Few vehicles have the tradition or heritage for off-road capability and power like the Jeep brand, which is what the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition is celebrating. For the last two and a half decades, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a popular family-sized Jeep. With such a successful line-up of product, it’s little surprise that not much has changed for 2018, but the 7-inch touchscreen is now standard equipment.
You can get the Cherokee in a wide selection of trims, all of which are four-door, five passenger SUVs. Pick from one of the available seven trims: Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT or Trackhawk. Our tester came in the Limited trim with available Sterling Edition package, designed to celebrate 25-years of Grand Cherokee success.
Visually, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition hasn’t changed much since FCA did a ground-up redesign in 2011. Ride height is higher than typically found on unibody-style SUVs like this, providing good ground clearance for off-roading fun. Some steel under-plating is added to protect the sensitive bits underneath. Not as track-ready as the Trackhawk, but more refined. Sterling Edition Grand Cherokees ride on Pirelli Scorpion touring tires, which are low rolling resistance touring tires. They’re not ideal in any thick mud or snow.
Attack angle from the front and rear is excellent, which means this Grand Cherokee should be able to make some steep approaches. We noted the door handles moved a bit when used, wiggling in their mounts. From the rear, FCA equips a four and seven-point wiring connector for trailering and an integrated hitch. Nobody else provides as nice a tow package on SUVs like Jeep does. Dual exhaust provide a great look and note. The exterior captures a very traditional Jeep look, which is what fans of the brand will be looking for in the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition.
There are a few engines available to 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition buyers, but the EcoDiesel isn’t one of them. Our tester came equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which is a gem in the crown of FCA. Fuel efficient and powerful, it produces 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. You can also pick from a 5.7, 6.4 or 6.2-liter Hemi V8, the last of which is supercharged.
Considering this is a family-sized SUV with selectable, part-time all-wheel-drive, it’s surprising to see fuel economy numbers at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The engine and transmission work very well together. Shifting is smooth and keeps the engine noise under wraps. It finds the right gear quickly when passing. Throttle response has been tuned to give the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee a brisk feeling. It’s very quick when responding to input, and turning radius is reasonable for a vehicle of this size. Ride feels stiff, which suggests some reinforcing has been done to the unibody.
Up front, there’s lots of room in the engine bay with the V6 installed. DIYers will have access to all the important parts if they want to self-service their Jeep. What we couldn’t find without consulting the manual, however, was the battery.
With the tow package equipped, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition has a class-leading maximum tow capacity of 6,200 pounds.
In spite of the design’s age. The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition has a refreshed and modern interior. Seats feature an attractive stitched look. Comfortable, well equipped first and second rows are covered in perforated leather seating. Heating is available for seats in the front and the back. Drivers and passengers have 12-way power adjustable seating with memory. Passengers in the second row don’t have as much space as you’d hope for an SUV of this size. With no third row to contend with, more space could have been given to second row passengers.
When it comes to finding places to stash stuff, there really isn’t a lot of options around the cabin. However, trunk space is large, thanks in part to that missing third row of seats. With 36.3-cubic feet of cargo space available, there’s ample space to fit most things. Our tester included Jeep branded rubber mats for the rear cargo space, which added a nice touch of durability. Ride height makes trunk access easier for lighter things, but more difficult to heave up heavier items. A full-sized spare is also available.
One-touch power windows and door locks are included at this trim level. A full panoramic sunroof with power shade screen and window add a classy touch. A combination of LCD screen and analog dials for the driver cluster is a nice touch. The tachometer can be customized in how it displays information.
Where the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition really shines is the infotainment package available. FCA has upgraded their Uconnect system, and this new version finds its way into the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The UI and hardware have been refreshed to boost look and responsiveness. An 8.4-inch touchscreen powers this system, which features full Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Performance on the Android side is very fast. It’s also nice how the Uconnect menu buttons stay on top of the Android Auto screen, giving you quick access to other vehicle controls.
At this trim, features also include a range of connectivity, like Bluetooth and USB, as well as seat-mounted rear Blu Ray entertainment system. While a great feature to have for longer road trips, the Blu Ray player takes up most of the center console space, leaving you with little room for storage. The nine-speaker audio system performed well, but lacked any detailed control over elements like the subwoofer, so it was hard to fine-tune.
Adaptive cruise control, collision prevention, lane-keep assist and alert features are included on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition. Adaptive cruise control worked well, though owners should note there is a software patch to address a potential, though very rare, issue. Thanks to its safety and driver aids, the IIHS gives the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with collision prevention, a superior crash mitigation rating, good moderate-overlap rating and acceptable small-overlap rating.
In general, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Sterling Edition is a surprising SUV given its age. Enough of the interior has been refreshed to keep it looking and feeling modern. Infotainment package has been updated, keeping the Uconnect system as one of the best on the market today. While it would be nice to see a third row, the added cargo space will be a plus to some buyers. If you’re looking for a real off-road capable Jeep, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk might be a better choice. But if you want luxury-style SUV with a Jeep badge, or a fuel-efficient five-seater SUV, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a popular choice.