More and more Americans are looking to get out and see what the country has to offer as a result of pandemic. Few vehicles are better positioned to make that happen than the 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4.
One of my favorite test drive excursions is the one for which Jeep airlifted a band of scribes into Ouray, Colorado to traverses some the Rocky Mountains’ most challenging trails. Following our morning briefing, all of my colleagues raced to the parking lot to be among the first in line to secure a Wrangler for the journey.
While I too, am fond of the Wrangler, I left them to duke it out and went straight to the Grand Cherokee. Accommodated thusly, I spent a glorious day negotiating dusty, steep and rocky trails, peaking at 13,114 feet. A pair of chilled bottles of water at my right elbow, climate control set to 72 degrees and SiriusXM’s Real Jazz playing a Miles Davis marathon, I marveled at the challenging and exquisite terrain for which the Imogene Pass is both notable and notorious.
Arriving at our hotel at the conclusion of that 6-hour adventure, my “Wranglering” compatriots hopped down from their Jeeps. Reddened from a day of unfettered exposure to-high altitude ultraviolet rays and wilted from their exertions, they were and coated in dust. Meanwhile, I alighted gracefully from the Grand Cherokee, looking as if I had just returned from a quick trip to the grocery store.
Marveling at my crisp appearance, one of them asked, “How is it you look so fresh, while the rest of us look like we just rode through the Valley of the Shadow of Death behind a mule train?’
My two-word response — said with a shrug — was “Grand Cherokee.”
Everything You Love About a Jeep — Plus
I share that anecdote here because it nicely sums up the brilliance of the 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit 4×4, with which I recently spent a week.
Capable of going anywhere any other Jeep will go, the Grand Cherokee does so whilst coddling its occupants in exceptional comfort and near-unrestrained luxury. This is particularly true of Summit-trimmed Grand Cherokees, which feature heated and ventilated front seats along with CarPlay and Android compatibility, as well as four-zone automatic climate control. The package also includes massage functions for the front seats, WiFi and ambient interior lighting.
But wait, it gets even better. A few judicious ticks of the options list also secured a 19-speaker Macintosh audio system with 950 watts of amplification, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection and a head up display. There was also a digital rear view mirror displaying a video representation of what was happening out back.
What’s more, all of this was housed in what is easily the nicest interior treatment any American SUV can claim. I’m talking quilted leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim and multiple high-tech digital displays — including a 10.3-inch touchscreen embedded into the right side of the dashboard for the front-seat passenger. And, being the long wheelbase “L” version my Grand Cherokee Summit also had a third row of seats.
Unmistakably Jeep — Unmistakably Grand Cherokee
Redesigned for the 2021 model year, the look of the ’24 is largely unchanged. Unmistakably Jeep, the 2024 Grand Cherokee looks pretty much like any other Grand Cherokee you’ve seen — except with sharper lines. You can tell it’s the new one right away, but you also know it’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee right away.
Naturally, the iconic seven-slot grille is present and accounted for. So too are Jeep’s angular wheel arches. However, the vertical pillars are narrower than in the past and the beltline is lower. This results in improved outward visibility for drivers and passengers alike.
Robust Powertrain Choices
Energizing the Grand Cherokee Summit’s powertrain was a 3.6-liter V6, capable of 293 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,000. An 8-speed automatic transmission conducted the engine’s output to all four wheels through an electronically locking limited-slip differential. This, teamed with Jeep’s “Quadra-lift” air suspension system, gave the Summit L even more offroad capability, as the Grand Cherokee’s ride height could be increased to improve ground clearance.
Outfitted as it was, my Grand Cherokee was said to be capable of towing up to 6,200 pounds. Had it been equipped with the optional 357-hp, 5.7-liter V8, towing capacity would have been 7,200 pounds.
According to the EPA, the Grand Cherokee Summit L 4×4 can return 18 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 21 overall. I averaged 17.1, according to the trip computer.
Handling to Rival BMWs X5
Jeep engineers say they targeted the BMW X5’s handling as the baseline they wanted to hit. From what I’ve observed, having driven examples of both the Jeep and the BMW, they got pretty close. The Grand Cherokee Summit L displays a remarkable degree of agility, coupled with a compliant ride quality.
Steering is nicely weighted and the braking system engenders a great deal of confidence. Body roll is largely arrested and the Grand Cherokee stays flat when asked for rapid repeated changes of direction.
While that last capability might at first strike you as an irrelevancy, you’ll be appreciative of it when you take a Grand Cherokee to the mountains for a ski trip. Meanwhile, lest you also forget, the Grand Cherokee Summit L 4×4 will also keep right on going when the pavement runs out.
The Best Things In Life Are Free — But
Now, with all of that said, this brilliance comes with a pretty significant monetary ask. Base price of my Grand Cherokee Summit L was $65,710. As equipped, the Jeep stickered for $73,515.
However, one needn’t spring for the loftily priced Summit trim package to enjoy the Grand Cherokee L’s fundamentals. Laredo models start at $43,830. Aiming somewhere in the middle of the range at the Limited package will get you much of the plush, while only requiring you to hand over 53 stacks.
Either way, the 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is definitely worth a look.
I like it.