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It’s been a continued time coming, but the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is assuredly here. It couldn’t appear anon abundant for Chrysler, which is badly in charge of new articles to accord consumers a new acumen to airing into its showrooms.
An off-road-capable midsize SUV conceivably isn’t the best blazon of agent to admission aback the car-buying accessible has set off a seismic about-face against crossovers, but it’s what the automaker has to put in the bold adapted now.
Those things aside, the new Grand Cherokee manages to accommodate on-road alive clarification that can go toe-to-toe with the best that the crossover articulation has to action — and it does so after sacrificing its abounding off-road capabilities.
It’s a no-excuses SUV if there anytime was one and, in effect, takes on Land Rover at its own game. Let your academician blanket itself about that abstraction for a moment, and it becomes bright how abundant the Grand Cherokee has evolved.
The 2011 Grand Cherokee pulls off the arduous accomplishment of possessing a bright architecture affiliation with its antecedent while attractive absolutely new and modern. It’s acutely a Grand Cherokee, but it has a appearance that its antecedent lacked. The old Grand Cherokee’s architecture was blocky, but the new archetypal looks like it was shaped by a wind tunnel. In befitting with its looks, the new architecture cuts through the air better, with a 0.37 annoyance accessory compared with the old model’s 0.41.
The SUV is about 2 inches longer, 3 inches added and one-half inch taller than the 2010 model, but its wheelbase has developed by 5.3 inches to 114.8 inches overall, consistent in added backseat legroom. Mark Allen, Jeep’s arch of design, said accepted Grand Cherokee owners fabricated it bright they didn’t appetite the SUV to get too big with its redesign, and it’s axiomatic that Jeep listened. (To see a side-by-side allegory of the 2010 and 2011 Grand Cherokee, bang here.)
The Grand Cherokee’s ride abundance is its best absorbing quality. The new four-wheel absolute abeyance soaks up bumps calmly after accepting abashed like a acceptable SUV can, and it corners confidently after any of the abundant motions commonly associated with SUVs. It absolutely does drive like a crossover; it reminded me of a softer adaptation of the Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9.
The ride gets a little cushier still if you get the alternative Quadra-Lift adjustable air suspension, but the aberration is subtle. Grand Cherokees with the air abeyance do a bigger job of appearance pavement imperfections, and the SUV floats a little added over bigger bumps.
Jeep begin the adapted average arena with the Grand Cherokee’s council tuning. There’s abundant ability abetment that your accoutrements won’t annoy axis the wheel, but it’s additionally not overboosted like some systems; there’s some backpack to the council wheel. The SUV beforehand confidently on the artery with acceptable straight-line stability.
Alive the V-6 Grand Cherokee reminded me that the laws of physics can’t be changed. The SUV uses Chrysler’s new Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 290 application and 260 pounds-feet of torque, but this is a abundant vehicle. The barrier weight of the V-6 Limited 4×4 I collection was 4,850 pounds, and lugging all that weight about makes the V-6 labor; you can acquaint that it’s alive adamantine aback you’re accelerating. The V-6’s achievement is able abundant — which is acceptable because Jeep expects 75 percent of Grand Cherokee buyers to opt for it — but it doesn’t accomplish the SUV feel quick. Once up to artery speeds, the V-6 cruises calmly at 70 mph.
The V-6 teams with a five-speed automated transmission, and it helps accomplish the best of the V-6’s accessible power. The manual readily bliss bottomward aback you charge added ability to pass, and it accouterment smoothly.
Choosing the alternative 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gives the Grand Cherokee added effortless acceleration; there’s none of the alive you feel aback alive the V-6 on arresting terrain. However, because the V-8 is rated at 360 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque, it still doesn’t feel as quick as you ability expect. Again, the 5,210-pound barrier weight of the V-8 Overland 4×4 I activated was like an ballast captivation the agent back. Like the V-6, the V-8 drives a five-speed automatic.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, and the anchor pedal has a actual natural, beeline progression.
Jeep is one of a few car brands with an character acerb associated with off-road capability, and alike admitting the new Grand Cherokee decidedly improves the SUV’s on-road refinement, it doesn’t appear at the amount of its off-road chops, which are impressive. My time with the Grand Cherokee included off-road alive at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Breadth in Northern California, breadth I had an befalling to analysis the Grand Cherokee’s off-road hardware.
A Grand Cherokee with Quadra-Lift and Jeep’s new Selec-Terrain absorption arrangement (explained in added detail after in this review) fabricated accessible assignment of the bouldered paths and abrupt grades at Hollister Hills. The SUV acquainted defended and sure-footed at all times — alike aback attractive up at the sky on a abrupt acropolis climb.
Jeep agents brash drivers that the best way to beforehand in the Grand Cherokee was by advancement abiding burden on the gas pedal to get the auto bottomward so the four-wheel-drive arrangement could do its thing, and the adjustment paid off.
With acropolis coast control, the Grand Cherokee crept boring bottomward abrupt grades after drama. One nice touch: The arrangement lets you acceleration things up if you appetite by acute the gas pedal. Best aggressive acropolis coast systems bind you to a distinct speed.
The Grand Cherokee is accessible with a best of three four-wheel-drive systems: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II. Quadra-Trac I is a single-speed arrangement that splits agent torque 50/50 advanced to rear, while the closing two systems accept a two-speed low-range alteration case that can alter how abundant torque goes to anniversary axle. Quadra-Drive II additionally adds a rear electronically controlled limited-slip cogwheel that can accord ability amid the larboard and adapted rear wheels, alike on dry roads.
Choosing Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II additionally adds Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which is agnate to Land Rover’s Breadth Acknowledgment technology and a dial-operated arrangement in the accessible 2011 Ford Explorer. With Selec-Terrain, you artlessly accept the adapted ambience for your altitude — Sand/Mud, Snow, Rock, Auto or Sport — and the Grand Cherokee configures its systems to accommodate the adapted acknowledgment to your conditions.
Selec-Terrain additionally coordinates the Quadra-Lift air abeyance on models that accept it. Quadra-Lift provides up to 10.7 inches of arena approval in its accomplished approach compared with 8.6 inches of approval with the approved suspension. The air abeyance has bristles acme settings: Normal (8.1 inches of clearance), Off-Road 1 (9.4 inches), Off-Road 2 (10.7 inches), Park (6.6 inches) and Aero (7.5 inches).
The previous-generation Grand Cherokee lacked an autogenous to bout its price, but the all-new berth in the 2011 archetypal uses exceptional abstracts and a beneath blocky architecture to accord the SUV a added adequate bearing. Flush abstracts accommodate a stitched covering dashboard and absolute copse trim on Overland models, and autogenous animate fit seemed abundant bigger compared with the old Grand Cherokee.
Admitting the strides, there’s still allowance for improvement. The argent trim that runs from the centermost of the birr bottomward to the animate isn’t pretty, and the buttons for the alternative automated air-conditioning arrangement don’t accept an upscale, well-oiled feel. The bin aperture at the advanced of the centermost animate doesn’t complete the greatest aback closing, either. You ability alarm this nit-picking, but in an SUV that can calmly run into the mid-$40,000 amount range, you should apprehend every detail to be accounted for. (Jeep said the Grand Cherokees were preproduction models, but I agnosticism these aspects will be abundant altered from the ones on banker lots. Be abiding to analysis it out yourself if this is important to you.)
All of the Grand Cherokees I collection had covering seats, but abject Laredo versions appear accepted with bolt upholstery. Front-seat cushioning is firm, but the seats were adequate for a day of driving. Part of the acclaim goes to the best bench cushions and the added thigh abutment they provide. I’m 6-foot-1 and generally acquisition that I could do with best bench cushions in abounding of the cars I test, but the Grand Cherokee’s cushions were aloof right.
The best wheelbase helped add an added 4.4 inches of backseat legroom to this generation. With the advanced bench adapted to breadth I’d drive, backseat legroom was generous, with a few inches amid my knees and the advanced seatbacks.
The backseat doesn’t accelerate advanced or back, but I didn’t absence the affection because of the abounding legroom. The rear backrest is breach 60/40, and you can acclimatize its bend by affairs a batten on the abandon of the second-row seats, which is far added acceptable than the top of the backrest breadth some automakers accept to abode the release.
The aforementioned handle folds the seats collapsed with the burden floor, and appropriation it begins an orchestrated ball breadth the backrest comes down, the bench beanbag drops afterpiece to the attic and the arch abstemiousness flips advanced so as not to get bent on the aback of the advanced seat. It all happens in one quick motion.
The Grand Cherokee’s burden breadth measures 35.1 cubic feet, which is 5.6 cubic anxiety beyond than the above-mentioned model’s burden breadth but beneath than what the Toyota 4Runner (47.2 cubic feet) and Nissan Pathfinder (49.2 cubic feet) accommodate abaft their additional rows. With the Grand Cherokee’s backseat folded, burden allowance increases to 68.7 cubic feet.
The caster wells intrude somewhat into the abandon of the burden area, but the bigger affair for some will be allowance the alpine rear bumper; the burden attic was about as aerial as my hip. The alternative air suspension’s Park approach provides some abatement by blurred the ride acme 1.5 inches.
A powered liftgate is optional, and it readily stops if annihilation obstructs its movement. You can additionally calmly accessible and abutting the liftgate manually, which is sometimes difficult on models with ability liftgates. All models accept a rear window that opens apart of the liftgate.
All Grand Cherokees are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds by abacus an adapted bivouac hitch. For best towing accommodation — 7,400 pounds for the rear-wheel-drive V-8 archetypal or 7,200 pounds for the four-wheel-drive V-8 adaptation — you will charge the alternative Bivouac Tow Group IV Package, which appearance able agent and agent oil cooling, a 220-amp alternator, a full-size additional annoy and a Class IV receiver block with base harness.
The 2011 Grand Cherokee is a 2010 Top Assurance Pick from the Insurance Institute for Artery Safety. To acquire the designation, it accustomed Acceptable all-embracing array in IIHS’ frontal-offset blast test, side-impact blast test, roof-crush analysis and whiplash-prevention test. The final claim for the accolade is the availability of an cyberbanking adherence system, which is accepted in the Grand Cherokee.
Additional accepted assurance appearance accommodate antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the advanced seats, ancillary dark airbags for both rows and alive advanced arch restraints. Rear parking sensors and a advancement camera are optional, and collision-warning and dark atom ecology systems are arranged calm in an advantage amalgamation for Limited and Overland trims.
For a abounding account of assurance features, analysis out the Accepted Equipment & Specs page.
In the ’90s, the Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and added SUVs fueled a bang that afflicted the mural of American roads. Things move bound in the automotive world, though, and Grand Cherokee competitors like the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy accept back been discontinued. The accessible 2011 Explorer, meanwhile, will move from its truck-based roots to a new car-based unibody platform.
But admitting afraid with a blueprint it’s acclimated for years — unibody architecture with an basic anatomy and accurate off-road adequacy — the 2011 Grand Cherokee has managed to change with the times, too. We achievement believability improves with this generation, but absorbing on-road amenities and beautiful looks central and out accomplish the Grand Cherokee a archetypal that charge be on your test-drive account if you’re arcade for a new SUV — alike if you don’t plan on demography it off-road.
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