Earlier this year in March we drove the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland and we loved its driveability, off-road abilities and the long list of standard equipment. At $65,000, this soundly engineered SUV hits the mark with price, too.
2013 sees the Grand Cherokee getting a major facelift with a host of new equipment and features as well as the introduction of a new entry level model to the range, the Laredo 4 × 2 (as tested). Updates to the exterior include a restyled front fascia with new bi-xenon HID headlamps with signature LED daytime running lights (DRLs) standard across the range, updated tail lights and new wheels.
Inside, the new Grand Cherokee gets improved materials such as Nappa leather and exotic open-pore wood trim for the upper spec models, while a new three-spoke steering wheel with pedal shifters replaces the old chunky one. There is also a new configurable 7-inch colour LCD instrument cluster that lets you tailor your personal settings and graphics, displaying various detailed information ranging from a full speedometer gauge and navigation system to trip computer and vehicle information.
Perhaps the most important update is the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission standard across the entire 2013 model line-up, pairing with both the 3.0-litre diesel and 3.6-litre petrol V6 engines, as well as both V8 engine offerings.
Motivating the Grand Cherokee Laredo 4 x 2 tested here a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine developing 210 kW of power and 347 Nm of torque. It is one of the smoothest V6s we have ever driven and on idle it’s so quiet it’s almost inaudible inside the cabin. Power delivery is linear across the rev range with good low down torque.
As the new entry level model, the Laredo 4 x 2 misses out on all-wheel-drive and power is sent to the rear wheels only. This means the Laredo 4 x 2 is strictly for the concrete jungle.
Although less versatile than AWD models, the 4 x 2 does the job as an urban family hauler or long distance cruiser as long as you keep it on-road. Unlike some of its front-wheel-drive rivals, the Jeep doesn’t exhibit as much understeer around the bends. Despite lacking AWD and weighing a hefty 2 tonne, it still maintains good grip and remarkable body control.
The switch to the new eight-speed auto is a welcomed move as it matches much better with the V6 than the old five speeder. The extra ratios help keep the revs in the powerband, fully harvesting the engine’s strong torque. Shifts are crisp although it can do with a sharper response.
The Laredo’s ride is plush across most road surfaces with road noise well insulated. On the freeway the cabin is amazingly quiet except for slight wind noise around those large wing mirrors.
Over our week long test with about 65% urban driving, the Laredo 4 x 2 managed to return an average fuel consumption figure of 13.1L/100km. It’s an improvement over the previous model thanks to the more efficient eight-speed auto box but is still on the high side.
Equipment levels in the Laredo are reasonably generous. Standard features include dusk sensing Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, rain-sensing front wipers, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats with heating, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and a Uconnect™ 5.0 touch-screen AM/FM/Aux/USB/SD infotainment system. The only ‘unexpected’ option is the single disc remote CD Player.
With better equipment levels and neat handling through the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4 x 2 makes a formidable urban family SUV. Priced from just $43,000 excluding on-roads, the Laredo 4 x 2 also represents good value.
However, the Grand Cherokee interior quality is still off the pace compared to some rivals and the lack of a seven-seat option can be a deal breaker for some.
|Price (Exc. On-Road):||From $43,000 (3.6 V6 Laredo 4 x 2) to 71,000 (5.7 V8 Overland)
As tested: $43,000 (Laredo 4 x 2)
|Warranty:||3-year or 100,000km|
|Engine:||3.6-litre V6 petrol 210kW @ 6,350rpm, 347Nm @ 4,300rpm;|
|5.7-litre V8 petrol 259kW @ 5,200rpm, 520Nm @ 4,200rpm; (Limited and Overland only)|
|3.0-litre Turbo Diesel 184kW @ 4,000rpm, 570Nm @ 2,000rpm|
|Fuel Consumption (Combined):||V6 Petrol: 10.1L/100km (Laredo 4 x 2; as tested: 13.1L/100km); 10.4L/100km (4 x 4)
V8 Petrol: 13.0/100km
V6 Diesel: 7.5L/100km
|Body:||5-door SUV; 5 seat|
|Dimensions:||Length: 4828mm, Width: 1943mm, Height: 1792-1820mm, Wheelbase: 2915mm|
|Kerb Weight||1,998 (Laredo 4×2) -2,327 kg|
Competitors: Mazda CX-9, Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger