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
The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 2WD has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $28,000, while the better-equipped Laredo X starts closer to $34,000. Four-wheel drive adds another $2,000 to the bottom line. A nicely-equipped 4x4 Overland Summit is fairly close to the $50,000 mark, while the performance-oriented SRT8 tops the group at just over $60,000. In most parts of the country you can lease a base Laredo for around $300 per month. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to check the KBB Fair Purchase Price to see what the Jeep Grand Cherokee is selling for in your area. While Jeep's Grand Cherokee is projected to hold higher resale value than previous generations, it remains an SUV whose resale values remain subject to fuel prices and availability. And Jeeps historically fall short in return on investment when compared to SUVs from Acura (at the high end), GMC or Honda.
By much happier now (NY) on Thursday, December 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good looks inside and out. good gas mileage"
Cons: "electronic transmission shifter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I am updating my previous review from this past July. Back then I was very disappointed with the transmission in this vehicle. It slipped in lower gears when accelerating and it downshifted so hard that it would pull you forward in the seat when you were slowing down. I at the time had high hopes for loving this truck but was very disappointed. Today I took it back to the dealership where I bought it for a recall. I asked them to check the transmission also. I was made aware that there was a computer upgrade for the transmission which the dealer did. I am now pleased to say that this transmission shifts a lot smoother. The slipping has stopped as well as the hard downshifting. For the first time in the 7 months that I have owned this I am actually happy driving it. I had bought this in May when they first came out. I would assume the new ones already have this update done to them. I still don't like the electronic shifter. I am still missing the right gear at times when shifting. Before I had the tranny updated I was seriously considering getting rid of this but now I plan on keeping it. Overall I am now satisfied with this truck."
By tm (CA) on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks pretty, good music sound, roomy"
Cons: "spare tire in car, no CD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"If I could afford a $10,000 loss, I would just get rid of this car. My computer went out after 3 months. The drivers seat moved and had a knock noise when turning left, the track was replaced. Took several trips in to get fixed. My dash has this rattle. It is so irritating, I turn my music up not to hear it. I still have trouble when turning on the steering wheel heat, it's a hit and miss. When it and the seat warmer goes on, there is a significant click. I am working now with a consultant from the manufacturer. Hopefully we can come to a resolution. I am miserable."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By JeepGuyNoMore (MI) on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid, stylish, quiet, powerful, sure-footed."
Cons: "Seat adjuster button in very inconvenient place."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This was my first Jeep and at first I was really impressed with it. It is a very solid vehicle with great styling and trim, excellent turning radius, impressive power and it's quiet. I really liked the 30GB hard drive, too bad they had to put 4 of them in it before we could get one to work right. The BlueTooth is a feature I can't live without, but I learned how for the first year I had this thing. They finally got that fixed, but... Over the 2 1/2 years I've owned this, it's been in the shop for transmission issues 4 times, computer issues 4 times, driveability issues another couple of times and if there was ever a vehicle that should have been taken back under the lemon law provisions, this was it. The real kicker was a buildup of water under the passenger's side floorboards which would slosh around constantly while you were driving...it took a year to find and fix that problem. I've had it. I know people swear by these cars, but I can only swear at it. Once I get rid of this, I'llneve buy another Jeep again."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By DV (FL) on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Technology, fun to drive, comfort"
Cons: "none yet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is AWESOME. Nothing compares technologically. The Jeep drives like a car, smooth and quite. Can't be happier. Don't let any negative reviews deter you, Jeep has fixed the problems."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By doublediamond43 (FL) on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas milage for such a heavy suv"
Cons: "Don't like the default to econ on start up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"If you have any problems with your Jeep FIRST contact customer service in Auburn Hills in Michigan and get a name and a case number BEFORE going to the dealership, this gets the dealerships attention. I had a problem with the Uconnect system, radio presets & navigation losing its mind. Eventually the system was replaced and updated, no problems to date. My other problem was the memory seats not setting to different drivers, after the dealership was unable to solve the problem my case manager and I had a 3 way phone discussion with a tech guy in Michigan we determined that drive # 1 and #2 MUST lock and unlock the suv using only THEIR key fob so the suv knows who the next driver will be an can set the seat position accordingly, do not use the "touch the door handle method" if you are going to use the seat recall feature. This is not explained correctly in any of the user guides or manuals. Unlike some of the revues I can only say that the customer service in Michigan, who were constantly calling me with updates, and on top of the situation, did a great job. The local dealership were great even when I had not purchased it from them"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By mixinit (FL) on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice both inside and out, comfortable."
Cons: "Too many to list!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"In February of 2011 I bought a V6 Overland and from day one there were issues. When coasting to a stop the brakes make a horrible humming noise. Jeeps answer: "its just a minor program problem with no update." Next was a complete failure of the A/C unit @ 9400 miles. Then at 12,000 miles the tailgate window hinge broke away from the glass because the adhesive melted from the sun. Next was the transmission banging into gear, that was another program problem. There are many other things that failed and I'm sure you can get the picture. I'm not one to buy extended warranties but in this case I "thought" it would be wise. The final straw was last week when my whole entire leather dash shrunk and wrinkled literally within 4 days when I left it in my driveway. That problem cost $3800 and of course its not warrantied. This vehicle has been in the shop a total of 24 times in the 33 months I've owned it. Unfortunately at month 24 it was one problem shy of falling under the Florida State Lemon law. I currently still have the jeep but in the process of selling it and never returning to Jeep. At this point its cheaper to cut my losses and go with a better quality manufacturer."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful