2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve takes aim at luxury establishment

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup plays dual roles, and one is under-the-radar luxury.

Sure, the base models of the Grand Cherokee take on mainstream models like the Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner, and Honda Passport. But today’s top-shelf Grand Cherokee models, like the Summit and Summit Reserve, are priced, equipped and feel like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class luxury SUVs.

The two-row version of the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee has the driving dynamics and proportions for which the model has been known, along with a more luxurious interior. But some features seem redundant, the V-8 is thirsty and almost past its prime, and there are some livability issues.

Here’s what I learned after spending a week in the luxurious and expensive 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Hit: Firm and muscular

The fifth-generation Grand Cherokee was launched on the new WL platform as the longer three-row model, known internally as the WL75. The three-row Grand Cherokee rides smoothly, and its proportions are closer to those of a Honda Pilot than Jeep designers might care to admit. The twin-row WL74 model’s suspension has a firmer ride similar to the latest generation WK2 model. The proportions and size are also similar to the WK2 thanks to a more muscular stance than the three-row model. The firmer suspension tuning gives the shorter WL74 better handling and better body control, and makes it more fun to drive than its longer sibling.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Miss: To justify that screen

My Summit Reserve tester came equipped with a newly available 10.3-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard in front of the front passenger. It was packaged as part of the $4,000 Summit Reserve option group. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would want this screen instead of spending a few hundred dollars on an iPad. An iPad would be mobile, easier to upgrade over time and replaceable. This screen will be stuck on the dashboard forever, and is this really how a passenger wants to watch a movie on a road trip? The screen is also a standalone option on smaller Grand Cherokees.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Hit and miss: The V-8 will soon disappear

My tester came equipped with the optional 5.7-liter V-8 for $3,295. With 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, it’s not much faster than the V-6 :an, which reaches 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. On the positive side, the V-8 sounds great, distributes its power more smoothly than the V-6, and increases the Grand Cherokee’s tow rating from 6,200 lb to 7,200 lb.

But it is also thirsty. The V-8’s EPA fuel economy ratings of 14 mpg city, 22 highway, and 17 combined will make many family members wince, and Jeep recommends pricier 89-octane fuel to boot. During my cold week in Minnesota with the Grand Cherokee, I averaged 13.0 mpg over nearly 200 miles of mixed driving. As the owner of the previous version of this engine in a 2018 Grand Cherokee, I can say that it is decently efficient on the highway in warm temperatures, but it is really thirsty when the weather turns cold.

All of this will be moot because the V-8 in the Grand Cherokee will be gone sooner rather than later, according to Jeep Brand Chief Jim Morrison. Whether or not the new turbocharged inline-6 ​​will replace it remains to be seen.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Hit: Luxury without the brand

The interior of the latest Grand Cherokee in Summitt Reserve form is luxurious. From the open pore wood to the cool touch of real metal on the round shifter to the soft Palermo leather, this is premium stuff. It also comes loaded with heated, cooled and massaging front seats; night vision; heated and cooled rear seats; a head-up display; two 10.0-inch rear-seat entertainment screens loaded with Amazon FireTV; and a 950-watt McIntosh sound system with 19 speakers. These are not items found in the typical Ford Explorer. Instead, they are more likely to grace a BMW X5. Jeep even equips it with ventilated rear seats, something you can’t get in an X5.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Miss: Perils of family life

Despite the advanced materials, Jeep made some poor choices that will make the cabin appear worn over time. The entire front center console is made of glossy piano black plastic. It sure looked good on day one, but by the time it got to my driveway the odometer had clicked over 4,000 miles and the center console looked like it had spent 50,000 miles getting scratched and scratched by kids. It’s not what I’d expect in a $74,880 (including a horrendous $1,795 destination charge) SUV. Should you buy one, be careful with keys or hard objects that can damage the center console and cup holders.

Utility and thirst quibbles aside, the Grand Cherokee has grown into a rather stealthy luxury sedan that will surprise and delight with its comfort and capabilities.

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2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve

Basic price: $39,185, including $1,795 destination
Price as tested: $74,880
Drivetrain: 357-hp 5.7-liter V-8, 8-speed automatic transmission, full-time all-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 14/22/17 mpg
The hits: Luxury interior and features, strong and smooth V-8, firm and controlled ride, muscular stance
The misses: V-8 is thirsty, piano black plastic scratches, passenger infotainment screen seems superfluous

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