Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
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Fully redesigned in 2011, the Jeep Grand Cherokee retains its rugged image and performance, however it is now a CUV. This modern creation of an American icon is laced with its semi-European parent company’s innovations. Now benefiting from a refined suspension and interior, the Grand Cherokee provides the fine details in make and design found in other Daimler-Benz vehicles. With such a complete package, the Grand Cherokee continues to improve on the already historic name of Jeep.
See also the main fact sheet for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
- New Pentastar V6 Engine
- SRT Variant Possible
- Improved materials and fit and finish.
- Third-row seat
- Roomy interior
- Comfortable ride
- Responsive handling
- Great for towing
No Low Points
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has earned the government's highest award - a 5-star safety rating – for front and side-impact crash-test safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes available with the following safety features:
- Driver and front passenger Airbags
- Front and rear side airbags
- Electronic stability control
- Traction control
- Parksense: rear park assist system
- Rear camera
- Tire pressure montior
- 3 blink turn signal
Reliability and Maintenance
For 2011 models, Jeep is expected to continue it's unbeatable lifetime warranty.
Interior and Comforts
The Grand Cherokee interior was completely redesigned, beginning with the 2011 models, and it's greatly improved. The two-tone, dark-over-light-over-dark instrument panel and door trims; vinyl grains; and materials and finishes are generally much richer and better looking than in the previous generation. That's good because the previous generation was okay. The new interior is far better organized, lighter in feeling and color, and altogether roomier than the previous version, which had been around since 2010.
The seats are larger and cushier than in any previous Jeep, with supportive contours. There's more travel in the seat tracks, allowing more legroom for tall drivers. There's also increased headroom, which adds the feeling of extra space to the interior. The instrument panel has no more of that pasted-together, black-plastic look of the last generation, but is a real, cohesive design with a nice combination of shiny plated parts, matte-finish plated parts, and a first-rate instrument layout. A four-gauge instrument cluster with LED illumination features black gauges with brilliant red pointers. On the Limited model, the gauges are surrounded by chrome rings.
The SRT8, on the other hand, goes for the high-tech racer look with deeply contoured sport seats, and lots of carbon fiber and aluminum trim. Unique blue-accented gauges include a 180-mph speedometer plus oil pressure and oil temperature readouts in the center stack. The sport seats offer lots of support, with deep side bolsters, but drivers with larger frames may find them too narrow. The cargo area features a reversible load floor panel that flips over on itself to create a shallow container, for more versatility in the rear storage compartment.
The navigation system, which integrates the audio system and other functions, is a handy feature. It has a nice display, generates crisp maps, and does a good job of directing you to your destination, both visually and audibly. It isn't as easy to program as similar systems are on Acura and Lexus vehicles, however. There's a separate Enter button, annoying because intuition suggests pressing the toggle switch down.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is considered a midsize sport utility. It's smaller than a Ford Explorer. Yet compared with pre-2005 models, the current Grand Cherokee is about five inches longer overall, four inches longer in wheelbase, 2.5 inches wider in track and a bit lower in profile.
This makes it more stable than the previous generation models. In appearance, it is at once more modern and more square-edged. With its higher waistline and smaller windows, it is looks more assertively American.
While conventional SUVs, such as the Dodge Durango, are built on a separate frame like a truck, the Grand Cherokee uses an unusual construction scheme Jeep calls Uniframe, a close marriage of a welded steel unit-body and underlying front and rear modules. This is an extremely sturdy and rigid concept developed back in Jeep's days with unit-body pioneer American Motors. The Grand Cherokee has earned a five-star safety rating in both front and side impact tests from the federal government.
Laredo models come with a body-colored grille and bumpers, black door handles, and contrasting-color bodyside and sill moldings. Limited models present a somewhat flashier appearance, with a chromed grille, bright inserts in the bumpers, body-color door handles, and Platinum bodyside molding.
The Overland is distinguished by mesh-texture grille inserts between its traditional vertical grille bars, which are Platinum in finish; Platinum accents also appear on the bumpers, side molding, roof-rack side rails, liftgate light bar, side-view mirrors, and wheels, while sill moldings are body-color.
The SRT8 has a monochrome look all its own, relieved by bright accents at the belt level and bodyside and accented by enormous five-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Functional air ducts in its more bluff front bumper fascia improve brake cooling. The rear bumper is cut out to accommodate dual four-inch exhaust tips, and the extended side sills are claimed to enhance downforce. SRT8 is available only in Bright Silver, Brilliant Black or Inferno Red. It looks hot and very sporty.
Styles and Options
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is available as a 4x2 or 4x4. There are 4 trims available: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and SRT8.
- 3.7L SOHC V6
- Advanced side-curtain air bags
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
- Quadra-Trac I & Available Quadra-Trac II 4WD
- 4.7L SOHC FFV V8
- Quadra-Trac II & Available Quadra-Drive II 4WD
- Remote start
- Leather-trimmed seating
- SmartBeam headlamps
- Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control
- 5.7L HEMI V8 w/ MDS
- Quadra-Drive II 4WD
- Unique platinum exterior accents
- Leather & suede trimmed seats
- ParkView Rear Park Assist Camera
SRT8 (only available in 4x4)
- 6.1L HEMI V8 w/ 420hp
- Lowered suspension, 20" wheels
- Four piston Brembo brakes
- Dual exhaust w/ chrome tips
- Honda Pilot: side-by-side comparison
- Volkswagen Touareg: side-by-side comparison
- Nissan Murano: side-by-side comparison
- Ford Explorer: side-by-side comparison
- Toyota Highlander: side-by-side comparison
- Kia Sorento: side-by-side comparison
- Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
- BMW X5
- Mitsubishi Pajero
WikiCars Contributor Favorites
Jeep Manufacturer Sites
- Jeep Grand Cherokee - Official US Site