Review: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve V8



Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: June 13, 2022

 



The Jeep Grand Cherokee enters its fifth generation with more grandeur than ever before. It sits on a new platform with fresh sheetmetal, carries over its V6 and V8 powertrains but now with an electrified variant, and its interior is replete with wood accents and the latest gadgets and gizmos. The track has been widened, the roofline has been lowered, there are new active grille shutters and air curtains, and for the first time, optional 21-inch wheels. Jeep is also aiming to move the Grand Cherokee upstream into the $80,000 territory with the Summit Reserve trim, but more on that later.

 

 

This is one of the most refined and sophisticated-looking Grand Cherokees in its storied history. The iconic seven-slat grill remains - it wouldn’t be a Jeep without it - the lines are boxier but cleaner, and muscular hips give it a great deal of road presence, as do the slim and contoured taillights rounding out the rear.

 

 

Inside houses the most noticeable upgrades. The Grand Cherokee finally feels like a proper luxury offering, especially in this fully-loaded Summit Reserve trim, which adds everything from massage seats, Palerno leather surfaces, wood panel trims, and a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system. The design is clean and like the Grand Wagoneer, there is liberal use of both leather and wood accents. The quality here is above par with most Jeep models we’ve seen in the past, at least aesthetically. Fit and finish is good but not impressive or segment-leading. The panels just don’t feel as glued down to place as a BMW X5 or Lexus RX, and the feedback from operating the switchgear isn’t exactly upscale or premium-feeling either.

 

 

What Jeep does exceptionally and consistently well however is with user interfaces. A good thing, as there are touchscreens galore inside the Grand Cherokee, with 10.1-inch displays for both the instrument cluster and center screen, and a segment-first 10.25-inch touchscreen on the passenger-side dash. It’s similar to what they have in Ferraris and the Porsche Taycan, and while it may seem like a gimmick, it actually offers a great deal of convenience for passenger inputs.

 

 

Even though the UConnect infotainment system is one of our most highly regarded units in the business - it’s fluid, lag-free, and works as smoothly as the latest iPhone - Jeep made a conscious effort to keep real buttons and dials. We appreciate this under-reliance on digital real estate, and it makes every interaction user-friendly and it keeps the learning curve low. It’s also hard to complain when the five-mode massaging seats are effectively knurling into our lower back.

 

What also keeps us calm is the peace of mind knowing that our vehicles are safe when traveling on the road. Car thefts, especially now around Canada, are on the rise and that’s why we always recommend having a miTrail vehicle tracker in your personal vehicle. It’s a simple device that simply plugs into the car’s OBD11 port, and you can track its real-time location via a computer or smartphone. In the same light as dash cams or steering wheel locks, it’s an additional layer of automotive security, and we wouldn’t set foot out of our garage without one. You can check out miTrail’s devices here.

 

 

The Grand Cherokee is available with a V6 or V8 engine, both mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The logical and efficient choice would be the V6 with its 293 hp and 257 lb-ft, but those seeking an extra kick in the pants will want the more potent V8 that punches out a respectable 357 hp and 390 lb-ft - it’s also the engine spec we tested.

 

The V8 boasts strong acceleration and quickly launches this sizable Jeep the moment you press the throttle. It’s got that typical naturally aspirated power delivery, which is linear, spritely, and full of gusto in the mid-range. It peaks out early around 5,000 rpm but it’s an area few will ever explore, as you will be driving past most city street limits by that time. The 8-speed gearbox isn’t calibrated to provide the snappiest or sportiest of shifts, and they do take a moment to get going when caught sleeping in the wrong gear, but it’s overall a welcome companion to the V8’s torquey powerband.

 

 

Of note, there are no badges or exterior features to differentiate the two added cylinders - the only way to tell is by popping the hood or by listening to its burblier, deeper, and richer exhaust note. It’s quite subdued in pitch and volume, resonating in the same frequency as a RAM 1500, but it definitely adds a larger sense of occasion when firing it up or sending it down the on-ramp at wide-open throttle.

 

The V8 costs an extra $3,495 and can tow up to 3,265 kg (7,200 lbs) but we don’t think it’s worth the premium (and the subsequent fuel costs) unless towing and high-speed acceleration is of paramount concern. Otherwise, the six-cylinder is more than enough for the daily driver, still boasts plenty of kick, and is more fuel-efficient.

 

 

In an effort to counteract the V8’s thirsty endeavours though, Jeep has equipped it with cylinder deactivation which shuts off four cylinders during light acceleration or cruising situations on the highway. The transitions are smooth and happen behind the scenes without you even noticing. Also new for this year is the Grand Cherokee’s ability to disconnect the front axle to reduce drag on the driveline and to further improve fuel economy. When the car senses that more grip is needed via 4WD, it will re-engage the front axle. Over a mix of both city and highway driving, we averaged 15.4 L/100km and with gas prices on what seems like a limitless rise, we think most will be opting for the smaller V6 instead. At least the V8 only requires 87-octane fuel, somewhat offsetting its startling proficiency at drinking fuel.

 

There’s a sense of heft and heaviness when piloting the Grand Cherokee. It’s not unwieldy and the steering effort can be adjusted within the settings menu but it is not full of feel either, no matter which of the three settings you choose. Though, it does give you enough rotational feedback to know what the front wheels are up to.

 

 

That said, the Grand Cherokee rides exceptionally well even on its 21-inch wheels, and when the road is relatively smooth, is on par with the comfort and road mannerisms of a comparably equipped Audi Q8 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. When it comes to negotiating road imperfections however, the ride in the Jeep is definitely more brittle and flinty. Its air suspension and new semi-active damping help a great deal but ultimately lack the ability to truly mute out the peakier oscillations like its rivals.

 


The Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to impress in 2022. The optional V8 engine is unnecessary but there are convincing arguments to be made for its spritelier attitude towards acceleration and richer exhaust note. Just be prepared for the associated fuel costs. Otherwise, the Grand Cherokee is a well-sorted and enjoyable SUV that expertly blends user-friendly interfaces with an impressive list of upscale amenities.

 


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Specifications:

Model: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit V8

Paint Type: Baltic Grey Metallic
Base Price: $74,045

Price as Tested: $84,970
Engine: 5.7-litre V8
Horsepower: 357 hp
Torque: 390 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD

Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 16.7 / 10.9 / 14.1
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.4

Tires: 275/45R21

 



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