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Jeep Grand Cherokee L review

Is this new, large Grand Cherokee the ultimate family SUV for Australian roads?

With car manufacturing banished from Australian shores, the last few years has seen an increase in big American vehicles hitting Australian roads.

The big Dodge Ram and the Chevy Silverado spring to mind. Other brands have announced plans to import more US models – including Toyota with the Tundra and Ford with the F150, which they will bring across and convert to right-hand drive.

Jeep doesn't take that approach, offering the same designs made for both the Australian and American markets straight from the factory floor. Nonetheless, my first thought when I saw the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited was, "Gee, it does look very American, doesn't it?"

Jeep grand Cherokee review

Truthfully, I came to this car with a lot of preconceived ideas. For starters, I thought it would be too big and too thirsty. And after test-driving a stack of German-built vehicles recently, I suspected that the Jeep build quality might not reach those Teutonic highs. I also worried it might be a bit dreary inside.

Boy, was I wrong.

Let's start with the ride. It's set up so well.

Over the past week, I've done a good mix of long-distance and short runs with the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the comfort has been consistently impressive.

Don't just take my word for it. My partner has to suffer through a lot of test drives and the first thing she mentions is often the vehicle interior. Not this time. Her very first comment was about the ride and how comfortable it is.

What's the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited interior like?

That was quickly followed by the seats. "These seats are really comfortable too. Make sure you put that in there!"

Happy to oblige. They are indeed very comfortable and completely electronically adjustable. The driver's seat offers a memory function so you can swap to your preferred set-up in seconds if your partner decides to borrow the car.

Jeep Grand Cherokee interior review

I initially noticed that the steering is a little heavier than the average new car, but it doesn't take long to get used to. And that does give the feeling that you're driving something substantial rather than attempting hatchback-weighted steering in a large SUV.

There's plenty of tech inside as well: wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an Alpine sound system and "FamCam", which lets you view what's happening in the back seat. If the kids are fighting and arguing or just generally being little snots, you can see exactly who is doing what and determine who goes in the naughty corner (when you get home).

It's USB galore inside, with generous quantities of USB and USB-C outlets, meaning you don't have to go and buy a new cable to connect and charge your devices. A lot of new cars are coming with just USB-C ports these days. A broader selection is a great way to offer utility in 2023.

Second-row passengers get ample space and their own USB ports, plus their own air conditioning zone that can be controlled from the back of the centre console. The seats are also comfortable and adjustable, so you can slide them forward to give a bit of extra room to people who drew the short straw and got stuck sitting in the third row.

That straw isn't particularly short, really. Even row 3 of the 2023 Grand Cherokee Limited offers a good amount of space and (you guessed it) more USB ports.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee boot space

Even if the vehicle is chock-a-block with passengers, there's plenty of boot space.

With the third row in place, it can store 487 litres which surprisingly is more than a Hyundai i30 and a Kia Stinger. You won't be forced to eat into the third row.

If you do sacrifice that third set of seats, boot capacity climbs to 1,328 litres. Major Bunnings run? The second row folds down to create a whopping 2,395 litres of space. That's almost half the volume of a typical commercial van. For instance, the Peugeot Expert Van offers 5,800 litres.

Jeep Grand Cherokee boot review

How safe is the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

There are plenty of safety features on this model, including:

  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Driver monitoring

Lane departure and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection also feature. I am not sure which system is the culprit, but there were a number of occasions where the system flashed up "Brake!" when there was no apparent danger.

Initially, I wasn't sure if it thought I had wandered from the lane, but it happened even on straight stretches of road. Is it just a very sensitive system that picks up objects on the side of the road and identifies them as threats? Not sure.

Being overly safe is not a bad thing, but I was a little puzzled by this.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee engine

I was also on the fence about the powertrain. It is perhaps a little underpowered for the size and heft of this new 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee. That said, the 8-speed automatic gearbox does its job well and the Cherokee Limited isn't glacially slow.

When you do put the hammer down, at least there is a nice note from the 3.6-litre V6 petrol powerplant under the bonnet, which is good for 210kW of power and 344Nm.

It isn't all that thirsty either. Our consumption during testing averaged out at 10 litres per 100 kilometres. One area which could use improvement is towing – the braked towing capacity drops to 2.8 tonnes.

Approach, breakover and departure angles have all decreased from the preceding model to 20.6, 18.2 and 21.5 degrees respectively but it still has enough about it to be effective off-road. It also has Selec-Terrain traction management system with snow and sand/mud settings to make recreational off-roading that bit easier.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Australia review

The verdict

Rather to my surprise, I really like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. It is nicely appointed and has a great ride with plenty of tech.

It doesn't feel as big as it is. You only really notice it when you park it, hop out and have blocked out the sun for the person next to you.

With that said, the target audience isn't super obvious. Price-wise, it sits in a space between household names such as the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Sorento and more premium vehicles from the European manufacturers.

If you are in the market, I would definitely test drive the Jeep as it does have a fair bit to offer. Just make sure you're okay with the power on offer.

Long live the V8 Hemi, I say.

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