2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee (2023)

Freshly redesigned last year for the first time in more than a decade, the fifth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee keeps all the model’s traditions while bringing lots of new features to the table. Its striking sheetmetal is fresh while also recalling its predecessors. Its interior can be utilitarian or downright luxurious. It’s versatile inside too, although there’s also a new three-row model, the Grand Cherokee L, which we review separately. It also drives well, offering plug-in hybrid power and serious off-road bona fides that don’t compromise its on-road behavior. Of course, it isn’t cheap.

Although it starts at just $41,330 (including a $1,795 destination fee), tick all the Grand Cherokee boxes and the MSRP gets grand indeed, soaring above $85,000 for a loaded Summit Reserve 4xe PHEV. But that’s a luxury machine that won’t look out of place at the Augusta National Golf Club, and the Grand Cherokee has always skewed premium. After last year’s redesign, 2023 sees two big changes: the formerly optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is gone and the most capable off-road trim, the Trailhawk, now comes only as the 4xe PHEV.

That huge price range also means the Grand Cherokee competes against a huge array of other SUVs. The lower-end and mid-range models (Laredo, Altitude and Limited) the more affordable end, it vies with the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-90 and Toyota 4Runner. Opt for a higher trim (Overland, Trailhawk, Summit or Summit Reserve) or a 4xe model and you’re in premium territory against the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Genesis GV80 and Land Rover Defender. Those low-end models are well equipped though, and the top models get niceties like massaging front seats, night-vision and a front-passenger infotainment screen.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee (1)

Although the long-running Hemi is now gone, Jeep still offers a pair of powertrain choices. A 273-horsepower V6 is standard, while the 4xe PHEV, mates a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to deliver 375 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque, appreciably more grunt than the old V8. There are also three different available four-wheel drive (4WD) systems, the burliest of which goes into the adventurous Trailhawk, which also boasts an adjustable air suspension and electronically-disconnecting swaybar. It’s as capable off-road as the 4Runner or GX, but nicer to drive on the road.

Grand Cherokee fans who need maximum space will want to check out the three-row L, but for two-row SUV shoppers who don’t want something that big (the L is almost a foot longer overall) the regular version is quite versatile. Passenger space is above average for the class and while the body shell’s provisions for off-road hardware reduce space a little, so is the cargo hold. This is a comfortable machine and at the high trims a luxurious one, but the low-end models might seem a little plain inside compared to similarly-priced Tellurides or Palisades.

In many areas, the redesigned Grand Cherokee represents a formidable upgrade over its dated predecessor in interior comfort, efficiency, safety and technology. There’s now a comprehensive suite of standard active-safety gear and updated digital systems, with lots of screen acreage and crisp graphics. The plug-in hybrid also offers mileage approaching that of the old Diesel model plus 26 miles of electric range. The price can soar, yes, and the low-end versions are a bit lacking on efficiency and poshness, but the redesigned Grand Cherokee is a standout in many ways.

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Performance: 14/15

This year there are just two powertrains, with the long-running 5.7-liter Hemi V8 now discontinued. The Hemi will no doubt be missed by some, but any sadness over its passing should be salved by the oomph provided by the 4xe Plug-in Hybrid model, which is faster and more capable than the V8. Also, it’s now the default choice at dealers in 14 states, as the base 3.6-liter gas V6 is only available by special order in California and 13 other states that follow its emissions rules.

With 293 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque, the base “Pentastar” V6 isn’t a bad powerplant and compares well to the standard V6s is the Passport and Telluride. V6 models, surprisingly, are rear-wheel drive by default with 4WD optional (and standard on the top Summit Reserve) though the 4xe models are all 4WD. V6 Grand Cherokees can’t be had as the most capable Trailhawk, but they do offer most of the SUV’s optional hardware and capability, and up to 6,200 pounds of towing capacity.

Stepping up to the 4xe is a big jump in price, but also ability. This powertrain combines a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a 14.0-kWh battery pack to produce 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The instant and direct application of torque in fully-electric mode makes it an even better off-roader than previous Grand Cherokees, and it’s both faster and (much) more efficient than the old V8, with zero-to-60 times of around 5.3 seconds, though it can only tow 6,000 pounds compared to the V8’s 7,200.

Both versions of the Grand Cherokee are pleasant to drive on the road and capable handlers by off-road optimized midsize SUV standards. They don’t feel like trucks, but they also don’t skimp on capability. Both use an eight-speed automatic transmission that never feels out of sorts, either on the highway or the trail.

The top dog in the off-road stakes is the Trailhawk, which is now 4xe-only. For a posh family SUV, it offers serious four-wheeling hardware including electronic swaybar disconnects, a true low-range two-speed transfer case, and an adjustable air suspension with electronic semi-active damping that case raise ground clearance to 11.3 inches. There are also sophisticated off-road controls like selectable terrain modes, crawl control, and Jeep’s Off-Road pages. It can easily keep up with the 4Runner and Land Rover Defender in the dirt, but it’s a much more pleasant family driver than the Toyota, on- or off-road.

Fuel Economy: 13/15

V6 Grand Cherokees get pretty average fuel economy for this segment, with 21 (rear-drive) or 22 (4WD) mpg combined averages (curiously, both are rated at 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway by the EPA). That’s about where the Passport and Telluride are, slightly behind the BMW X5 and two to four mpg ahead of the Land Rover Defender, even in its four-cylinder form.

Jeep, however, has an ace in the hole on fuel economy with the 4xe. It returns a combined 56 mpge if it’s kept charged up, gets 23 mpg combined in regular use and can return up to 26 miles of electric range. It blows away gas-only machines like the 4Runner or Lexus GX.

BMW’s X5 xDrive45e PHEV and the Volvo’s XC90 Recharge PHEVs offers 31 and 33 miles of electric range, respectively, but the Grand Cherokee uses its energy more efficiently than the Bimmer and is nearly even with the Volvo (58 MPGe). Lincoln’s Aviator PHEV is similar too, but all three lack the Jeep’s off-road abilities. Land Rover only offers mild hybrids. On the cheaper end, Kia’s Sorento PHEV hits 76 MPGe and 34 miles of electric range.

Safety & Driver Assistance Tech: 12/15

The new Grand Cherokee has not yet been fully tested by either NHTSA or the IIHS, but we can hope that its tests will show improvement over its predecessor’s modest scores on certain crash tests. Curiously, while not yet tested by these U.S. agencies, the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), which performs similar tests, gave the redesigned 2022 model a five-star overall rating, which bodes well for future scores.

One area where Jeep markedly improved the vehicle during the redesign is its standard array of active safety features. Forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active brake assist, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic detection, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go are all standard. Notably, these cost thousands extra on the BMW X5. Additional assists like rain-sensing wipers, surround-view cameras, a driver alertness monitor, a quasi-autonomous “Active Driving Assist” and a cool night-vision system are also optional.

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Comfort & Room: 13/15

Although the low-end trims have somewhat plain-ish cabins, the redesigned Grand Cherokee’s cabin is a major upgrade over its predecessor. The high-end trims are also genuinely luxurious, with fitting that would not look out of place in a European rival, though we still think Mercedes-Benz and Genesis offer more visual verve.

Seats throughout are wide and plush, with an optional massaging front seat, and heating and ventilation available for second-row perches as well as the fronts. Four-zone climate control is available, and the optional huge panoramic roof lets the sunshine in.

There’s plenty of room in both rows, although the second row isn’t quite as capacious as that of the Kia Telluride (42.4 inches of rear legroom to the Jeep’s 38.2). Most passengers won’t notice, though, and on roominess, the Grand Cherokee’s back seat is about even with the Land Rover Defender 110 and well ahead of those in the X5, Bronco or 4Runner. If you need more room than this, the Grand Cherokee L looms.

Infotainment: 12/15

An 8.4-inch touchscreen running Stellantis’ Uconnect 5 platform is standard on the Grand Cherokee, with a 10.1-inch unit optional (and now standard on many trims). Jeep’s systems aren’t too hard to learn but the system can occasionally be laggy, and some functions are a little too buried in menus. For example, an off-road camera should be easy to access, not a couple of menu clicks deep. Happily, seat and steering wheel heat along with climate controls are separated from the screen, but the controls for them are small and take a while to memorize.

If you don’t like Uconnect, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, but they don’t control vehicle functions, only infotainment. But there are also more screens, too. A sharp-looking 10.25-inch all-digital gauge cluster is standard, and on higher trims can be optioned with a “night vision” infrared cam that shows you any warm-blooded organisms in your path long. A front-passenger dash screen is also available as a standalone option, enabling your companion to watch Fire TV or content via HDMI while riding.

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Cargo Space & Storage: 11/15

This is one of the bigger two-row midsize SUVs, but the Grand Cherokee’s cargo volume is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there’s plenty of space with 37.7 cubic-feet behind the second row and 70.8 with the second row folded. That’s a good amount for a family of four and more than the Land Rover Defender (27.1 and 66.2), but many rivals have still more.

The 4Runner boasts 47.2 cubic-feet behind its second row and 89.7 with it folded, the Telluride 46.0 and 87.0 (and 21.0 with the third row in place) and the Explorer 47.9 and 87.8. There’s marginally less space behind the second rows of the GLE and GV80 (33.3 and 34.9 cubic-feet), but both have more overall (74.9 and 84 cubic-feet, respectively). Most of these rivals can only tow about 5,000 pounds, but the Defender can tow more than 8,000 and BMW and Mercedes more than 7,000.

Additionally, the Grand Cherokee’s lofty floor can make loading heavy items a challenge, but there are proper chrome tie-down loops and an open storage well to corral smaller miscellany. The spare tire is also stashed in the underfloor compartment is mismatched with the other four, which doesn’t make a lot of sense for a vehicle at risk of cutting a tire while off-roading. Small item storage in the cabin is average for the class.

Style & Design: 8/10

Last year’s redesign preserved all the essential Jeep traits, like the seven-slot grille, angular edges trail-ready stance while at once making the Grand Cherokee fresh. It has an instantaneously recognizable relationship with its forebears, but there’s no mistaking it for its long-running predecessor (which debuted way back in 2010). While Jeep designs are usually form-over-function, the new Grand Cherokee is also self-consciously premium, Its family resemblance to the similarly-new Grand Wagoneer harmonizes its appearance with that of its corporate siblings.

On the inside, Jeep brings lots of luxury cues, including lots of padding, stitching, and a combination of brushed-metal and piano-black finishes (and maybe a little to much in that department). But the lower-end trims are plainer, and close inspection of the lower cabin will reveal some cheaper plastics. The base Grand Cherokee may not be as frilly as an equivalently-priced Telluride, but all of its interior design fits with this SUV’s mission and what buyers want out of it.

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Is the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Worth It? Which Grand Cherokee is the best Value?

Since the Grand Cherokee’s model and price range are so broad, whether it’s a good deal depends on what you’re comparing it to. It doesn’t come cheap though, even at the base level. That $41,825 rear-wheel drive, V6 Laredo is priced about even with low-end Tellurides and 4Runners, but it lacks some of the Grand Cherokee’s best features.

Move up to the Altitude ($45,935, all prices including a $1,795 destination charge) and you’re suddenly in the upper echelons of some competitors like the Passport and above the 4Runner TRD Off-Road, and that’s before you add the $2,000 4WD system. The Limited, which contains most of the nicer luxury features, rings in at $52,475 with the V6, and that’s probably the best value among the V6 models aimed at mainstream brand competitors.

4xe models offer more capability and standard 4WD, but they also cost a lot more. The base 4xe starts at a cool $62,155 and the Trailhawk costs $67,550 (and $705 less in CARB-emissons states).

That’s still quite a bit less than the X5 or Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrids though, and the 4xe Trailhawk is truly an off-road powerhouse, even if it does cost $12,000 more than the 4Runner TRD Pro. It’s worth it for the extra comfort and economy. Notably, the Grand Cherokee undercuts the Land Rover Defender on price, model for model, by thousands of dollars. Since this SUV is about blending family practicality with off-road capability, we’d have to pick the Trailhawk as the best value among the Grand Cherokee 4xe crew.

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