By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
For the 2011 model year, Jeep ushers in its fourth-generation Grand Cherokee; one of the last products conceived during Chrysler's now defunct partnership with Daimler. The latest Grand Cherokee rides on an all-new platform that shares certain key components with the next-generation Mercedes-Benz ML, lengthening its wheelbase by more than five inches, but only slightly expanding overall exterior dimensions. As a result, the vehicle remains a dedicated five-seater unlike many of its competitors, which have added third row seating in recent years. Regardless of its modest commonality with the ML-Class, the Grand Cherokee feels like a distinctly Jeep product, offering improved levels of refinement and sophistication while retaining the key Grand Cherokee attributes of formidable off-road capabilities, rugged style and on-road competence.
If you want a traditional SUV that offers good outward visibility, a roomy and functional interior, and solid off-road chops, you'll like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. That said, buyers who never make use of its robust character will still find the Grand Cherokee impressively comfortable on road.
You may not like the Jeep Grand Cherokee if you need to carry more than five occupants – unlike many of its competitors, the Jeep doesn't offer a third-row option. Also, if you have no intentions of taking your vehicle off the road well traveled, you might prefer the enhanced comfort and fuel economy offered by the latest breed of on-road focused crossover utility vehicles.
Big changes for 2011 on the Jeep Grand Cherokee include improved interior space, an all-new V6 engine, an updated V8 engine and enhanced four-wheel drive systems. Jeep has also added a host of optional features not previously seen on the Grand Cherokee, including adaptive cruise control, a power rear lift gate and a blind-spot warning system.
Driving Impressions When driven off of paved roads, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee impresses with its sure-footedness and abundance of traction. In addition to a trio of four-wheel drive systems, each offering...an increasing level of capability and sophistication, the Jeep's relatively compact dimensions allows it to squeeze through narrow passages that would stop other larger off-roaders. It is worth noting that the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee features an independent rear suspension instead of a live axle, resulting in more moments with a rear wheel in the air while off-roading; a less than ideal situation when rock crawling. With all that said, most drivers will never venture off road, and during normal driving on paved roads, the Grand Cherokee impresses with a comfortable ride, surprising levels of grip when cornering, decent steering feel and a quiet interior, even at freeway speeds. Our only real complaints are an excess of body lean during abrupt maneuvers and substantial dive under hard braking.
The optional Quadra-Lift air suspension is an excellent supplement to the Grand Cherokee's four-wheel drive systems. When raised to maximum height, the system creates 10.7 inches of ground clearance and improves approach and departure angles along with break-over height. The system can also lower the vehicle, easing entry and egress as well as improving aerodynamics at higher speeds, enhancing fuel economy.
Similar to a system already offered by Land Rover, Selec-Terrain lets the driver quickly adjust vehicle behavior for a variety of driving environments. With a twist of a single knob, the system tweaks torque distribution, as well as transmission and throttle behavior along with the stability control and the air suspension – if equipped – to maximize performance on snow, rocks, mud, sand or tarmac.
The cabin of the Grand Cherokee has always offered a premium experience, especially compared to other more stripped-down Jeep products, but the latest version takes that notion to a new level. Expanded use of soft materials, real wood trim and tasteful but attractive interior themes add an upscale persona to the otherwise simple and functional cabin. Passenger space is good in all seating positions, with rear seat passengers enjoying an extra four inches of leg room compared to the previous model. Cargo volume has also expanded, with 35.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and nearly twice that amount available with the 60/40 split rear seats folded.Exterior
There's no mistaking the 2011 model as anything other than a Grand Cherokee, yet the newest iteration represents a far more sophisticated and modern interpretation of the vehicle's now familiar shape. Standard Jeep cues including a seven-slot grille, hexagonal wheel arches and minimal front and rear overhangs are enhanced with taut new body panels, creating a masculine chiseled look. In back, for the first time on a Grand Cherokee, buyers can select a power rear lift gate. Another new exterior add-on is a panoramic sunroof that bathes the interior with natural light but creates quite a bit of wind noise when open.
In its most basic form, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee features cloth seats, rear-wheel drive, an eight-way power driver's seat, automatic headlights, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and a six-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Standard safety features include stability control, traction control, electronic roll mitigation, trailer sway control, six-airbags and active head restraints.
The base Jeep Grand Cherokee can be up-fitted with a wide variety of features in including leather seats, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heat front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and HID headlights. In terms of in-vehicle entertainment and communications, buyers can add a premium nine-speaker audio system, USB audio port, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, navigation and the UConnect hands-free communications system. Among the more high-tech options now available are rear parking sensors with a backup camera, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic detection.
Engine choices include a 3.6-liter V6 and a 5.7-liter V8 engine, each equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. V6 buyers enjoy decent acceleration along with a 5,000-pound tow rating, while those who opt for the V8 benefit from an increased tow rating of 7,400 pounds along with more spirited performance. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but the Grand Cherokee can be equipped with three different four-wheel drive systems, ranging from the simple full-time Quadra-Trac I system to the highly capable Quadra-Drive II system featuring a two-speed transfer case and an electronic limited slip rear differential.
290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (2WD), 16/22 (4WD)
360 horsepower @ 5150 rpm
390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/19 (4WD)
By St on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,600overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "not many"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"never buy another jeep/fiat product again the do not accept responsibility for anything/everything that is wrong with this SUV"
13 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By bama on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "decent fuel mileage 23ish combined"
Cons: "Nav system is difficult to configure"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"no issues with exception of a blown headlamp (warranty). no rattles or show of ware. Tech package is awesome and I continue to become more familiar with its capabilities."
14 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By jeepbuyer-never-again on Saturday, September 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Only the design"
Cons: "Horrible transmission, and computer glitches"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned this car for a little over a year, and have been battling Chrysler to fix the transmission from the beginning. I've had the vehicle in 9 or 10 times (for more than 30 days off the road), but only after I hired a lawyer did they finally replace the transmission. They don't value their customers at all and don't support their products - it's no wonder they have the lowest % of repeat buyers among the large manufacturers. The car looks great and has some nice features, but don't be sucked into what I'll call the superficial qualities of the car. The car consistently shifted like a teenager learning to drive a stick (and this car is an automatic). Chrysler wouldn't allow the dealership to put in new parts, but instead kept trying a series of software updates, never caring if it actually fixed my problem. They didn't care that I was inconvenienced by having to continually bring it back in for repair, and didn't care if that the car didn't work properly. If you buy this car after reading this review, you only have yourself to blame."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By WillRethinkPurchase on Sunday, August 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "love technology pkg and lift gate"
Cons: "mileage is much lower than quoted & engine is loud"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I LOVE the power lift gate, it opens and closes with a button. And LOVE the cross traffic warning when backing up. Nice to have a "Screen Off" button easily accessible, the nav screen is really bright at night (lights up the whole cabin even on low setting). Heated rear seats are nice and hard to find around this price point. With that said, at this price pt, it could use heat & ac vents for the rear seats! There seem to be a lot of software issues and odd things don't work. Its turning out to be expensive and time consuming to keep up with maintenance and updates. There are updates and recalls every month, you have to sit and wait for them each time. The radio still doesn't work, it changes stations and modes randomly, the ventilated seats absolutely don't blow enough air to feel at all, even with a wet hand for testing. I think the cabin is pretty quiet expect if you are accelerating. Its a heavy vehicle so takes a lot of gas to get up to speed. The best mileage has been 16 hwy and 13 is best in city for me. I haven't taken it near the dirt, I don't want to damage it. I've had 3 flat tires in the city and the 20" wheels just seem a little risky (or odd) to take off-road anywhere. Anyway, love the advanced technology package, (blind spot monitoring and backup features) totally worth the additional price. Really disappointed in the low miles per gallon., not very close to the quotes on the window sticker. Wish the diesel version had been available when I purchased. Don't know if its more economical but worth a look."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By RaceCityFan on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Feel safe. Quick, handles well and great brakes."
Cons: "Non yet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Grand Cherokee Limited rear wheel drive: Great ride. 24 city and 26 Hwy with 6 cylinder. Quality interior and fit and finish on exterior. Cherry Red metal flake paint is beautiful in the sun."
By pj on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"only problem is the headlights,autolevel keeps moving headlights up and down,driving other drivers in front of me crazy"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful