In early November last year, Jeep Vice President Jim Morrison came to New England to present several of his latest products to the assembled media. The return of the Wagoneer, a larger three-row Grand Cherokee L, a plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4Xe, plus this week’s featured vehicle — the new Grand Cherokee. As one of the hottest brands in the industry — despite COVID-19, despite chip shortages, despite supply chain issues — Jeep is rapidly expanding marketshare.

It has been eleven years since the Grand Cherokee got a makeover. Committed fans will be very pleased, despite the $3,000 price increase across all models, as the new GC is longer, wider, lighter, smoother, and more polished than ever before. Our two tone Silver Zymith and Black Overland sample ($55,305 base, $70,360 as shown) elicited complimentary Range Rover comparisons from several viewers.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

It wasn’t mentioned by Morrison, but the Range Rover look is obviously a goal in the new GC. Its stance — wider by 1.5-inches, on a wheelbase two inches longer—is barely noticeable, yet almost four more inches in overall length is apparent in the cargo area as well as the rear seat. Still a foot shorter than the L model, the Grand Cherokee is stylish and poised in areas that its predecessor was not.

Start with the revised multi-link suspension front and rear. Now fully aluminum, the chassis delivers an improved ride dynamic as well as enhanced ride balance. Steering feel is crisper, braking feel is stronger. Add the adaptive air ride suspension — for on and off-road selections — and the new Grand Cherokee is impressively composed.

Rear drive remains standard on base Laredo models ($39,185) while the Quadra Drive II and Quadra Trac II AWD/4WD systems get a limited slip differential as well as a low-range 4WD button on the console. The Pentastar V-6 engine will remain the workhorse (293-hp, 18/25-mpg), while the optional Hemi V-8 (357-hp plus 130-pound/feet of additional torque) is the motor that really shapes the character of this premium SUV. Toe the go pedal and the Hemi produces sonorous power and a firm push in your quilted, heated and cooled, massaging leather seat. Realized winter fuel economy ranged from 18-20 mpg — right in the heart of the EPA ratings for the V-8.

The enlarged body continues with the familiar seven-slot Jeep grille, while the fascia wears brilliant LED lamps and is canted slightly forward. The belt-line is lower, with better visibility, and the roof is lower too. Weight is down 250-pounds due to more aluminum throughout and better use of high-strength steel.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

Buyers will most note the new personality inside, where the GC continues Jeep’s trend — as well as Stellantis — to make its interiors among the best in any segment. The massaging seats, all the rage in this price range, are excellent — with real heaters, not slow warmers. The accenting leather and wood trim is a notch above, while Overland brings four-zone climate, dual-panel sunroof, rear sunshades, plus wireless charging. New features include a forward Heads-Up display, an interactive front passenger screen that can play Amazon T.V.  — one of the first passenger screens in the whole segment — dual rear screens that can play separate Fire T.V. selections, a rear wiper heater, a rear camera washer, plus Nightvision with animal and pedestrian detection. The driver cannot see the passenger screen, yet everyone can be entertained by the Nightvision panel in the driver’s instrument panel.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

Add a forward-camera for off-roading, a 19-speaker McIntosh stereo system with the U-Connect 5 screen’s multiple apps, on top of the enhanced safety/driving aids portfolio, and no one can deny the Jeep’s rise to the top with content and performance.

Later in the spring, the plug-in-hybrid model, 4Xe in Jeep parlance, will roll out with 25-miles of electric-only operation. Jeep claims that will work off-road too, along with the off-road cruise program.

Jeep sales grew 10 percent in 2021, with Grand Cherokee showing impressive growth due to the new L model. During the third quarter of 2021, the Grand Cherokee was the number five selling nameplate in America, trailing only the three pickups from Ford, Ram, and Chevy, as well as the Toyota RAV4. Also helping sales — Jeep’s Initial Quality Scores in the J.D. Power survey propelled the brand onto the top ten list for the whole industry for the very first time. New Grand Cherokee’s now come with three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, too.

A smooth operator with its new chassis, quick when requested with the Hemi, and festooned with a class-leading interior design, the latest Grand Cherokee is oozing with appeal.

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles for more than 20 years.