If you’ve ever compared the market on mid-priced SUVs you will know its a hot segment, and the competition is growing in the area.
When we purchased the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo we had a reasonably flexible budget to work with and could afford to go up to a luxury SUV if we needed to get the mod cons and comfort we wanted. However after drive testing most offerings in various trim packs and specs, the Grand Cherokee Laredo was a value-packed vehicle that really hit the sweet spot for my wife and I with the plan of adding a family member the following year.
We paid $43,000 on-road, including 3 years free servicing at an impressive 0% interest rate over 3 years.
The outside of the car is clean and modern with a good range of colours (we chose the metallic silver). Jeep have put some nice details into the exterior of the Laredo, including body colour mirror caps, small Jeep icons inside the headlights and a convenient lock button inside the tailgate door handle. We preferred the 18-inch Laredo mags over the optional Limited mags and the LED running lights added a nice detail. Tint the windows and bolt on a Hayman-Reese tow bar to round out a solid daily driver.
The interior of the Grand Cherokee Laredo is what sold us as far as I’m concerned. It’s well appointed with what was probably the best base model package of features available at the time. It was good enough so we didn’t option anything. Standard fixtures and fittings included cloth trim (my preference for a family car), reverse camera, cruise control, dual-zone climate, electronic dash, leather wrapped steering wheel and even heated seats (not my bucket of trout, but my wife loves it!). The cabin is nice and quiet with a high-end feel to it that I would expect of an entry level European car more than a mid-priced American SUV.
The seats are comfortable and have plenty of electronic adjustment. The rear seats have enough leg room, though not as much as some other similar sized SUVs. For the family planners – the back seats also have well-placed ISOFIX anchors for easy baby seat installation that doesn’t detract from the cargo space. The Jeep also has a 5-star ANCAP rating.
The cargo space is monstrous with enough room for a pram, shopping bags, some toys and whatever else you might reasonably need to put in a family wagon from time to time.
Mechanically I cannot fault the vehicle. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo we purchased has the 3.6-litre petrol engine, married with 8-speed electronic auto. It took a day or so to get used to the high ratio of 1st gear, but I find the pairing to be really nice to drive. It’s quick off the line but responsive through middle and high speed as well. The transmission is ZF and a proven set up that has been used in luxury Euro cars since 2008.
The power output is good for a V6 but made to feel significantly more responsive thanks to the transmission. I’ve driven V8 4x4s that are more sluggish than the Grand Cherokee Laredo.
So here’s the controversial fact – we opted for the far less common 4×2 variant! Shock and Horror! Why buy a jeep that’s not a 4×4? It was relatively easy to decide because we don’t take it off road. Call it a Toorak Tractor if you like, but it’s a daily driver that has to be easy to negotiate around suburban streets, and in and out of car parks while still getting mileage out of fuel and tyres. The 4×2 is simply a better option for our purpose and we love it. It turns on a tighter turning circle than many sedans we have owned and is super easy to park.
So what don’t I like? The screen for the entertainment unit/reverse camera is on the small side and should be comparable to others in the market. I’d really like to see some additional tech such as adaptive cruise control and blindspot monitoring.
Overall, the value for money offered by the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo was unbeatable and we were lucky with timing of the purchase (new model being released etc). However even at the sticker price the Jeep Grand Cherokee was half a car length ahead of its like for like competitors.
We have had the car almost 3 years now and it has not missed a beat. The servicing has been headache free and its just a great car to have as a daily driver.
NOTE: With no image supplied, we have used a CarAdvice photo of the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (in 4×4 guise).