Getting in to the Grand Cherokee, even in Park mode, is a bit of a step up. Our vehicle had the optional step bar – it’s supposed to help passengers get in by providing a lower step – but I found it narrow and difficult to step on, and gets your pant legs dirty when getting out. Better not to order it.

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

With its tall roof and boxy cabin, the Grand Cherokee’s cabin offers plenty of legroom and headroom and the dual pane panoramic glass sunroof floods the interior with natural light. If it’s too sunny, a power-operated sunscreen slides over both sunroofs to block out the heat.

Among the many standard features in the Grand Cherokee Overland is a premium audio system with CD/DVD/MP3/20-GB music hard drive/ Sirius satellite radio with a free one-year subscription with eight speakers and a subwoofer in the trunk. It also includes the centre touchscreen, a navigation system, and hands-free Bluetooth telephone, but it doesn’t include wireless Bluetooth audio, so look for the 2014 update to remedy that. Portable music devices can be hooked into a USB or auxiliary port on the radio face or in the centre storage box under the armrest.

Automatic climate control with separate driver and passenger temperature controls and a single fan speed control is also standard and it warms up the cabin quickly. I also appreciated the two-step heated and cooled front seats and heated steering wheel (including the wood part).

The Grand Cherokee’s rear hatch is power operated and the cargo area is fully carpeted with metal runners and a plastic bumper protector so you can slide cargo in without scratching anything. While roomy, the trunk has a very high liftover height that makes it difficult to load heavy objects – that’s typical of SUVs with 4WD hardware and spare tires under the cargo floor. But unlike some spares that are exposed to road dust and grime under the trunk floor, the Grand Cherokee’s full-size spare tire and wheel is enclosed and protected from the elements.

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

Verdict

Properly equipped, the V8-powered Grand Cherokee is a highly capable off-road vehicle that’s also a comfortable and luxurious family vehicle with a good towing capacity. But for those who don’t go off-road or tow a trailer, the V6 Grand Cherokee with fewer options is a less expensive and more economical choice. An even more economical diesel-engined Grand Cherokee is coming for 2014.

Pricing: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V8
Base price (Overland): $51,095
Options: $5,180 (5.7L V8 engine with MDS (multi-displacement system) and VVT (variable valve timing), 220-amp alternator, HD engine cooling, Quadra-Drive II 4WD system, 230 mm rear axle, 3:45 rear axle ratio, electronic limited slip rear differential, Trailer Tow Group 4, HD 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Hill Descent Control, UConnect 730N CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/Navdual bright exhaust tips – $2,150; Off-Road Adventure II package: Michelin P265/60R18-inch OWL all-season on/off-road tires, 18X8 inch aluminum polished wheels, front skid plate, fuel tank skid plate, transfer case skid plate, underbody skid plate, tow hooks – $500; Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat – $195; Advanced warning & adaptive cruise control, blind spot and cross path detection, forward collision warning $1,250; Mopar Chrome Edition Group: chrome tubular side steps, front and rear door entry guards, $1,085)
Federal green levy: $1,000
A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,595
Price as tested: $58,970

Competitors
BMW X5
Land Rover LR4
Mercedes-Benz ML-Class
Porsche Cayenne
Toyota 4Runner
Volkswagen Touareg

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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