I, being a long term Toyota driver, had everyone shocked when I switched to a Jeep. I must admit, I was a biased Prado driver and had been for many years. My wife was obsessed with Jeep Grand Cherokees ever since their mid-2013 facelift, and every time we passed one she'd shout 'Jeep!'. I always thought they were nice enough cars but had heard too many horror stories to justify the switch from Toyota to Jeep.
At the start of 2020 our 2013 Prado GXL hit 200,000km. We thought it was time to change however we weren't in the position financially to buy a new vehicle. Our first option was to buy a second hand Prado with lower kilometres than ours, as it was what we were used to and it just seemed like a sensible choice. We had one picked out that we were going to see, and when we got to the dealership my wife spotted a Grand Cherokee in the corner of her eye and dragged me over to it. Like any other car salesmen would, he spoke very well about the car, however he didn't really go into any of the features. We took it for a test drive, however my wife wanted me to drive, as she had already driven her friend's one. I was shocked at how smooth it was (riding on 20-inch wheels), and was amazed at how nice the vehicle was in general. The massive responsive touchscreen, the ultra soft leather seats, power tailgate and my favourite feature the power operated steering column.
The model we test drove was a 2014 Overland, which was a little out of our price range. However we did our research and figured that a full-specced Limited model would be within our means financially.
I still had reservations after only having driven Toyota's and never having any major problems.
We ended up purchasing a 2015 Limited 3.6-litre V6 Petrol with sunroof option and nappa leather option (this means it gets heated and cooled seats, rather than just heated).
We also bought extended warranty to be on the safe side.
The engine is adequately powered however lacks high range torque (the diesel would solve that problem). Jeep claims that it uses 10.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle however with a fairly equal mix of town and country road driving we average around 11-12L/100km which isn't horrible but isn't the best. The engine (which is similar to the Kluger's V6 engine) sounds way better when you plant your foot than a Kluger, Pathfinder or CX-9 of the same age (all of which have similar power outputs). Small niceties such as the seats that move to your driving position when you start the engine and the electrically operated steering wheel make you feel like you are driving something worth $100K+.
The 8.4-inch touchscreen is incredibly responsive and easy to use, however sometimes it can be hard to connect your phone to play music through Bluetooth. I usually just use a USB cord for that anyway.
Almost everything in this vehicle is customisable - even whether you want the electric tailgate (boot) to beep when it opens! It has a heated steering wheel, which I didn't even know was a thing until I bought this car!
The doors have a satisfying click/thud sound when you shut them and are also satisfying when you open them as you can feel them unlatch, literally!!
The centre console, however, is ridiculously small as the CD player is located in there. The bi-xenon headlights are very bright and are auto-levelling. They also turn off high beams when they see a car coming toward or in front of you, which is usually accurate and very helpful!
The digital speedo looks great and makes it very easy to see what speed you are doing. It can also display lots of useful information such as tyre pressure, battery voltage, oil temp and oil life.
Sadly Jeep service prices are very high, which could be solved by using a local mechanic instead of Jeep themselves.
We have now owned the car for seven months and have put around 18,000km on it. We have had no issues at all (big or small). I know this isn't a long time for vehicle ownership, however I was really expecting something to go wrong by now considering all the negative comments about Jeep.
I don't think the interior feels as spacious as a Prado (maybe it's just the black headlining) and rear legroom is tighter than other SUV's. It is by no means a small or cramped interior, however it just doesn't feel huge (which might be a good thing). The driving position is quite high and close to the dash, however I quickly got used to it.
The LED daytime running lights and LED front indicators make it look like a European SUV and are one of my favourite features.
Given that the Grand Cherokee hasn't changed at all since 2015 (it has had a very minor facelift), I definitely think it is time for an update, however, if you are in the market for a 2015 SUV then I think you should 100% consider the Grand Cherokee.