12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 - Four Seasons Introduction

February 1, 2011
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 Promo
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Long-Term 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Update - Intro
Months in service: 1 / Miles to date: 2975
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a lot riding on its shoulders. It is amazing that this all-new Jeep even made it out the gate, given the tumultuous history of its development under the auspices of Chrysler’s former owner, Mercedes-Benz, and, of course, the fact that Chrysler was going through bankruptcy as the Jeep was nearing production. But it’s here, and it’s good, thanks largely to the Mercedes-Benz M-class, with which it shares significant components and engineering, even though Mercedes dumped Chrysler by the side of the road in the middle of the Grand Cherokee’s product-development cycle. As associate web editor Evan McCausland points out, “despite the Grand Cherokee’s dysfunctional heritage, the finished product is a rather cohesive vehicle, with few wrinkles in execution.” So cohesive, in fact, that the Grand Cherokee was one of the finalists for the Automobile Magazine 2011 Automobile of the Year award; however, there already have been some wrinkles.
We optioned our Four Seasons Grand Cherokee with all the bells and whistles, minus the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Starting with a $42,690 Overland 4x4, we added a rear DVD entertainment center for the sanity of those with kids ($1495); advanced warning and adaptive cruise control with blind spot monitoring ($1295); the off-road adventure II pack for the inevitable jaunts off of the tarmac ($295); and an engine-block heater ($50). With luxury amenities never seen before in a Jeep -- such as vented front seats, a heated steering wheel, and air suspension -- Jeep is gunning for Land Rover like never before. The grand total for our fully loaded natural green pearl coat Grand Cherokee came to a not insubstantial $45,805.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 Side In Motion 2
As for those wrinkles, associate editor Eric Tingwall noted that the “leather-covered dashboard is wrinkled and rippled and in some places looks perilously close to cracking. Clearly there is an issue with the adhesive used underneath the leather.” With a quick Google search, Tingwall discovered that other owners have reported similar problems, which is a shame because the French-stitched leather itself is indeed worthy of a Land Rover. We’ve also had to make peace with the fact that our early-production Overland model was mistakenly equipped with the entry-level Garmin-based navigation system, rather than Chrysler’s more sophisticated interface. We’ll live, especially since the rest of the Grand Cherokee’s cabin is pretty swell, and it’s a lot roomier than the last model.
Like the last Grand Cherokee, the new one is offered with both six- and eight-cylinder engines, but we chose the new Pentastar V-6 for our tester. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio commented: “I think the Pentastar is all the engine most buyers will need or want, unless they’re towing, in which case the optional Hemi V-8 increases capacity by 5000 pounds, to 7200 pounds.” Senior Web Editor Phil Floraday isn’t blown away by the Pentastar’s fuel economy, though, pointing out that “16/22 city/highway isn’t bad, but I’d really like to see a little better fuel economy from this brand-new, much-hyped V-6.”
Not only will this be a test for the car, but also our first Four Seasons test of the new Pentastar engine. We are looking forward to seeing the miles unfold behind the wheel of the Grand Cherokee. With Michigan’s snowy season just beginning, there is little doubt that we will enjoy having another capable SUV around the Automobile offices. But will we still love it come summer or will we be wishing for the anti-aging cream to turn back the clock to the Grand Cherokee’s glory days?
Our Test Results
0-60 mph: 9.1 sec
0-100 mph: 24.7 sec
1/4-mile: 16.9 sec @ 86 mph
30-70 mph passing: 9.7 sec
Peak acceleration: 0.52 g
Speed in gears: 1) 54; 2) 88; 3) 113; 4) --; 5) -- mph
Cornering L/R: 0.74/0.72 g
70-0 mph braking: 184 ft
Peak braking: 0.98 g
Base price: (with dest.) $42,690
As tested: $45,805
Trade-in value $33,700*
Body style: 4-door SUV
Accommodation: 5-passengers
Construction: Steel uni-body
Engine: 24-valveDOHC V-6
Displacement: 3.6 liters (220 cu in)
Power: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive: 4-wheel
Steering: Hydraulically assisted
Lock-to-Lock: 3.7 turns
Turning Circle: 37.1 ft
Suspension, Front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Multi-link/ coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented disc/disc; ABS
Tires: Michelin Latitude Tour
Tire Size: 265/60TR-18
Headroom F/R: 39.9 / 39.3in
Legroom F/R: 40.3 / 38.6 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 58.7 / 58.0 in
L x W x H: 189.8 x 84.8 x 69.3 in
Wheelbase: 114.8 in
Track F/R: 63.9 / 64.1 in
Weight: 5077 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 51.4/48.6%
Cargo Capacity: 36.3 / 68.3 cu ft (rear seats folded)
Towing Capacity: 5000lb
Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons
Est. Range: 440 miles
Fuel Grade: 87 octane
STANDARD EQUIPMENT 3.6-liter V-6 engine 5-speed automatic transmission Quadra-Trac II 4WD system Hill descent control Electronic stability control Selec-Terrain system Quadra-Lift air suspension ParkView rear backup camera ParkSense rear park assist system Trailer tow group Keyless enter-n-go Hill start assist Trailer swap damping Remote start system Rain-sensing windshield wipers Heated front and rear seats Vented front seats 8-way power front seats 60/40 rear split/fold seats Dual-zone automatic climate control Uconnect hands-free phone system 30 GB hard drive with 6700-song capacity 9 premium speakers with 506-watt amp and subwoofer Sirius satellite radio Heated steering wheel with audio controls Wood/leather wrapped steering wheel Power tilt/telescoping steering column 115-volt auxiliary power outlet 20-inch wheels Command view dual-pane panoramic sunroof Power liftgate Smartbeam headlamps Bi-Xenon headlamps with auto-leveling Power heated mirrors with memory Daytime running lights
Rear DVD entertainment center $1,495 Rear overhead console Rear seat video overhead system Power single-pane sunroof
Advanced warning and adaptive cruise control $1,295 Blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection Adaptive speed control Forward collision warning
Off-Road adventure II package $295 18 x 8.0-inch aluminum polished wheels P265/60R18 on/off-road tires Skid plate group Tow hooks Trail rated badge
Engine block heater $50

Long-Term 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Reviews to Date:

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 - Four Seasons Introduction
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