2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve Review
Price & Equipment:8
Performance & Economy:6.5
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:8.5
Service & Warranty:8
What we like:
  • Impeccably built and beautifully appointed interior
  • Filled with useful tech such as air suspension and a night vision camera
  • Handles well both on and off-road
What we don't like:
  • It's heavy, thirsty and slow
  • It's expensive, even if it is loaded with tech
  • Where's the diesel, turbo petrol or even a hybrid version?
7.8DiscoverAuto Rating:

Aussies loved the previous generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee, with the previous generation soldiering on for a solid decade before being phased out. This next generation Grand Cherokee finally went on sale last year and right of the bat, it looks brilliant – imposing and rugged, but also classy. The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve tested here is also new from the ground up, sharing virtually nothing with the old car thanks to its new platform. For the first time, Jeep also allows buyers to pick from a five- or seven-seat version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee with short and long wheelbases, respectively.

With Jeep finally offering a seven-seat SUV in Australia after a long absence since the Commander stopped production, it has high hopes the Grand Cherokee will have what it takes to win over families looking for a rugged, yet slightly premium SUV. To see whether the Grand Cherokee L has what it takes to succeed as a premium 7-seat SUV, we took the Summit Reserve for a thorough test, to see whether it has the talent to back up it lofty price tag – or if you’re better off with a cheaper Grand Cherokee variant. There’s only one way to find out.

Price & Equipment: 8.0/10

For the 2023 model year, there are four Jeep Grand Cherokee L models in Australia: the base Night Eagle ($82,750 plus on-road costs), mid-spec Limited ($88,750 +ORC) and Overland ($103,250 +ORC), and the top-spec Summit Reserve ($119,450 +ORC or around $129,000 drive away) that we tested here. That’s a staggering twenty-seven-and-a-half grand more than the mid-spec Limited which shares the same engine and gearbox.

Standard equipment on the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve includes 21-inch alloy wheels, rain- and light-sensing all-LED lighting, automatic wipers, roof rails, rear privacy glass, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and start, a hands-free power tailgate, heated and auto-folding mirrors that dip automatically in reverse, quilted ‘Palermo’ leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory, massaging functionality and heating and cooling, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled second-row seating, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, satellite navigation, digital radio, a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, a 950-watt 19-speaker McIntosh sound system, multi-colour LED ambient lighting, power-folding third row seating, a front windshield wiper de-icer, 12 USB ports and Jeep’s ‘Quadra Trac II Active’ four-wheel drive system with air suspension and adaptive dampers.

Safety equipment includes eight airbags, auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, intersection assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, lane keeping assistance with lane tracing assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam, driver attention monitoring, intelligent speed control, an alarm, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parallel and perpendicular parking and a 360-degree camera. The five-seat Grand Cherokee recently earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating but is yet to be tested by ANCAP, as is the seven-seater.

Colour options for the Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve include the no-cost ‘Bright White’, as well as the $1,750-extra ‘Rocky Mountain’, ‘Diamond Black’, ‘Midnight Blue’, ‘Silver Zynith’, ‘Velvet Red’ and our test car’s ‘Baltic Grey’. Interior colour options include black or optional tan. Also optional is the $5,500 Advanced Technology Group, which includes a heads-up display, a second screen for the front passenger, a wireless phone charger – which is oddly standard on models below the Summit Reserve – and a night vision system that fits into the digital driver’s display.

With its pricing now well north of $100,000, the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve is now playing in the Toyota Land Cruiser 3000-series and the Land Rover Discovery sand pit, along with a mix of premium road-going rivals.

An up-spec Toyota Land Cruiser Sahara will set you back just north of $140,000 including on roads and while it may not offer the same level of standard equipment on board, it will be more capable off-road, just like the Land Rover Discovery R-Dynamic S P360 which will easily leave the Jeep in the dust with its gutsy turbocharged engine and cost around $130,000 on the road.

Non-off-roading rivals are perhaps harder to level the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve against. A XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark will set you back around $116,000 on the road, offering more pace than the Jeep, and coming close to its level of standard equipment, but missing out on a dual range gearbox or active air suspension.

Performance & Economy: 6.5/10

Under the bonnet sits the same engine we’ve seen in the iconic Jeep Wrangler: the well known 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6 pushing out 210kW and 344Nm. It’s been carried over from the previous generation Grand Cherokee and there are no diesel or V8 petrol options available this time around.

So how does the petrol V6 go? Sadly, with the Grand Cherokee’s 2270kg kerb weight, the engine really struggles. Its lack of turbocharging exposes a relatively large power and torque deficit. Around town, the drivetrain is acceptable, but out on the open road, the Grand Cherokee longs for more pulling power. Accelerating hard also brings quite a lot of noise and vibration into what is otherwise a very hushed and serene environment.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox does an admirable job of shuffling through gears. It does its best to keep the engine where it needs to be and shifts beautifully. The Grand Cherokee features selectable drive modes, ranging from Rock, Sand/Mud, Snow, Auto and Sport. In each of these, the engine and gearbox work well to tackle the task at hand. Off road, full-time four-wheel-drive system works brilliantly by sending power to the wheel which needs it the most. On the Summit Reserve model we tested, Jeep also includes a low-range transfer case for when the going gets really tough. The Grand Cherokee might not match a Wrangler for off-road ability by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s clear Jeep has worked hard to imbue it with some off-roading talent.

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve has an official fuel-consumption figure of 10.6L/100km on the combined cycle. Over our week with the Grand Cherokee, we recorded around 14L/100km with predominantly city driving. Not a terrible figure for a car of this size, but one which could be a little lower.

We feel that a diesel variant would do wonders for the Grand Cherokee in terms of drivability and fuel consumption. Even the old 180kW/570Nm from its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 from the previous generation Grand Cherokee would work really well here.

Ride & Handling: 8.0/10

The new platform on which the Grand Cherokee is built brings with it a raft of body stiffness improvements which ought to make this generation of Grand Cherokee much more comfortable and sure footed than the old.

On top of that, this top-spec Summit Reserve spec brings air suspension into the equation and offers several modes which alter the Grand Cherokee’s ride height depending on what’s needed. Normal mode forms the baseline for the settings, Off-road 1 is 40mm higher, Off-road 2 is 60mm higher, Park is 46mm lower to aid entry and exit, and when in Sport mode, Aero drops the car 21mm to reduce drag and improve handling through a lower centre of gravity. Quite useful kit and certainly handy when wanting to tailor the Grand Cherokee to the terrain needing to be crossed.

It’s one of the main benefits of going for the Summit Reserve and goes helps in offsetting its extra twenty grand spend over the model under it. The air suspension also reduces towing capacity by half a tonne.

Around town, the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve rides really well. The suspension feels compliant and soaks up larger bumps. The ride isn’t perfect however, with the 21-inch alloy wheels transmitting pretty much every imperfection into the cabin. Small expansion joints or rippled surfaces make themselves known. When cruising, it’s superbly quiet thanks to expert sound deadening, double glazed windows and good sealing.

Behind the wheel, it always feels heavy. The steering doesn’t respond all that quickly, and while it might be nice and light to give the illusion of a lithe body, the Grand Cherokee really makes its weight known through corners. Sure it grips well, but it doesn’t corner all that well with slow responses reminiscent of cars designed to go off-road. It’s clear Jeep has made some sacrifices in this department to ensure that the Grand Cherokee can still be better than average when the black-top ends.

The Summit Reserve also features Jeep’s dual speed transfer care thanks to the inclusion of heavy-duty Quadra Trac II off-road hardware. Being able to select low range will undoubtedly come in handy when going off the beaten track.

The Jeep’s active safety systems work really well, offering decisive but imperceptible assistance when needed. The camera’s are excellent and make driving the over 5-metre long Grand Cherokee a cinch around town.

Interior & Practicality: 8.5/10

This new generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee feels positively luxurious and suave inside. The Summit Reserve spec ups the ante even further with stunning trim colours and elements which really make the interior stand out. Take the slab of real open pore wood which runs the full width of the dashboard or even the beautiful tan coloured Palermo seats. Put simply, the interior feels premium, and thoroughly modern without feeling unfamiliar. It’s perhaps the strongest aspect of the new Grand Cherokee. Overall, the materials feel great and there are thoughtful touches throughout, even if isn’t the most well screwed together car we’ve seen.

Up front, the seats are large and comfortable and the leather nicely quilted and good quality. The seats are vented, electrically adjustable, and come equipped with massage and memory seating position functions. The driving position feels natural with tons of adjustment in both the seat and the steering wheel. The large centre console is perfect for storing odds and ends, and under the large piano black cover, there is even more storage up front.

The 10.1-inch infotainment screen is bright and responsive, and showcases Jeep’s software well. Things are slick and responsive. We’re big fans. Unlike some brands, Jeep still gives you physical heating and cooling controls.

The instruments take a little time to get used to and aren’t the most intuitive to look at or customise. This was the first car I had driven with night vision and I have to say, I was blow away with the tech. The screen highlights pedestrians at night and animals too, making driving the Summit Reserve incredibly convenient out of town where roos abound.

The McIntosh-branded sound system both looks and sounds great. The whopping 19 speakers and a 760-watt amplifier create quite the concert inside.

The back seats are really spacious and have excellent leg and headroom. They slide back and forth, and have the ability to recline too. An armrest, solid cupholders and USB ports are all present and accounted for to keep passengers happy on longer journeys. Things are little tighter in the third row, however.

Access to the third row is great as the seats themselves move up and forwards and the two seats are still comfortable, but legroom is limited if the second row isn’t pushed all the way forward. Overall, this is one of the better third rows to spend time in.

With all three rows in place, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s boot has a massive 487-litres or more than some mid-size SUVs. That’s considerably more cavernous than the likes of the Palisade (311L), Kluger (241L), CX-9 (230L) and Discovery (258L) and the Everest (239L). With the third row down, there is an even larger 1,328L of space. This will likely be the figure for most buyers who don’t plan on using the third row very often and goes to show just how spacious the Grand Cherokee really is. With the second row dropped there’s 2,395L. An amazing result which goes to show the Jeep Grand Cherokee is an absolute peach for transporting large items.

The boot has a bunch of handy features, including under-floor storage, hooks and side storage, along with a well sized 18-inch spare tyre. All three rows fold completely flat.

Service & Warranty: 8.0/10

As with all other new Jeep products, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve comes with a five-year/100,000km warranty with 12 months of roadside assistance that’s topped up a further 12 months with each scheduled service performed at a Jeep dealership. Five years of servicing costs $1,995 ($399 per service) – but thanks to its odd 12,000km intervals, that’s only to 60,000km.

The Jeep’s servicing costs are actually quite favourable when compared to its non-premium and premium rivals. A Hyundai Palisade V6 is also $1995 and a Mazda CX-9 is $1910, and cheaper than the Discovery ($2650) and Touareg ($3000-3600).

The servicing intervals are also more reasonable than the rather short 10,000kms/six months (whichever comes first) service intervals of the Land Cruiser. Toyota’s capped price servicing program covers the first ten services, which are $375 each. This adds up to $750 per year, or $3,750 over the first five years/100,000kms of ownership—assuming drivers keep under 10,000kms every six months. 

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve Rating: 7.8/10

We came away a little torn with the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve. On one hand, it offers an impeccable cabin, handsome looks inside and out, along with tonnes of snazzy tech and an equipment list which really doesn’t leave buyers wanting for more. Sadly, it’s also expensive in Summit Reserve spec, and feels like it should be much closer to the $100,000 it deserves. Add in an undercooked engine which doesn’t match the rest of the car’s premium aspirations and you have the story of a product which has some very high highs but also quite a few lows.

So where does that leave us? The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a car absolutely begging for a more powerful and torquier drivetrain. Be it a hybrid, a turbocharged petrol or diesel, Jeep needs to make it happen. It’s a truly good car, and with some more herbs under the bonnet, it would truly be unbeatable.

About The Author

Eagle eyed in the courtroom and when evaluating cars, Michal shares the DiscoverAuto team's passion for helping empower you to pick which car is right for you. Whether you want to know the most intricate details about a car's engine, or simply which car has the largest boot in its class, Michal has you covered.

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