Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

 |  |  |  |  June 15, 2022

Words and Images by Paul Strauss

They say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That’s definitely the case with the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and its top-of-the-line Summit Reserve trim. The styling and refinement of the long-wheelbase SUV benefit greatly from the design, engineering, and technology of its bigger and pricier brother, the Grand Wagoneer.

Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Thanks to its extended wheelbase and 204.9" overall length, the Grand Cherokee L offers more cabin space than a standard Grand Cherokee, making way for a third row of seats in the back. The Summit Reserve rides on big 21" machine-faced wheels which look great alongside the Jeep's shiny chrome trim, which carries across to the perforated 7-bar grille up front.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Like most big Jeeps, it's powered by the company's old reliable Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine, producing 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft. of torque. Working with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it delivers smooth acceleration and good passing power. Fuel economy isn't bad given the size and weight of this fully-loaded SUV, coming in at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and a combined 21 mpg.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Ride quality is excellent thanks to the Jeep's independent front and multi-link rear suspension. The Quadra-Lift air suspension offers excellent isolation on uneven pavement and rough terrain. It can adjust down to 6.5" for easy passenger loading or as high as 10.9" for increased off-road ground clearance. While our test car was equipped with this feature, chip shortages have at least temporarily kept it out of production vehicles. We hope to see it return soon, as it really is excellent. Long drives are made more pleasant by an very good adaptive cruise control system, along with lane-management tech, which helps keep you centered in the lane.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Being a Jeep, of course, the Grand Cherokee L is off-road capable. Unlike other trim levels, the Summit Reserve comes exclusively in a 4x4 configuration, along with a proper two-speed transfer case with 4 Lo and 4 High modes. We especially appreciated the front-facing camera, which displays where your wheels are on the ground, along with a robust collection of off-road pages on the infotainment screen. These can display pitch, roll, steering angle, altitude, suspension travel, and transfer case status. We'd recommend buying a set of smaller wheels and all-terrain tires if you want to do any serious off-roading.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

What makes the Summit Reserve truly special is its elegant and luxurious interior. High-end materials abound, highlighted by quilted Palermo leather seats, a beautiful microsuede headliner, and natural wood trim on the dash, doors, and steering wheel. This is one classy Jeep. Both front seats offer heat, ventilation, and five different massage programs. The combination of cooling and a back massage was quite welcome on the road trip we took from Oklahoma City to Dallas on a scorching late spring day.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

There's lots of great tech here too. A large, 10.1" display tops the center stack. It offers quick access to the UConnect infotainment system, which is still our favorite in the industry with its responsive, intuitive design and ability to store individual user profiles. It also has wireless CarPlay and Android Auto support and provides a consistent interface for audio, climate, navigation, and vehicle settings. There's also a widescreen digital instrument panel, a head-up display, and a wireless phone charging pad. We were blown away by the high-performance McIntosh audio system, which cranks out crisp studio-quality sound through 19 speakers via a 950-watt amplifier. We also love the FamCam feature, which lets you spy what the kids are doing in the back seats using an overhead view.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Second-row passengers can enjoy a similar degree of comfort to the front seat. The captain's chairs and door trim are just as elegant, and there's independent climate control for each passenger, heated seats, and dual USB and USB-C charging ports. There's good legroom and headroom here too, and the seats slide forward to improve access to the third-row seats.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

The back row is only big enough for two passengers, so the Grand Cherokee L seats six. These seats aren't as fancy, and headroom and legroom are more appropriate for kids than adults in the back. But there are some thoughtful touches here, like padded armrests with cupholders and more device charging ports. These seats can easily fold down with to touch of a button and split 50/50 for cargo versatility. Speaking of cargo, you can store 17.2 cubic feet of gear behind the third row, 46.9 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 84.6 cubic feet of cargo with both rows down.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is still one of our favorite SUVs, and the Grand Cherokee L is worth consideration if you need extra passenger space. In Summit Reserve trim, it truly shines with its upscale exterior styling and downright extravagant interior. Our fully-equipped Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve had a $67,090 sticker price, including the destination charge. That may seem expensive if you're cross-shopping with non-premium brands, but it's substantially less than an entry-level BMW X7 or Range Rover, which we think are its closest competitors thanks to its luxurious appointments.Driven: Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

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