SUV Review: 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep Grand Cherokee L is a channel for both adventure and the everyday

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The temperature in Los Angeles rarely rises above 33°C and rarely falls below 15°C. The seasons are mild and the sky is generally cloudless all year round. It’s not the most interesting weather, but it sure is nice. That said, not everyone wants to have a good time. Some would say nice is just a polite way of saying bland. Adversity has a way of making the good times more memorable, but makes you appreciate normality that much more. As bellwethers of personality types, I would say that this is, as psychologists might say, a leading indicator.

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Painted in Baltic Gray Metallic (a $345 option), the color of the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L was as mild as the 3.6L Pentastar V6 under the hood. It’s certainly not as sexy as the sleek Grand Wagoneer Series III with its 6.4L V8 and ornate wood inlays.

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Redesigned for 2021, the Grand Cherokee L bridges the gap between the standard Grand Cherokee and the Wagoneer. The wheelbase has been extended by 12.7 cm and the L is 29 cm longer than a standard Grand Cherokee. Inside the extra length, Jeep has fitted a third-row seat. With it up, the L 487L offers storage space. It is roughly enough for two handbags and a backpack. Fold down the third row and you get access to 1,328L of storage, which is 20 percent more than you’ll find behind the second row on the regular GC. If you fold down the second and third row seats, you have a whopping 2,396 liters of storage space, which is 17 percent more than its regular wheelbase cousin.

Those extra inches come with extra pounds. The Jeep Grand Cherokee L (or JGCL, if you prefer) is rated at 13.0 L/100 km city and 9.4 highway. For reference, non-L is rated at 12.3 city, 9.2 highway. These numbers are roughly on par with the smaller Honda Passport.

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As I drive the GCL along the coastal highways just south of Los Angeles, the sun plays off the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean that traveled some 8,000 km to get here. The weather is a golden mean for perfection. I’d roll down the window and hang my elbow out in the sill, but the GCL has some of the worst wind buffers I’ve experienced in a new car. Above 60 km/h, the wind noise is simply unbearable — a misfortune for a car that seems so eager to trip on its way.

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Otherwise, the JGCL cabin is one of sublime comfort. The seats are well-shaped to resist driver fatigue and the well-shaped steering wheel meets your hands in all the right places. Practical storage spaces abound and the L seems equally ready for a daily commute or a trip to another time zone. Our tester is a Limited trim model that includes heated front/rear seats, selectable off-road traction control, power tailgate and six-speaker premium audio. The interior is offered in two colors and I would have much preferred the available beige interior over black. It’s very black inside and it can get a bit cave-like. Interestingly, you can spend another $1,195 for a nine-speaker stereo if you really like your tunes. My test car had the standard stereo and it sounded good, but didn’t blow me away like a true premium system, like Cadillac’s AKG.

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The JGCL starts at $58,240 which is exactly $2,000 more than the non-L version. The top is the Summit Reserve at $85,240 and our Limited tester starts at $66,240.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Photo by Clayton Seams

Under the hood you’ll find the venerable 3.6L “Pentastar” V6. In this iteration, it makes 293 hp and 260 lb-ft. If this engine were a color it would be gray. The L is neither overpowered nor underpowered. Like the LA climate, it’s right in the middle. If you opt for the $995 Trailer Tow Package, the JGCL is rated to tow 6,200 lbs – good enough to tow a project truck or tow around most base boats.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is kind of like a sunny day in Los Angeles because you can do anything with it. Just as another sunny day brings the opportunity for hiking, lounging on the beach, or a day spent on a warm patio, JGCL is a conduit for both adventure and the everyday. It’s fully capable of handling your weekly workdays in comfort or it can take you to the cabin while towing a boat. What you choose to do with it is entirely up to you.

Clayton Seam's photo

Clayton sews

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