Jeep Grand Cherokee: Finally, a 7-seater

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 8

What is it?

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 and four-zone climate control and air suspension.

A $5500 Advanced Technology Group, with head-up display, wireless phone charging, night vision camera and front interactive passenger display, had been 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 later this year, with the option of 4xe plug-in hybrid power.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 7

What’s it cost?

For a vehicle so big, at more than five metres long, the Grand Cherokee L Summit is well proportioned, with a width of more than two metres, yet height well under two metres – giving 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 headlights.

Below is a full grille-width air vent incorporating LED daytime running lights.

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.

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 subwoofer.

Wireless Apple CarPlay 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 satnav, 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.

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-intrusive.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5

What’s it go like?

All models are powered by the tried-and-tested 3.6 litre Pentastar naturally aspirated V6 engine, delivering 210kW of power and 344Nm of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The flagship Summit adds a more advanced four-wheel-drive system with low-range transfer case.

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 legroom.

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.

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 when negotiating such obstacles as roundabout kerbing.

Fuel consumption is a downer. It takes premium unleaded and nudged over 14.0L/100km in city and suburban work.

This was trimmed to 12.0L/100km 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 610mm of water.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3

What we like?

  • Seven seats
  • McIntosh audio
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Roof-mounted, rear-facing ‘kid cam’
  • Top-shelf safety features
  • All three rows are easily accessed

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4

What we don’t like?

  • Thirsty
  • 5.2 metres long
  • Intrusive wind noise
  • Active lane management over-intrusive

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 1

The bottom line?

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.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2

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Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve, priced from $115,450
  • Looks - 6/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 7/10
  • Thirst - 5/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 5/10

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