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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Expert's Rating

4.9Excellent

MPG 16 City / 22 Highway
Pros
  • Many standard safety features
  • Good optional navigation system
  • Excellent towing ability
  • Good handling with all-wheel drive
Cons
  • Small cabin for large SUV
  • Poor fuel economy
, Automotive Editor -
Substantial updates make it a top pick for those who insist on actually taking their SUVs off-road.

Introduction

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most capable vehicles in its class, providing one of the best combinations of on-road refinement and off-road ability. Even though it's a unibody platform, similar to modern crossovers, the Grand Cherokee is available with sophisticated four-wheel drive systems, air suspension and a computer system that can be adapted for various terrains. But inside, the Jeep has one of the nicest interiors and is downright plush in uplevel Overland trims. There's even a high-performance SRT8 model.

Even the base Laredo trim comes well-equipped. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 found in many Chrysler Group products, making here 290 horsepower and mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry are standard, along with cruise control, automatic headlamps, air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels and six-speaker audio system with AUX input. Stepping up to Limited adds heated leather seats, a navigation system, chrome grille, dual-zone automatic climate control, Xenon headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic moonroof.

The even more posh Overland trim adds Nappa leather seats with a leather dashboard, chrome mesh grille and air suspension. Finally, the hot-rod SRT8 model adds a 6.4-liter V8 engine with 470 horsepower and four-wheel drive. A 5.7-liter V8 is optional on all trims except the SRT8, along with either the Quadra-Trac I or Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive systems. The V8 also comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. The SRT8 gets a unique exterior treatment with lowered suspension and more aggressive springs and settings. An adaptive suspension and Brembo brakes are also added, along with sport seats.

The Ford Explorer has a third-row seat and fuel-efficient four-cylinder option, but it's not as good off-road. The Toyota 4Runner also offers a third row and has a rugged platform for off-roading, but its interior is poorly finished and is less refined on-road. The Volkswagen Touareg comes with comprehensive off-road gear and offers efficient diesel and Hybrid options, but is much more expensive. And the Nissan Pathfinder also offers a V8 engine and boasts a standard third-row, but it's cumbersome on the road and has a cheap interior.

When compared to crossovers, the Grand Cherokee is much more adept off-road and boasts much better towing capacity, as well as offering a V8 engine. Against truck-based SUVs, the Jeep is more civilized and efficient. While the base Laredo is well-equipped, the leather-lined Overland trim and performance SRT8 rival SUVs with prestigious badges costing tens of thousands more. If you're in the market for a midsize SUV, there's likely a Grand Cherokee that suits your needs.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Starting price
$21,888

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

Recommended for: For buyers who want a well-equipped midsize SUV

The base Grand Cherokee comes loaded with modern conveniences expected of a midsize SUV, and offers options to make it a capable off-roader. The Laredo comes standard with the 3.6-liter V6 engine with a five-speed automatic sending power to the rear-wheels. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels also come with the Laredo, as do automatic headlamps, power windows, heated mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry. Inside, there's a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, dual-zone air conditioning, trip computer, anti-theft system and six-speaker audio system with AUX input. The Laredo X package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo cover, automatic climate control, leather seats, heated front seats, power driver's seat, Bluetooth with Chrysler's UConnect system and a 40 GB music hard drive, backup camera, rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Altitude Package also adds power lumbar adjustment for the front seats, special 20-inch alloy wheels, dark-painted grille and trim and a universal garage door opener. The Quadra-Trac I system with four-wheel drive, hill descent control and skid plates is optional, but an Off-Road Package adds the more advanced Quadra-Trac II system, air suspension, towing package and an electronic limited slip differential.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Starting price
$21,888

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

Recommended for: Buyers who want a luxurious and capable SUV

The Limited adds more luxury to the Grand Cherokee, including some popular technology features. Standard features on top of the Laredo X package include a dual-pane panoramic moonroof, chrome exterior trim, bi-xenon headlights with auto leveling, daytime running lamps, keyless entry and start, automatic wipers, a Garmin navigation system, the ParkView backup camera, SiriusXM TravelLink subscription, heated front and rear seats, and driver's memory settings for the seat, mirrors and radio. A power liftgate, power steering wheel adjustment, 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded audio system and cooled seats are options.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Starting price
$21,888

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a posh SUV without paying for a premium brand

The Overland is the most luxurious Grand Cherokee, offering a level of refinement more typical of premium-branded SUVs from luxury makes. Standard is the Quadra-Lift air suspension system, 20-inch alloy wheels, Nappa leather seats that are heated front and rear and cooled in front, a leather-covered dashboard, heated steering wheel and wood trim. The Overland Summit model adds different 20-inch alloy wheels and safety features like front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Starting price
$21,888

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Recommended for: Drivers who want SUV versatility with muscle-car performance

The SRT8 is a high-performance SUV that gets a lot of mechanical bits that sound more at home in a sports car. These include the 6.4-liter V8 with a heavy-duty five-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, a sports-tuned suspension that's also adaptive, Brembo brakes and unique 20-inch alloy wheels. The steering is also sharpened and there's a special body kit with a body-colored grille. Inside, there are leather and suede sport seats, carbon fiber trim and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

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