When most car buyers start shopping, base models often go unnoticed, since car companies always market with the top trim levels in the advertisements, which is why you see a “starting at” price and the “as equipped” price. While many base models lack the bells and whistles, the high-tech wizardry, and the upgraded powertrains found in their flashier counterparts. The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Laredo 4×4, my recent encounter suggests that even a base model with just a few options offers a lot of luxury and technology value.
Regardless of trim, the Grand Cherokee L exudes a striking presence as an SUV. With standard 18-inch wheels, the aesthetics are elevated by the inclusion of the Altitude Appearance Package, one of the few options selected for this test vehicle. Most people initially mistook it for an Altitude trim, a testament to the package’s transformative impact on the base model.
The cabin, the focal point is a 10.25-inch digital display, intuitively laid out buttons and switches, and steering wheel controls for adaptive cruise control and media operations add a touch of sophistication. While some may appreciate the tactile feel of physical controls, the rotary dial for the transmission is well done and helps keep the center design clean. Yet, the $5,000 in options reveal its true value with luxurious Capri Leather and Suede seats, heated, complemented by a $1,440 sunroof. Despite the absence of a panoramic view at that price point, the overall cabin ambiance remains commendable, with ample space in the second row, though the third row is best reserved for occasional use.
Under the hood, the 3.6-liter V6 powerplant, though producing 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, leaves room for improvement. The eight-speed automatic transmission, while dutiful, contributes to a leisurely 0-60 MPH acceleration of 8 seconds. Fuel efficiency hovers around 20 MPG, urging consideration of the V8 option for a more spirited drive. The absence of diverse drive modes and a power button that sacrifices efficiency for power underscore the Grand Cherokee L’s inclination toward a more relaxed driving demeanor.
Jeep’s family-focused SUV may not excel in aggressive handling, but it excels in its role as a capable transporter. Equipped with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and a backup camera, it fulfills its duty without unnecessary frills. With a starting price of $45,000 for the base Laredo, options quickly pile up. This particular model, with its $5,105 package, deluxe paint, trailer hitch, and sunroof, approaches the $55,000 mark. The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Laredo reinforces a simple truth, that you don’t need to spend six figures to get a handsome, well-equipped, and very capable SUV, making it the perfect daily driver.