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One Week With the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

Its been about 10 years since the current Jeep Grand Cherokee was launched, and though thats ancient in automotive terms, Jeep has done much to keep its flagship Grand Cherokee current. Throughout the years, the midsize SUV has received plenty of upgrades; from new engines to new trims, the Grand Cherokee is taking good care of itself. Its lineup is so extensive that theres pretty much a Grand Cherokee for everyone. From the wallet-friendly Laredo to the Hellcat-powered and performance-oriented Trackhawk, Jeep has the two-row midsize SUV game well covered. One of those newer trims is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit , which is positioned as the most upscale model of the lineup and offers luxurious materials and features to offer a better overall experience. It makes sense. As transaction prices rise, brands look for ways to offer even more polished products, and the Grand Cherokee was already highly positioned within the Jeep brand. By offering 20-inch wheels, a unique grille and fascia, and nicer interior materials, the Grand Cherokee Summit distinguishes itself from other mainstream midsize SUVs. Add an optional V-8 and air suspension under its skin, and you suddenly have a really attractive and unique luxury SUV alternative. We spent a week driving the top-trim Grand Cherokee and asked ourselves if the experience you get is really worth the extra dime. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Interior Designers paid a close attention to the interior, where a sea of stitched leather covers most of the cabin. From the dashboard to the seats to the door panels, the Summits cabin feels a step above your average Grand Cherokee. Other upscale details include dark wood trim, which contrasts really elegantly with the light brown seats that our tester had. The combination of wood and leather on the steering wheel also raises the luxury experience for the driver. Although the Grand Cherokee Summit leaves a nice first impression, more attention needs to be paid to the details. Theres still a large amount of hard plastics on the lower panels betraying the Grand Cherokees starting price, and the switchgear that looks and feels adequate for a mid-level Grand Cherokee falls short when youre paying over $60,000 for it. The instrument cluster is also due for a redesign, as its entirely analog and falls short when comparing it to the full digital displays that in use in other modern luxury SUVs at the Summits price point. Nevertheless, Jeep has done a great job keeping the cabin updated. The 8.4-inch screen for the Uconnect infotainment system works great; its fast, has modern graphics and its easy to use. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it works similar to a smartphone. Some of the controls, like those for the heated and ventilated seats, are found on the screen, but theres no digging for menus hereeverything is well labeled and simple to operate. The 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system ups the experience inside the Summit; it doesnt matter if youre streaming a song through your smartphone, using satellite radio, or playing a USB file. The Grand Cherokee Summit not only delights front-seat occupants; it pleases those in the rear. The second row has heated seats, two USB ports, and an optional entertainment system with two screens located on the front seatbacks. The system adds $1,995 to the price of the Summit and includes a DVD player. The downside is that the player is located in the center console, and it pretty much consumes all the space there. Those entertainment systems are still useful but are almost obsolete now, as tablets and smartphones can provide more content and games for kids at a fraction of the cost. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: The Drive Our Grand Cherokee Summit was equipped with the optional 5.7-liter V-8 engine, which sends 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. A Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system comes standard in the Summit, which will keep the Grand Cherokee out of trouble in case it goes off the pavement. On the road, the V-8 is a true performer. The engine has abundant torque for climbing hills or merging onto the freeway and always feels peppy and responsive. The eight-speed transmission holds gears for as long as it has to and shifts smoothly when it needs to. On winding roads, the air suspension keeps body roll to a minimum, and whether you drive over bumps or ruts, the vibrations in the cabin are well controlled. Even when driving on Southern Californias Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is known for rippled pavement caused by frequent land movements, the Grand Cherokee Summit kept its composure all the time. Theres no doubt Jeep has gotten its return on investment back with the Grand Cherokee. The SUV rides on older Mercedes-Benz M-Class-derived architecture, and this has proven to be a solid strategy, as it doesnt drive like its a decade-old product. The changes that Jeep has made to the chassis over the years have helped keep the Grand Cherokee fresh. Where wed like to see more improvement is on the steering feel. Although its softlike most owners would prefer ittheres little feedback coming from it. The steering is precise, but we wish it gave the driver more feel for whats happening on the road. Having a Jeep means that you should definitely go off-roading at least once. Besides offering a reliable 44 system with a two-speed transfer case, the Summit comes with a Selec-Terrain system with five easy modes to choose fromSnow, Sand, Mud, Rock and Auto. With the air suspension and the four-wheel drive system, the Summit is able to go rock crawling or trail running and it will not hesitate to do so. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Should I buy it? Priced at $62,775, our Summit felt closer to a luxury SUV than to a base Grand Cherokee. Jeep did a great job modifying things in the grand scheme to make its flagship SUV more premium for those who wanted something more exclusive in the Grand Cherokee lineup. Although there are ways where the interior can improve, drivers are getting a more premium experience in the Summit than in any other Grand Cherokee. And despite being a decade old, the Grand Cherokee doesnt feel antiquated. Its capability off the road continues to be great, and its handling and power delivery are top notch. We know the next-generation Grand Cherokee is coming soon . How soon? Probably next year. In the meantime, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will most likely continue to be the best-selling two-row midsize SUV and please a big group of people, ranging from those who buy the wallet-friendly Laredo to those who prefer the ultimate experience that the Summit offers. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 44 BASE/AS-TESTED PRICE $56,990/$63,375 LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 5.7L/360-hp/390-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST%) 5,236 lb (54/46%) WHEELBASE 114.7 in L x W x H 189.8 x 76.5 x 69.3 in 0-60 MPH 6.6 sec (MT est) EPA FUEL ECON 14/22/17 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 241/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.16 lb/mile ON SALE Currently The post One Week With the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit appeared first on MotorTrend .

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/jeep/grand-cherokee/2020/2020-jeep-grand-cherokee-summit-drive-review/

 

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