Jeep’s Grand Cherokee is almost seven years old & has recently undergone an update. Just like Doctor Who, it has changed several times in those seven years & the latest incarnation is comfortably the best. Those nice people in Slough loaned Company Car & Van the top of the range Summit model & although our off-road sojourn was comfortable for the Jeep, it showed us that it’s still one of the best luxury 4×4’s when it comes to going off tarmac.
When FIAT bought the Chrysler-Jeep brand, they were aware that they had to update the JEEP range so that it could compete in a fast changing market place with the likes of Land Rover, whilst still keeping the brands heritage. This was easier said than done. Since Fiat bough the brand, we have seen a number of new entrants into this sector, including Jaguar with the F-Pace, Range Rover with the Velar & sister brand to Jeep, Alfa Romeo with the Stelvio. The Grand Cherokee is up against it, because all three of these are impressive.
The Summit certainly looks the part. It’s big & it’s brash as you’d expect an American SUV to be. Large 20” Polished Aluminium & Technical Grey wheels, chrome grille, fog lamp bezels & door handles, chrome window surrounds & side roof rails, command view dual-pane glass sunroof & deep tint sunscreen glass, all add to the classy look. Inside, the cabin is the best I’ve ever seen in a Jeep. The Laguna quilted leather interior in sky grey with indigo piping & contrast stitching is fabulous, an extra £5200 on the basic Summit price. Standard equipment though is very generous. There’s also a premium Alcantara headliner, heated seats (1st & 2nd row), ventilated front seats, 7” TFT Instrument Cluster with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, heated wood & leather-trimmed steering wheel, power 8-way driver and 6-way passenger seat, a Harman Kardon TM 19 speaker audio with subwoofers & an 825W amplifier.
For off-road aficionados, the Summit comes with hill descent control & trailer sway assist, plus Quadra-drive II 4WD System & Quadra-lift air suspension. Safety features include, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with crash mitigation & blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection with ‘Stop’, lane departure warning, ParkSense front & rear park assist with ‘Stop’ & ParkView reversing camera with dynamic grid.
Jeep have also added Active Noise Cancellation with acoustic glass to make the Summitt super quiet. Even when you push the 3.0-litre V6 diesel to accelerate on the motorway, the cabin noise is kept to a minimum, making hands-free Bluetooth calls enjoyable with no shouting required. A real plus for those who need to chat whilst on the move.
The Grand Cherokee offers 247bhp with torque of 570Nm with an official 8.2-second 0-62mph time & top speed of 126mph. Jeep claim a combined 40.4mpg fuel economy,which is generous as we managed just under 30mpg. Emissions are 184 CO2/km, higher than newer models with newer engines like the Volvo XC90. All in all, the Grand Cherokee just about offers enough to compete with the new kids on the block.
Talking of this, where the Summit matches most of the cars it competes with for kit, tech & looks, it’s seven year old chassis & age let it down. It’s fine on the motorway, happily cruising in near silence, but around town in particular, the 8 speed auto box is slow to respond when asked & the foot brake causes the car to jerk too much when you stop suddenly. The large tyres get over most bumps comfortably. Go fast around a series of bends & the Grand Cherokee rolls around them rather than getting you through smoothly. The Jeep is older than many rivals & it’s here that you notice it. Customers also don’t get a wide choice of engines either. There’s no hybrid or even a smaller 4-cylinder unit to save customers money & allow fleet manager’s to tick the right boxes to keep their accountants happy.
Whilst the price of the Summit may seem steep, £55,980 OTR & with a series of extras fitted to our test car, taking this up to £61,180, when compared to rivals, it’s actually good value & there Jeep lease prices reflect this. From a personal point of view, I enjoyed my week in the Summit which made for comfortable & quiet motoring. As a bonus, a short sojourn across a local muddy farmers field & this after a lot of rain, proved just how good the Grand Cherokee is off-road, so it’s comforting to know that it’s still a go-anywhere vehicle.
Whether you’d pick one over the latest Audi Q7, BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace or Range Rover Velar, it competes against, would depend solely for me anyway, on monthly outlay. In this respect the Grand Cherokee does well. For most though, the fact is that it’s just not as good to drive as the newer models & if you’re happy to pay more, then you can take your pick.
The best Grand Cherokee ever, but not the best in class. 3/5.