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Small and midsized SUV reviews

The Jeep Grand Cherokee shines in a group of fresh models

Consumer Reports magazine: August 2013

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As automakers pursue better fuel economy, performance, and interior accommodations, we’ve seen several revamped SUVs introduced in recent months. For this issue, we tested three freshened midsized models: the Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Kia Sorento. We also tested a new luxury subcompact, the Buick Encore.

The Grand Cherokee was significantly improved when it was redesigned three years ago. And the 2014 update has made it still better, thanks to a slick, new eight-speed automatic transmission, which helps responsiveness; improved controls; and better interior fit and finish.

Updated for 2014, the Sorento is very functional and family-friendly, scoring high among midsized, three-row SUVs. It received a new, refined V6 engine; a reworked suspension; comprehensive new electronics; and about a $6,000 bump in price compared with the last Sorento EX V6 we tested. You still get a lot for your money, but this Kia is not the enticing bargain that it once was.

The Equinox now has a larger V6 engine, but despite some strong attributes, it’s beginning to show its age. The peanut-sized Buick is nicely trimmed but a bit cramped.

As-tested prices for this group ranged from $30,555 for the Encore to $41,375 for the Grand Cherokee.

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