2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland 4X4 Review, it’s an adventure for all the family
This is the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and it’s a little bit more than your standard mall cruising, drop-the-kids-off-at-soccer practice SUV and it’s definitely no glorified minivan.
Instead, it offers real off-road ability, go-anywhere and go-over-anything capabilities. If you’re a true adventurer at heart and are looking to explore uncharted territory, then one of these has got your name on it.
What’s new for 2023
- Uconnect 5 NAV with 10.1-in. digital touchscreen standard on Limited and Overland models
- Nine-speaker Alpine audio system available as a standalone option on Limited model
- 19-speaker McIntosh audio system available as a standalone option on Overland and Summit models
Under The Hood
With a superb 8-speed automatic transmission, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 generates 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It is capable of towing up to 6,200 lbs in this arrangement. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is the second and best choice; it has more power but consumes more gas. It can haul up to 7,200 lbs and has 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.
Jeep should make the new Hurricane turbo 6 available in L model trims with higher specifications but that one may only stay with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models.
The V6 isn’t particularly economical with EPA numbers of Combined/City/Highway: 21/18/25 mpg. Even with a careful right foot I only managed 15.6 mpg but that did include our off-road shenanigans.
Overland Off-Road equipment
The center differential of the Quadra-Trac II system features an electronically controlled clutch. Contrary to Quadra Track I, this system can adjust the ratio, sending up to 100% of the engine’s twist to either axle. The system distributes 48% of the engine’s torque to the front axle and 52% to the rear axle.
Numerous sensors detect wheel slip and, as necessary, move the power forward or backward. The Quadra-Trac II system has open differentials and a brake-based traction control system, similar to Quadra-Trac I.
This Overland model has five off-road settings: Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud, and Rock. When one of these is selected, the transfer case automatically shifts, the suspension height is adjusted, and the engine and stability control programming is modified to accommodate the anticipated terrain.
Thanks to its air suspension, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a maximum ground clearance of 10.9 inches and is capable of crossing water up to 24 inches deep.
Automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality are all included in the standard safety equipment. It also includes an Adaptive cruise system with lane centering called Active Driving Assist.
What’s it like to drive on-road?
Pleasant and serene are the words that come to mind once on the move, the steering is direct, responsive, and accurate and the ride is composed and quiet. The V6 could use more power though, it’s fine in the regular Grand Cherokee but in this larger version, it struggles a little, simply down to insufficient torque.
I would personally opt for the V8, it’s a creamy and silky engine with a bark at the top end, despite delivering worse fuel economy. What saves the V6 is the Grand Cherokee L’s eight-speed automatic, it’s a great partner to the somewhat outdated engine. The quick-shifting transmission keeps the engine in the center of its powerband by making wise gear selections, downshifting early, and upshifting late.
On-road handling is good, press on and the big Jeep will hustle albeit with some body roll but it’s all well controlled and will result in safe understeer if you attack a bend too fast.
Despite the L’s larger size, it’s still pretty good off-road, and in the L trim you have three possible all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive systems, each of which adds $2,000 to the price of a normal rear-drive vehicle.
These include the Quadra-Trac II with a two-speed transfer case, the top-tier Quadra-Drive II system with low range and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, and the single-speed Quadra-Trac I configuration.
You’ll need to invest in an Overland or Summit model to gain access to the latter, but only the Trail-Rated Overland can be upgraded further with the $1095 Off-Road Group’s underbody skid plates and 18-inch all-terrain tires. On those two, air springs are standard.
We headed out to the Otay Wilderness to test out the big Jeep, which included, rocky and sandy terrain and some steep hills where the L excelled despite being on street tires. In low-range Rock mode, this thing will get up almost anything in the dry although we would suggest some proper off-road tires in wetter weather.
The front row’s seats are chilled and heated, while the second row’s seats are heated and a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen that sits atop the Grand Cherokee’s dashboard and comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio is just one example of the Grand Cherokee L’s mind-boggling abundance of technology. Jeep includes physical buttons as a solution if you have a touchscreen fear.
All seats in the Overland trim are leather and the fronts are power-adjustable and very comfortable as well as being easy to find the most comfortable driving position. The center console is laid out nicely except for that piano black that manufacturers seem to love so much, it covers where the wireless charger should have been but wasn’t an option on my tester, and also the cup holders.
Along with SiriusXM satellite radio, the Grand Cherokee L is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. From there, you can upgrade to a 19-speaker McIntosh surround sound system, or a 9-speaker Alpine system standard on the Overland trim.
Uconnect 5 remains one of the best infotainment systems in the market, controls are intuitive, it’s fast and high def, and should be the gold standard other manufacturers should aim for.
A hands-free tailgate reveals the third row which has 17.2 cubic feet behind it, drop the second row and you get 46.9 cubic feet of space and 84.6 cubic feet with all seats folded. Under the carpet is a cubby that has a drain plug for when you spill your beer.
The third row offers just about enough legroom and headroom but the seating position is awkward for taller folks so I would images they are best left for kids. Second-row passengers get a much better deal with for and aft adjustability and a recline feature as well as HVAC controls and plenty of power, both USB-A and USB-C.
This Overland trim tester has a base price of $61,195 and no options so including destination the price is $62,990.
This is the ideal vehicle to get if you need something that can do everything; it’s like a Swiss army knife, pretty good on the road and excellent off it. The V6 is underpowered (Hurricane please), and top trims can be very expensive, but if you are searching for adventure above all else, this is the vehicle for you.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland 4×4 numbers
Base Price: $61,195
As Tested Price: $62,990
Vehicle Type: Front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 6-passenger, 4-door wagon
Engine: 3.6 liter DOHC 24-valve V6
Power: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Zero to 60 mph: 7.8 seconds (est)
Curb Weight 4,997 lbs
Cargo Capacity: 17.2 ft³ with all seats up,46.9 ft³ third row folded, 84.6 ft³ with all seats folded
EPA Combined/City/Highway: 21/18/25 mpg
Our Observed Fuel Economy: 15.6 mpg
Pros: Serious off-road ability, ride quality, superb interior, 8-speed transmission
Cons: Needs more power, too much piano black