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

By Donny Nordlicht - March 24, 2011
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Side In Motion
Long-Term 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Update - SPRING 2011 (2 OF 4)
Months in service: 3 / Miles to date: 7723
The Grand Cherokee's logbook is becoming less of a mixed bag and more of a praise book, but the five-speed automatic continues to annoy some of us on the freeway, where we are left wishing for another gear to help with passing.
"I understand why Jeep is using this transmission," says senior web editor Phil Floraday. "It's because, after suffering under several bad owners, Chrysler didn't have a modern six-speed automatic in time for the Grand Cherokee's introduction. But if I were a consumer, I wouldn't care about the legacy problems that plague the Chrysler brands, preventing them from having the latest drivetrain components. The reality is, Jeep has to compete with other players that do have more modern equipment, especially at the $45,000-plus price point."
Some staffers are now having issues pairing phones and iPods with the Garmin-based navigation and entertainment system, which fails to recognize some devices. "I spent ten minutes repeatedly trying to pair my BlackBerry," gripes deputy editor Joe DeMatio, "and another five minutes trying with my iPhone, before I finally gave up." We've learned online that other Grand Cherokee owners have had similar problems with the Garmin unit, and it often has to do with software updates on the devices. Update your iPhone, DeMatio, and try again.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Side In Motion
As for the wrinkled leather on the dashboard that we complained about last month? Our dealer's service department says it's the first they've seen of it, so they snapped some pictures and sent them off to Chrysler. We haven't heard back from them on that front yet.
These quibbles aside, what has emerged over the past month has been our love for the Grand Cherokee's just-right size. During a weekend trip with family to Chicago, Floraday made full use of the rear cargo space and seating for five.
"I picked up several cases of empty beer bottles so I could bottle a batch of beer this week. I also had a cooler with full bottles of beer, yeast, and hops for another batch, and a variety of household goods my aunt purchased in Chicago over the weekend. We then met the rest of the family for dinner and put five people in the Jeep on the way home, and everyone was comfortable."
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Sport Mode
Floraday's wife, Amy, was also impressed with the Grand Cherokee's maneuverability; even though her daily driver is the smaller and lower Subaru Forester, she had no problem parallel-parking the Grand Cherokee on the packed streets of Chicago.
The Floradays weren't the only people to adore the Jeep's size -- editor-in-chief Jean Jennings finds it to be the perfect height for entry and egress, and she loves its planted feeling on the freeway. Managing editor of digital platforms Jennifer Misaros had previously complained about the height, but Jennings brushed aside her concerns: "Jen is a shrimp -- of course she needs a stepladder to get in!" The rest of us fall between Jennings and Misaros in stature and are generally in agreement with the boss: the Grand Cherokee is the Goldilocks of SUVs, neither too large nor too small.
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:

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