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Jeep’s midsize SUV hits it out of the park with the latest generation. We could stand to see some powertrain innovation, but the Grand Cherokee’s premium proposition is sound.
No other midsize SUV comes close to offering the same range of versions and capabilities as the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It can be had with two rows, or three thanks to the Grand Cherokee L. It can be a genuine luxury SUV in Overland and Summit trim levels, or a go-anywhere, trail-tackling monster (that’s a plug-in hybrid no less) in Trailhawk guise. The other trim levels basically exist somewhere in the middle, with generally positive effect. Its beautiful interior packed with well-executed tech can be enjoyed regardless of which version you get.
This something-for-everyone appeal sure makes the Grand Cherokee easy to recommend to those looking for any number of different SUV types. A two-row midsize crossover rival for the Chevy Blazer? Check. A three-row family crossover rival for a Kia Telluride? Check. A luxury alternative to a Mercedes GLE or BMW X5? Check. A weekend off-roading rival for a Toyota 4Runner? Yep, and the luxury versions can take it to Land Rovers, too. Importantly, we think the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L makes a compelling case against them all.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk will only be available with the 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain for 2023. For both the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L, the Limited and Overland now come standard with the 10.1-inch touchscreen, while the Alpine (Limited) and McIntosh (Overland and Summit) sound systems become standalone options on their respective trim levels.
The standard Grand Cherokee is offered with an attractively styled but low-feature interior heavy on gloss black accents and smooth surfaces. A heated steering wheel and heated seats are available from the base model on up (with a package, of course) and high trim levels slather on enough leather and niceties to make the Grand Cherokee a credible luxury vehicle. The Tupelo interior in the Summit Reserve is borderline decadent.
Depending on how you choose to equip it, the Grand Cherokee ranges from conventionally techy to gadget geek’s dream land. The base Grand Cherokee includes the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay paired to a six-speaker audio system, which can be upgraded to a 10.1-inch touchscreen with navigation and either an Alpine or top-flight McIntosh audio system. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB A and USB Type-C and HDMI inputs for personal devices.
A Grand Cherokee L model loaded up with the Summit Reserve and rear-seat entertainment packages will offer more USB ports than most owners could possibly utilize at once (feel free to prove us wrong). A 10.25-inch passenger-side infotainment screen option offers entertainment and comfort options for front-row passengers without tempting the driver with distraction.
The Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV available in either two-row (above left) or three-row Grand Cherokee L (above right) body styles. The L adds 10 inches of overall length, much of which is dedicated to that third row. Its comparably sized to other three-row crossover SUVs (the Grand Cherokee is technically a crossover as it has a unibody chassis), but its rear-wheel-drive powertrain raises the floor and therefore reduces third-row space relative a Kia Telluride or Honda Pilot. It is comparable to the similarly rear-wheel-drive Ford Explorer.
The Grand Cherokee’s load floor is also a bit higher, which applies to the two-door model as well. Cargo capacity is still pretty strong. You won’t find as much space behind the second row as in a Toyota 4Runner or Honda Passport, but 37.7 cubic feet is still on the large side for a midsize SUV. The amount of space behind the second row obviously expands a lot with the L, and is actually decent behind the third. At 17.7 cubes, its cargo space behind the third row (below left) slots in neatly between the Pilot (16.5 cubic feet) and Explorer (18.2 cubic feet). The Telluride bests both with more than 21 cubic feet available in the way-back.
Although there may be some high-performance SRT offerings in the future, for now, the 2023 Grand Cherokee is available with V6, V8 and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
The standard 3.6-liter V6 produces 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, with various four-wheel-drive systems available (see below). Fuel economy estimates weren’t available at the time of this writing for every 2023 Grand Cherokee, but those that were available were basically the same as those of 2022, which we’ll share here. Basically, the Grand Cherokee V6 delivers average fuel economy for the segment at 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for a four-wheel-drive two-row model. Rear-wheel drive is basically the same, while the three-row Grand Cherokee L loses 1 mpg combined regardless of drivetrain.
The 5.7-liter V8 is optional only on the Overland and Summit, and is four-wheel drive only. It produces 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. It can also tow a maximum of 7,200 pounds versus 6,200 for the V6 – both are excellent for a midsize SUV. Fuel economy, on the other hand, is not excellent. It comes in at 14 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined for both body styles.
The 4xe plug-in hybrid pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with an electric motor, eight-speed automatic and standard four-wheel drive. Total system output is 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It can tow a maximum of 6,000 pounds, which is still more than the Kia Tellurides of the world. Last year, the 4xe was estimated to go 26 miles on electricity alone and was rated at 56 miles-per-gallon-combined. Should you drive without recharging, the 4xe gets 23 mpg combined.
Being the go-to American brand for 4x4s, Jeep offers three named 4WD systems for the Grand Cherokee, though two of them are mechanically very similar. The one offered on Laredo and Limited is a single-speed unit (Quadra-Trac I) that behaves much like mainstream all-wheel-drive systems, distributing torque to the front and rear axles as dictated by conditions. A more traditional four-wheel-drive system (Quadra-Trac II) with a two-speed transfer case and therefore a Low mode for rock crawling, is found in the Trailhawk as standard and as an option on Summit and Overland. An electronic limited-slip differential is added to it in the Trailhawk and Summit, and is an added option on the Overland. Jeep markets this version as Quadra-Drive II.
With so many different variations, saying how a Grand Cherokee drives is very complicated. A base V6 Laredo is going to be pretty different from a V8-powered Summit with air suspension, which are both going to be awfully different from a Trailhawk 4xe. In general, though, expect the Grand Cherokee to drive like a more robust and refined vehicle than, say, a Kia Telluride or Honda Pilot. Although geared up for off-roading, those capabilities really don’t hamper it in the same way they do the more rugged Toyota 4Runner – even the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk (above left), with its knobbier tires, remains perfectly civilized despite a bit more noise and some extra wallowing through corners. This civility is increased further in any Grand Cherokee when you opt for the height-adjustable air suspension, shown at full lift in the above photos (Summit Reserve shown above right).
Power from the standard V6 is comparable to various two- and three-row midsize crossovers, meaning it’s perfectly adequate. The available Hemi V8, by contrast, sounds the part and pulls like a freight train on a highway. Of course, you’ll also need a freight train of gas to keep it running. The 4xe is therefore our pick of the litter as it offers the smooth, effortless pull of an electric motor and a turbocharged engine – not to mention more power and torque than the V8. It weighs a lot more, though, but at least that weight is down low, which lowers the center of gravity and enhances that robust, refined feeling mentioned earlier.
Should you be keen on venturing off-road, the Trailhawk is the way to go. It comes standard with height-adjustable suspension, which can raise it higher off the ground than a Wrangler Rubicon. It also gets the top-shelf Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system that includes a locking limited-slip differential, all-terrain tires, and crucially, a disconnecting front sway bar that radically increases wheel articulation. For 2023, the Trailhawk is only available as a two-row 4xe, however. Should you not want that (for instance, you want a three-row Grand Cherokee L), any other four-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee will be more capable off the beaten path than a Telluride, Pilot, etc. due to its low-range-capable transfer case and excellent clearances.
A review of the 4xe plug-in hybrid, including the Trailhawk version, which is now exclusively paired to the 4xe powertrain.
This review focuses more on the Trailhawk and its unique capabilities off-road.
Take a deep dive into the Grand Cherokee’s beautiful interior at its best in the Summit trim level. You’ll also get to see what’s added with the three-row Grand Cherokee L body style.
The Grand Cherokee offers terrific in-car infotainment systems, which we dive into here (including the distinctive passenger-side screen).
Since the two-door Grand Cherokee was launched after the L, some of this review is a bit out of date, but it’s our most comprehensive take on what changed for the latest Grand Cherokee generation and the L in general as a three-row SUV.
A year after driving the L, we got to drive the two-door. If you’re mostly interested in the two-door version, this is a good one to read.
We take a look at the key differences between them.
Although there are a ton of variations, Jeep’s pricing strategy is mercifully simple. There are six trim levels. Their base prices are shown below, all with the rather hefty $1,795 destination charge included. Add $2,000 for four-wheel-drive and another $2,000 for the three-row Grand Cherokee L version.
Summit Reserve: $68,345
The V8 is a $3,995 option on the Overland and two Summit trims.
Pricing had not been announced for the 2023 4xe at the time of this writing. Considering the other trim levels jumped in price by a couple thousand bucks, you can expect a higher price than last year’s starting point of $62,490 for the base 4xe and $65,850 for the Trailhawk. The 4xe powertrain can also be paired with the Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trims.
Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic warning, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop + go capability. Available options include a driver drowsiness warning system, a front cross-traffic warning system, a night vision assist system with pedestrian/animal detection, park assist (both parallel and perpendicular) and a 360-degree camera system.
The Grand Cherokee still had not been crash tested by a third party at the time of this writing.
Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.
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