Getting there in style matters, too.
Jeeps are all about the getaway. The mountaintop, the remote beach, the far stretches of ranch land and undiscovered creek beds.
But they are also a staple and comfort in the school carpool lane, the Costco parking lot and restaurant valet.
Jeep: The First Luxury SUV
Before there was such a thing as a luxury SUV, there was Jeep, rugged and ready on the outside with 4 wheel drive and tires that could climb any mountain.
But on the inside it was quiet and comfortable; buyers could spec it out with leather seats, a sunroof and premium audio. It had plenty of power ports and places to stow your stuff, making it the ultimate car for commuting into the city or getting away on the weekends.
Then came the boom of luxury SUVs. Carmakers realized that suburbanites and city folk both wanted a car that handles all our needs and takes care of our creature comforts at the same time.
Still, Jeep stands solidly at the top, continually refining how it delivers on its promise to both be rugged and luxe at the same time.
And what’s best is that Jeep’s true luxury is in its integrity: It does what it does extremely well and without compromise.
The Ultimate Luxe: ‘Wear Your Fur on the Inside’
Designer Roberto Coin designs every piece of jewelry with a tiny hidden ruby in a place that only the owner will see. It’s his signature, but it plays out the idea of putting the most luxurious elements of a product closest to the owner’s experience rather than on a stage for the rest of the world to see. And this is an idea played out well by the Grand Cherokee Summit Edition.
Inside, the Summit Edition is a Chanel handbag with lush details in chic, refined colors and textures. Outside it’s a Tumi bag, designed to endure anything you put it through and still look and function perfectly.
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Even at the standard level, buyers will find leather seats and leather covered dash and door panels as a standard feature, though upgrades can be added to include quilted leather with contrast stitching—all done with a sharp eye for design. A panoramic sunroof is standard as is the microsuede headliner that covers the ceiling and pillars between the windows and doors. The steering wheel is covered in leather and has a wood insert at the top, so no matter where your hands land, it feels good in them.
And, then there are details that just make life better. Like USB ports that are easy to reach (in a cubby under the center console) and lighting so you can see them day and night. There are two in the front cubby and two in the back seat. And, the newly redesigned infotainment system has a modern look and function, perfectly at home in the Summit Edition (and a treat in other Jeep models),
What We Loved
Most of the features on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Edition are standard, which is the start of what I loved. Here’s what else I found distinctive about this SUV:
- These seats: they are sooooo comfortable! And, leather is standard (though I do love the upgraded leather)
- HD radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, navigation, 1 year Sirius XM radio subscription, Wifi hot spot, 19 speaker premium audio
- Driver assist and advanced safety features including adaptive cruise control
- Interior chrome accents
- Rain sensing windshield wipers
- Heated and cooled front seats
- Heated second row seats
- Panoramic sunroof
- Berber floor mats
- Drive mode selector with vehicle height control
- Park assist self-parking feature that finds a spot and then guides the car into it; all you do is control acceleration and change gears when prompted
- Newly redesigned infotainment system with a more modern look and function
- Two USB ports in front, plus a 12V cigarette lighter adapter style power port
- Two USB ports in back plus a 115V household outlet
What You Need to Know
- 4 wheel drive and a skid plate cost extra
- Seating for 5 but more comfortable for 4
- Roomy back seat that makes installing child car seats a cinch
- 36 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row (68 with the second row folded)
- 7,200 lbs tow capacity
- 24-gallon fuel tank
- 18MPG city/25 MPG highway (we averaged about 20 MPG)
What This Car Costs
Rather than configuring a Jeep Grand Cherokee by assembling a list of features each with its own price, Jeep did the work for you. The result is 13 trim levels that each deliver an increasing level of luxury and performance. The Laredo base model starts at $32,240. The mid-range Limited X model is about $45,000, and the Summit, which starts at $52,590, is bested only by the performance SRT ($69,000) and Trackhawk ($87,000 but it has the HellCat engine) models.
But for the price, it includes a ton of standard features such as and includes leather seats, 8.4” touch screen. From there, buyers options include:
- 4WD, $3,000
- Choice of paint color (Bright White is standard and no charge) for $195, though my favorite, Ivory Tri-Coat, a gleaming pearlescent color, is $595
- DVD player with dual screens and wireless headphones, $1,995
- Premium leather $4,995
- Platinum Group details such as door handles and side mirrors the same color as the body, roof rails and 20” wheels,
- Skid plate $295 to protect the underside when off-roading
- Upgrade to the V8 engine for $3,895
- Price for the model we test drove, including $1,495 delivery charge, about $63,225
You can play with the features and pricing and also, Jeep’s site includes a nice payment calculator that lets you toggle between purchase and lease payments. I found this feature to be very handy in considering all the options.
Luxury You Can Really Live In
I love luxury. But to me, luxury means style, longevity and integrity without compromise. My handbag has to be able to handle all I toss in it and everywhere I take it; and then, it has to look good too. That’s what I invest in when I buy a luxury bag. The same goes for my car: I expect it to perform well and look good doing it. And if it has the right DNA, if its lines of integrity run deep, if its designers start with what I need from this product, they’ll get it right. Jeep’s designers are clearly thinking this too, and have for a long time. And, then the Summit Edition takes it all a step further, giving its owners a sublime experience, like being cradled in a Chanel handbag. Which is just where I want to be for each and every journey.
What We Listened to in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Edition
Disclosure: The Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Edition was provided for this review; all opinions are my own.