By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
It's not much of a stretch to declare the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee the finest version ever to wear the storied nameplate. Designed during the reign of Mercedes-Benz over Chrysler, the 2013 Grand Cherokee enjoys the benefits of this short-lived marriage by borrowing parts of the M-Class platform. The result is a vehicle so rigid and tight that it makes older Grand Cherokees feel like centuries-old rickshaws. A stunning interior bolstered by cutting-edge infotainment and electronics systems awaits the lucky occupants while, underneath, Jeep's legendary 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems prove the Grand Cherokee hasn't gone weak when it comes to its off-road capabilities. Along with the Laredo, Limited and Overland trims, there is a new Trailhawk model, as well as the performance-oriented, 4WD-only SRT8.
Whether you require the tenacious traction afforded by the Grand Cherokee's three available 4WD systems, or just the controlled balance and handling of the 2WD version, both come wrapped in a solid package with the highest quality materials yet placed in a Jeep.
If room for seven or fuel economy better than 23 mpg top your demands, the 2013 Grand Cherokee won't pass muster. Those looking to keep the price south of $30K may be in for sticker shock once more desirable options are added.
For 2013, the Overland Summit models gain Front Park Assist, power-folding mirrors, headlamp washers and a new black Nappa leather interior option. Also new is the Trailhawk model that includes the Select-Terrain system, Quadra-Lift air suspension, Goodyear Silent Armor off-road tires and rock-rail body protection.
Driving Impressions The Jeep Grand Cherokee's impressive on- and off-road driving dynamics come courtesy of its all-independent suspension. This setup allows a smooth on-road driving experience, yet possesses enough travel to make...quick work of difficult off-road obstacles. Add to the mix Jeep's Quadra-Lift air suspension (4WD models only) and the performance only gets better. Quadra-Lift gives a greater ability to overtake large objects (like rocks) or to ride lower at high speeds, creating more stable handling. As for power, all three of the Grand Cherokee's available engines don't disappoint, from the fuel-efficient yet powerful Pentastar V6, to the stump-pulling 5.7-liter HEMI V8, to the SRT8's audacious 470-horsepower HEMI V8. The Grand Cherokee's power-assisted steering feels better connected to the wheels and, with careful attention to springs and shock absorbers, the wheels feel better connected to the road.
QUADRA-LIFT AIR SUSPENSION
Available on 4WD models only, the Quadra-Lift option allows Jeep enthusiasts an adjustable ride height fully compatible with virtually any on- or off-road condition. If you're venturing off-road, you can adjust the clearance upward by either 1.3 or 2.6 inches while, if parked, you can lower the vehicle 1.5 inches.
OVERLAND SUMMIT SADDLE LEATHER INTERIOR
The leather for the Overland Summit seemingly covers everything in the interior of this grandest Grand Cherokee except the windshield. While wishing the designers hadn't spelled out the model designation on the seat itself, buyers choosing the top trim level will be rewarded on each and every drive.
In designing the Grand Cherokee for 2013, Jeep has executed what can only be called a seismic shift in both design and material selection from previous models. Gone are the cheap fabrics and hard plastics in Grand Cherokees of old, as is the smallish rear seat that provided little in the way of head- or legroom. With a longer wheelbase the rear seat is made much more accessible and passengers will enjoy expanded use of soft materials, real wood trim (in upscale versions) and a much more concentrated effort to make the driver and passenger experience everything they might want in a luxury SUV.Exterior
There's a unity to the 2013 Grand Cherokee's sheet metal that we haven't seen since its initial launch two decades ago. To be sure, the familiar 7-slot grille, hexagonal wheel arches and minimal front and rear overhangs remain, but the whole now comprises various elements much better integrated than before. And visual upgrades in all trim levels, from base Laredo to Overland Summit, result in a 2013 Grand Cherokee family looking decidedly more upscale than previous generations. We especially like the wheel-and-tire fitments, in combination with shortened overhangs; even the Laredo's standard 17-inch alloys fill the wheel wells in a capable, off-road-worthy fashion.
Despite a modest base price of around $28,000 with 2-wheel drive, the 2013 Grand Cherokee comes with dual-zone air conditioning, rear liftgate "flipper" glass, remote key fobs, Jeep's Media Center 130 AM/FM/CD radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels. Those placing a premium on safety will appreciate standard ESC (electronic stability control), electronic roll mitigation and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
For those wanting to keep the price low and the appearance of their new Grand Cherokee up(scale), the Laredo X provides a number of cosmetic and functional enhancements not available on the base Laredo. And for those wanting to improve the Jeep experience even further, a number of chassis improvements will do just that, beginning with Quadra-Drive II (includes 2-speed transfer case and Hill Descent Control), Quadra-Lift Air Suspension (adjustable ride height for both off-road adventure and on-road composure) and Selec-Terrain, which is Jeep's electronic system for delivering all-season capability by providing for five traction-control settings: Automatic, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud and Rock.
For 2013, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's standard 3.6 liter approaches V8-like horsepower and torque levels, yet even when connected to the 2WD platform it has a great deal of mass to motivate. The 5.7-liter HEMI benefits from multi-displacement technology; based on need, the HEMI will operate on all eight cylinders or, with reduced demand, only four. And with the increased displacement, horsepower and torque of the HEMI, owners can enjoy an enhanced towing capability (7,400 pounds versus 5,000 pounds in the V6). The SRT8's 6.4 liters and 470 horsepower bring new life, and a nationwide network of dealers, to the hyper-performance SUV segment.
3.6-liter V6 (Laredo, Limited, Overland, Trialhawk)
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg (2WD), 16/23 mpg (4WD)
5.7-liter V8 (Limited, Overland, Trailhawk)
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (2WD), 13/20 mpg (4WD)
6.4-liter V8 (SRT8)
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg
By BogeyP on Monday, December 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, reliable, fun, and attractive"
Cons: "none that come to mind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Couldn't be happier. Over the past several years this SUV has maintained attractive styling, it's very comfortable for long trips and plenty of room for most anything you need to transport. Good leg room in the back and lots of adaptability with the interior. The upgraded sound system was worth every penny and I've had zero issues with reliability. Highly recommend this Jeep to anyone!"
By jlr00000 on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, powerful engine, quality of interior"
Cons: "See above!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Without going into much detail (because it would consumer several pages), I have been in the dealership for repairs over 30 times in 15 months, which includes several recalls. Some of the issues include: Steering wheel falls apart (replaced by a cracked steering wheel which Jeep refuses to address), faulty key fob sensors which do not allow me to open the rear lift gate and falsely signal that the key fob has left the vehicle -Drooping exhaust pipes, navigation not recognizing common destinations, voice recognition software is basically useless, touch display will not respond to touches many times, speedometer goes blank so I don't know how fast I'm going, rear lift gate handle was falling off and entire lift gate was misaligned, causing water to leak inside, awful gas mileage compared to the competition, an old-style floor based parking brake (Mercedes and others are using electronic switches to activate parking brake), vehicle unlocks itself (have had items stolen from my car because of this), complete incompetence of Jeep to handle this properly (lots of denials, refusals for service, etc.), many more issues... At $53,000 please go buy something else. I will be so very happy if others can learn from my experience and buy something that is worth that amount of money. Looks like I will be reverting back to Infiniti."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By K2 on Thursday, November 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,400overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "V8 power adjustable ride height, heated wheel"
Cons: "small nav screen, difficult nav. , gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Our Jeep Cherokee Overland edition is a fun to drive and well put together vehicle for just under 50k. Many luxurious features and great on and off road with a powerful and throaty 350HP V-8. Don't expect great mileage with the v-8 but enjoy the powerful acceleration and snow eating ability of this beast! The Nav screen is tiny and not very user friendly."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By JQ on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, lots of technology, comfy, sleek"
Cons: "Expensive, heavy, GPS not very intuitive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car new almost 2 years ago, and it's been awesome! There is plenty of power (5.7L Hemi) and it drives very smooth! Even with the big V8, it does decent on gas because of the variable valve technology that shuts down 4 cylinders when freeway driving. Because of this fact, I still average about 20MPG. Lots of technology loaded in it, and it is very fun, reliable and comfortable to drive. Definitely recommend it to anyone asking!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By TJ on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,400overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great power with the 5.7 Hemi."
Cons: "Not sold on reliability."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Has had 3 recalls in less than a year. Shifts a little rough and bogs some before it decides to downshift. Also, under heavy acceleration I get exhaust smell in cab and now I smell antifreeze."
9 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By GENE-O on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "GREAT TO DRIVE."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"FOR SURE THE BEST OVERALL CAR I'VE OWNED AND I'VE HAD ABOUT A DOZEN NEW CARS IN MY LIFETIME. GREAT FOR MYSELF BUT SPOUSE IS A LITTLE SHORT AND HAS ROUGH TIME GETTING INTO AND OUT OF THIS JEEP."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful