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 iateyourcat on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good mileage, towing, comfortable, sharp looks."
Cons: "Nav is terrible, radio bad, diesel overly expensiv"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Apparently this form is incapable of interpreting paragraphs. Overall rating of KBB review form, 2/10. Here we go in order of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. If you shop like me you can skip to The Ugly to find out what’s infuriating. OK, now make that little spaghetti western noise. The Good: I love the diesel, the air suspension, the ride and the ability to tow 7400lbs. The cockpit is mostly well designed, comfortable and roomy. This thing gets me (and my trailer) where I want to go in style. Make that noise again. The Bad: In order to get adaptive cruise control and diesel you wind up spending about $15,000 more because of all the required upgrades. This may or may not be bad depending on whether comfort or money mean more to you. Three other issues fall under ‘bad’ for me. The first is the seat positioning button, the one by your left knee. It has two settings. You know why? Because I hit it with my knee every single time I get into the vehicle and it resets. Move this button Jeep. The second bad thing is the shifter. My 2010 Overland had a good shifter. It had a longer throw, felt stable and sure and didn’t have a cap on it that comes off all the time. The 2014 is just the opposite. Finally, what is wrong with 4x4 low? Unless you’re crawling along at 1-2 MPH the vehicle surges on hills like someone is slamming the brakes on. I have a steep gravel driveway. The steep part is 80 yards long. If I travel above an idle in low up this hill I wind up with whiplash and it ain’t from an unsteady foot. Make that noise one more time then cut your eyes back and forth. The Ugly: Who created this NAV of torture? Oh My God! I’ve had this NAV take me OFF a 4 lane interstate at 3AM that had ZERO traffic and ZERO accidents. It routed me through 10-15 miles of country towns. I’ve had this NAV take me off a normal highway to drive me through 30MPH side streets that CAME BACK TO THE SAME HIGHWAY. It literally took me on a D shape. I’ve had this NAV bypass highways for small towns and stop and go traffic on multiple instances. The ONLY thing this NAV is good for is looking at the cool avatar of the Jeep or the Charger. Whoever created the NAV probably had a hand in designing the radio. I like the fact that I can use USB or SD media. That’s great. Unfortunately there are two modes of listening if you like variety; random ALL (all tracks are shuffled (that’s 6000+ songs on my 64GB SD card)) or manual mode where you select genre/folder/song manually. If you try to select, say, a folder or a genre and hit shuffle, you get ALL tracks, not the tracks in the genre or the folder or the subfolders. This radio lacks the basic functionality that Winamp has had since…1999? I’ve heard the apps are not good either but I didn’t bother setting them up. I did opt for the basic UConnect so I can remotely unlock the vehicle from my PC but that’s it. Take the NAV, take the radio and burn em. Cut a hole in the dash where I can put my Phone. Right? Am I the only one who thinks this? Overall the Jeep Limited 4x4 with diesel and technology package was the best vehicle for me. As much as I complain about the items here I can work around them assuming the vehicle stays reliable. If the few nagging issues were resolved I’d be 100% happy instead of 70% happy with my $48,000 purchase."
By madashell on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "No Dealer or Corporate service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Don't buy this car if customer service on warranty items is important to you. I've made countless calls for a warranty issue and am constantly told by Chrysler they have no information and then the dealer tells me the info has been sent. Bottom line I have not recieved a call back more than a dozed times after I was promised a return call and resolution. Don't buy a Chrysler!"
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Cinder1469 on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, great in icy weather"
Cons: "Driver's seat goes flat fast, not comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Jeeps are the best there are for reliability. They handle well, they maintain value. Wish the driver's seat was more comfortable. Jeep seats go flat quickly! Laredo is meant for a tall person (I'm 5'6" female) who can put the seat back with long legs and still see above the dash."
18 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By Bob on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car to drive"
Cons: "The v-8 not good on gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love the car and nothing I don't like except I got the 5.7 Liter and only get 14.8 miles to gallon around town. That is if I don't get on it sometimes. My son in law has a 2014 Jeep Cherokee like mine with the 6 cylinder and gets 19 around town. My mistake so I will trade in and get the 6."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By very dissapointed on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: horrible transmission
Pros: "Overall a good vehicle"
Cons: "Horrible tranny and gear selector"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I bought this 2014 Limited in May of 2013 when they first came out. After 25000 miles and owning it for over a year I had to get rid of it. Since the first day I have owned it I did not like the new 8 speed tranny. I took it to the dealer and they did computer upgrades on it but I was still not happy with it. This tranny shifts through the gears very fast and is not smooth in the lower gears. When shifting from 1st to 2nd and 3rd when it is cold the truck jerks forward and is not smooth at all. It also downshifts hard when stopping. The upper gears you don't even feel it shifting, very smooth. When starting the Jeep shifts too quickly and it feels like it is always in the wrong gear if you need to speed up to get moving. The electronic gear shifter is horrible. After owning this Jeep for over a year I still had to concentrate on which gear I was shifting into. I was still putting it in neutral when trying to shift to reverse or drive. Other than those issues the Jeep is a good vehicle and I didn't have any other problems with it. I had the smaller engine and was averaging 20 mpg. I am normally the type of person who keeps their vehicles for 8 to 10 years but I just couldn't take this transmission. I bought a 2014 Charger which I love. This has the 5 speed tranny and not the electronic gear selector as the jeep has. I could have ordered a 2015 but did not want to as the new model has an new 8 speed tranny and also the electronic gear selector. I absolutely love the Charger and I plan on keeping this for a long time. I just couldn't take driving the Grand Cherokee anymore."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
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."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful