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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 318 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

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

Update on my Nov19-2013 revue

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great ride and the size is about right"

Cons: "Default to economy"

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

"I have now just turned over 20K, not many by any standard, without any problems since the last revue. I use the sport mode most of the time otherwise it will bog down if you need a quick take off. There have been a lot of recalls so many in fact that I have had complimentary oil changes from Chrysler, it seems to be getting better with age. The gas calculator is not very accurate. I like the 25 gallon gas tank. The price has gone up drastically in the 27 months I have owned mine which is a limited, I can't see paying the extra for ones above the limited."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Just love it.

By on Monday, June 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Eco Diesel. As i drive more i love more,good quality and the best.Fun to drive."

4 people out of 17 found this review helpful

I never thought I'd own a car this nice.

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Blast to drive, in all weather conditions."

Cons: "None."

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

"I drove my girlfriend's car and fell in love with it. I have put 4,000 miles on it since December. Fun to drive, very comfortable, and loaded with goodies. Adaptive cruise control is amazing."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Diesel far from perfected

By on Friday, May 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfortable, off road ability, great gas mileage"

Cons: "Reliability issues in the diesel version"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Mine is a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited with diesel engine and 4 wheel drive. it is "trail rated". I like everything about this SUV except that it is too softly sprung which results in a roly-poly ride. Everything was perfect until the 10,000 mile service. Shortly after that, the CEL (check engine light) came on and would stay on for several hundred miles, switch off for a few hundred miles and then come back on again. Multiple trips to the dealer, who would keep the SUV for up to five (5) days to reflash the computer, resulted in a temporary fix, as the light would come on again. Finally, they replaced the DEF injector and CSR (catalytic converter) which appears to have cured the problem for now, The service at my local dealer is the absolute worst I have ever been subjected to. They admit they have little experience with GC diesels, and it shows, I like everything else about my Jeep, but should have bought the standard V-6 instead of the diesel! That said, mileage over the 20K miles I have owned it averages 27 mpg combined, with 24 mpg in town and 30+ mpg in expressway driving. Perhaps the 2015 diesels don't have the CEL problem, but my 2014 sure does and the internet is replete with other Jeep diesel owners who are experiencing the same CEL problem. Buyer Beware! And definitely get the extended warranty."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great vehicle, if I can get in it

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "The diesel engine has been great."

Cons: "I can't depend on using when I want."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I have been locked out of this vehicle more than 5 times in 3 months. The keyless entry system does not recognize the FOB, during these times. Chrysler says since it cannot be duplicated at the dealership, my complaint has been closed. The dealer has been understanding, and done what Chrysler has recommended. It has been concluded that it is caused by radio interference, when I park in certain places. Now I have instructions to open the door with the key and use the FOB to depress the start button."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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."

13 people out of 17 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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