The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit V-6 4×4 ups its game

From 10 steps away, you might not be able to tell how different the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee really is compared to the outgoing model. After all, it’s still imbued with the same stubby front and rear overhangs, tent-shaped greenhouses and trapezoidal fender vents that we know well. The cut of its jib is slightly tougher due to a slight forward slope to its required seven-compartment grille. It’s also a wider machine with wider tires and an even wider suspension that pushes the wheels out flush with the flanks. But even if none of that catches your eye, you’ll know the new Grand Cherokee has taken a big step forward once you open the door and slide behind the wheel, especially if it’s a loaded Summit Reserve, like our $71,080 test sample.

The outgoing Grand Cherokee’s interior had been steadily updated during its roughly decade-long run, but the new fifth-generation top-of-the-line Summit Reserve is on a different plane. All but the base Laredo now comes with leather seats of some description, gradually softening until you reach our Summit Reserve’s sumptuous Quilted Palermo Leather seats, which feature matching leather armrests and door panels paired with open-pore wood accents. The driving position is perfect, and the thick, heated steering wheel feels good in your hands as it frames a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster that’s easily configured using the wheel’s spoke-mounted buttons.

HIGH: Impeccably trimmed interior, refined ride and handling, impressive McIntosh stereo.

A 10.1-inch touchscreen that supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay appears draped over the center of the dashboard. Just below are the climate controls, rotary controls and air suspension, and these bespoke controls have a satisfying feel. The newest Uconnect 5 system has logical head controls and is suitably responsive, but the wealth of personalization options built deep inside takes time to master. What’s not difficult to understand is the incredible McIntosh sound system, which delivers 950 watts of impeccable sound through 19 speakers spread throughout the cabin and comes complete with the brand’s signature dancing blue power meter.

Underway, the Grand Cherokee impresses with a composed ride that largely belies the existence of the corroded asphalt its 275/45R-21 Continental CrossContact LX Sport tires traverse. Multilink front and rear independent suspensions are made up almost entirely of aluminum pieces, with air springs and ZF adaptive dampers expertly tuned – the latter benefiting from a high 200-Hz sampling rate that allows them to respond quickly to surface changes. Bend this Grand Cherokee through corners and you’ll appreciate the intuitive buildup of steering effort as the chassis takes a calming set. It’s no track star, but there’s a lot more available grip than in previous Grand Cherokees. This matches our track test results, which yielded 0.85 g on the skidpad and a 163-foot stop from 70 mph. Compare that to the 0.76 g and 181 ft results we got with the last generation Summit V6 4×4 and you’ll see how far this new generation has come.

Tire and suspension changes loom here, but Jeep has also lowered the engine in the chassis by about 1.5 inches with the help of a new oil pan that allows the front axles to pass through the sump. And the engineers have gone hard for the weight reduction too, with greater use of aluminum, more high-strength alloys and a sprinkling of composites (like in the tailgate). Our loaded Summit Reserve tipped our scales at 4863 pounds, which is 122 pounds less than the 2016 Summit V-6 4×4 we tested.

LOWEST: Summit Reserve price is otherworldly, doesn’t look much different than before, less off-road worthy than other trims.

But that didn’t translate to any more quickness despite the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, identical eight-speed ratios and a 3.45:1 final drive transmission. In fact, our 2022 Summit Reserve lagged by 0.3 seconds to 60 mph (7.4 seconds vs. 7.1) and by 0.2 seconds in both the 30 to 50 mph dash (4.0 vs. 3.8) and in the quarter mile (15.6) compared to 15.4). Perhaps its fatter tires add a little rolling resistance, while the one-inch-wider body punches a bigger hole in the air. This narrow loss is hardly a tragedy, however, as the V-6 4×4 feels peppy enough in the real world and tows the same 6,200 pounds as before. Additionally, the 2022 edition delivers 1 extra mpg across the board: 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway) instead of 21 (18/25). We’ll take it. If you want more speed and an additional 1,000 pounds of towing capacity, the V-8, rated at 17 mpg combined, awaits on the options sheet.

A Summit Reserve like ours isn’t the one to get if you plan to take it off-road a lot, though our Jeep has the same Quadra-Drive II system that combines the Quadra-Trac II active low-range transmission with an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential sliding. Why? First, all Summits have a more street-focused front panel that has a less favorable approach angle (28.2 degrees in the highest position versus 35.7 for the Trailhawk), not to mention the lack of front tow hooks. And then there are the 275/45 tires and vulnerable 21-inch wheels, which are far less off-road oriented than the Trailhawk’s inch-high 265/60R-18 Goodyear Wrangler AT tires and smaller 18-inch wheels. If the space and rubber weren’t enough, the Trailhawk also benefits from a new pre-’22 front anti-roll bar that you can’t get on any other Grand Cherokee. The difference was clear when we drove them both in Moab.

When it comes to rear passenger space and gear hauling, the second row of the new Grand Cherokee doesn’t feel roomier than the outgoing model despite nearly a full two-inch increase in this Jeep’s wheelbase, from 114.8 to 116.7 inches. The cargo space picture improves a bit, as there is now 38 cubic feet of cargo volume instead of 36 with the rear seats up and 71 cubes instead of 68 with the seats down. If you want more rear passenger and cargo space, the new three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L is where to look. Doing so sacrifices some off-road potential, however, as the wheelbase swells to 121.7 inches, and there’s no Trailhawk option.

For the most part, however, the cost of all the improvements that have been made to the 2022 Grand Cherokee comes in the form of higher sticker prices. The model starts reasonably enough if you look at a base Laredo with rear-wheel drive, which goes for $40,120. The limited V-6 that’s sure to be the most popular is still within reach at $46,440, with a $2,000 step up to get all-wheel drive. But the Summit is on another level, with a starting price of $60,095 for a rear-wheel drive example. Our all-wheel-drive tester with the $4480 Summit Reserve package and a few other trinkets rang in at an eye-watering $71,080, and it would have been another $3795 higher with the optional V-8. For that money, it would be nice if it showed the price on the outside, not just the inside. The new Grand Cherokee is significantly better than the one it replaces, but the Summit Reserve represents a luxurious new top that may be priced out of reach for many current fans.

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4
Vehicle Type: Front Engine, 4 Wheel Drive, 5 Passenger, 4 Door Wagon

AWARD
Base/As Tested: $62,095/$71,080
Options: Summit Reserve group (front passenger display, Palermo leather seats and premium headliner, 10.1-inch infotainment display, McIntosh high-performance audio), $4480; Advance Protech Group IV (head-up display, night vision with pedestrian detection, auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital display), $2235; rear seat entertainment, $1995; Luxury Tech Group V (wireless charging and second-row sunshade), $275

ENGINE
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 220 inches33604 cm3
Power: 293 hp at 6400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft at 4000 rpm

TRANSFER
8-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.9-inch ventilated disc/13.8-inch ventilated disc
Tires: Continental CrossContact LX Sport
275/45R-21 110Y M+S

MEASURE
Wheelbase: 116.7 inches
Length: 193.5 inches
Width: 77.5 inches
Height: 70.9 inches
Passenger volume: 107 feet3
Cargo volume: 38 feet3
Curb weight: 4863 lb

CD TEST RESULT
60 mph: 7.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.6 sec @ 87 mph
100 mph: 21.4 sec
The results above omit the 1-foot launch of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.8 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.3 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 117 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 163 ft
Roadholding, 300 ft. Skidpad: 0.85 g

CD FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 14 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 22 mpg
Freeway range: 500 mi

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 22/19/26 mpg

CD TESTS EXPLAINED


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