The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has been turning a lot of heads. The new three-row SUV crosses barriers as more than just a standard utility vehicle, providing drivers and passengers with a luxury-themed experience as well. Not only that, but Jeep also managed to keep the Grand Cherokee L well within the off-road category by outfitting it with a number of enthusiast features. But if you were looking to buy a third-row SUV, do the extra features with the Cherokee L warrant the price? Well, that’s the topic of the day. We’ll be breaking down a comparison between the 2022 Grand Cherokee L vs 2022 GMC Acadia and gauging if the extra bells and whistles in the Jeep are worth it over GMC’s more affordable premium SUV.
Why The Acadia?
On the surface, the 2022 GMC Acadia may seem to be less expensive than the 2022 Grand Cherokee L, but they do intersect in very interesting ways when it comes to trim line-ups and segment interests. Technically the price difference isn’t as big as you may have been expecting, with the Acadia clocking in at $34,800 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L having an entry price of $39,258.
Both SUVs are three-row vehicles, both come with two powertrain options, and both are available in multiple trims, including off-road versions. But in terms of price scaling, the question arises if the trim differences and features make up for it? The Acadia is an interesting challenger to the Grand Cherokee L because the base trim is cheap enough to get into, but it also has the AT4 trim for off-road use and the Denali trim for pure luxury. This makes for an interesting pick for those struggling to decide what three-row SUV they should consider buying.
Does the Base Trim Features Justify the Price Difference?
This is where we start to peel back the layers of the feature differences between the two machines. For the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, it starts with the Laredo trim, and for the 2022 GMC Acadia, it starts with the SLE trim. There is about a $4,000 difference between the two, but it’s also reflected in what you get feature-wise.
On the powertrain front, the Acadia comes with a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder, whereas the Grand Cherokee L justifies its price with a much beefier 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The Cherokee L’s base powertrain produces 62 more horsepower than the Acadia, but they actually have around the same amount of torque. The Cherokee also comes with an 8-speed transmission, while the Acadia has a 9-speed transmission. Although the stats might seem similar, these differences affect other features as well, such as the payload and tow-rating.
The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the Acadia SLE tops out its tow rating at 3,500 pounds. The beefier Pentastar V6 for the Grand Cherokee L manages a max tow rating of 6,200 pounds. The Acadia does manage slightly better fuel economy due to having a less hungry engine, so it provides up to 29 miles per gallon on the highway, compared to the Cherokee L’s 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
However, not only are you paying for more power but almost double the tow-rating capacity for the base trim. Not only that, but the base trim for the Grand Cherokee L also offers a fully digital driver display cluster, giving you additional telematics. Depending on what you plan on using the SUV for and how you value some standard tech features could make or break your impressions on the price difference between the two vehicles.
Which One Gives You More Off-Road Features for Your Money?
This is a very interesting match-up because GMC’s AT4 line is the brand’s attempt to rival Jeep when it comes to off-road capabilities. Vehicles like the 2022 GMC Acadia come with a dedicated AT4 trim designed to handle off-road excursions. The AT4 comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that manages 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. It also comes with standard hill descent control and hill start assist to get up and over rough or hilly terrain.
The most defining feature of the AT4 trim is the Active Torque Control AWD System. This is GMC’s attempt to rival Jeep’s Quadra-Trac system for off-road capability. However, the Active Torque Control AWD System is an all-wheel drive system, not a four-wheel drive system. It can distribute torque to the front or rear axles and help establish traction over difficult to traverse surfaces, but it doesn’t offer a real transfer case. The 2022 GMC Acadia AT4 has an approximate starting price of $41,400, so it’s a pretty large jump up from the base SLE trims.
Interestingly enough, every trim of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L can be configured in true four-wheel drive format, including the base Laredo trim. The price does go up slightly for the Grand Cherokee L’s Laredo if you want it in four-wheel drive, which can add approximately $1,000 more to the base MSRP. What’s interesting, however, is that instead of the Active Torque feature that the Acadia has, the Laredo’s four-wheel drive comes with the Quadra-Trac I Active 4×4 System with a transfer case and the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System. This is a full-time active system that can distribute torque to the axles and help with correcting wheel slippage or traction loss.
Higher-end trims have Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II systems available if you want more control and driver-functionality over how the transfer case is engaged. If you’re more of a hardcore off-road enthusiast, then the other two systems would be perfect for you. Equivalent systems are not even available for the GMC Acadia.
In this category, the differences are night and day between the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2022 GMC Acadia. You’re not only paying more for the GMC Acadia’s AT4 trim, but you’re also getting significantly less in terms of off-road features and capabilities. The Acadia AT4 utilizes an all-wheel drive system that can distribute torque to the front or rear axles, but the Cherokee L utilizes a full-time active four-wheel drive system with far more capabilities and off-road range. That’s not to mention that every Cherokee L trim can be configured in four-wheel drive, including the base trim, which ends up being cheaper than the GMC Acadia AT4.
Luxury Trim Pricing Differences And Features
The top-end trim of the GMC Acadia is the Denali, and you can also get it with the Denali Ultimate Package. The Acadia Denali starts at over $10,000 more than the base trim. It features many of the standard features as the AT4 trim, but with some exterior and interior luxury items, such as the 20-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels and a 6-inch diagonal color heads-up display. The interior features items like ash wood, leather-appointed seats, and French stitching, along with special badging inside and out.
The Denali Ultimate Package includes the Denali Technology Package with driver-assist technology and extra safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and a rear camera mirror with washer. It also includes the GMC Pro Safety suite as well as the trailering package so that it can top out at 4,000 pounds worth of towing. The Denali Ultimate Package adds roughly $4,000 to the price of the Acadia, and depending on whatever extras you want included, can easily push the Acadia’s total up quite a bit to nearly $20,000 more than the base MSRP.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a lot more leeway in the luxury department, starting with the Limited trim, which adds a Capri leather interior, a premium audio system, and features like remote start. The Overland adds a few more technical and convenient features to the standard line-up, such as a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting with custom personalization, and a hands-free liftgate. However, you don’t even need the top-of-the-line Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve to rival the GMC Acadia Denali Ultimate Package to get the most bang for your buck.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit nets you much more than what the Acadia Denali has to offer and for nearly the same price. This includes the Quadra-Trac II advanced four-wheel drive system with the Quadra-Lift dynamic leveling suspension, quad-zone automatic temperature control across all three rows, and a full suite of active driving assists. The Summit also features 16-way power driver and passenger seats with lumbar support, memory settings, and massage functionality.
One of the other big differences in packaging is the fact that the infotainment suite in the Summit is so much more robust than the Acadia Denali. This includes a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen with navigation support in the Summit, compared to an 8-inch GMC Infotainment System with navigation. The Summit also comes with the Jeep Connect app, so you can sync the vehicle with your smart device for health reports, remote activation, and more. And that’s not to mention the available McIntosh 19-speaker surround sound system with a 10-inch subwoofer.
In short, you just get so much more with the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs 2022 GMC Acadia. Whether it’s with the base trim, the off-road trims, or the luxury trims, the Cherokee L just offers more for your money. It’s definitely something to consider if you are shopping for a three-row SUV and you were curious about the features for both vehicles and whether or not the price of entry was worth it for the Grand Cherokee L.