2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4 Review By John Heilig


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2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4


The Auto Page
By John Heilig
Mid Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


Model: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 290 hp @6,400 rpm/260 @ lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 114.8 in.
Length x Width x Height: 189.8 x 76.5 x69.3 in.
Tires: P265/50R20
Cargo: 35.1/68.7 cu.ft. (2nd row up/down)
Economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/17.2 mpg test
Fuel tank: 24.6 gal.
Curb weight: 4,632 lbs.
Sticker: $39,785 ($995 destination charge)

Bottom line: The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a very nice full size SUV. It's a good driver with a ride quality that is just over smooth but never ventures into rough range. There is good power from the 3.6-liter V6. If you want more, get the SRT version. And, as befits any SUV, there's plenty of room for both passengers and cargo.

Jeep has always been the epitome of sport utility vehicles. While the Wrangler resides in a class all it's own, the Grand Cherokee has ruled the SUV segment, not necessarily in sales, but because of its attributes. The Grand Cherokee has been the benchmark for the other manufacturers.

Why?

Well, the Grand Cherokee can rightly claim to be the first four-door SUV, waking Ford and Chevrolet out of their two-door complacency. And, with its Wrangler DNA, it may well be the most capable full-size SUV around, especially since the Hummer no longer exists for civilian consumption.

What of the 2013? There is no loss of its SUV-ness. In Laredo trim, it adds a spice of luxury to the equation as well. No, this isn't the type of SUV that is an SUV in name only. You can still go off-roading to your heart's content all day, then run it through the car wash and head for a more formal evening.

The Grand Cherokee is comfortable. The front leather seats look like black leather chairs. There's a softness to them that makes you want to sit there and be as comfortable as if you were sitting in the house in front of the TV. There is some side support, but not nearly as much as in a Recaro seat, for example. But there is enough to keep you happy under most normal circumstances.

The rear seats have the same chair-like stitching as the fronts. The rear seat backs fold 60/40 with a lever on the side of the seat to increase cargo capacity to 68.7 cubic feet. Under the cargo floor is a temporary spare and some small additional storage space. There are four tie downs on the cargo floor and four more on the sides, so if you're doing some serious off-roading, nothing has to slip and slide around. There's also a 115-volt plug in the rear.

In fact, the front passenger seat also folds flat, if you want to carry longer items. There is a flat floor in the rear to make life more pleasant for the middle rear passenger.

While you're seated in the Grand Cherokee you can enjoy a very good sound system. It has all the options, including a USB port in the center console for your favorite MP3 device.

Under the classic Jeep hood is a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. This is certainly enough for the 4,632-pound GC. If you need more power, you can opt for the SRT version.

Power reaches the wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission. Many competitors offer 6-speeds, but there's no loss in smoothness with the 5-speed.

One of the reasons for the Grand Cherokee's ride quality is its 114.8-inch wheelbase, as well as the weight. These are two qualities that luxury car manufacturers use to their advantage to offer quality ride quality. The Grand Cherokee is only 190 inches in overall length, meaning there are who overhangs front and back. Of course, this information shows that the Grand Cherokee can negotiate the interface between a flat road surface and a sharp rise, called approach angle.

Comfort features include a large, deep console/arm rest that has a tray on top. The USB connection is in the tray, so it holds your iPod without disturbing what's underneath. There are two cup holders in the center and room for water bottles in the doors. Rear passengers, who have very good leg room, also have a pair of cup holders in the pull-down arm rest and water space in the doors.

For easier entry and egress there are four assist handles. The door pulls have bottoms, which I find useful as cell phone holders.

As the granddaddy of all SUVs, the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues into 2013 with the same core attributes ensconced in a slightly redesigned body. Jeep aficionados will not be disappointed.

(c) 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate

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