Some would say, not before time, Jeep has brought back an extra row of seats to its
Grand Cherokee large sports utility vehicle range, turning it into a full seven-seat SUV.
While at it, the maker has boosted its iconic off-roader with more technology.

The replacement for the big five-seater, the long wheelbase L comes in three versions,
beginning with the Grand Cherokee L Night Eagle, selling for $82,250, plus on-roads, then
the mid-range L Limited ($87,950) and the L Summit Reserve ($115,450).

The flagship Summit Reserve (on test) included Palermo quilted leather, 21-inch wheels, a
McIntosh premium sound system, front-seat ventilation and massaging, four-zone climate
control and air suspension, while a $5500 Advanced Technology Group, with head-up
display, wireless phone charging, night vision camera and front interactive passenger
display, was added, taking the price to more than $120 grand, before on-road costs.

A new-generation five-seat model – with the same technology and styling as the seven-
seat L – will follow to Australia later this year, with the option of 4xe plug-in hybrid power.

For a vehicle so big, at more than five metres long, the Grand Cherokee L Summit is well
proportioned – width more than two metres, yet height well under two metres – gives the
SUV a bold yet sleek aerodynamic coupe character.
One onlooker compared the test car looks to a Range Rover, which in this case, was a bit
of a stretch, literally. Indeed, at more than 5.2 metres long, the ‘L’ is easy to find in a
crowded car park, as it inevitably sticks out from the standard car space.

The front consists of an upper metallic grille with Jeep’s trademark seven slots flanked by
LED headlamps. Below is a full grille-width air vent incorporating LED daytime running
From the rear, the SUV belies its bulk with simple horizontal lines incorporating
wraparound tail lights and twin alloy tipped exhaust pipes. Side on, 21-inch polished
painted alloy wheels, a standard fitment on Summit, support a sporty street presence.

The increase in the horizontal exterior allows for a boost to the wheelbase and cabin
space in general, something not lost on occupants aboard the test vehicle. In a first for
Jeep, the Grand Cherokee L boasts
Uberesque seating for a driver and six passengers in space and comfort.

All three rows are easily accessed, even the power-operated third row, with the second
row tumbling well out of the way, leaving the back to weigh in with adult leg room.

Carry-on bits and pieces find a home in a range of storage spaces, including a deep box in
the centre console and bottle holders in the centre and doors all round. Rear passengers
have the advantage of retractable blinds, just in time for summer heatwave predictions.

Luggage is not left behind in the storage stakes, with 487 litres available with all three
rows in use, leading up to a cavernous 2395 litres with the two sets of rear seatbacks
folded flat. There’s a cabin-wide cubby under the floor where the jack is stored.

A state-of the-art McIntosh audio is now offered for the first time in a full-size SUV. It is
made up of a 17-channel amplifier producing up to 950 Watts of power through 19 custom-
made speakers, including a 10-inch sub-woofer.

Apple CarPlay wireless support means an iPhone can be connected without having to plug
it into the vehicle. The system brings contacts, audio apps, Apple Maps and more on
board, all through the Uconnect system.

A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster looks after sat nav, along with mechanical features
such as tyre pressure monitoring and driving aids.

There’s a roof-mounted rear facing ‘kid cam’ camera that will police questionable
behaviour in the back two rows. It even has a zoom mode.

All models are powered by the tried-and-tested 3.6 litre Pentastar naturally aspirated V6
engine, delivering 210 kW of peak power and 344 Nm of maximum torque to all four
wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The flagship Summit adds a more
advanced four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case.

Top-shelf safety features take the Grand Cherokee L Summit to new heights. These
include adaptive cruise control with stop/go, full speed collision warning with autonomous
braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Then there’s blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and, last but not least, active
lane management.
All these use a selection of loud warning beeps at times hard to pinpoint the source of the
potential trouble, while driving assistance, such as active lane management, can be over-

At on-road cruising speeds the engine is refined and powerful. However, intrusive wind
noise is a bit of a blow and the expansive exterior mirror stands out as a blind spot for the
driver on negotiating such obstacles as roundabout kerbing.

Fuel consumption is a downer – it’s premium unleaded petrol – which nudged over 14 litres
per 100 kilometres in city and suburban work. This was trimmed to 12 litres per 100
kilometres on a motorway run.

The Summit boasts ground clearance of up to 276 mm, while higher levels of articulation
work to keep all four tyres on the ground to maintain stability. Off road, Jeep 4×4 systems
ensure the right tyre has traction when needed.

Precision steering and optimal wheelbases enable all L models to negotiate tight spots
and manoeuvre around rocks. As for wading, high air intakes and special water sealing,
combined with the Jeep Quadra-Lift suspension, can take the vehicles through up to 610
mm of water.

The Grand Cherokee L Summit is sold by Jeep on the pretext of its size and advanced
technology. If that floats your boat and you have a lazy $100 grand-plus lying around, this
could be the SUV for you.

Looks: 6/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 5/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 5/10

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve: $115,450
Options: Advanced Protech Group: $5500
Premium Paint: $1750
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Jeep dealer for driveaway prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve 3.6L V6 petrol, 8sp
automatic, 4WD)

Capacity: 3.604 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 210 kW @ 6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 344 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol, 95RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.6 L/100km
CO2 emissions 243 g / km

DRIVELINE: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Length: 5204 mm
Wheelbase: 3091 mm
Width: 2149 mm
Height: 1817 mm
Turning Circle: 11.7 metres
Gross vehicle mass: 3039 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 87 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / 100,000 kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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