"I wouldn't say I'm a Jeep enthusiast, but my 2012 Jeep is my third Grand Cherokee. I recently got rid of my 1999 Laredo with 185,000 miles, and still have my 2009 Laredo with 60,000 miles. I think there were a lot of shortcomings with the older models, but living in a rural area meant I couldn't live without the utilitarian capabilities a Jeep provides over an AWD car or crossover. Underneath, they are still more like a truck, with bigger wheels and the higher ground clearance I wanted. The new Grand Cherokee body style looks more like my 1999 did, and I like that. Other than similar looks, all else is different.
My 2012 Grand Cherokee is a Laredo model, which is the lower end of the trim scale. However, it is a Laredo "Altitude" trim level, which is closer to the Limited for many things. It has the leather electric adjustable heated seats, sunroof, mid-range 9-speaker sound system with subwoofer, u-connect phone, tow package, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, 4x4, fog lamps, remote start, keyless entry and pushbutton start to name several upgrades. The Altitude comes in several trim types that make it very unique even amongst the Jeeps. Mine is all black, including the grill, low-profile mag wheels, and most trim. Many people have commented that they thought it was a police vehicle, which might explain why I get "trapped" behind vehicles that suddenly seem to slow down when I am behind them.
The heating and A/C system has FINALLY been fixed in the Grand Cherokee. Both the heat and A/C can keep up with whatever mother nature dishes out, and the front and rear seats have their own floor and face vents. The wheelbase has been lengthened and the rear legroom incresed in the new model. I also love that the rear seats recline somewhat for comfort, and have a center drinkholder/armrest if there are not five passengers.
The rear seat has access to an A/C plug which can be switched on or off from the dash (for safety).
The ride is the smoothest yet, and the vehicle interior is quiet at all speeds, which makes the sound system even better. My sound system has the LCD screen which is used for system controls, back-up camera viewing, and u-connect phone controls. While it looks the same as those systems that have it, mine does not have the GPS built in. Since I own four Garmins, this isn't an issue for me. The system has two USB ports, one on the radio and one in the center console. It has a 1/8" aux input plug, and CD/DVD capability. It will only play DVD's if you are not moving. Any pictures or music can be downloaded to a 32G built in hard drive. The system will also play music from my smart phone via Bluetooth, including allowing me to control music selection on the phone without touching the phone. Volume, searches, and input selection can also be done from the multiple steering wheel controls.
My Jeep is the automatic 4x4 system with no manual controls available, so this is a significant change compared to my other two Jeeps. My first instinct is to see this as a negative, but I haven't gotten stuck yet either.
For typical driving, the 3.6 liter V-6 has been fine, getting as high as 25 MPG over a 600 mile trip. For towing, I wish I had the Hemi V-8, but the V-6 still gets the job done.
My 2012 Grand Cherokee sits higher off the ground than my previous models did. The higher end models have a lowering feature, but I intend to buy the nerf bars for this one, as my petite wife is challenged with easy access to the seats.
Jeep put a permeable wind screen that pops up when the sunroof is open, which is very noisy. A non-permeable windscreen I've had on other sunroofs is not as noisy.
Overall, I would say that Jeep hit a grand-slam with the well appointed Grand Cherokee, and I am intent on buying another new one for ME very soon, as my wife doesn't let me near this one very often."
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