Whenever you find yourself on the comeback trail, you’d best make sure your vehicle is a capable one. Perhaps it’s fitting then that Chrysler’s first all-new vehicle since emerging from Chapter 11 is one of the most capable vehicles Chrysler builds, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. And, by all appearances, this new Jeep is one seriously nice piece.
The revised exterior design immediately says Jeep, yet it is fresh, new and will be recognized, even by people who don’t drive Jeeps. Often, we’ll spend a day with an “all-new” vehicle, and the only people who notice it are the people who own an older version. This new Grand Cherokee turns heads wherever you go. And in true Jeep fashion, you can go anywhere you’d like. As citified as its new look is though, the legendary offroad ability of what is arguably Jeep’s second most iconic model is solidly intact. Yet, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee also glides around town comfortably and with ease.
Two engines are offered to power the descendant of the world’s first SUV. An all-new 3.6-liter V6 is available across the entire model line delivering 290 horsepower at 6350 rpm and 260 ft-lbs of torque at 4300. Dubbed Pentastar, its pulling power is plentiful. Most of that torque––fully 90 percent of those 260 ft-lbs––is available at a mere 1800 rpm. Best of all, it delivers 23 miles per gallon and a 500 mile range on regular fuel. The other engine offering is the now-familiar 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. Yep, the Jeep’s still got a Hemi in it too.
As impressive as the new Pentastar V6 is, it’s the interior of the new Grand Cherokee that’s set to get tongues wagging. Judicious color choices, organic shapes, well placed controls and soft touch materials used everywhere an occupant comes into contact with the interior immediately sets a luxurious tone. Real wood is employed generously throughout the cabin and all the usual luxury oriented conveniences are in place. You’ll find a heated steering wheel and seats, keyless entry and start, a rear view camera, a power liftgate, a dual pane panoramic sunroof, Xenon headlights, terrestrial and satellite television, WiFi, voice activated communications, smart cruise control, remote start––the list goes on and on and on. The top of the line Overland model even offers a leather dash and door trim.
Around town, the Jeep is responsive and handles nicely. The combination of a velvety engine and the outstanding luxury features make the 2011 Grand Cherokee absolutely brilliant for urban use, while not attracting undue attention to itself in the manner of its competitors from Cadillac, Land Rover and Lincoln. The all-new Qudra-Lift air suspension system enables the Grand Cherokee to both ride smoothly and corner flat. Qudra-Lift also lowers the 2011 Jeep at speed on the highway to improve fuel economy.
Of course, as smooth and civilized as the new Jeep is in town, it remains king of the hill when the pavement ends and the dirt begins. The new Selec-Terrain system saves drivers the trouble of feathering the throttle or gearing down to deal with specific situations. You simply take a look at what you’re dealing with, turn the dial to match the conditions, and motor on. The combination of Selec-Terrain and Qudra-Lift make this the most offroad capable Jeep Grand Cherokee in history. And if you know Jeep, you know that’s one helluva statement.
With a handsome, strongly chiseled exterior, plush interior surroundings featuring natural materials like wood and leather, outstanding range, a nice road manner, legendary off-road capability, and personal technology even Range Rover hasn’t come up with yet, it’s got to be stunningly expensive right? After all, that sounds for all the world like what we just described––a Range Rover. You won’t pay even close to Range Rover prices though, it’s still a Jeep y’all. In fact, in most cases the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee costs less than the 2010.
Pricing starts at $30,995 for the base Laredo model. Top-of-the-line Overland models start at $39,495. A fully loaded Overland can be had in the mid forties. Best of all, you can get the more economical V6 engine––even if you choose to go full luxury with an Overland. Jeep doesn’t lock you into the V8 the way most of its competition does.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Specifications
Base Price: $30,995
Engine(s): 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6; 390-horsepower 5.7-liter V8
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Front-engine, rear- and four-wheel drive