Since we’re in winter mode that comes with snowy, slippery driving conditions, it’s a good time to own a Jeep. A Jeep Grand Cherokee that is.
While we recently tested a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with its exemplary off-road ability, its prowess may not be needed for all folks. As such, there’s the Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 midsize SUV that would nicely satisfy your winter driving requirements and do so in luxurious comfort.
The sumptuously outfitted Summit goes up against such pricey SUV imports like the Mercedes GLE, BMW’s X5 and Land Rover’s Evoque. And does so at less expense.
The Summit is one of several Grand Cherokee trim models with the Overland and Sterling Edition also being top-tier versions with Laredo the more basic model for those who don’t care about frills and leather. With these models you get a choice of a 3.6-liter V6; 5.7-liter HEMI V8; 6.4-liter V8 in the Trackhawk model; and 3.0L EcoDiesel V6.
Our Summit test car was powered by the optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that generates 360-hp and 390 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 14 city, 22-highway mpg with an 8-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a driver selectable Sport mode that changes the trans shift points for better performance, and an Eco mode for better economy. This powertrain combination provides a tow rating of 7,400 pounds.
Want better economy? Then opt for the 3.6L V6 that puts out 295-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 18/25 mpg.
Needless to say, the famed HEMI moved the Summit with ease and snappy power both at low end and freeway passing speeds. There’s no want for power. This engine also powers a host of Dodge sedans so it’s a proven performer.
With 8.6 inches of ground clearance for modest snow depths, the Summit comes standard with Jeep’s Quadra-Lift Air Suspension that increases ground clearance to 10.6 inches for even deeper snow. At its low setting, ingress/egress is made easier for both fore and aft seating after a comfy 21-inch step-in.
Aside from its traditionally good exterior looks, Summit continues that inside the cabin. From its sueded pillars to its heated, quilted, perforated leather seats, clean, uncluttered dash and vertical stack, it reeks of style and comfort.
Grand Cherokee Summit has one of the best touchscreen systems with its 8.4-inch view displaying a host of features including Wi-Fi hotspot and Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment that bundles a bunch of notable niceties including voice recognition, hands-free texting, mobile apps such as Pandora and much more.
Summits’ premier QuadraTrac II 4WD system controller offers six modes of Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud, Rock, 4WD Low, two switches to raise and lower the chassis and a downhill descent mode. You can’t go wrong with this self explanatory system.
Summit’s cargo area with the 60/40 back seats upright is rated at 36.3 cubic feet or 68.3 with them folded. More meaningful, the area measures 38 inches deep, 45 wide and 30 high with the seatbacks up. Flip them and depth extends to 72 inches.
Although it’s a rugged SUV, its ride is civilized, smooth and quiet on 20-inch Pirelli tires. Parking in tight spots is assisted by a self-park feature. Press a button on the vertical stack and the Jeep can park itself after setting it up for a parallel/perpendicular park. Summit is also planted in sharp turns with negligible body lean. It exudes safety and confidence.
With an extremely long list of standard safety features, amenities and niceties including the self park, full speed forward collision warning, blind spot/cross traffic monitoring, lane departure warning, satellite radio, panoramic sunroof, remote start, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, UConnect, Harmon/Kardon audio and considerably more, the Summit’s base price was $43,495. Add Ivory Tri-Coat paint ($595); customer preferred package 2BR ($995) that includes a host of trim items; Signature leather ($4,995); HEMI V8 engine, electronic limited slip differential, QuadraDrive 4WD, 700-amp battery ($3,795); and delivery ($1,095), brought the bottom line to $64,970 exceptionally loaded. This is below the aforementioned competitors comparably equipped models.
While frontal crash was not as yet rated, it did receive the governments top 5-star ratings for front/rear seat side crash and four stars for rollover.
Summit also comes with a 5 year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty and 3/36K basic limited warranty.
The Grand Cherokee Summit could be the answer to your winter driving woes and offers a tremendous amount of content and comfort for the money.