For the most part, the operation of the all-wheel-drive system and the air suspension is invisible to the driver. In Auto mode, the engine, transmission and suspension will automatically adjust to different road conditions without the driver having to do anything. For daily commuting, the Grand Cherokee is comfortable and quiet with a high seating position that offers good visibility except for a rather thick C-pillar. I would recommend getting the optional blind spot warning system that flashes a warning light and a warning sound if the vehicle moves into the path of another vehicle in the blind spot. This feature also includes Cross Path Detection, which warns you of another car crossing behind you as you back up, Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically maintains a safe following distance to the car in front, and Forward Collision Warning, which flashes a warning light and sounds a warning if the Grand Cherokee is approaching another vehicle too quickly.

Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep
Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8. Click image to enlarge

Perhaps the most useful safety feature is the rearview camera and rear parking sensors. They’re invaluable for parallel parking or when backing into tight parking spaces. Objects that can’t be seen through the rear window – like high curbs and concrete barriers and poles – can be safely avoided, along with the cost of damaged bodywork.

One complaint I have with the 2013 model hasn’t changed from my observations in 2011: the Grand Cherokee’s power steering feels a little stiff when parking and the steering wheel has an unusually thick rim.

If you’re seriously thinking of going off-road, you should order the Off-Road Adventure Package that replaces the standard 20-inch all-season tires with 18-inch OWL all-season on/off-road tires and includes underbody skid plates for the engine, transfer case, driveline and fuel tank, plus some front tow hooks. Its option price of $500 seems pretty reasonable. In previous off-road tests of the Grand Cherokee, we’ve found that it will do amazing things on impossibly steep and slippery trails, and that Jeep’s claim that it is ‘Trail Rated’ is no idle boast. On the other hand, if you’re not planning on doing any serious off-road driving, why go to the expense of equipping the Grand Cherokee with the Off-Road Package, Quadra Drive II, Selec-Terrain, the air suspension or even the V8 engine? A nicely equipped Grand Cherokee Laredo V6 would do nicely for typical urban/suburban driving and weather conditions and will save you some money on gas. Still, it’s nice to know that Jeep offers these sophisticated off-road technologies in a vehicle that could easily compete with luxury utes costing ten or twenty thousand dollars more.

Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep Test Drive: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8 car test drives reviews jeep
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8. Click image to enlarge

Interior Impressions

The Grand Cherokee Overland’s cabin is almost too upscale for a Jeep – it looks more like a Land Rover or Infiniti. The “New Saddle” leather seats with black piping and an ‘Overland’ crest stitched into the front seatbacks are stylish and comfortable, and both front seats are heated and cooled and feature eight-way power adjustments. The beautiful wood trim across the dash and on the electrically adjustable steering wheel complements the upholstery colour while the instrument panel offers a classy combination of black, satin, and chrome with a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen in the centre. Behind the steering wheel, metal-rimmed illuminated gauges flank a digital trip computer that provides useful information on fuel economy and driving range, among other things. Premium luxury features include a heated power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, driver’s four-way power lumbar adjustment, heated rear seats, remote start, and keyless entry and push-button ignition.




About Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and contributor to Autos.ca. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).