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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Overview
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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

As Chrysler's 2011 Rookie of the Year, Jeep's 2012 Grand Cherokee enters its sophomore season with minor enhancements (improved fuel economy, revised automatic transmission for V8 models) added to what in 2011 was an all-new architecture. And this all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee did for the segment what many manufacturers have – with their redesigns – refused to do: retain real off-road capability while improving on-road dynamics, interior comfort and overall refinement. Helped in no small way by an all-new V6 as standard equipment, 2012 sees the bar raised an equal amount on the upper end of the Grand Cherokee ladder with an all-new SRT8, the brand's performance halo. This is the bigger/badder variant of what is already a very responsive platform.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you envision using your SUV for both "sport" and "utility," the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee is tough to beat. In the Snowbelt Jeep's three 4WD systems provide needed security through all four seasons, while the Grand Cherokee's 2WD system and its rear-wheel-drive (RWD) architecture provide a balance of handling and traction not (typically) available in front-wheel-drive crossovers.

You May Not Like This Car If...

To create a platform with both on- and off-road capability, there are inevitably some compromises of interior room and accommodation. And while the Grand Cherokee's wheelbase stretch for 2011 created significantly more room for rear-seat passengers, this remains a 2-row SUV, more tightly drawn than many car-based competitors in the same price category. In short, if "room" is more important than "roam," there may be better choices available to you.

What's New for 2012

Given the very big changes made in 2011, this is a year of tweaking a "still new" redesign. V6 models receive an electrohydraulic power steering system, while the V8's automatic transmission now provides six speeds when shifted in manual mode. And the HEMI-equipped SRT8 is revived, with 6.4 liters and 470 horsepower of urge.

Driving the Grand Cherokee

Driving Impressions At its price point the new-for-2011 Grand Cherokee was one of the most capable on- and off-roaders available. The key is adaptation of an all-independent suspension for enhanced on-road composure...

and comfort, while not compromising its prowess when the pavement becomes unpaved. And for those with a real penchant for the "road less traveled," Jeep's available Quadra-Lift air suspension (4x4 only) impresses with its ability to clear large objects off-road, while hunkering down beneath the turbulent air at higher on-road speeds. Of course, while giving the chassis and suspension its appropriate due, we shouldn't forget powertrains. The new V6 (2011) is a huge improvement over the previous 3.8-liter lump, the HEMI has recently gained improved efficiency with its fuel-saving, multi-displacement technology, and the SRT8's 6.4 liter can give Porsche's Cayenne a credible run for its money. Finally, the Grand Cherokee's power-assisted steering feels better connected to the wheels, and the wheels – via careful attention to spring and shock rates – feel better connected to the road.

Quadra-Lift Air Suspension
Available on 4WD models only, the Quadra-Lift option allows Jeep enthusiasts to join the rarefied "air" of Land Rover and Range Rover customers with adjustable ride height fully compatible with virtually any road or off-road condition. What is described as "normal ride height" provides just over eight inches of clearance for improved fuel economy via enhanced aerodynamics. If you're venturing off-road, you can adjust the clearance upward by 1.3 or 2.6 inches, while, if parked you can lower the vehicle 1.5 inches. The lower figure, of course, eases passenger loading and unloading.

Overland Summit New Saddle leather
In between tax hikes, the design team at Jeep has thrown a bone to the nation's off-roading affluent with the best reason yet to opt for "natural" hide. The leather for the Overland Summit seemingly covers everything in the interior of this grandest Grand Cherokee except the windshield. While wishing they wouldn't spell the model designation out on the seat itself, those popping for the top trim will be rewarded with each and every drive.

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Details
Interior

In its redesign of the Grand Cherokee for 2011, the Chrysler design team executed what can only be called a seismic shift in both design and material selection. In its previous generation (2006 through 2010) the Grand Cherokee was notable for hard plastics and, to a lesser extent, hard seating. Further, the rear seat was short on legroom and difficult to access. With a longer wheelbase the rear seat is made much more accessible, and once inside you'll enjoy expanded use of soft materials, real wood trim (in upscale variants) and a much more concerted effort to make the driver and passenger experience everything you'd want in a luxury SUV. This is without – of course – the penalty of a luxury price. Today's Grand Cherokee can now credibly play on a global stage, regardless of whether that stage is asphalt or rock.

Exterior

There's a unity to the new Grand Cherokee sheet metal that we haven't seen since its initial launch two decades ago. To be sure, the familiar cues – 7-slot grille, hexagonal wheel arches and minimal front and rear overhangs – remain, but the whole now comprises various elements much better integrated than before. And visual upgrades in all trim levels, from base Laredo to Overland Summit, result in a 2012 Grand Cherokee family looking decidedly more upscale than previous generations. We especially like the wheel-and-tire fitments, in combination with shortened overhangs; even the Laredo's standard 17-inch alloys fill the wheel wells in a capable, off-road-worthy fashion.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Despite a modest base price of around $28K (2WD), the 2012 Grand Cherokee comes with dual-zone A/C, rear liftgate "flipper" glass, remote key fobs, Jeep's Media Center 130 AM/FM/CD radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels. Those placing a premium on active safety will enjoy standard ESC (electronic stability control), electronic roll mitigation and ABS. And interested consumers should note that in combination with a slight decrease in base window sticker (for 2012) comes a realignment of standard equipment and optional extras.

Optional Equipment

For those wanting to keep the MSRP low and the appearance of their new Grand Cherokee up(scale), the Laredo X should check most boxes, as it provides a number of enhancements – cosmetic and functional – not available on the base Laredo. And for those wanting to enhance the Jeep experience even further, a number of chassis improvements will do just that, beginning with Quadra-Drive II (includes 2-speed transfer case and Hill Descent Control), Quadra-Lift Air Suspension (adjustable ride height for both off-road adventure and on-road composure) and Selec-Terrain. Selec-Terrain is Jeep's electronic take on all-season capability, allowing for five traction control settings: Automatic, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud and Rock.

Under the Hood

With the reintroduction of the Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Jeep customer can enjoy a veritable "holy trinity" of exciting powertrains. The standard 3.6 liter approaches V8-like horsepower and torque levels, while admitting that even when connected to the 2WD platform it has a great deal of mass to motivate. The 5.7-liter HEMI benefits from multi-displacement technology; based on need, the HEMI will operate on all eight cylinders or with reduced demand, only four. And with the increased displacement, horsepower and torque of the HEMI, owners can enjoy an enhanced towing capability (7,400 pounds versus 5,000 pounds in the V6). The SRT8's 6.4 liters and 470 horsepower bring new life, and a nationwide network of dealers, to the hyper-performance SUV segment.

3.6-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/23 (4WD)

5.7-liter V8
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/20 (4WD)

6.4-liter V8
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 (4WD)

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 310 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

might want to consider something else

By on Friday, May 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,760

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "look, style, feel,"

Cons: "transmission, quality, reliability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I have had this car back to the shop 6 +times since buying it. i have had 1 new transmission, had steering fluid leaks, starting problems and on going shifting issues. I loved the look and capability of this american classic, but with these problems I cant say i would recommend the car to anyone."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best car I have ever ownwed. JEEP hit a homerun!

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable car to drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My JEEP has been an excellent car. I have had no problems with it and have 140,000+ miles. Purchased it new. Will be buying another JEEP."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Versatility

By on Monday, April 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "off road, highway, quiet, handling"

Cons: "tall outside mirrors obstruct turning view"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Unlike many users I off-road; the unit has an off road and trailer towing package, which it seems many do not. It also has Quadratrac 2. I tow this vehicle behind my motor home and must say that it tracks superbly compared to an'07, it replaced. I think the key to Jeep reliability is to keep to the basics. Most complaints involve electronic wizardry; I have not had those issues. Fuel mileage with the 3.6 liter has averaged 23-24, a great improvement being attributable to the eight speed transmission, which after some minor computer reprogramming works superbly. The original Goodyear tires proved problematic and the vehicle has been refitted with Michelin LTX MS2 tires. They are superb. I rate the quality of my vehicle at 8. There have been no major repairs, just several "flashes" to improve HVAC and as stated the transmission tractability"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Sturdy..Comfortable..Smooth..Quiet..Roomy

By on Sunday, April 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Interior..ride comfort..Uconnect interface"

Cons: "Reluctance to downshift means heavier braking"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my 2nd Grand Cherokee. I traded in my 2012 Overland RWD (30K miles) so I could get a 4x4. I chose a Limited with Luxury II package as it included everything I liked in my Overland, but for a few grand less. I really like my GC. It looks great, rides extremely well, firm yet slightly compliant suspension, and very quiet. Downshifting from 2nd to 1st can be rough. Slowing down from speed takes extra time probably due to transmission being reluctant to downshift. I'll probably ask to have shift map changed at first oil change if I'm not used to it. I have been very, very happy with both my Grand Cherokees. My teens like that the rear seats recline a little. My spouse likes the dual climate control. A few driving items to consider: "A" pillars (either side of windshield)are wide and take getting used to when cornering/turning. As large as the windshield is, I sometimes have to lower my head to see underneath the rearview mirror during certain turning situations. Nothing feels unsafe when I have to move my head to get a better view. After 2 of these vehicles, I am used to it. I did a lot of research and knew this was the best vehicle in the class, with so many bells/whistles for a good price when compared to more expensive import/luxury models. Fuel economy with the V6 is about 18 city/25 highway. The updated Uconnect interface is great; very easy and intuitive to use. I gave a 9 overall only because the downshifting should have been corrected by this time of the model year."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Excellent SUV

By on Sunday, April 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, easy to drive, reliable"

Cons: "acceleration"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My car is Overland 2014, I bought it as a brand new and so far I have not noticed any problem. It is very comfortable, easy to drive, has nice interior and exterior look and relatively fuel efficient compared to similar SUVs. The only problem I noticed is acceleration, which is not as good as I expected. Overall, I am happy with my car so far."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Awesome, could use better tires for all the snow

By on Thursday, April 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great vehicle, comfortable with all the amenities. Not one issue after 33000 miles. Cons: The stock tires were not very good in snow, but very comfortable on dry pavements. Ground clearance in the front is limited by the air dam also in the snow. Acceleration is sluggish, but helps with the gas mileage. Pros: Awesome 4wd, cruising comfort, sound, navigation all excellent. Quality of material inside with not a single rattle or loose piece. The panoramic roof gives you a sense of being outside, especially when open (but not as much as my wrangler). A truly sophisticated vehicle - civilized ride."

21 people out of 41 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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