What is it: A midsize SUV with serious off-road chops in the highest possible trim level, save for the SRT Grand Cherokee. The Summit is here to sate Jeep buyers who want a bit of luxury in their lives.
Key Competitors: Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot
Base Price: $54,590 As-Tested Price: $60,875
Highlights: The Summit models get a more luxurious leather interior and a new front fascia with revised fog lamps and grille.
Our Opinions: The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a big step away from the “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand” crowd –- it’s comfortable, it’s quiet and it’s stylish. You’ve probably seen your fair share of these if you live in a suburb or while picking your kids up from soccer practice, and there’s a reason: It does everything, and the Summit trim level does it with acres of leather and wood inside. The spacious rear passenger area is more than capable of hauling adults as comfortably as children, and the cargo area should be able to store all the generic athletic equipment or luggage thrown your way.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 churns out a healthy 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. That power is then sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t shudder, jerk or do anything unexpected. Stepping up to a V8-powered Grand Cherokee will net you a better exhaust note and bragging rights, but power delivery is more than fine with the V6 under the hood. Automatic stop/start is standard, but it’s defeatable by pushing a button on the center stack.
As far as tech goes, in the center of the Jeep’s dash you’ll find Chrysler’s UConnect media system powering a touchscreen. This particular tester was missing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but I’ve seen both on other versions of the system, and UConnect generally does a fine job at doing whatever you ask it to do. The audio system is fantastic and feeds distortion-free music to almost ear-ringing levels.
The only gripe about this hulking beast of suburban domination is the price. This thing is expensive at $60K. While it does feel luxurious, and serve up every possible option on the Grand Cherokee menu, it still feels like a stretch for a V6-powered Grand Cherokee.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $54,590
As Tested Price: $60,875
Drivetrain: 3.6-liter DOHC V6, 4WD, eight-speed automatic
Output: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm; 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,952 lb
Fuel Economy: 18/25/21 (EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Options: Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package ($4,995); Summit California Edition($995); skid plate group including front suspension skid plate, fuel tank skid plate shield, transfer case skid plate, under-body skid plate ($295)
Pros: Tons of luxury in the always-enjoyable Grand Cherokee package
Cons: That’s a lot of coin for a 5-passenger V6 SUV