0L turbo-diesel V6, designed by VM Motori, punches out a healthy 184kW and 570Nm. These are impressive figures compared with the popular diesel rivals in this class, like the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. The torque in particular is very strong, which is probably why the GC has always been a hit with towing consumers.

Officially, it covers 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds. Our testing showed a best of 7.89 seconds. This is certainly quicker than most of the diesel rivals according to our tests. Peak power hits at 4000rpm and peak torque arrives at 2000rpm. It is surprisingly quiet and refined in sound, although, we find acceleration to be a bit inconsistent. Sometimes you call for more power and it doesn’t provide it, and then others you only touch the throttle and it takes off. It is a weighty SUV (2281kg tare), which might have something to do with it.

The eight-speed auto is smooth. You get low range gearing for heavy off-road adventures, too. It also supports a towing capacity of 3500kg (braked). If towing is important to you, the Grand Cherokee could well be a winner as it comes with trailer sway control and hill descent control as standard.

Official fuel consumption figures rate the Grand Cherokee Limited at 7.5L/100km. Our average was higher, hovering around 9.2L/100km. This isn’t bad considering the weight and respectable performance, but against the modern standards it is a bit thirsty. At least the fuel tank holds a hefty 93L, meaning you’ll be able to travel at least 800km on a tank (theoretical average range is 1240km).

No complaints from the feel of the steering, again, considering the size and weight of the GC. It gives positive feedback and control irrespective of the terrain or speed you’re travelling at. It is also surprisingly effortless to keep in the lane considering the off-road credentials. Speaking of which.

It might not be the Trailhawk (off-road oriented variant) but the Limited loves to be taken off the bitumen too. With an approach angle of 26 degrees, a departure angle of 24 degrees, and a break-over angle of 19 degrees, it will conquer terrain well for something that wears 20-inch wheels. The 218mm of ground clearance is probably the worst measurement. It’s not terrible, but compares poorly against the Isuzu MU-X’s 230mm, the Mitsubishi Pajero’s 235mm, and Ford Everest’s 225mm.

Servicing intervals are longer than industry standards, at 20,000km or 12 months, with a capped price. And Jeep now offers a five-year warranty, but only for 100,000km.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – THE VIDEO

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – THE VERDICT

Although the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee pushes on following its original debut back in 2011, it still holds some market-attractive points: the engine packs punch; there are loads of variants and engines to choose from; and the towing and off-road capability are worthy of praise. If you like to feel like the king of the road, the Grand Cherokee does that well too. It is hard to look past the brand’s troubled reliability and safety recall history, but on paper at least, we can see why these are/were so popular.

PROS:
– Big, bold SUV with a strong road presence
– Comprehensive variant and powertrain lineup available
– Decent boot size and legroom in the front and back
– 3500kg towing capacity
– Good torque from V6 diesel
– Big touch-screen

CONS:
– Inconsistent acceleration/throttle response
– Not the best reliability reputation
– Platform and design are 10 years old

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

Mark is a contributing road tester at PerformanceDrive, and is an expert in technology and efficiency. He has had a passion for cars since before he can remember. With the soul and background of an IT nerd, Mark especially appreciates technology advances, safety, and attention to detail. His first car was a rusty powder blue 1972 Volvo 144 sedan. When he's not road testing vehicles, his daily drive is still a Volvo only now it's able to steer and brake all by itself.