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 Frankc55 on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,029overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to dirve"
Cons: "Nois ein the dash"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I have a rattle in the dash behind the glove box and some noise on the right side. It has been a good SUV so far. Frankc55"
By bob s on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Confortable, good in snow, Jeep styling."
Cons: "Dashboard noise, stiff suspension."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This 2011 Grand Cherokee is comfortable and is a good highway cruiser. Dashboard noises are a disappointment in a fairly expensive vehicle. I average between 18 and 21 mpg which is OK considering the size and weight. A hard to resolve problem with a broken motor mount took several visits to the dealership- fixed under warranty. Don't buy one of these without an extended warranty!"
By MAYNARD on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in bad weather and cool looking"
Cons: "Interior is cheap plastic, touch screen"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Well I am getting rid of this and selling back to dealer. The interior is just cheap. The leather is of poor quality and the dash is painted cheaply. From a mechanical standpoint the truck handle great but the interior is terrible and Chrysler does not warranty their own design flaws."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By Grux on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "aggrevating, disgusted, disappointed!"
Cons: "Time for a change!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"MPG good. Eco mode stinks, especially in town. Had nav installed and nothing has been right yet. No fault of dealership, but this product will keep them busy. My 3rd grand Cherokee. 1st was the best, down hill sense. 2nd had to have head replaced twice. Time to move to a different manufacture, Jeeps are Cheap just like all crysler products. How times have changed."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Bill on Friday, February 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle has been excellent to own. I am overall,very satisfied. The downside of this vehicle is that on a drive of two hours or more, I start to get uncomfortable. I am 6"2". Otherwise, this vehicle has been extremely reliable in all types of weather and I am very satisfied with it's overall performance and quality."
By upcountry on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Smooth, nimble, good acceleration and braking. Now for the annoying details. Door wants to close on you as your are exiting. Poor visibility out the back due to low sunglass compartment and high mounted rear glass wiper mechanism. Stiff leather."