2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4

It’s taken a long time for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee to finally make its debut, and it appears to have been worth the wait. The exterior is attractive, but it’s inside that the change is really apparent. The surfaces are well matched, and everything seems to be made of quality materials, from the door panels to the dash to the climate control and stereo knobs. The fact that the company that built this vehicle was on the verge of going under just a year ago makes the Grand Cherokee seem even more impressive.

Driving the Grand Cherokee isn’t a revelatory experience, but it’s a comfortable cruiser and is perfectly suited as a daily driver, which is likely how most people will use it. However, this vehicle is also clearly ready to tackle off-road tasks, with an adjustable air suspension and a knob on the center console that lets you choose a drive mode.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor

There’s plenty of off-road hardware (and capability) in the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but I’m most impressed with its on-road manners. While General Motors and Ford have traded trucks for crossovers in this segment, Jeep proves that ground clearance and ride comfort aren’t mutually exclusive and that a locking differential and ventilated leather seats can happily coexist in the same vehicle. The Grand Cherokee rides just as well as a Ford Edge or Chevrolet Traverse and steers better than either of those two. Granted, the new Grand Cherokee isn’t a pure utility vehicle; it still uses unibody construction, as it has from day one.

The premium cabin on our $43,500 test example means Grand Cherokee owners won’t have to make any excuses for their purchase. The new Jeep is strong where the competitors are — interior, ride, and handling — yet it also has the basics that truck buyers used to hold in high regard. It’s still rear-wheel-drive or available with one of three stout four-wheel-drive systems, and a V-8 — rather than a turbocharged four-cylinder — is the optional engine. Adventure seekers will really appreciate the adjustable air springs and the SelecTerrain dial in the center console that quickly alters ride height, traction and stability control settings, four-wheel-drive bias, and transmission and throttle behavior. With the 2011 Grand Cherokee, Jeep has redefined the modern SUV-and the modern SUV is not a crossover. Instead, it packages crossover-like levels of convenience and isolation with modern technologies that retain or advance hauling and off-road abilities. It’s a vehicle that’s at home both on and off the road, to the point that you don’t know which is this vehicle’s natural habitat.

Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor

I was hoping for great things from the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and in my brief time driving it, I came away impressed. Its new sheetmetal is not radically different from the previous model, but it looks both rugged and refined and is instantly recognizable as a Jeep. The interior, however, is a big leap in both fit and finish. The dash is a bit generic, but it’s attractive and straightforward, so you don’t need a degree in electronics to instantly feel at home. The drive mode dial-choices include normal, sport, snow, etc. — simplifies things and is a nice improvement over the basic two- and four-wheel-drive options available in previous Grand Cherokees.

The new GC is better to drive, also, in most respects anyway. Body roll is better controlled, and it soaks up bumps and quells most undulations without much drama. I was disappointed in the responsiveness of the engine, though. The 3.6-liter V-6 is smooth and quiet, but it’s sluggish off the line and when trying to make quick highway passes. The stiff throttle only exacerbates the feeling that the engine is reluctant to move this 4600-pound car quickly. At a loss of only a couple mpg, I think I’d choose the 5.7-liter V-8 instead of the V-6, especially since it’s only a $1500 option.

Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4

Base price (with destination): $39,600
Price as tested: $43,500

Standard Equipment:
3.6-liter V-6 engine
5-speed automatic transmission
Quadra-trac II 4WD system
Selec-terrain system
Hill descent control
Electronic stability control
Parkview backup camera
Parksense rear park assist
Keyless entry with push button start
Hill start assist
Trailer sway control
Cruise control
Rain-sensing wipers
Heated front seats
Heated second row seats
Automatic dual-zone climate control
Sirius satellite radio
60/40 rear split fold seats
9 speakers with 506-watt amp and subwoofer
Uconnect hands-free phone
Media center 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
Tilt/telescoping steering column
18 x 8.0-inch aluminum wheels
Dual pane panoramic sunroof
Smartbeam headlamps
Options on this vehicle:
Off-Road adventure II package — $1655
Quadra-lift air suspension
Trailer tow group
7 and 4-pin wiring harness
Class IV receiver
Skid plate
Tow hooks
Full-size spare tire
Luxury group II –$1495
Leather-trimmed seats
Vented front seats
Power liftgate
Heated steering wheel with audio controls
Power tilt/telescoping steering column
Media center 730N CD/DVD/HDD/Nav — $750
6.5-inch touch screen display
GPS navigation
30GB hard drive with 4250 song capacity
iPod control
Audio jack input for mobile devices
Sirius satellite radio
Key options not on vehicle:
5.7-liter V-8 engine — $1495
20-inch aluminum wheels — $1095
Rear DVD entertainment center — $1495

Fuel economy:
16 / 22 / 19 mpg

Size: 3.6L V-6
Horsepower: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm


5-speed automatic

Curb weight: 4660 lbs

Wheels/tires: 18-inch wheels
265/60R18 Michelin Latitude all-season tires

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Buying Guide
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16 City / 23 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 68.7 cu. ft.