Entry Price: $32,045
Price as tested: $62,775
This week, we’re driving the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee, delivered in Summit 4x4 dress with an optional 5.7-liter Hemi sitting under the hood. As a fully capable and comfortable 4x4, the Summit comes standard with Quadra-Lift air suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential, making it a more than capable off-road vehicle.
But more so than its 4x4 off-road abilities, most Grand Cherokees are utilized as competent highway performers while the AWD traction is an added benefit when inclement weather arrives. Even in warmer climates where 4x4 isn’t necessary, 2WD Grand Cherokees seem just as popular and offer consumers a chance to own one for several thousand dollars less.
Regardless of model and traction choice, Jeep Grand Cherokee’s best selling attribute just might be its roots, which date back to 1941 and the World War II era. This special Jeep identity still finds customers of all ages gravitating to any and all Jeep brand trims thanks to its heralded military workhorse legacy.
As for the five-passenger Jeep Grand Cherokee, it shares a direct link back to the original Willys Jeep Overland station wagon that debuted in 1946 and succeeded as a multi-task vehicle. Be it a family hauler, off-road adventurer or towing and cargo enabler, this specific Jeep SUV is now in its ninth decade of growth and is clearly one of Fiat Chrysler’s most popular vehicles. Further proof is hidden in our Summit’s leather steering wheel as “Since 1941” is embossed into the steering wheel.
Overall, the 2020 Grand Cherokee receives a re-design tweak here and there and it’s one of the best looking designs on the road today. As for pricing, our upper-class and highly appointed Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 begins at a hefty base of $54,995 ($53,035 for the rear drive) while entry Laredo starts at just $32,045. Clearly, there’s lots of wiggle room price-wise as Grand Cherokee offers an additional five more trims to choose from.
Built in Detroit, Michigan, all upper-class Summit Grand Cherokees, be it 2WD or 4WD, come with an array of standard features like special 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen navigation with SiriusXM, dual-pane power sunroof, 19-speaker Performance Audio stereo with subwoofer, Apple and Android compatibility, leather stitched interior, full-size spare, heated and ventilated power front seats, heated second row seats, ParkView rear back-up camera, power liftgate, and some 15 other amenities.
A $3,795 option adds the 360-horsepower, 390 torque 5.7-liter Hemi V8 package along with a 700 amp battery, an upgraded heavy-duty anti-lock 4-wheel disc brake package, electronic limited slip rear axle and enhanced 4WD system called Quadra-Drive II. A rear DVD entertainment system adds $1,995 and an interior upgrade adds $495. With delivery/destination costing $1,495, these extras bring the final retail to $62,775. If you want the Hemi V8, it is only available in 4x4 dress.
Non-Hemi Grand Cherokees come with the 3.6-liter V6 engine and Jeep consumers can rest assured there is more than enough horsepower (295), torque (260) and towing ability(6,200 lbs.) to take care of just about any need that comes your way. For “ultra-performance” enthusiasts, a Grand Cherokee SRT 4x4 starts at $68,395 with a 475-horsepower 6.4 liter Hemi V8 for power while notable again for 2020 is the 707-horse 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi called the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It starts at $86,900 and is not for the faint of heart. Adrenaline junkies, meanwhile, may apply.
All Grand Cherokees come with an eight-speed automatic built to handle either six or eight cylinder power. Our Summit arrived with 20-inch Pirelli all-season tires on beautiful polished aluminum wheels, which I prefer over the dark wheels that seem to dominate selections these days.
Standard safety features result in Five Star government crash ratings and are the result of modern air bags all around, automatic emergency braking, a tow system with sway control damping, numerous traction controls, electronic brakeforce, hill start assist and much more. The Summit also features as standard the higher-end safety items like adaptive smart cruise with stop, full speed forward collision warning, Lane Sense with lane departure warning, blind sport with cross path detection and parallel parking assist with advanced brake assist.
If you go off road, prepare to experience Jeep’s excellent tough terrain technology. Our Hemi powered Grand Cherokee features the aforementioned advanced Quadra-Drive II system, which is Jeep’s most advanced 4x4 system delivering superior all-weather traction and full torque-transfer capabilities.
These Jeep 4x4 systems are top grade and some 12 vehicle systems can be controlled including four driver select driving modes that affect throttle control, accelerator pedal response, transmission shift points, transfer case operation, traction control and more.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 114.7-inches, 24.6 gallon fuel tank, 14 city and 22 highway with the Hemi V8 and 18 city and 25 highway with the V6, 5,100 lb. curb weight, 36.3 cu. ft. to 68.3 cu. ft. of cargo space, up to 11-inches of ground clearance in off-road high lift setting, and a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Jeeps have been around a long time and they get better each and every year. Your Jeep dealer is awaiting your visit to explain all Grand Cherokee trims, how the traction systems work and any current buyer and/or lease incentives available.
Likes: Looks, Hemi power, multi-tasking expertise, Jeep reputation.
Dislikes: Things get expensive quickly, V8 fuel mileage.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4
Entry Price: $32,045