$14,586 - $32,816

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee was new.


Performance: 8.6

The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee combines a comfortable on-road ride with legendary off-road capability to make it one of the best-driving SUVs in the segment. All trims have ample power, and handle well on- or off-road, according to reviewers. Critics especially praise the SRT8’s sports-car like performance.

  • "On the road, the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee's suspension offers a compliant ride that will comfort through many hours of commuting or road-tripping." -- Edmunds
  • "The smooth 3.6-liter V6 should be enough engine for most drivers, and if it isn't, the available 5.7-liter V8 surely will satisfy." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With the SUV's large frame and all that power, I felt like that proverbial bull in a china shop. It felt too bloated when I drove down one-way streets or needed to parallel park." -- Cars.com (2012)
  • "On the paved roads around Moab, the Grand Cherokee did feel like a luxury car. The air suspension is pillow soft. The Grand Cherokee rides exceptionally well over rough terrain and could be one of the best SUV choices for urban pothole pounding." -- Popular Mechanics (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2013 Grand Cherokee has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower. This engine is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. There is also an optional 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 engine paired with a six-speed automatic. The Grand Cherokee achieves an EPA-estimated 17/23 mpg city/highway, which is typical for the class. The more powerful V8 engines use more gas.

For even more power, Jeep offers a performance-oriented SRT8 model, which generates 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 465 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds and has a top speed of 160 mph.

Reviewers note that the V6 will satisfy most drivers and delivers a good amount of power in most situations. The SRT8 model offers pulse-pounding acceleration, but one test driver mentions that the five-speed automatic is outdated and a bit coarse when shifting gears.

  • "With the 3.6-liter V6, Grand Cherokee easily keeps up with traffic and copes well with any driving situation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "And for an SUV, the SRT8 is otherworldly. With blistering acceleration and strong braking, it can surprise more than a few sports car drivers." -- Edmunds
  • "I certainly had no problems with acceleration and keeping up with the speed of traffic in the Grand Cherokee, but it was never smooth." -- Cars.com (2012)
  • "It shifts with a coarseness that shows the age of the five-speed automatic." -- Motor Trend (2012 SRT8)

Handling and Braking

The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee exhibits some body lean in turns, which is typical of an SUV, but overall, reviewers think it handles well, especially for an off-roader. The steering offers good road feel and the brakes are strong. The Grand Cherokee comes standard with two-wheel drive, but can be equipped with Jeep’s all- or four-wheel drive systems for added assurance in harsh weather and more off-road capability.

  • "This SUV with serious off-road abilities rides remarkably well. The suspension absorbs most bumps without harshness, though, in typical SUV style, the body wallows a bit and rocks unpleasantly over sharp pavement breaks." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It basically rides and handles like any other modern crossover, an impressive feat considering its ample off-road ability." -- Edmunds
  • "The Grand Cherokee's power-assisted steering feels better connected to the wheels and, with careful attention to springs and shock absorbers, the wheels feel better connected to the road." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Stopping power is awesome, with good pedal feel, and travel slightly on the long side." -- Motor Trend (2012 SRT8)


The 2013 Grand Cherokee remains one of the best off-road SUVs on the market, with several different off-road packages. The optional Quadra-Trac I is an all-wheel drive system, while Quadra-Trac II has four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case. For 2013, Jeep introduces the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, which is specifically tuned for off-roading. The Trailhawk comes with four-wheel drive standard, as well as Selec-Terrain and Quadra-Lift, which allow you to control the suspension.

  • "Once off-road, the Grand Cherokee is pure Jeep, offering generous ground clearance, advanced four-wheel drive, low-speed stability and climbing power. Apart from extreme tricks like axle locking and disconnecting sway bars available on the Jeep Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee can pretty much match its counterpart on even the most challenging trails." -- Edmunds
  • "The Jeep Grand Cherokee's impressive on- and off-road driving dynamics come courtesy of its all-independent suspension. This setup allows a smooth on-road driving experience, yet possesses enough travel to make quick work of difficult off-road obstacles." -- Kelley Blue Book

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