The 2020 Grand Cherokee Limited X is a brand new trim level introduced for the 2019 model year. Sitting above the Limited in the range, the Limited X has a base price of $46,755 for our 4×4 tester. It includes many exterior and interior upgrades including special 20-inch “Granite Crystal” wheels, “Granite Crystal” exterior accents, black trim pieces, and a black leather, adding up to a premium of $4,900 over the limited. Then there’s the Limited X’s hood which it borrows from the SRT performance model and it’s cosmetic only with no need to dissipate excess heat from the V6. There are hard to see though which kind of nullifies the reasoning to have them there.

I’ve always liked the Jeep Grand Cherokee it’s a handsome car all round and remains true to its roots, even having the 1941 stamp on the steering wheel to remind you how long they have been around. It has a uni-body construction meaning the body and frame are considered one unit. Seating for five and a choice of V6, 2 V8’s, including the very fast Trackhawk and a turbo-diesel driving either the rear or all four wheels.

My tester came in slate blue pearl coat and a black leather interior, sporting the ubiquitous V6 used across many FCA vehicles. It’s a good engine too with 295 hp and 260 lb-ft mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is good and will launch the Jeep from 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds but you pay the price at the pump, I averaged 17.4 mpg for the week versus the 23 mpg for the turbo diesel. Step up to the SRT and you get the big V8 with 475 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, take a giant step to the Trackhawk and you get the insane 707 hp, 650 lb-ft Hellcat engine. You see there really is a Jeep for everyone.

On Road

Paired with the Grand Cherokee’s base 3.6-liter V6 the Jeep Grand Cherokee has sufficient grunt to get itself moving, we got it from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds, not bad considering it’s pulling 4,700+ lbs around. Once up to highway speeds the Jeep is very stable, has enough power for passing slower traffic and rides as smoothly as most mid size SUVs I’ve driven. Press on into a corner and it will under-steer but it’s all done in a safe and predictable manner.

You can feel the body leaning in the turns and the steering is somewhat over assisted at higher speeds, however, the transmission rarely misses a beat, but it can get caught out not wanting to downshift and the lack of torque and the Jeep’s mass can leave you bogged down on occasions, but these are few and far between.

Using the drive mode selector I toyed with Sport mode which offers a quicker throttle response, higher shift points and holds onto gears longer, often to the detriment of fuel economy. It’s good for short bursts but I found the car to be more driveable and enjoyable with the Normal setting enabled. Noise is fairly well controlled with the V6 providing most of it when pressed hard, but tire and wind noise are not really noticeable.

Off the beaten track

Most Grand Cherokees are sold as 4WD and my Limited X came with a two-speed transfer case that adds a low range, hill-descent control, and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain dial. This gives you various settings such as Auto, Mud/Sand, Rock and Sport. Most of the time I stayed in Auto mode since even though I would be taking it off road I wasn’t expecting any difficult conditions since it is so dry here in Southern California.

With the recent rain we headed for Mother Grundy Truck Trail East of San Diego since we would be guaranteed to find mud. The trail is well kept for the first mile or so then gets rutted and bumpy, nothing the Jeep couldn’t handle though. Large muddy puddles had formed in the recent rain and we spent some time getting some shots of the Jeep creating a bow wave. This is not a challenging trail for the Jeep but it’s a good test of how compliant the suspension is.

What’s the point of a Jeep if you don’t get it dirty!

Soon the road becomes paved, sort of, it’s riddled with potholes and quite narrow with passing places, but the going is easy. High clearance is necessary in places and the gravel sections require AWD, which the Jeep coped with aplomb. Once you get to the far end of the trail you rejoin the paved road where the Jeep showed it can do sharp turns while carrying decent speed. You can definitely have fun whatever the conditions and weather are.

Interior

Inside the Grand Cherokee the cabin is a very nice place to be, the front seats are supportive, with power, heat and cool functionality. Plastics for the most part are soft feel but the plastics further down the cabin do feel a little bit cheap and scratchy. Overall room for passengers is also pretty good by class standards and the rear cargo area offers 36.3 ft³ and 68.3 ft³ with the seats folded.

The UConnect 8.4-inch touch screen is one of the easier-to-use and quicker-responding systems, is in fact one of my favorite systems to use. Menus are logical, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to configure quickly. The color touch screen provides access to a host of entertainment and information including navigation, satellite radio, phone, and an impressive list of Smartphone-powered apps including CarPlay and Android Auto.

My tester came with the optional Pro Tech II Package ($1,495) which Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Advanced Brake Assist, Full Speed Forward Collision Plus, Lane Departure Warning Plus a Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof ($1,495) and 9 amplified speaker with subwoofer and 506 Watt amplifier for (795).

Verdict

A week with a Jeep is always fun particularly when you add in some off-road shenanigans. Considering how many car-based crossovers are out there these days, the Jeep’s off-road abilities do set the Grand Cherokee apart, so in that respect it’s a very nice vehicle to spend time in.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited X Numbers

Base Price: $41,855
As Tested Price: $52,035
Engine: 3.6 liter V6, 24 valve VVT
Power: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Zero to 60 mph: 7.1 Sec
Curb Weight 4,746 lbs
Cargo Capacity: 36.3 ft³, 68.3 ft³ with seat area
EPA city/highway/combined: 18/25/21 mpg
Our Observed Fuel Economy: 17.4 mpg
Pros: Serious off-road ability, ride quality, nice cabin
Cons: Some hard plastics, thirst for fuel