2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4

Refined handling with luxurious style
By Durhl Caussey, Epoch Times Contributor
September 10, 2018 Updated: September 10, 2018

The Grand Cherokee is broad and expansive regardless of which model you choose—the luxurious Summit, the classy Overland and Limited, the go-anywhere Laredo and Trailhawk, or the fire-breathing SRT. Jeep has the perfect SUV for everyone.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has received more awards over its lifetime than any other SUV, with best-in-class 4-by-4 capability, best-in-class towing of 7,200 pounds (when equipped with Trailer Tow Group IV), and best-in-class off-road capability. It is also the most luxurious SUV in its class. The Summit will be the focus of this review.

The Summit model is positioned near the top of the Grand Cherokee line, and it is a stunning SUV. It has refined handling and lush appointments that showcase its luxurious style. The heated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel accompanies the leather-wrapped instrument panel and center armrest. Memory settings for the driver’s seat, side mirrors, and radio are all part of the standard Real Metal Interior Package, which adds stylish metal accents to the instrument panel, steering wheel, and more. And of course, the front seats are heated and ventilated. Even the second-row seats are heated.

The center armrest is rather narrow on my Summit because part of that real estate is occupied by the remote for the $1,995 DVD player package. Personally, with few if any backseat passengers, I would prefer the large, wider, and deeper storage bin under a larger armrest. But buyers have a choice.

You are always connected wherever you choose to go. Uconnect 4C Navigation with an 8.4-inch touchscreen sends sound through 19 Harman Kardon speakers and a sub-woofer. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.

A 5-year subscription to SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic and a 1-year subscription to SiriusXM Guardian are additional features that make the journey an enjoyable experience.

Inside the 2018 Grand Cherokee Summit. (Courtesy of Jeep)

The Summit’s 8.4-inch display is the clearest and easiest to read of any screen in the vehicles I have driven this year so far. The icons are large and easy to find. Just three steps allow you to move easily through the chorus of menu options. Most took only one or two movements. Because of their size, they are easy to identify and touch, bringing you instantly to your targeted feature.

The volume, station listings, and climate control knobs are large. They allowed easy and quick adjustment to temperature, radio, and sound even when wearing gloves.

My test vehicle wore a coat of Indigo paint on the exterior and had an Indigo interior that was contrasted by the premium Ski Gray leather seats.

The curb weight of this beautiful SUV is 6,500 pounds, which matches its size with a wheelbase of 114.7 inches, length of 189.8 inches, and width of 76.5 inches. This big chunk of mass is motivated by a 5.7 L V8 HEMI engine with fuel-saver technology. The HEMI provides 360 horsepower at 5,150 rpm and 390 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. The engine is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Summit delivers a fuel economy of 17 mpg on average. In future model designs, I look for Jeep to improve the 22 mpg highway efficiency over the next few years without taking power away from the engine. Good engineers can do that!

The Grand Cherokee Summit is rich with attractive and useful exterior features. The 20-by-8.9-inch fully polished aluminum wheels keep the vehicle well-grounded and standing tall. This Jeep holds the curve well and smiles along the straightaway in a smooth fashion.

The dual-pane panorama sunroof, polished exhaust tips, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and power liftgate are all part of this exterior ensemble.

In addition, the LED fog lamps, gunmetal headlamp bezels, and heated-exterior mirrors heighten the anticipation of how nice the interior must be.

The Summit is big and bold, and its healthy size provides plenty of room for safety equipment like the Selec-Terrain traction-management system and a lane-sensing feature with lane-departure warning. Parallel and cross-path detection are just a few of the other standard safety features supplied by Jeep’s Summit model.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $53,995 for the 3.6 L Pentastar Summit 4X4.

Some $5,000 in optional features are offered with the Summit. However, most appear to be improvements over standard items that are perfect in themselves, in my opinion. The Summit I drove is hard to improve upon!

Warranty Coverage
3-Year/36,000-Mile Basic Limited Warranty
6-Year/60,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
5-Year/Unlimited Mileage Rust-Through Warranty

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.