Seven-seat and plug-in hybrid versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee family SUV have earned top marks in safety testing – but the most affordable version, the five-seat petrol V6, has fallen short.
Family SUV buyers on a budget will not get five-star safety if they buy the most affordable version of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee line-up.
Data released today has revealed five-seat petrol V6 variants of the new 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee have been unable to match a five-star safety rating in independent ANCAP testing earned by other models in the range.
A «nil» score was awarded for rear passenger chest protection in five-seat V6 Grand Cherokee models – due to a difference in the performance of the seatbelts – that limited its safety rating to four stars.
ANCAP says any vehicle that scores nil for a «critical body region» is limited to four stars overall irrespective of its performance in other crash tests or safety-rating categories.
Other models in the Jeep Grand Cherokee line-up – the seven-seat Grand Cherokee L, which is petrol V6 only, and the five-seat plug-in hybrid 4xe – earned five stars.
Crash testing of the seven-seat models was conducted in Australia by ANCAP, while the photos show the five-seat versions were crash-tested by its European counterpart Euro NCAP – including the petrol V6, even though it is not sold in Europe.
The seven-seat and plug-in hybrid models managed a five-star safety rating despite not being fitted with a centre airbag, which inflates between front occupants to prevent their heads clashing in severe side-impact collisions.
A centre airbag is not required for a five-star score – and other larger vehicles have earned five stars without a centre airbag – however it is a common tool used by car makers to pass the ‘far-side impact’ test, which measures how far into the passenger’s space the driver moves in a side-impact crash.
Although the rating is being published in Australia this year, the Grand Cherokee range was tested to the just-superseded 2020-2022 protocols – which are less stringent than the latest 2023 standards – as a portion of the testing was conducted last year.
«The long-wheelbase Jeep Grand Cherokee L and short-wheelbase PHEV achieved sound results across all areas of testing and assessment, seeing them eligible for the five-star rating,» ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Carla Hoorweg, said in a media statement.
«The Poor level of chest protection recorded for short-wheelbase petrol variants however, is an area we’d encourage Jeep to address. We strongly encourage Jeep to implement a production change to improve the safety performance of the rear outboard seatbelts.»
“Specification differences, including different powertrains, body styles, and driven wheels can all have an effect on safety performance,» said Ms Hoorweg.»
ANCAP recorded «good» performance from the Grand Cherokee’s advanced safety features, including its autonomous emergency braking system – even though it is unable to brake for oncoming cars in intersections, unlike other cars tested under the latest criteria.
The side curtain airbags cover all three rows of seating in the seven-seat model.