Competitive edge against formidable rivals
Roseville, Calif.- Two years ago, Jeep gave its followers one more reason to purchase the rugged, versatile SUV. It added a third row of seating.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is a midsize SUV that provides three rows of seating. The family-focused vehicle now seats up to seven people, and does it with a good amount of comfort in all three rows.
The Cherokee L is nearly a foot longer than the standard two-row Grand Cherokee, giving Jeep the room to add a third-row seat. The addition gives Jeep a more competitive edge than previously when matching up against formidable rivals like the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas, to name a few.
One thing to note regarding the entry level Grand Cherokee L – its starting price of approximately $41,600 is higher than much of the competition. When fully loaded and equipped with a more potent V8 engine, the sticker price on the Cherokee L jumps to around $71,000.
Jeep typically holds an advantage over its rivals when it comes to off-road capability. The SUVs are known for their off-road ability and the Cherokee L can indeed head off the beaten path. The Overland trim version has an off-road package that includes skid plates and a limited-slip rear differential.
Other available off-road features include a Selec-Terrain traction management system with five drive modes – Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand – and an air suspension that raises the Cherokee L’s ground clearance between 9 to 10.9 inches. When properly equipped, the SUV can take on up to 24 inches of water.
Offered in six trim levels (Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, Summit Reserve), the Cherokee L has a choice of two engines, provides comfortable seating and uses above-average interior materials.
If underwhelming acceleration is not a major issue, stick with the standard engine. It’s a 3.6-liter, V6 that generates 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. It goes a modest 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, which is slow for the class. Fuel economy is average at 18-25 mpg.
For folks who are seeking more performance, the upgraded engine should be the choice. It’s a brawny 5.7-liter, V8 that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with all-wheel drive (the V6 does not) and goes 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and gets 14-22 mpg. The V8 has a towing capacity of 7,200 pounds, while the V6 tops out at 6,200 pounds.
For a heavy SUV, the Cherokee L delivers a solid ride. It handles well overall and can go around corners with only slight body roll. The steering is average and the eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly.
Standard driver safety assistance features include rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE L
- Performance: 3.6-liter, V6, 290 horsepower; 5.7-liter, V8, 357 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 18-25 mpg; 14-22 mpg
- Price estimate: $41,600 to $70,950
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 3 years/unlimited
Infotainment & Interior
The roomy cabin provides considerable comfort for all three rows of passengers. There’s abundant head and leg room in the first two rows and adequate space in the rear row, which is not the case with far too many SUVs. Both small children and larger teens are fine sitting in the third row. The cargo area is 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.9 cubes with the third row folded flat, and 84.6 cubic feet with both rows down.
Standard with the Cherokee L is an 8.4-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hot spot, six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, USB ports, HD Radio and satellite radio. The button layout can be confusing, but overall the infotainment system feels intuitive.
There’s good upside to the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L that includes three rows of seating, good interior layout, an off-road element, and available V8 engine.