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  • Looks; value-for-money; off-roading ability; interior refinement; eight-speed gearbox
  • Premium for diesel engine; still a reasonable amount of hard plastics inside

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland is, at least for now, the top variant of the best-selling large SUV in the country.

When an American brand such as Jeep manages to convince more Australian buyers to pick a Grand Cherokee over such established names as Toyota Prado and Ford Territory, there must be something to it.

Firstly, it’s a looker. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, updated in 2013 with sharper and even more aggressive styling, has been a big hit with Australian buyers as it blends tough American style with sophisticated flowing lines while maintaining a city-friendly appearance.

Then there’s the price. Starting at just $43,000 for the base model (rear-wheel-drive) Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, the Fiat Chrysler group (which owns Jeep, as well as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and Dodge) continues to make some rivals look uncomfortably overpriced, given the high strength of the Australian dollar.

On the entry model there’s 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, bi-xenon HID headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, rain-sensing automatic front wipers, 7-inch TFT display in instrument cluster with 5-inch central display, dual-zone air-conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, audio, cruise control, heated front seats with 8-way power adjustment and more.

The Overland is priced from $66,000, $20,000 more than the Laredo, but for that you get 20-inch wheels, automatic tailgate, tinted windows, an 8.4-inch display unit, leather-trimmed heated seats (front and rear) and instrument panel, ventilated front seats, a massive sunroof, blindspot monitoring system, forward collision warning (auto braking), adaptive cruise control (follow car in front) and plenty of other goodies.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review

You also get a class-leading 4WD system (which can be optioned on the base model for another $2000), and it’s genuine off-roading ability that sets the Grand Cherokee apart from many rivals that aren’t as capable off the bitumen as their design may suggest.

For the purpose of this review, we headed off-road near Mount Beauty in the Victorian countryside, about an hour out of Albury – and pummelled with massive amounts of rain.

Adding to the challenge, our Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland review car wore its standard 20-inch, low-profile road tyres and had no additional modifications.

With the Jeep’s Quadra track 4WD system engaged to Mud mode, we were ready to cross some pretty deep rivers and climb some spectacular hills. It’s important at this point to mention that had this car actually belonged to us, we would never subject it to such conditions, so its off-roading ability is well and truly beyond the needs of everyday Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers.

With the air suspension at its highest point (271mm), the Grand Cherokee would make a great choice in the event of a zombie-apocalypse. It’s a go-anywhere, no-BS type vehicle that doesn’t compromise (much) on its road-going behavior. More importantly, there’s not an awful lot you need to know to be able to conquer some pretty tough terrain.

At one point the other half took the helm and managed to complete a river crossing without too many tears.

We climbed hill after hill and crossed dozens of rivers until we finally covered the wheels in so much mud that we get stuck halfway up a hill-climb. But despite its gripless road tyres, it simply took a few goes to complete the climb.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review

Simply putting on some off-roading tyres would help the big Jeep tackle pretty much any terrain.

There’s no doubt the Toyota Prado is equally capable off-road, but doing it in the Jeep just seems like a better experience, mainly because the Jeep makes more sense as a daily driver as well.

While it has more off-roading ability than you’re likely to ever need, it’s the on-road ability that has improved with the latest generation.

On bitumen the Grand Cherokee drives like most regular SUVs: the ride is comfortable, the steering is light (if almost a little over-assisted) and its overall driving mannerisms are as you’d expect from a big vehicle.

The big wheels and wider tyres on the Overland models help with cornering grip if you’re fond of having a little fun, but do have a slightly negative impact on ride quality over the smaller-sized rims. On the plus side the cabin is well insulated from outside road noise so there’s not too much compromise in noise, vibration and harshness.

Our test vehicle was fitted with a 3.6-litre V6 coupled to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox – pretty much the standard go-to eight-speed transmission these days, widely used within the automotive industry including premium brands such as BMW and Jaguar (which further emphasises the Jeep’s value for money).

The update from a five-speed to an eight-speed gearbox with the 2013 facelift has changed the Grand Cherokee’s characteristics significantly. There’s no longer a shortage of gears or a clumsy shift. The eight-speeder is smooth, always in the right gear and allows for much better power delivery and fuel economy than before.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review

The additional gears are well matched to the V6 petrol engine and pretty much negate the need for the 5.7-litre V8 option (although no one can argue against the 344kW 6.4-litre HEMI V8 in the SRT, if that’s your thing). In some respects, it also begins to question the diesel option, which adds a $5000 premium to the price.

If we were to compare the fuel economy of the two (given the current price of diesel at $1.58 and petrol at $1.50), it would take roughly 135,000km for the diesel’s 7.5L/100km fuel economy figure to repay the extra cost over the petrol 4×4 that uses 10.4L/100km.

Inside, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is rather American, but definitely more Los Angeles than Detroit. While there’s plenty of hard plastics around the place, the overall cabin ambience is surprisingly good, with a big 8.4-inch screen taking central focus and the buttons and switchgear doing their part well.

It’s no Range Rover inside, of course, but its interior betters those of the rival Ford Territory Titanium and Toyota Prado. At a $66,000-plus proposition, though, the Overland finds tougher comparison against a Volkswagen Touareg 150 TDI.

If you’ve got between $50,000 and $70,000 to spend on a big SUV and off-road ability isn’t high on your list, it’s also worth looking at the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander, Kia Sorento Platinum and Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring.

Nonetheless, the Jeep Grand Cherokee remains one of the best packages combining versatile motoring and sharp pricing.


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JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE BREAKDOWN

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Review
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  • Daniel

    I’ve noticed on the Chrysler 300 too that they still just haven’t gotten interiors down yet. It’s not even the materials so much anymore, they’re on the up each generation, but the design is still so nineties to me. Which is a shame because the exterior on this looks great to me. I especially love the new front and rear lights. However, I was in one the other day because my friend bought one; the updated model has rose gold coloured plastic all over the interior (at least on some models). Eww.

    • Elliot

      Can’t say I know of an American car with a nice interior

      • O123

        Tesla model S?

        • guest

          Tesla is Serbian.

    • crouchy35

      Had a look at one the other day and I’d have to agree. They have stepped up from the previous 300 but the fit and finish is still not there.

  • c ar

    $5000 for the diesel is a bit steep.

    What is the underbody protection like on the Cherokee Overland?

    • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

      I take it you haven’t seen what Toyota charge for their diesel in the LC 200, close to $10 k.

      And yes I agree with you $5k is pretty steep, buts its a lot better than $10k

    • kanen

      Full underbody protection is an available option

  • Guest

    Probably worth mentioning 4 star safety as a negative – I don’t think they have done anything about it in the update…

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      I believe the four star is given on a technicality (e.g. missing a reminder of some sort), I will check.

      • Guest

        Thanks for the reply Alborz – Unfortunately it was not a technicality but a genuine poor result. It scored 9.95 out of 16 in the moderate frontal overlap with protection from serious chest and leg injury rated as marginal. The drivers seat essentially broke off its mounting too. It’s a shame as I otherwise love the car and price.

        • Muppet

          Yes and if memory serves me correctly the NHTSA in the US didn’t like the level of head protection for children seated in the outer pews in the back seat (frontal offset crash from memory)

  • Toyota4life

    great car. i put my money where my mouth is and bought one when my last lease was up (120 series 3.0 prado GXL). The GC is FAR superior on road, and the amount of kit you get is also much higher than prado (i bought the diesel limited variant)

    So far so good. no probs in 10,000km. Also worth noting 184kw/570nm makes for a much nicer tow vehicle than the 127kw/400nm hilux engine in my old prado. Hopefully the resale is OK on this jeep, i guess time will tell – being the #1 selling large SUV wont hurt.

    • kanen

      I also traded my Prado 150 series diesel on the GC Limited diesel and fully agree with your comments above. Also as a grey nomad towing a 2.5 ton caravan is now a breeze, not to mention fuel economy! Fuel usage is nearly 4 L/100 LESS than the Prado towing the same van, and the GC has heaps more power/torque

  • MisterZed

    This is the blandest looking Grand Cherokee yet, and it’s also the best selling so far in Australia. Why does this not surprise me?

    • 458 italia

      I don’t think it is bland at all. It looks like a proper Jeep and buyers love that.
      In contrast the new Jeep Cherokee (Liberty in USA) tries to look cool but ends up resembling a twisted piece of metal (like Hyundai or Kia) and has not been well received at all.

    • MisterZed-ExitStageLeft

      Who cares that you think it’s bland. I think most commenters here are tired of your useless reactions. Time to grow up or move on.

  • Johnny

    “Starting at just $43,000 for the base model (front-wheel-drive) Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo”… Sorry, but Its a rear wheel drive. Come on guys, you’re a car website. You should know this.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Thanks for the correction.

  • 458 italia

    Have they got rid of that dreadful and intrusive foot operated parking brake yet?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      No, buts it’s not that bad

      • Smart US

        hey Alborz – i find foot operating brake great in my Maxima… dont understand why ppl complain about it? its why too up when driving and when in use u cant miss it as its right in a way for foot rest… and it saves so much space…

        anyway great review – thanks

        • Elliot

          Hard to do hill starts and handbrake turns,,,boo hoo

          • Smart US

            hill start is heaps easier than with the handbrake… handbrake turn – well is this even possible with standard handbrake set up boo hoo

          • kanen

            Regarding hill starts, all GC’s have an auto hill start mechanism not involving the foot operating brake. On a hill when the (standard) brakes are applied, the vehicle brakes remain locked for 30 seconds or until you hit the accelerator to move on – hill starts sorted!!

    • kanen

      I was thinking that as well, prior to collecting my new Jeep. Nowadays I think it’s great, not an issue all. Rather have it there than taking up room on the centre console,

  • Clem

    Anyone share the light of reliability and maintenance for Jeep GC?

    • Gibbo 444

      Read my post above

    • Gibbo 444

      I did put up a post that was not in the best light for a 2012 Jeep GC yesterday & obviously didn’t past the mark. Is Car Advice taking back handers from the manufacturer. If so why will you not post my concerns.

  • BSMonitor

    If they made a 7 seater there would be one in my driveway

  • JEKYL & HYDE

    i reckon the fuel/kms/price difference comparison is flawed. by my guess, its going to be closer to 65000kms when it breaks even with the petrol model,and resale is going to be 10 times stronger with the diesel model to petrol.

  • Norm

    “Our test vehicle was fitted with a 3.6-litre V6 coupled to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox – pretty much the standard go-to eight-speed transmission these days, widely used within the automotive industry including premium brands such as BMW and Jaguar (which further emphasises the Jeep’s value for money).”

    Remind me again why we need dual clutch transmissions? Be sure and tell me twice..:)

  • gtrxuone

    That Str the pick of the lot that V8 sounds lovley.The Diesel goes well also.Chrysler-Fiat just keep coming up with the goods.

  • Sinoslave

    Can i just say… Fantastic photos! I’ve recently bought a 2012 Overland and am still researching it after buying it. Very happy so far though.

  • Rob

    4 star because of the high front end which can be more dangerous for pedestrians and the head rests.

  • Guest

    No Rob, the 4 stars from ANCAP was for occupant protection, though I agree the pedestrian protection is also marginal. The drivers airbag bottomed out and the drives seat mechanism snapped. Despite a knee airbag there was still a risk of leg injury. This result is a generation behind the competition and would have been acceptable 10 years ago.

  • Mr Needs 7 seats

    are they a 7 seater?

    • Rocket rod 1967

      No they do not make a 7 seat Jeep Grand Cherokee, that would be a Dodge Durango (based on same platform) but for some crazy reason not imported into Australia.
      I would love a 7seater also but I did trade a 120 series Prado on a 2012 JGC Diesel Larado I have since done 103,000 klms in it in the two years of ownership, it is a fantastic car, great power excellent economy, only downside is parts and servicing costs.
      But every time I drive it I’m reminded how Toyota have dropped the ball on the Prado.
      It’s ugly slow and expensive

  • Easy start

    Recently had to participate in a 4wd driving course for work in which we had to perform hill starts both up and down. No brakes were used. The vehicle was stalled by slaming on the brakes then when holding the gear lever in gear the brake was released ,the vehicle restarted and we drove off. Very simple and did away with trying to get engine revs,realese of brake and trying not to spin the wheels all in sinc.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Specs

OVERLAND : 3.6L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
JEEP
Model
GRAND CHEROKEE
Variant
OVERLAND
Series
WK MY13
Year
2013
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
3.6L
Cylinders
V6
Max. Torque
347Nm @  4300rpm
Max. Power
210kW @  6350rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
92.1W/kg
Bore & Stroke
96x83mm
Compression Ratio
10.2
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.47
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
93.5
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
11L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2280
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1764mm
Length
4822mm
Width
1943mm
Ground Clearance
205mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2250  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.6
Front Rim Size
8.0x20
Rear Rim Size
8.0x20
Front Tyres
265/50 R20
Rear Tyres
265/50 R20
Wheel Base
2915
Front Track
1628
Rear Track
1634
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats
Control & Handling
Air Suspension, 20 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Rear seat enhancement pack
Control & Handling
Off Road Group
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  12,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-19
Country of Origin
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA