A few years ago, automakers were arguing that SUVs that didn't have a third row of seating were a lot harder to sell. It was easier to tell someone who never needed that third row to simply fold it down than it was to make a case for a five-seat SUV. Times, tastes and demands change, and it would appear Jeep believes there's room for both types of SUV---two-row and three-row.
In November, I reviewed the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. That's the three-row version of the new Grand Cherokee. This is the Grand Cherokee---the two-row.
In most three-row SUVs, save the truly huge ones (Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, Ford Expedition Max, Lincoln Navigator Long Wheelbase, Grand Wagoneer), there's a compromise involved in a third row, either in terms of legroom for the wayback or in terms of cargo space. The Grand Cherokee L skirts that problem with a seven-inch stretch of the wheelbase and a total of 15 extra inches of length. And it's more than just a stretch, as the L is 2.2 inches wider than the Grand Cherokee. Which right-sizes room for people and things for both vehicles rather than cramming a third row into the Grand Cherokee.
Grand Cherokees come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, but our tester is a loaded top-of-the line Summit Reserve 4X4. That's an optional ($3,295) 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 357 horsepower and 390 pounds per foot of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sixty miles an hour from a standing start happens in about seven seconds. And yes, there's a fuel economy penalty to be paid for that power---the EPA average is 14 city/22 highway. The power comes on smooth, matching the ride and the handling of the vehicle itself. The new Grand Cherokee is a very pleasant machine to drive.
While Jeep Grand Cherokee prices start just above $40,000, the Summit Reserve 4X4 is a healthy jump at $59,365. And the optional equipment on our tester takes it to another level beyond that.
Those options? $395 for the Sliver Zynith paint, $4,000 for the Summit Reserve Group (front passenger interactive display, 21-inch machine face/painted aluminum wheels, Palermo leather seats, a 19-inch McIntosh high-performance audio system with a 950-watt amplifier and active noise control, ventilated rear seats, a deluxe headliner and Palermo leather door trim), $1,995 for the Advanced Protect Group IV (head-up display, NightVision with pedestrian and animal detection and a rear-view auto-dimming digital display mirror), $1,995 for the Rear Seat Video Group I (seatback video screens and Amazon Fire TV), $245 for the Luxury Tech Group V (wireless charging pad and manual second-row window shades)---and, as mentioned before, $3,295 for the Hemi V8.
With $1,795 destination, the as-tested price of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4X4 is $73,085, or about 33 grand more than a base 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
That may seem like quite a price difference, but Jeep has an interesting selling proposition---it can do basic SUVs with superior off-road capability and it also does convincing luxury. Having driven top-of-the-line examples of the Grand Cherokee, Grand Cherokee L and the Grand Wagoneer (which does not bear a "Jeep" badge), I can say that these are vehicles that can, with a straight face, be cross-shopped against established luxury brands.