Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Mode Guide

Short Answer

The sport mode optimizes the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s performance for dry, on-road surfaces. It does so by adjusting the shift patterns, throttle response, and suspension settings to provide an overall ‘sportier’ driving experience.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a versatile vehicle capable of on- and off-road driving.

On top of that, it has additional features to further aid you in getting the best performance out of it.

One such feature is the selec-terrain dial in the center console area.

By default, this dial is set to ‘auto’ mode, which means the vehicle is good enough for daily driving in the city/highways.

But if you’re about to start an off-roading journey, you can set it to snow, rock, or sand/mud modes and have the Grand Cherokee make necessary adjustments for those terrains.

What is Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Mode?

Lastly, we have the sport mode.

Unlike the other modes, this one only comes in a few selected trim levels, which confuses the owners about its functionality and use cases.

Even worse, some people consider it a marketing gimmick with no real-world value.

In reality, though, sport mode is a useful feature designed to give you an overall sportier driving experience.

When enabled, this mode makes some background adjustments to unlock the full performance potential of your vehicle.

The first one of those adjustments is the time interval between gear changes, which is reduced by 50% compared to the auto mode. This results in faster acceleration and more responsiveness.

In addition to this, the traction control and anti-skid systems are adjusted for aggressive cornering and quick acceleration.

Shift paddles are also activated to give you extra control over the gear changes, resulting in a more engaging driving experience.

If your Grand Cherokee has air suspension, the ride height is also decreased to the AERO mode to maintain stability. It reduces the ground clearance but also prevents body roll while taking a sharp turn and improves the overall aerodynamics.

That said, this particular feature will not work well if there’s some issue with the air suspension system.

Lastly, 65% of the torque is sent to the rear wheels, which makes one feel like they’re driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

As for the use cases, the sport mode is designed to be used on open highways (with no/few traffic restrictions) primarily or when you want extra control over the vehicle.

When Not to Use Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Mode?

Some people think of sport mode as a beefier version of auto mode and tend to put their Grand Cherokees in this mode 24/7.

Below are some of the main reasons why this approach is also wrong.

Icy or Slippery Roads

If there’s ice on the road, you should turn off the sport mode, as the wheels can start spinning/skidding due to reduced traction and extra power sent to them by the engine.

Off-Road Terrain

The same is the case with off-road terrains. The sport mode doesn’t have the ground clearance and traction required for those surfaces. Therefore, in such situations, you should switch to the respective terrain modes (sand/mud or rock).

Stop-and-Go Driving

The sport mode can cause an uncomfortable driving experience if you’re in driving at a low speed or are engaged in stop-and-go driving – mainly due to extra engine responsiveness and quick gear shifting.

Fuel Efficiency

The higher engineer RPMs in sport mode can cause extra fuel consumption. Therefore, you shouldn’t always keep it on if fuel efficiency is your primary goal.

How to Turn On Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Mode?

How to Turn On Sport Mode In Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Turning on the sport mode is super easy and can be done by following the below steps:

  • Access the selec-terrain dial first. It’ll be located in the center console of your Grand Cherokee.
  • This dial will have different indicator LEDs nearby, alongside their respective labels, giving you information about the different terrain modes the vehicle supports.
  • Your current mode will have its LED illuminated. It will be Auto mode, mostly.
  • Turn this dial one or two times, and you’ll see the Sport mode LED illuminated.
  • Some vehicles might have a toggle switch instead of a dial, but the working principle will be similar. Pressing this button one or two times will activate the sport mode.
  • To verify whether you have successfully activated this mode, look at your instrument panel display. Upon activating, you’ll see a vehicle and a race’s finish line on the instrument panel, with the word ‘SPORT’ written above the vehicle.

You can also watch the video below for more information.

One important thing you need to remember is that the 4WD mode of your Jeep Grand Cherokee must be 4H at this point. And should remain in this mode until you’re using the sport mode.

If you shift from 4H to 4L mode, the vehicle will automatically switch from sport to auto mode.

How to Turn Off Jeep Grand Cherokee Sport Mode?

How to Turn Off Sport Mode In Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Turning off the sport mode is similar to how we turned it on earlier.

All you need to do is to rotate the selec-terrain knob (or press the button if there’s no knob) to switch back to auto or any other mode (snow, sand/mud, rock, etc.).

However, if you switch to rock mode, the 4WD mode should be 4L. If you’re in rock mode and shift from 4L to 4H, the vehicle will switch to auto mode.


The sport mode is a great feature and can help you get the best performance from your Jeep Grand Cherokee. But like any other technology, it has its advantages and limitations.

Some Jeep owners always put their vehicles into this mode while they’re in the city/highway.

However, I don’t recommend it due to unnecessary load on your engine (especially in situations like stop-and-go traffic) and increased fuel consumption.

But, in the end, it’s up to you to decide, depending on the requirements, when to use this feature and for how long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Put my Jeep in Sport Mode While Driving?

You can put the Jeep in the sport mode while driving, as it’s meant to be activated on the go.

When Should I Use the Sport Mode Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The sport mode can be used when you’re driving on highways and need an extra performance boost from your Grand Cherokee.

Does Sport Mode Help Acceleration?

The sport mode can help you accelerate the vehicle faster because of the quick throttle response and the low time interval between gear changes.

Can I Drive in Sport Mode Most of the Time?

There’s no harm in keeping the Jeep Grand Cherokee in sport mode if you only drive on dry, on-road surfaces with little to traffic and don’t mind slightly less gas mileage.

Can I Use Sport Mode for Towing in Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Usually, the sport mode does not affect the towing capability of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Therefore, I won’t recommend doing this. Additionally, some trim levels come with a tow/haul switch which enables the tow mode upon pressing. You should use this mode as it adjusts the shift patterns, engine braking, and stability control systems, specifically for towing.

Ayden Morris is the founder of Vehicle Sphere. He shares expert advice and practical tips to help car owners maximize the performance and longevity of their vehicles. Buckle up and join him on this exhilarating ride through the world of car care.

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