Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve review: luxury length

David Linklater
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Base price
Clean Car Fee
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum power kW
  • Genuine luxury vibe
  • Loads of high technology
  • Proper (adult) seven-seater
  • Pentastar V6 doesn't do Grand justice
  • Width in city driving
  • Extra cost for anything other than white?

Meet the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L: all 5.2 metres and seven seats of it.

But in saying hello to the first all-new Grand for 11 years and the first three-row one ever, we have to say goodbye to a few things. There’s no turbo-diesel engine option this time around and no V8 petrol power; the 5.7-litre is still available in the US, but not for export markets. The Grand L sticks with the familiar Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 petrol in New Zealand for now.

But just to put the new (“W75” to Jeep nerds) Grand L into context, it isn’t the true replacement for the previous WK2 version. There’s a standard-wheelbase five-seat W74 model on the way for early 2023, which will also bring a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain option: the 4xe will have a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and 17kWh battery, making a combined 280kW and offering 40km of pure-electric driving.

But for the here and now, we have the 210kW/344Nm Pentastar engine under the bonnet (sorry, “hood”) of the new Grand Cherokee.

Sorry to spoil the flow and possible big surprise at the end, but despite the familiar powertrain the Grand has evolved into a true luxury SUV. To be fair, the old faithful V6 has upped its game as well: it sits on hydraulic mounts for improved refinement and the front axle assembly is now integrated into the engine, meaning it can sit lower, for better handling.

Mind you, it should be posh for the $134,990 tag attached to our flagship Summit Reserve test model. The range opens with the $99,990 Night Eagle and there’s a $104,990 Limited, but the Summit is truly the Grand with everything: the more sophisticated Quadra Trac II Active 4x4 system, air suspension that, Palermo quilted leather seats, grunty McIntosh audio (with faux-analogue output display, love it), wood trim, massage seats with 16-way adjustment, four-zone climate control… and we’ll stop there, because there’s a list of 22 separate items that set the Summit apart from the rest of the range.

Our car also had the $6000 Advanced Technology Group, which includes a heads-up display, wireless charging pad (a good match for the wireless phone projection), Night Vision and theoretically a front passenger interactive display. That last item wasn’t fitted to our early-build test car, but it gives the passenger their own screen for Bluetooth, sat-nav and the ability to send information to the main screen. Like a Ferrari.

The only other option is a paint colour other than white; yes, Jeep charges $2000 for any of the eight alternative hues, even on this flagship model. We’ve kept it, um, basic with our test vehicle. Looks good though.

The Summit interior is a bit “Breckenridge, Colorado country lodge” with all that open-pore waxed wood and quilted leather, but it suits the character of the car perfectly. It’s truly plush, beautifully finished and might inspire you to wear a really big belt buckle. The tactility of the cabin isn’t quite up to premium-Euro standards, but it’s getting there.

The L is a true seven seater. The rear chairs slide-and-tip in one motion for third row access, and those two rearmost chairs easily pass the international industry standard motoring writer test for occupant space – “can I sit behind myself?” – with good head and legroom even for adults, although it’s still ultimately a short-haul situation. You’re a bit knees-up and there’s no foot space under the (second-row) seats in front.

The Summit even boasts FamCam, a roof-mounted lens that allows you to look down on the second or third rows (or both at once) via the main infotainment screen; the bird’s-eye wide-angle view does seem a bit creepy at first, but it’s a potentially handy family feature.

Even in seven-seat configuration, the Grand L still offers 487l of cargo space – which would be a decent capacity for any five-seat family SUV. With the third row stowed (all powered of course) there’s an incredible 1328l. Told you it was big.

The Grand Cherokee has really smartened up on the road as well. The long wheelbase of the L helps with the ride and directional stability, but even on 21-inch wheels it has a really composed gait on Kiwi roads. The biggest issue (and it’s not a huge one) is the road noise on coarse chip, which is partly attributable to the big improvement in refinement in other areas.

At speed you do have to be mindful of the Grand’s weight and width (a whopping 2.15m) on backroads, but it does steer more like a big crossover than a hard-core 4x4. According to the specs it’s still very much the latter, although we haven’t yet had the chance to make the wheels really dirty. Nor we suspect will many buyers of this $140k luxury express want to.

The 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 is one of the few aspects of the Grand that probably won’t wow you, but nor is it a deal-breaker. It sounds quite interesting in an old-school raspy way and the eight-speed automatic provides smooth progress. But it works hard and has a big thirst: our test average of 14.8l/100km was a long way north of the official 10.6l/100km claim and a high CO2 figure means a Clean Car fine of $4887.

Despite that, there’s no doubt the Grand Cherokee L is a watershed moment for Jeep: it takes the brand to the next level of technology and quality, but we rather like the fact Jeep has kept lots of traditional character as well. Check the forward-leaning grille for example, a tip of the hat to the 1963 Wagoneer. No wood on the outside of the 2022 Grand, though.

Sure, $135k is a lot for a Jeep. But if you’re looking at posh seven-seaters with proper off-road chops, the Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve stacks up pretty well. The Land Rover Discovery starts where the Jeep tops out ($134k), and the flagship Toyota Land Cruiser 300 VX is $142k – if you can get one, which you can’t right now.

ENGINE: 3.6-litre petrol V6
POWER: 210kW/344Nm
GEARBOX: Eight-speed automatic, AWD
ECONOMY: 10.6l/100km (WLTP)
PRICE: $134,990


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