Jeep’s 2023 Grand Cherokee: Style, Comfort, and Value

  • Muscular Elegance: The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland impresses with a sleek yet rugged design that's shorter and more stylish than its "L" counterpart.
  • Innovative Interior: It boasts a premium cabin with dual touchscreens, a high-end audio system, and ample charging options, providing top-notch comfort.
  • Balanced Performance: While it offers capable off-road features, it strikes a balance with on-road comfort and competitive pricing in its segment.

When it comes to premium SUVs, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has earned a reputation for its rugged off-road capability and commanding presence on the road. In 2022, Jeep introduced the 5th iteration of the Grand Cherokee in South Africa, but this time, there was a twist. The new model arrived not only in its traditional form but also in a 7-seat “L” variant, marking the first time a Grand Cherokee was offered with a third row of seats. Fast forward to 2023, and Jeep has expanded its lineup to include 5-seater versions of the Grand Cherokee, powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 engine and available in the Limited, Overland, and Summit Reserve trim lines.

In this review, we’ll dive deep into the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland, the 5-seat variant that adds a unique twist to the Grand Cherokee lineup. Priced at R1,570,900 (as of September 2023), the Overland offers a compelling package of style, comfort, and performance. We’ll explore its design, interior, performance, features, and overall value proposition.

Design and Packaging: Muscular Elegance

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland is a sight to behold. It somehow manages to look more muscular and broad-shouldered than its 7-seat “L” counterpart, despite its smaller stature. When viewed from the side or a rear three-quarter angle, the difference becomes immediately apparent. This 5-seat variant rides on a wheelbase that is 127 mm shorter than the 7-seater and is a substantial 292 mm shorter bumper-to-bumper. These dimensions could be significant for some buyers, especially if you have a smaller garage.

While the 5-seat Grand Cherokee retains the same width as the “L” version, it sits slightly lower (by 15 mm) while maintaining an identical ground clearance of 276 mm. The result is a vehicle that looks more compact and athletic, with a muscular stance that catches the eye from every angle. The “smaller” Grand Cherokee manages to exude a sense of confidence and elegance, especially when compared to its “L” counterpart, which can appear somewhat ungainly from certain perspectives.

Inside, the Grand Cherokee’s interior is a testament to Jeep’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship. The finishes have a premium look and feel, and even when navigating uneven surfaces, the interior panels emit no rattles or squeaks. This Jeep feels well-built and solid, a significant improvement over some of its predecessors.

One standout feature of the Overland trim is the 10.1-inch touchscreen that dominates the center of the dashboard. It’s part of the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, which offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The system is intuitive, responsive, and provides a seamless user experience. However, what truly sets the interior apart is the novel secondary touchscreen positioned ahead of the front passenger. Designed to be discreet and non-distracting to the driver, this touchscreen provides the front passenger with access to navigation information, camera views, and entertainment options. It’s a unique feature that adds a touch of innovation to the cabin and can keep passengers entertained during long journeys.

Table: Key Specifications

Here’s a quick look at some key specifications of the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland:

ModelJeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland
Price (as of Sep 2023)R1,570,900
Engine3.6-liter V6 petrol
Power/Torque210 kW/344 Nm
Transmission8-speed automatic
0-100 kph7.9 seconds (tested)
Fuel consumption9.9 L/100 km (claimed)
Luggage capacity1,068 liters

Performance and Efficiency: A Blend of Power and Fuel Consumption

Under the hood of the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland is a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 3.6-liter V6 petrol engine, a powerplant that’s consistent across the Grand Cherokee lineup. This V6 engine delivers 210 kW of power and 344 Nm of torque, respectable figures that provide ample performance. However, it’s worth noting that the Land Rover and BMW counterparts in this segment offer more power and torque, thanks to their turbocharged engines.

One characteristic of the Grand Cherokee’s V6 engine is that its peak torque is developed relatively high in the rev range, at 4,000 rpm. While this might mean a bit of patience is needed to access its full potential, the 8-speed automatic transmission does an excellent job of managing the engine’s power delivery. It shifts smoothly and efficiently, masking the V6’s relative lack of grunt at lower revs. When overtaking on the highway, the transmission may occasionally need to downshift multiple gears to provide the necessary acceleration, accompanied by a satisfying snarl from the engine. In our tests, the Grand Cherokee achieved a 0-100 kph time of 7.9 seconds, showcasing its agility and responsiveness.

However, it’s essential to consider fuel efficiency, especially in today’s environmentally conscious automotive landscape. While Jeep claims an average consumption figure of 9.9 L/100 km for this 3.6 V6 4×4 variant, our real-world testing resulted in a less-than-impressive 12.5 L/100 km. While the vehicle’s power and performance are commendable, it’s worth being mindful of its fuel consumption, particularly if you plan to use it for daily commuting or long trips.

Comfort and Features: A Well-Equipped Cabin

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland comes comprehensively equipped, offering a host of features that enhance comfort, convenience, and entertainment. Let’s take a closer look at what this model has to offer:

Infotainment and Audio System

One of the highlights of the Overland trim is the advanced Uconnect 5 infotainment system, featuring the aforementioned 10.1-inch touchscreen. The system is user-friendly, responsive, and integrates wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility seamlessly. Whether you’re navigating, making calls, or streaming music, the Uconnect 5 system delivers a premium experience.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Overland also boasts a McIntosh high-performance audio system, featuring a 17-channel amplifier with a maximum output of 950W and 19 speakers. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll appreciate the excellent sound quality that this system provides. Whether you’re enjoying your favorite music or immersing yourself in a gripping podcast, the audio quality is nothing short of impressive.

Comfort and Convenience

Comfort is a priority in the Grand Cherokee Overland, and it shows in the interior appointments. The front seats offer a wide range of electric adjustments, ensuring that drivers and passengers can find their ideal seating positions. Additionally, both front seats are equipped with heating and cooling functions, a welcome feature in South Africa’s climate where temperatures can vary significantly.

The second-row seats, while not as spacious as those in the 7-seat “L” variant, still offer ample room for rear passengers. The outer seats in the second row also feature heating, a thoughtful addition for cooler days. To further enhance comfort during winter months, the multifunction steering wheel is heated, providing a warm and cozy grip even on chilly Cape winter mornings.

Charging and Connectivity

In today’s digital age, staying connected is essential, and the Grand Cherokee doesn’t disappoint. The cabin is equipped with multiple charging options to keep electronic devices powered up. In the front, you’ll find a wireless charging pad, along with two USB-A and two USB-C charging ports. Rear passengers have their own charging solutions, with two USB-A and two USB-C ports, as well as a 3-pin 230V power outlet for added convenience.

Moreover, the Grand Cherokee accommodates the needs of modern families and tech-savvy individuals with simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity for two smartphones. This feature ensures that both the driver and front passenger can seamlessly connect their phones to the vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing for easy hands-free calling and music streaming.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Safety is a paramount concern for any vehicle, and the Grand Cherokee Overland incorporates a range of active safety features to enhance driver confidence. These features include:

  • Collision warning with active braking
  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Active lane management
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • A drowsy-driver detection system
  • And much more

These advanced safety technologies contribute to a safer driving experience, whether you’re navigating city streets or embarking on long road trips. Jeep has ensured that the Grand Cherokee is equipped to handle various driving scenarios, promoting driver awareness and minimizing the risk of accidents.

Ride and Handling: Balanced Performance

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland strikes a balance between on-road comfort and off-road capability. In the Overland specification, it comes equipped with attractive dual-tone 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/50 tires. These wheels add to the vehicle’s visual appeal while contributing to a comfortable ride.

Underpinning the Grand Cherokee is an architecture related to the rear-wheel-drive Grigio platform, which is also used in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Maserati Grecale, two premium SUVs known for their enjoyable driving dynamics. While the Grand Cherokee’s suspension setup is softer to prioritize ride comfort, it still delivers a supple and composed ride quality around town and on open roads. The suspension automatically adjusts to a lower position at higher speeds, improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

The Grand Cherokee retains its off-road “cred,” thanks to Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II off-road system, lockable low range, and selectable off-road modes. While it may not be the ultimate off-roader in the Jeep lineup, it can still handle rugged terrain when needed. In fact, the 5-seat variant boasts superior approach and departure angles compared to its “L” counterpart, making it a capable option for those occasional off-road adventures.

If you’re serious about off-roading, the Summit Reserve derivative offers even more off-road capability. But for the majority of buyers, the 5-seat Overland strikes a harmonious balance between on-road comfort and off-road versatility.

Table: Key Pros and Cons

Here’s a summary of the key pros and cons of the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 4×4 Overland:

ProsCons
Muscular and elegant designRelatively high real-world fuel consumption
Premium and well-crafted interiorEngine’s peak torque delivered at higher RPM
Innovative dual touchscreen setupV6 engine may require multiple gear shifts for brisk overtaking
Powerful Uconnect 5 infotainment systemLimited cargo space compared to larger SUVs
Impressive McIntosh audio systemShorter service intervals
Heated and cooled front seats
Heating for outer 2nd-row seats
Abundant charging options for electronic devices
Advanced safety features
Balanced ride and handling
Off-road capability with Quadra-Trac II

Price and After-Sales Support: Value for Money

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 V6 Overland is priced at R1,570,900 as of September 2023. When considering its feature set, performance, and the premium experience it offers, this price point positions the Grand Cherokee as a competitive choice in its segment. It’s notably more affordable than its British and German rivals, such as the Land Rover Defender 110, which costs more than R200k more, and even the most affordable BMW X5, which may require additional option packages to match the Grand Cherokee’s offering.

Jeep understands the importance of peace of mind for its customers, and the Grand Cherokee comes with a 5-year/100,000 km vehicle warranty and a 5-year/100,000 km comprehensive maintenance plan. However, it’s essential to note that the service intervals are relatively short, at 12,000 km. While this ensures regular maintenance and care for your vehicle, it’s worth considering when planning your maintenance schedule.

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