Performance is strong. With total outputs of 375bhp and 470lb ft and the main electric motor pitching in from rest, the 0-60mph time is just 6.0sec. Sometimes, though, the motor and petrol engine take a moment to decide who’s doing what, so the latter will spin up audibly, and sometimes on back roads it’s preferable – and not unsatisfying – to take control of the gears yourself.
The steering is smooth, particularly off road or at low speeds, but there’s some springiness to it at higher road speeds.
Ditto body control, meaning the Grand Cherokee goes without the slickness, ease and enjoyment that you get from a Land Rover, whose chassis has been honed for European roads. But there’s a straightforwardness to it that isn’t without appeal, and it’s at least competitive with the Land Cruiser.
Off road, it’s terrific. The lovely thing is, as with the Wrangler 4xe, to be able to stick it in EV mode and do all your driving that way. Because the motor is the gearbox side of the clutch, it pulls off incredibly smoothly and without hesitation, plus with all of its available torque from rest.
And as with most proper 4x4s, you will probably run out of bravery – especially at this price – before it runs out of ability. I had it on a side slope showing more than 30deg, and if there wasn’t a Jeep bod on standby telling me that was fine, I would have convinced myself it was going to tip over. In other words, a caravan, weekend pony club, boat tow or winter shoot are things that the Grand Cherokee ought to cope with just fine.
So, it’s big, fast and well equipped and has a lot of performance and ability off road and largely on it, all in a 60g/km package. I found it quite easy to like, although at £85,615 it’s not quite so simple to recommend. It will play its part as Jeep starts to take UK sales more seriously, but if you were selling its cars here, I’d bet you would be happier to see the arrival of the Avenger.