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 OKC on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful exterior. Really sharp looking."
Cons: "Lags in take off unless in sport mode."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Have had 4 recalls on various items. Still am having electrical issues, like the radio will just go off by itself, there is back static in the radio and I have also had the gauge panel go back several times while driving. The gas mileage is considerably lower than advertised. Also the digital clock does not keep time. I have to go into the settings mode about once a week and add a couple of minutes to get the readout corrected. Maybe it's just haunted. IDK. I have had the Jeep 15 months and am ready to trade for a non Chrysler product."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Tom on Monday, July 07, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Cons: "Everything Else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Overall I have to say I had better things to do with my life than nurse this poorly engineered car through the next 5 or more years. Check engine, suspect transmission, groans and creaks, recalls...don't waste your time and then get burned with horrible resale. Got a 4 Runner no rattles, issues or drama... put it in garage and can worry about more important things."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Restore The Shoer on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Bluetooth and XM (Didn't have them on my last car)"
Cons: "Engine, Transmission, Build Quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is the worst car I have ever had. Coming from my 2006 VW Touareg V8 I feel like I have taken a major step backwards. The car handles like an old Buick and has absolutely no steering response. You feel nothing. The 3.6L Pentastar is noisy and slow. The transmission rushes to eighth gear and G-D forbid you have to merge onto a highway, you need to floor the rattle trap in order to get it to jump down to a passing gear. I can not wait for this car to go back on lease. To add to it the car does not feel safe and is poorly put together. The headliner is sagging with only 600 miles on it and I can already hear creaks. Wish I kept my VW. The Touareg was a real go anywhere SUV, the Jeep is a go-kart in comparison"
19 people out of 39 found this review helpful
By One and last on Thursday, June 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, ride, performance."
Cons: "Too many recalls, lower quality paint."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"After five recalls in one year it will probably be the last Chrysler product. It's a shame that a vehicle that drives, rides, and looks as good as this one does has so many flaws. Dealer has been very good, shame on the product."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Tom in AZ on Thursday, June 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,900overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid, roomy, classy, luxurous"
Cons: "A little pricey, V8 gas mileage not great"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It will soon be 3 years that I have owned this vehicle, and except for a fluid leak when the vehicle was new, it has proven to be reliable and safe. I have really enjoyed owning it. It is solid, roomy, classy, and loaded with nice features. I can easily see why it is the most awarded SUV ever! Even though the Hemi V8 is powerful and responsive, I still get about 17 MPG around town. I have no regrets about buying it, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By ChrisM on Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 350overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel mileage, Gadgets, Ride, Audio system"
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have not driven this automobile for very long, I will update this review later, if warranted. But my initial impression is only good. I am getting 25 MPG combined with the diesel engine and the performance is good. It is sometimes slow to accelerate when the 8 speed transmission is in a high gear, but that is easily overcome with more pressure on the accelerator. Shifts are very smooth and I am impressed by the fact that the transmission down shifts, on its own, when going down hill. As for the "costly" urea refills, you can get 2.5 gallons of the stuff at a well known big box store for $12. The DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) filler nozzle is next to the fuel nozzle which makes it easy to refill without going to the dealer, the DEF tank capacity is 8 gallons. This is my second Jeep, my first Jeep was a 2006 Commander, it had the 5.7L Hemi V8. I needed the towing capability, I was happy to see the 3.0L turbo diesel has the same towing capacity. I put 186000 miles on my Commander and the only repair I had to get, besides the normal consumables, was a replacement starter. The reliability of my Commander led me back to Jeep. I gave a 5 to the reliability rating only because I have driven the Grand Cherokee for only 350 miles so far (will update later)."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful