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Moderation Ain't What It Used To Be: The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L front 3/4 view

Let's take a little trip down memory lane---back 31 years to the arrival of the first Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Grand Cherokee was what you bought if you wanted a midsize SUV and didn't want to be the seventh person on your suburban block with a Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition. The price difference between the two was a few hundred dollars. A grand, tops. And for that extra outlay, you had something that was perceived as being a bit nicer, but still a moderate, sensible choice.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L rear 3/4 view

With the current generation of Grand Cherokee, Jeep has changed the formula. You can have it in standard and extra-long (the Grand Cherokee L, our tester), and while base prices are still down around Ford Explorer-land, the top four rungs of the eight-trim-level ladder suggest Jeep is going hunting for Land Rover Discovery conquests.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L hood up

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L engine

Under the hood is a 3.6-liter, 24-valve V6 with 293 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. There's an eight-speed automatic transmission, zero to 60 happens in 7.3 seconds, and the EPA fuel economy estimate is 21 combined city/highway.

Choosing the Grand Cherokee L Summit 4X4 (our tester) brings the Quadra-Trac II 4WD system, an electronic limited-slip differential rear axle and Selec-Terrain, because Jeep.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L rear liftgate open

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L rear seat

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L front seats

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L front seat detail

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee instrument panel

Our tester is actually one rung from the top of the ladder---the Grand Cherokee L Summit (the Summit Reserve tops it). Base price is $67,505 including destination. For perspective, that's about $25,000 more than what a base Grand Cherokee L starts at. But it comes with a ton of standard equipment, including a comprehensive suite of active safety features, Quadra-Lift air suspension, a nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, a back massager for the driver and front passenger, a four-zone automatic climate control and 20-inch wheels.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L steering wheel and gauge cluster

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L McIntosh Audio system

The extra-cost options on our test car include the best $2,020 you can spend---the 19-speaker, 950-watt McIntosh audio system. Their trademark blue VU meters are a nice gimmick, but it's the sound---just indescribable. As nice as the whole Jeep was, I wanted to keep it because I didn't want to live without the audio system. Also on the tab, $495 for the Rocky Mountain Pearl paint, $2,380 for the Advanced ProTech Group IV (head-up display, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, auto-dimming digital display rear view mirror, rear-facing camera), $420 for Luxury Tech Group V (manual 2nd-row window shades----so, not really a group and not really tech, Jeep) and $1,095 for a front passenger interactive display. The window sticker also includes a $400 credit because our vehicle was shipped without the electronic limited-slip rear differential (meaning this unit was probably built while supply chain issues were affecting production). So, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $73,515.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L front view

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L side view

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L rear view

That last number might be a bit of a shock for those who haven't been pricing loaded SUVs these days, but Jeep's justified the price tag for the Grand Cherokee L.

And seriously---get the McIntosh audio system.


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