The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is often viewed as the benchmark for the midsize SUV segment, especially if you’re looking for a model with go-anywhere capability. Whether you opt for the diesel engine, the V6 or one of the two legendary V8s, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is fun to drive, looks great and boasts plenty of family-friendly utility.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a four-door five-passenger midsize SUV that is available in five trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. A 3.6-liter V6 is standard on all models except for the SRT, which comes with a 6.4-liter V8. A 5.7-liter V8 and a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 are available with Limited, Overland and Summit models. Regardless of engine, all Grand Cherokees are governed by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a long-time favorite of reviewers and consumers alike. Whether you opt to keep it on the road or venture off the beaten path, this Jeep is a comfortable and capable SUV. For 2016, models with the base V6 get automatic stop-start technology, and a new shift lever is introduced on all models that physically holds the position you’ve selected.
The 2016 Grand Cherokee’s sheet metal is at once familiar and contemporary, with a silhouette that’s instantly recognizable. The iconic seven-slot grille sits front and center, flanked by signature bi-xenon lights. The Grand Cherokee has long favored tradition over flash, and the latest iteration of the five-passenger SUV strikes a balance between old and new.
While all share longstanding Grand Cherokee attributes, every trim level includes unique styling features. The SRT takes the formula to the next level with a unique grille and slimmer adaptive bi-xenon headlamps that are surrounded by an SRT-inspired lamp treatment.
Our top-trim SRT model’s 475-horsepower V8 engine is arguably the vehicle’s focal point, but the trim level also includes 20-inch alloy wheels and an air-lift suspension.
Whether you’re interested in the base Grand Cherokee or the top-of-the-line SRT model, Jeep’s beloved SUV has a premium look that separates it from many competitive crossovers. While not quite a luxury-branded SUV, the Grand Cherokee’s exterior design certainly meets many of the expectations typically associated with more premium marques.
The Grand Cherokee’s interior has become a benchmark in the two-row crossover SUV segment. Thanks to decades of refinement, the design is nearly perfected. The front seats are comfortable and roomy, and the dashboard is complete with user-friendly tech.
The rear seating area is equally spacious. Unlike many comparable midsize crossover SUVs, the Grand Cherokee doesn’t add a third row of emergency seats, and this allows it to preserve cargo capacity and second-row roominess.
Higher trim levels feature leather-wrapped and wood-trimmed steering wheels, but all Grand Cherokee models feature standard steering-column-mounted paddle shifters. The cabin also features a 7-inch color customizable instrument cluster that can be easily configured to display important vehicle and driving environment information.
Cloth seats are standard on the base model, while higher trims boast leather upholstery. Overland models feature a stitched-leather dash and optional open-pore wood accent trim. Summit models include illuminated door sills and other traits often reserved for high-end luxury vehicles.
The base Laredo model arrives with a nice collection of standard equipment. Power windows and door locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and dual-zone air conditioning are included.
Our SRT test vehicle included an eye-popping SRT Premium Laguna Leather package that wraps seats in upgraded leather. All SRT models feature heated front and rear seats, and the front seats are also ventilated to keep you cool when the temperature climbs.
Cargo capacity is excellent with all seats in place, coming in at 36.3 cubic feet. Dropping the second row expands cargo space to 68.3 cubic feet.
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Grand Cherokee’s standard engine offers decent power, and fuel economy is up to 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. An eight-speed automatic is standard on all trim levels regardless of engine choice.
A 5.7-liter V8 is optional in the Limited, Overland and Summit models, providing 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. This powertrain is only available with four-wheel drive, and fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Thanks to its abundant torque, the 5.7-liter provides excellent acceleration and performance.
A turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine is also available in the Limited, Overland and Summit models. Producing 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee is an adept towing machine with excellent fuel economy. Two-wheel-drive models are rated at 22/30 mpg city/highway and four-wheel-drive models earn 21/28 mpg city/highway.
Our top-trim SRT model is powered by a massive 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that generates 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. It gets 13/19 mpg city/highway, and can rush from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. More important to drivers is the fact that power is almost instantly available. The incredibly agile handling, sport-tuned suspension and oversized Brembo brakes result in an SUV that would be at home on the race track.
The Grand Cherokee is a capable off-road vehicle. Available with four-wheel drive systems, air suspension and traction management, the Grand Cherokee can handle anything from a casual trail ride to crossing through 20-inch-deep water.
The 2016 Grand Cherokee offers plenty of standard technology, and top trim levels can be equipped with premium audio systems and more. Jeep’s easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system is better than ever. Base models come with a 5-inch touch screen, and higher trims use a screen that measures 8.4 inches.
The base six-speaker audio system sounds good for basic audio reproduction and has Bluetooth connectivity. An additional media hub is included that features a USB port and auxiliary input. Higher trim levels are available with a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with an 825-watt amplifier, enhanced connectivity and additional audio options.
Features like navigation, satellite radio and a rear-seat entertainment system are available.
The 2016 Grand Cherokee earned an overall rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for rear-wheel drive models, while the four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee earned a perfect five stars overall. Front and side crash tests resulted in five-star ratings across the board. In rollover tests, the rear-wheel drive Grand Cherokee earned three stars, while the four-wheel drive model managed a four-star score.
The Grand Cherokee earned top scores of Good in four of the five crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The only exception was the small overlap front test, where it earned the second-lowest Marginal rating.
Available safety and driver assistance features include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and a forward collision warning system with automatic braking.
The base 2016 Grand Cherokee Laredo arrives with an eight-speed automatic, a capable V6 engine and a nice level of standard features. Pricing for the Laredo starts at $29,995 and $32,295 for rear- and four-wheel drive models, respectively. The base Grand Cherokee represents excellent value for a nicely equipped and family-friendly midsize SUV. Fuel economy is a little below average, but not to the extent that it should be a major concern for most drivers.
Limited editions add convenience features such as a backup camera, heated rear seats and more. The rear-wheel drive Limited has a starting price of $37,565 and is arguably all the SUV that most will want or need.
Our Grand Cherokee SRT includes the 475-horsepower, 6.4-liter engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, the SRT styling packages and much more for $66,690. The price is certainly on the high end for a mainstream SUV, but there aren’t many alternatives offering comparable driving excitement and track capabilities in a midsize SUV package.
It’s easy to see why the Jeep Grand Cherokee has earned the title “most awarded SUV ever.” With traditional good looks that have aged well, excellent utility and performance, and a price tag that won’t break the bank, the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is tough to beat. Whether you opt for the standard V6 engine, invest in the fuel-sipping diesel or choose one of the two V8 models, the Grand Cherokee is an able performer with great driving dynamics and excellent off-road capabilities.
Enthusiasts will fall in the love with the power and performance of the SRT model. Our week-long review ended far too quickly. While we may not have enjoyed the cost of filling the SRT’s fuel tank, it was a worthy tax to pay for the vehicle’s fun-to-drive nature and practicality.