The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is aiming to reshape the way that many Jeep buyers experience and embrace the SUV. While the spotlight is shining brightly on higher trim models like the Limited and Summit as well as the green-minded 4xe model, it can be easy to forget that the bulk of sales are focused on mainstream trims like the Laredo model which serve as value-focused gateways into the Grand Cherokee family. We wanted to find out what SUV buyers will get for their money and whether the Laredo is still the go-to entry-focused model.
Laredo Still Embodies Jeep Spirit
To find out we had the chance to sample the Grand Cherokee Laredo as winter drew to a close in the Metro Detroit area. Our Velvet Red red-hued tester still had the core Jeep essentials intact which include the iconic seven slotted Jeep grille, chunky wheel arches and slick-looking headlights. Since the Laredo is the budget-focused model, it does away with the flashier chrome accents and bigger wheels that are commonly seen in higher trims and instead focuses on delivering on the details.
Our favorite highlight is the reworked rear fascia which now incorporates new design taillights that help give the GC a more refined look and also eliminate some of the aged lines that once defined its predecessor. It’s clear that Jeep is viewing the Grand Cherokee as a true global model too and some of its inner charms could translate well in select international markets including Europe and the U.K. When compared with a three-row L model, our two-row tester doesn’t;t display any obvious exterior differences which allows them to have a more unified presence versus some of the tacked on extra length that’s often seen in other thrid row offerings.
Grand Cherokee Interior Puts Function Over Luxury
Slip inside the 2022 Grand Cherokee Laredo and you’ll find a cabin that puts a greater emphasis on function and poise. Jeep made waves with all the screens that it has introduced into higher trims of the Grand Cherokee and its bigger corporate pal the Grand Wagoneer, but here in the Laredo all of that is casted aside for the sake of function. In the Laredo, occupants are greeted with cloth seats, but these seats still did a good job delivering balanced amounts of comfort and support on long journeys. Our two-row example did not have the third-row seating that’s the L is known for, but that’s ok since the lack of said row allowed passengers to make full use of the legroom on hand to stretch out and relax.
The rest of the design is very handsome with the new steering wheel and dashboard promoting a more balanced look. The 8.4 inch touchscreen infotainment system did a good job going through the motions but the cheap-looking slice of black plastic that’s by the shifter knob does detract a bit from the aura. That said, our tester arrived with several welcome premium touches including a fully digital instrument cluster, push-button start, and heated front seats. These little details allowed our tester to be on par with some of its rivals, but it’s important to note that a few of them are part of optional extras so buyers will have to study the options sheet carefully to roughly replicate what our rig had.
As a whole though, the Laredo has alot of the things that family buyers want. While two-row models may sacrifice extra passenger space by axing the third row, it allows the GC in this guise to be a more livable place to spend time and soak up the miles when you need to embark on long road trips.
Hey Grand Cherokee, Where’s The Beef?
Like other Stellantis products, our tester arrived with the familiar 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 and like all of our other encounters with this engine, we were left asking, where’s the beef? In this instance, it’s all about torque with the Pentastar producing 290 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque. That latter figure is lower than some rivals and when you combine that with the engine’s desire to make its power in the higher reaches of the rev band, it left us wanting more in freeway passing and some city driving. A 5.7 liter Hemi V8 is one of the optional engines in the GC arsenal that makes more power, but it’s not available here in the Laredo.
Thankfully, the eight-speed automatic is still a smooth operator and delivered silky-smooth shifts during our tester’s stay with us. The Laredo is not meant to be a fire-breathing track slayer so we are willing to forgive the steering which is nicely weighted but overly numb in certain spots. The last gasps of winter allowed the all-wheel-drive system to show some of its muscle when going through the white stuff. This level of security allows the Laredo to be a confident offering for families who can’t afford to get bogged down while hauling passengers and cargo.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in a diverse range of flavors when you look at all of its trim ladders, but for this review, we are going to focus the bulk of our attention on the Laredo model. A base Laredo in 4×2 guise starts at $42,515 with all-wheel drive not raising that base figure. Our lightly optioned tester pushed its sticker up to a final total of $44,805. That’s roughly equivalent to rivals like the Chevrolet Blazer and the Honda Pilot but those two are more compromised with both of them not having the full package that the Grand Cherokee possesses.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Subaru Outback which is just as capable on and off the pavement as the Grand Cherokee. While the Wilderness trim goes after the Trailhawk model, the Laredo is targeted by the base Outback model which has a cheaper $27,145 base price. However, the Outback sacrifices some luxury and posh to pull off the soft-roader guise and as a result loses some valuable ground to the Grand Cherokee.
The 2022 Grand Cherokee continues to be an exercise of giving the people what they want. While luxury-lined Summit models cover the top end of the segment, the Laredo and other members of the Grand Cherokee family will continue to appeal to other customer niches and three-row versions will undoubtedly bring some sales pressure to its cousin the Dodge Durango.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.