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Entry price: $32,045

Price as tested: $62,775

Likes: Looks, Hemi power, multi-tasking expertise, Jeep reputation.

Dislikes: Things get expensive quickly, V8 fuel mileage.

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, 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 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 these days.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.


Auto Bits

Movement to make left lanes for passing only

As of Nov. 1, 2019, if you’re riding in the left lane without passing another car in Alabama, you’ll be pulled over and issued a citation. The new law goes into effect as a means of combating road rage. 

It is infuriating to attempt to pass a slower traffic in the middle lane, only to be held up by a left lane parker dawdling along at 62 miles per hour. Other countries have figured out that the left lane is for passing. Why is it that so many Americans have trouble figuring this out?

Part of the issue is the wide disparity in laws and enforcement in the 50 states. In Germany, there’s one uniform code for travel on the Autobahn, and a dedicated police force  keeps the traffic flowing. In the United States, speed limits and laws are regulated by the states and enforced by state police or highway patrol.

But there’s a cultural issue, too. On the Autobahn there seems to be a culture of cooperation. Why would you want to be in the way of a car passing at over 100 mph? In Germany, hanging out in the left lane isn’t just risking a ticket— the offense is seen as coercion and can result in stiffer penalties.

In the United States the attitude seems to be “Get into the left lane as quickly as possible and stay there,” but laws are changing to make it a punishable offense.

— BestRide.com


Did you know

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car worldwide, reaching 44 million sold over 12 generations.