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Quick Drives: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit L

Barry Spyker, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

There's an all-new redesigned 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee — including the 4xe hybrid — and a Wagoneer revival coming down the road this winter. But the three-row Grand Cherokee L version, introduced for 2021 and the first three-row Jeep since the 2010 Commander, beat them to the showrooms.

OUTSIDE: The Grand Cherokee L is noticeably bigger than the two-row but should fit in most garages. It adds 7 inches to its wheelbase, 15 to overall length (205 in.). It has a longish hood and trademark seven-slot grille which tilts inward like the old Wagoneer. It also gets new LED lights, a lower beltline with bigger windows. Higher trims get a contrasting black roof and 21-inch wheels.

INSIDE: Gorgeous award-winning interior with Palermo leather seats, wood trim on the top-line Summit. Second-row captain's chairs are ventilated, heated, and they recline and flip forward. But let's cut to the chase: How good is that third row? It has 30.3 inches of legroom, which is better than some, shy of others, but easy to get into. Adults can go there in a pinch but, like most, it's best for youngsters. Cargo area comprises a meager 17.2 cubic feet with all seats up, but 47 cubes with third row powered down and 84.6 with second and third rows down.

PERFORMANCE: A 5.7-liter V-8 engine generates 357 hp and 390 pound-feet of torque; Linked to 8-speed automatic transmission, able to tow 7,200 pounds. Five drive modes — Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand — optimize throttle, steering, suspension traction. Three 4WD systems available and an added Off-Road Group adds skid plates and electronic limited-slip differential. Air suspension virtually wipes out bumps and a separate setting can even lock ground clearance in at maximum ground clearance of 10.9 inches. EPA sets mpg at 21 combined.

 

TECH/SAFETY: Uconnect navigation/infotainment system (among the industry's best) with 10.1-inch screen, available 19-speaker audio with 950-watt amplifier. It also has head-up display and rear camera/mirror. Available driver-assist technology includes Night Vision with pedestrian detection in its digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist. The rest of the safety tech is standard across the board.

BASE PRICE: $58,995

FINAL WORD: Jeep lovers will say, "Where do I sign?" But there are plenty of competitors out there, including Kia Telluride, Volkswagen Atlas and Ford Explorer. On top of that, Jeepers have another dilemma: Grand Cherokee or the body-on-frame Wagoneer?

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