It’s been about 10 years since the current Jeep Grand Cherokee was launched, and although it’s ancient in car terms, Jeep has done a lot to keep its flagship Grand Cherokee up to date. Over the years, the mid-size SUV has received lots of upgrades; From new engines to new trim, the Grand Cherokee takes good care of itself. Its lineup is so extensive that there is pretty much a Grand Cherokee for everyone. From the wallet-friendly Laredo to the Hellcat-powered and performance-oriented Trackhawk, Jeep has the two-row midsize SUV game well covered. One of these newer trims is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, which is positioned as the most exclusive model in the range and offers luxurious materials and features to offer a better overall experience.
That makes sense. As transaction prices rise, brands are looking for ways to offer even more polished products, and the Grand Cherokee was already highly positioned within the Jeep brand. Offering 20-inch wheels, a unique grille and facade as well as sleeker interior materials, the Grand Cherokee Summit differs from other standard mid-size SUVs. Add an optional V-8 and air suspension under the skin and you suddenly have a really attractive and unique luxury SUV alternative.
We spent a week driving the top-tuned Grand Cherokee and asked ourselves if the experience you get is really worth the extra penny.
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Interior
Designers paid great attention to the interior, where a sea of sewn leather covers most of the cabin. From the dashboard to the seats to the door panels, the Summit’s cabin feels one step above your average Grand Cherokee. Other exclusive details include dark wood details, which contrast really elegantly with the light brown seats that our tester had. The combination of wood and leather on the steering wheel also enhances the luxury experience for the driver.
Although the Grand Cherokee Summit leaves a pleasant first impression, more attention must be paid to the details. There is still a large amount of hard plastic on the lower panels that betrays the Grand Cherokee’s starting price, and the switchgear that looks and feels suitable for a mid-level Grand Cherokee falls short when you pay over $ 60,000 for it. The instrument cluster is also underway for a redesign, as it is completely analog and falls short when compared to the complete digital displays used in other modern luxury SUVs at the summit price.
Still, Jeep has done a good job of keeping the cabin up to date. The 8.4-inch screen for the Uconnect infotainment system works great; it is fast, has modern graphics and is easy to use. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it works in the same way as a smartphone. Some of the controls, such as those for the heated and ventilated seats, are on the screen, but there is nothing to look for menus here – everything is well marked and easy to use. Harman Kardon’s premium sound system with 19 speakers enhances the experience in Summit; it does not matter if you stream a song via your smartphone, use satellite radio or play a USB file.
The Grand Cherokee Summit not only delights front-seat passengers; they please at the back. The second row has heated seats, two USB ports and an optional entertainment system with two screens placed on the front seat backrest. The system adds $ 1,995 to the Summit price and includes a DVD player. The downside is that the player is located in the center console, and it consumes virtually all the space there. These entertainment systems are still useful but are almost obsolete now, as tablets and smartphones can provide more content and games for children at a fraction of the cost.
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: The Drive
Our Grand Cherokee Summit was equipped with the optional 5.7-liter V-8 engine, which sends 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. A Quadra-Trac four-wheel drive system comes standard in the Summit, which will keep the Grand Cherokee out of trouble should it fall off the sidewalk. By the way, the V-8 is a real artist. The engine has plenty of torque to climb slopes or enter the highway and always feels alert and responsive. The eight-speed gearbox holds the gears for as long as it needs to and shifts smoothly when needed.
On winding roads, the air suspension keeps the body rolling to a minimum and regardless of whether you drive over bumps or ruts, the vibrations in the passenger compartment are well controlled. Even while driving on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California, which is known for rippling sidewalks caused by frequent land movements, the Grand Cherokee Summit remained calm at all times. There is no doubt that Jeep has regained its return on investment with the Grand Cherokee. The SUV runs on older Mercedes-Benz M-Class-derived architecture, and this has proven to be a solid strategy, as it does not drive as if it were a decade-old product. The changes that Jeep has made to the chassis over the years have helped keep the Grand Cherokee fresh.
Where we would like to see more improvements is the sense of control. Although it is soft – as most owners would prefer it – there is some feedback from it. The steering is precise, but we wish it gave the driver more sense of what is happening on the road.
Having a jeep means that you should definitely ride terrain at least once. In addition to offering a reliable 4×4 system with a two-speed transmission case, Summit will come with a Selec Terrain System with five easy modes to choose from — Snow, Sand, Mud, Rock and Auto. With the air suspension and the four-wheel drive system, Summit can drive rock crawling or trail running and it will not hesitate to do so.
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Should I Buy It?
Priced at $ 62,775, our Summit felt closer to a luxury SUV than a base Grand Cherokee. Jeep did a great job of modifying things in the big system to make its flagship SUV more premium for those who wanted something more exclusive in the Grand Cherokee series. While there are ways the interior can be improved, drivers get a more premium experience in the Summit than in any other Grand Cherokee.
And even though it’s a decade old, the Grand Cherokee does not feel outdated. Its off-road capability continues to be good, and its handling and power delivery are top notch.
We know the next generation Grand Cherokee is coming soon. How soon? Probably next year. Meanwhile, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will most likely continue to be the best-selling two-row midsize SUV and delight a large group of people, ranging from those who buy the wallet-friendly Laredo to those who prefer the ultimate experience as Summit Deals.
Looks good! More details?
|2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4|
|BASE / AS TESTED PRICE||56,990 USD / 63 375 USD|
|LAYOUT||Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||5.7L / 360 hp / 390-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8|
|PERSONAL WEIGHT (F / R DIST%)||5 236 lb (54/46%)|
|L x W x H||189.8 x 76.5 x 69.3 inches|
|0-60 MPH||6.6 sec (MT estimated)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||14/22/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / YARD||241/153 kW-hours / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.16 lb / mil|