When you research the word "summit" in a dictionary, it's explained as being the highest level or degree that can be attained. After spending seven days with a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Summit, I can confirm that this four-door SUV lives up to the definition.
My positive impression of the Grand Cherokee Summit comes after having spent enough time to examine the vehicle's level of fit and finish, inside and out, as well as experiencing the very latest in luxury appointments and automotive technology.
The Summit package also proves that Jeep can offer top-tier components that place the legendary brand into the higher realms of the premium SUV market.
For 2014, the redefined Grand Cherokee is more fuel efficient and luxurious than ever. There are five trim levels (not counting the SRT8 that is covered separately), beginning with the Grand Cherokee Laredo, Laredo E, Limited, Overland, and the new Summit. All five are available in rear-wheel or permanent all-wheel-drive configurations.
Fresh exterior design cues gives the '14 Grand Cherokee a more contemporary appearance, wearing slimmer LED running lamps and adaptive bi-xenon lighting units; a shortened upper grille sporting the traditional seven slot motif, aerodynamic front and rear body-colored fascia components, larger LED taillights and bright trim rectangular dual exhaust tips. The refined trapezoidal-shaped wheel arches handsomely fames the optional 20-inch polished aluminum hubs and beefy all season tires.
Standard powertrain for the Summit consists of a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, while my test vehicle came fitted with the optional 5.7L Hemi V-8 that produces a very healthy 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. It includes fuel saver cylinder-deactivation technology that can run on four-cylinders, or all eight, depending on driving demands.
As with each '14 Grand Cherokee, the Summit has the standard-equipped ZF automatic eight-speed with overdrive that helps achieve better fuel economy, and is a welcomed improvement over the five-and six-speed units it replaces.
A further fuel saving feature is Eco Mode technology that optimizes transmission's shifting and throttle sensitivity, as well as lowering the vehicle to "Aero Ride Height" for improved MPG.
During my week with the Summit, and enjoying the heady performance of the Hemi, I understandably averaged less than ideal MPGs. The Monroney sticker had 14 city and 20 highway, or 6.2 gallons per 100 miles.
With the Hemi, the Grand Cherokee 4x2 can haul a gross trailer weight of 7,400 lbs, while the 4x4 setup is capable of towing up to 7,200 pounds.
A third powerplant, a 3.0L clean EcoDiesel V-6 is available at extra cost, delivering a driving range of more than 730 miles, and tow rating up to 7,400 pounds. This new diesel-powered engine is 50-state legal and produces low CO2 emissions.
Interior luxury for the Summit five passenger vehicle is achieved with premium amenities including Natura leather, exotic open-pore wood trim and new color offerings.
The power rear liftgate is standard or available on all 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee models, and with the second row seating lowered, there is a maximum of 68.3 cu. ft of cargo room to haul all sorts of family gear. Above the automatic liftgate is a restyled, more impressive and functional air spoiler.
Additional technologies offered for 2014 number more than 60, including front park assist, and forward collision warning with crash mitigation systems. Occupants will enjoy the Uconnect access via mobile and cloud-based voice texting and a large 8.4-inch touchscreen radio with well organized infotainment controls, making it one of the best on the market.
The Grand Cherokee offers customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot, as well as provide smartphone vehicle-information applications.
Parents will appreciate the available EVTS, which stands for Electronic Vehicle Tracking System, and can send owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters.
I found the redesigned cockpit to be nearly noise-free with a well insulated cabin that kept outside wind, tire, road and powertrain sounds to the absolute minimum. Seating all around offers ample hip, shoulder and legroom for the two adults up front and three passengers in the rear. All the occupants enjoyed the overhead view once I operated the power shade and revealed the large duel-pane panoramic sunroof.
My test Summit included the Customer Preferred package, which added the upgrade Quadra-Drive II 4WD system, electronic limited-slip rear differential, and heavy duty four wheel anti-lock disc brakes. It also contained the 220-amp alternator that easily handles all the electronic accessories.
Base price of the very well-equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 delivered was $50,995, and with the optional upgrades mentioned in this review, the total sticker came to $54,685 - which is BMW, Acura and Infiniti territory.
Warranty coverage is 5year/100,000 mile on powertrain, and 3-year or 36,000-mile basic limited warranty on the
If owners want to further enhance their Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Group LLC offers more than 100 Mopar accessories ranging from $15 chrome valve-stem caps to $1,775 leather seats.
Unlike some SUV on the market, the Grand Cherokee can handle rugged off-roading, and benefits from Jeep's ground clearance of up to 10.7 inches with air suspension, and the improved crawl ratio of 44.1:1 when ascending and descending hills and valleys.
Since it was introduced in 1992, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has become the company's top-selling model, with nearly five million sold worldwide, and with world-class models like the Summit coming off the assembly line at the Detroit's famed Jefferson Avenue North Assembly Plant, this enduring American brand has a very bright future.
In fact, since 2009, Jeep Grand Cherokee sales have increased more than 200 percent in the U.S., and 250 percent outside North America.
Note, that on the '14 Grand Cherokee Summit are several subtle design details that are tributes to Jeep's celebrated history. A close inspection of the headlamps reveals the tiny profile of a WWII Jeep emblazed onto the trim of the left front light unit, and the slogan "Since 1941" stamped on the right unit trim, as well as on the steering wheel rim.
Vehicle: sport-utility vehicle - rear-wheel or permanent all-wheel-drive
Type: four-door (plus tailgate), five-passenger front engine
Wheelbase: 114.8 in.
Overall Length: 189.8
Overall Width: 84.8
Overall Height: 69.3 in. at Roof Rail / 70.0 in. at Antenna
Ground clearance: 8.6 in. standard suspension / 10.7 in. air suspension
Curb Weight: 4545 to 5393 lbs.
Gross Weight: 6500 to 6800 lbs.
Fuel: Unleaded regular, 87 octane
Competitors: Acura MDX, BMW X5, Infiniti QX70, Land Rover LR4