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 tm (CA) on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks pretty, good music sound, roomy"
Cons: "spare tire in car, no CD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"If I could afford a $10,000 loss, I would just get rid of this car. My computer went out after 3 months. The drivers seat moved and had a knock noise when turning left, the track was replaced. Took several trips in to get fixed. My dash has this rattle. It is so irritating, I turn my music up not to hear it. I still have trouble when turning on the steering wheel heat, it's a hit and miss. When it and the seat warmer goes on, there is a significant click. I am working now with a consultant from the manufacturer. Hopefully we can come to a resolution. I am miserable."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By JeepGuyNoMore (MI) on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid, stylish, quiet, powerful, sure-footed."
Cons: "Seat adjuster button in very inconvenient place."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This was my first Jeep and at first I was really impressed with it. It is a very solid vehicle with great styling and trim, excellent turning radius, impressive power and it's quiet. I really liked the 30GB hard drive, too bad they had to put 4 of them in it before we could get one to work right. The BlueTooth is a feature I can't live without, but I learned how for the first year I had this thing. They finally got that fixed, but... Over the 2 1/2 years I've owned this, it's been in the shop for transmission issues 4 times, computer issues 4 times, driveability issues another couple of times and if there was ever a vehicle that should have been taken back under the lemon law provisions, this was it. The real kicker was a buildup of water under the passenger's side floorboards which would slosh around constantly while you were driving...it took a year to find and fix that problem. I've had it. I know people swear by these cars, but I can only swear at it. Once I get rid of this, I'llneve buy another Jeep again."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By DV (FL) on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Technology, fun to drive, comfort"
Cons: "none yet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is AWESOME. Nothing compares technologically. The Jeep drives like a car, smooth and quite. Can't be happier. Don't let any negative reviews deter you, Jeep has fixed the problems."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By doublediamond43 (FL) on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas milage for such a heavy suv"
Cons: "Don't like the default to econ on start up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"If you have any problems with your Jeep FIRST contact customer service in Auburn Hills in Michigan and get a name and a case number BEFORE going to the dealership, this gets the dealerships attention. I had a problem with the Uconnect system, radio presets & navigation losing its mind. Eventually the system was replaced and updated, no problems to date. My other problem was the memory seats not setting to different drivers, after the dealership was unable to solve the problem my case manager and I had a 3 way phone discussion with a tech guy in Michigan we determined that drive # 1 and #2 MUST lock and unlock the suv using only THEIR key fob so the suv knows who the next driver will be an can set the seat position accordingly, do not use the "touch the door handle method" if you are going to use the seat recall feature. This is not explained correctly in any of the user guides or manuals. Unlike some of the revues I can only say that the customer service in Michigan, who were constantly calling me with updates, and on top of the situation, did a great job. The local dealership were great even when I had not purchased it from them"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By mixinit (FL) on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice both inside and out, comfortable."
Cons: "Too many to list!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"In February of 2011 I bought a V6 Overland and from day one there were issues. When coasting to a stop the brakes make a horrible humming noise. Jeeps answer: "its just a minor program problem with no update." Next was a complete failure of the A/C unit @ 9400 miles. Then at 12,000 miles the tailgate window hinge broke away from the glass because the adhesive melted from the sun. Next was the transmission banging into gear, that was another program problem. There are many other things that failed and I'm sure you can get the picture. I'm not one to buy extended warranties but in this case I "thought" it would be wise. The final straw was last week when my whole entire leather dash shrunk and wrinkled literally within 4 days when I left it in my driveway. That problem cost $3800 and of course its not warrantied. This vehicle has been in the shop a total of 24 times in the 33 months I've owned it. Unfortunately at month 24 it was one problem shy of falling under the Florida State Lemon law. I currently still have the jeep but in the process of selling it and never returning to Jeep. At this point its cheaper to cut my losses and go with a better quality manufacturer."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By GinPittsburgh (PA) on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Exterior and Interior fit and finish, sound system"
Cons: "Shift knob, rear window doesn't open"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Traded in 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited for the 2014 Summit. The redesign is nearly a home-run. The auto leveling feature is great when I have heavy items in back or on hitch. The adaptive cruise control on my first long trip was a real pleasure to use. The interior looks great and is very comfortable. In ECO mode, which vehicle defaults to when started, the shifting IS different than any other vehicle, but that's why a nearly 5000 lb vehicle can get such good gas mileage. You don't get something for nothing and if I want a more traditional or agressive shifting pattern, I just turn off ECO mode or put into SPORT mode. I do not like the 100% electric shift knob. I still hunt for "D" or "R" when making a quick Y turn. The UConnect software and touch screen could be quicker and did freeze up on me once, but in general is very easy to figure out. I don't like that they got rid of the seperately opening manual rear window since that was nice when transporting longer items (now cannot be opened seperately). Sound system is amazing and has so many options for music sources I'm still finding new ways to play music (XM radio, HD radio, regular FM, Aux input, CD player, BlueTooth streaming music,etc..)."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful