30 Minute Test Drive: Driving the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve Through Topanga’s Twisties

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The test drive that pushed me even closer to Jeep ownership.

What conditions make driving stressful for you? For me, it’s not being sure where I’m going and roads that twist and turn. While not being sure where I’m going is probably never going to top my list of what makes a fun drive, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve, the top of the line of the newly redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee which now has a third row, might have changed my mind about roads that twist and turn.

Related: The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Has A 3rd Row So Your Whole Crew Can Share the Adventure

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is loaded and smooth but still very much a Jeep. Photo: Jill Robbins

Taking the long way… through Topanga Canyon

I am not currently a Jeep owner but after my experience in the Gladiator Rubicon last year, I crossed over into the land of “I want a Jeep.” It’s not time for a car purchase right now, so any day where I get to test drive a Jeep is a good day. Spoiler alert: I loved the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ll definitely be looking at that as a potential family car when it’s time to buy again.

But, back to roads that twist and turn. I’ve never enjoyed driving on switchbacks unless I know what to expect. A winding road that I’m familiar with = good. Not knowing where the next narrow turn is = not good.

Related: Two Jeeps I can’t wait to drive – or buy

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Have you ever driven through Topanga Canyon? This Jeep handled great! Photo: Jill Robbins

Driving down the PCH through Topanga Canyon to Woodland Hills

I drove the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve from the LAX area down the Pacific Coast Highway and through Topanga Canyon to meet my lunch dates in Woodland Hills. It was a stunning and fun drive. Well, not the part where I made a wrong turn and almost went to Inglewood, but we won’t talk about that.

I was able to let go of the nervousness I usually feel when I’m making tight turns. This is a larger, higher vehicle, although not uncomfortably “I’m driving a bus” large. This enhanced my feeling of safety. I took the corners with confidence, not feeling like I needed to drastically slow my speed. This car has a 3.6L V6 engine so it has some go to it. It was comfortable for me to maneuver on the twisty, turny roads without feeling like I needed to go to either extreme, speed-wise. The standard safety features, such as the blind spot monitoring gave me additional confidence when navigating an unfamiliar road.

That sense of security, plus the way the car handled, gave me the assurance to really enjoy my drive through some amazing scenery. I was driving alone and the “Am I going the right way?” qeustion was a little bit of a stressor. Plus, my phone cable chose this particular road to fail me, which added to the sense of…adventure. That said, if you’re looking for a ride where you can truly enjoy your own head space and your own (really loud) music, the Jeep Cherokee doesn’t disappoint.

Related: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L adds a third row for the first time

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

I did mostly city driving with the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve but I’d love to have more time with it to see what it does on more rugged roads. Photo: Jill Robbins

If the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve were an outfit, it would go with everything

Need an everyday family car – think school pickups, driving kids to sports practice, Costco runs? Check. How about a rugged vehicle that can handle an adventure and all your adventure gear? Check. I can totally see camping and hiking gear loaded up in the back. You have the option of adding on a tow package if you’d like to use this to haul even more.

The beauty of the Cherokee is that it can be many things. This one goes with everything – kind of like basic black, but way cooler.

The plush leather seats and elevated trim contribute to the overall aesthetic, merging classic retro with sleek and modern – it is definitely still a Jeep.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

I really liked the premium leather seating and door trim and the contrast of the camel color to the darker gray of the exterior. Photo: Jill Robbins

Nicely loaded at $66K

The base price for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve is $58,955. The model I drove included the following add-on options:

  • Upgraded paint (stunning Baltic Gray Metallic Clear Coat);
  • Summit Reserve Group (includes trailer tow package, Palermo leather seats and door trim, upgraded wheels and more);
  • Advanced Pro Tech Group IV (includes head’s up display and safety features such as night vision pedestrian and animal detection);
  • Luxury Tech Group V, which includes the wireless charging pad. This is a feature I love to see and I’m glad to see more automakers including this one.

See the full specs of the Jeep I drove here here.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The third row isn’t overly spacious, unless you slide the second row up fairly close to the front seats. Photo: Jill Robbins

With upgrades, this vehicle is $66,435. 18 MPG for city driving and 25 MPG for highway.

As much a s part of me wishes my regular routine involved zipping through Topanga Canyon or cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway blasting my tunes, that’s not what I do every day. I can still see this vehicle as part of my everyday routine, even though reality is considerably less sexy. As a wannabee Jeep owner, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4 Reserve left me wanting more. My test drive was a little bit longer than 30 minutes but you know what? That still wasn’t enough.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

There are plenty of options to configure the seating however it works for you. Photo: Jill Robbins

Disclosure: Jeep provided the Grand Cherokee K Summit 4×4 Reserve for this test drive, but all opinions are my own.

Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins