The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is America’s luxury travel machine

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

There are few things in this world better (and more American) than a road trip with your good friends. I’m sure all of you – as car enthusiasts – can at least somewhat agree with this opinion.

I’m here to tell you that there are few vehicles more up to a road trip than the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. There’s only one real problem: you can’t park it right away. anywhere.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

I’ll get to that later, but first let me tell you what I did with this beast of a vehicle over the weekend. I decided to take one of Stellantis’ larger vehicles on a road trip through the three biggest cities on the east coast.

I started in New York with my roommate and girlfriend Sarah. We then drove the New Jersey Turnpike (the best road in America) to pick up our friend Kelly in Philadelphia. From there we all went to Washington, DC to visit my girlfriend Kara and her cat Clio. We spent the weekend having fun at some of the best restaurants in DC and experiencing the cherry blossoms. It was a pleasant moment. I recommend you get a significant other and good friends.

(Full disclosure: Stellantis gave me a fully loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee L and a full tank of gas to use at my discretion for the weekend. Thank goodness for that gas tank, otherwise I would have spent a paycheck to fill it up.)

Here’s what makes the Grand Cherokee L special: it makes you feel like the most important person on the road at all times. Maybe it’s because the car oozes Americanness, because we’re the most important country to us. The GC L is American luxury done right, and is honestly the closest thing we have to a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that we have on sale today – and I mean in a very proper way.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

When I first laid eyes on my Velvet-Red Pearlcoat Grand Cherokee L, my first thought was the “asshole looks badass, doesn’t it” meme. Indeed, it does. Say what you want about size, but the fact is, Jeep knows how to design a truck. He really looks awesome. There is a bit of a masculine look from the front that really speaks to me. The wheel design, while busy, also makes it look so premium. It has just the right amount of chrome to look distinctly American, but not screaming.

Distinctly American is certainly a recurring theme on the GC L. It’s American-style luxury – big, comfortable and who cares about fuel economy or where to park it. It’s imposing and has a real road presence that you don’t get in many other cars.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

Driving down the road makes you feel like a king – a king with a built-in back massager and three-tier heated and cooled seats covered in the finest leathers a cow could hope to die for.

The Americanness continues once you’re inside the Grand Cherokee L, with just the right amount of plasti-chrome to make each of us feel at home.

Fine leather and contrast stitching continue throughout – your shitty kids will love it. And my friends too. They’re a more low-key bunch than me, but even they could see and feel how great the Grand Cherokee L is to look at and to be inside.

On top of that – there’s a ton of inside. Being an American car, it’s made for us American big bones. The 6’1″ of my body was able to sit comfortably behind me in the second and third rows. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given the length. No, it’s not as long as a Tahoe , but it makes better use of the space. I can’t fit comfortably in the third row of any of these, but in there it was no problem at all.

The “fuck yeah, America” ​​theme also continues under the hood. However, not in my particular test car.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

There are currently two engines available for the Grand Cherokee L – the 290-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and a 375-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. There’s no reason to get the V8, because the V6 provides more than enough power for everything you need to do with it, but you should still get the V8. It almost certainly fits the character of this car better.

Sure, you’ll get bad gas mileage, but who really cares? It’s gonna sound awesome.

Underneath is Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II 4×4 system with multiple modes depending on the terrain. Granted, I haven’t taken this truck off the road or really faced any bad weather, but from my previous experience with Jeeps, I’m sure it will do well off the beaten path.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

You know what a lot of people see when they think of Americans? Laziness. And Jeep clearly felt that too – because they put in just about the best driver assistance and safety suite I’ve ever used. If you want to get really lazy behind the wheel, turn on radar cruise and lane keeping, put a finger on the wheel and let Papa Stellantis do the rest.

Like I said earlier, she’s a big girl – and that means she can be a real bitch to find parking. Luckily, Jeep thought about it. The 360-degree panoramic camera makes parking easy, even in the busiest city center. Hell, you can even press a button and it will park for you. God bless America.

There’s not much I don’t like about the Grand Cherokee L, but no car is perfect, so we have to look at a few of the issues I have.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

I had some issues with the technology – especially the screen lag time. Sometimes the central screen remained blank on startup. I should turn the car off and on again. Eventually it started working. Look, if I’m tired, I can’t really blame the car for being so tired.

I also had a one-time issue with the navigation screen appearing in the gauge cluster. This problem – of course – happened the one time I really didn’t know where I was going in Georgetown. During my 30 minute drive, the gauge cluster just read “Loading navigation data” or something to that effect. Like I said, it only happened once, but it upset me.

I had some issues with the trim coming loose on the steering wheel…on a truck under 4,000 miles. But, what can you do? He clearly wanted Manifest Destiny away from the wheel.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

My final complaint is similar to the one I had with the Mazda CX-50. The material your knee sits on is hard plastic. Car makers, please just put some soft padding there. It’s not such a big request.

So what did we learn about the Grand Cherokee L?

Well, first of all, this baby was supposed to be rolling down the highway with as much shit and people in it as possible in absolute American comfort.

Image for article titled The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is America's luxury travel machine

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

At over $67,000, it’s not cheap, but there’s good American value. Charge one of the Germans like this and you push $100,000. So should you buy one?

Well, my main issue with the Grand Cherokee L is that it doesn’t do anything better than a Chrysler Pacifica. So, I’ll leave you with this – if you’re looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee L, buy a Chrysler Pacifica instead. I know you probably won’t, and honestly, I don’t think so either.

And what could be more American than giving up a good idea for the coolest?

Specifications of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve 4×4

Type of engine

V-6 Regular Unleaded

Gearbox/Drive

Automatic with DO

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