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 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 2 found this review helpful
By Please Help on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "I can't wait to drive my Jeep again."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I did get the 4X4 and you can't tell by the comfort of the ride. I just wish they would get this 8 gear transmission problem fixed,and the electric wiring as well. I've had my jeep since November and it has been in 4 times regarding the transmission. The dealer has now had it for two weeks and doing there best considering Chrysler is in the drivers seat. You guys need to get it together. ASAP"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By iateyourcat on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good mileage, towing, comfortable, sharp looks."
Cons: "Nav is terrible, radio bad, diesel overly expensiv"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Apparently this form is incapable of interpreting paragraphs. Overall rating of KBB review form, 2/10. Here we go in order of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. If you shop like me you can skip to The Ugly to find out what’s infuriating. OK, now make that little spaghetti western noise. The Good: I love the diesel, the air suspension, the ride and the ability to tow 7400lbs. The cockpit is mostly well designed, comfortable and roomy. This thing gets me (and my trailer) where I want to go in style. Make that noise again. The Bad: In order to get adaptive cruise control and diesel you wind up spending about $15,000 more because of all the required upgrades. This may or may not be bad depending on whether comfort or money mean more to you. Three other issues fall under ‘bad’ for me. The first is the seat positioning button, the one by your left knee. It has two settings. You know why? Because I hit it with my knee every single time I get into the vehicle and it resets. Move this button Jeep. The second bad thing is the shifter. My 2010 Overland had a good shifter. It had a longer throw, felt stable and sure and didn’t have a cap on it that comes off all the time. The 2014 is just the opposite. Finally, what is wrong with 4x4 low? Unless you’re crawling along at 1-2 MPH the vehicle surges on hills like someone is slamming the brakes on. I have a steep gravel driveway. The steep part is 80 yards long. If I travel above an idle in low up this hill I wind up with whiplash and it ain’t from an unsteady foot. Make that noise one more time then cut your eyes back and forth. The Ugly: Who created this NAV of torture? Oh My God! I’ve had this NAV take me OFF a 4 lane interstate at 3AM that had ZERO traffic and ZERO accidents. It routed me through 10-15 miles of country towns. I’ve had this NAV take me off a normal highway to drive me through 30MPH side streets that CAME BACK TO THE SAME HIGHWAY. It literally took me on a D shape. I’ve had this NAV bypass highways for small towns and stop and go traffic on multiple instances. The ONLY thing this NAV is good for is looking at the cool avatar of the Jeep or the Charger. Whoever created the NAV probably had a hand in designing the radio. I like the fact that I can use USB or SD media. That’s great. Unfortunately there are two modes of listening if you like variety; random ALL (all tracks are shuffled (that’s 6000+ songs on my 64GB SD card)) or manual mode where you select genre/folder/song manually. If you try to select, say, a folder or a genre and hit shuffle, you get ALL tracks, not the tracks in the genre or the folder or the subfolders. This radio lacks the basic functionality that Winamp has had since…1999? I’ve heard the apps are not good either but I didn’t bother setting them up. I did opt for the basic UConnect so I can remotely unlock the vehicle from my PC but that’s it. Take the NAV, take the radio and burn em. Cut a hole in the dash where I can put my Phone. Right? Am I the only one who thinks this? Overall the Jeep Limited 4x4 with diesel and technology package was the best vehicle for me. As much as I complain about the items here I can work around them assuming the vehicle stays reliable. If the few nagging issues were resolved I’d be 100% happy instead of 70% happy with my $48,000 purchase."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By madashell on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "No Dealer or Corporate service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Don't buy this car if customer service on warranty items is important to you. I've made countless calls for a warranty issue and am constantly told by Chrysler they have no information and then the dealer tells me the info has been sent. Bottom line I have not recieved a call back more than a dozed times after I was promised a return call and resolution. Don't buy a Chrysler!"
9 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Cinder1469 on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, great in icy weather"
Cons: "Driver's seat goes flat fast, not comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Jeeps are the best there are for reliability. They handle well, they maintain value. Wish the driver's seat was more comfortable. Jeep seats go flat quickly! Laredo is meant for a tall person (I'm 5'6" female) who can put the seat back with long legs and still see above the dash."
20 people out of 36 found this review helpful
By Bob on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car to drive"
Cons: "The v-8 not good on gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love the car and nothing I don't like except I got the 5.7 Liter and only get 14.8 miles to gallon around town. That is if I don't get on it sometimes. My son in law has a 2014 Jeep Cherokee like mine with the 6 cylinder and gets 19 around town. My mistake so I will trade in and get the 6."
6 people out of 16 found this review helpful