Our Four Seasons Jeep Grand Cherokee has made the 619-mile journey from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the suburbs of New York City for a stint with senior editor Joe Lorio and New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman. With the long drive behind us, the flagship Jeep's size and comfort continue to impress us, but we're still griping about the infotainment head unit.
During the trek to New York, deputy editor Joe DeMatio commended the highway ride quality and overall comfort of the Grand Cherokee and also noted the rear-seat legroom, which is "a big improvement over the last Grand Cherokee." We previously praised the Jeep's around-town comfort as well, finding the SUV's chassis well-sorted over rough roads. Its composure over a wide variety of road surfaces has been noted by almost every staffer; we can thank our car's Quadra-Lift II air suspension for tackling salt-eaten pavement and for smoothing out highway bumps. However, Kitman says that he would prefer the Land Rover LR4 for on-road comfort over our Jeep. Sure, Jamie; problem is, the LR4's starting price (with destination) is almost $2700 more than our fully-loaded Grand Cherokee. That's a win for the Jeep in our book.
Lorio, for his part, has been thankful for the Grand Cherokee's comfortable ride over New York City's cratered roadways. "The Jeep glided over some of New York's roadways, thanks to the good suspension tuning and the effects of the high-sidewall tires. Its reasonable footprint, lofty driving position, and decent visibility aided by big side mirrors and optional blind-spot warning system make it better than you'd expect in America's most crowded urban center." We've been annoyed the most by its lack of hard buttons and by the need to rely on the outdated and sluggish touch screen interface for even the simplest of tasks -- dedicated preset buttons and a tuning knob rank high on our wish list.
"One instantly sees where the money went in the new Grand Cherokee," counters Kitman. "It is a step in the right direction for the brand." He's right: Although we gripe about Jeep skimping on the infotainment system, we're happy that the company didn't skimp on chassis and powertrain development. The 2011 Grand Cherokee shows that the reborn Chrysler is getting it.
|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|