By on July 2, 2010

Several years ago, I paid heed to my inner child and attended Iron Maiden’s “Aces (Very) High Tour”. During one of the breaks, singer Bruce Dickinson said, “I don’t know what’s going on. We’re still making records, and I think they’re pretty good. But nobody on the radio wants to play them. They don’t play that kind of music now. Even if people want to hear it.” Intrigued by his comment, I bought the new Maiden record. He’s right. It’s pretty good, even if the music industry has moved on. It’s also a completely standard, formulaic effort that sounds exactly like every Iron Maiden record after their final burst of creativity, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.”

What if… the new Iron Maiden record had been a double album, with the first disc being an absolutely perfect distillation of every previous record, and the second one being ten jazz standards, all performed to the highest standard of musicianship? Would anybody buy it, or would they still line up for the latest MP3s from the Silversun Pickups? That’s the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in a nutshell. It’s staggeringly competent off-road, but it’s also an absurdly composed, quiet, and comfortable freeway cruiser. Are you interested, or would you rather have a GMC Acadia?

I’m an absolutely lousy off-road driver. When I’m on my own, I get stuck at least half the time. I require constant hand-holding from spotters and I barely understand the basic concepts involved in clearly obstacles. In other words, I’m the off-road equivalent of the average journalist on-road. The Grand Cherokee, however, was perfectly willing to do all the work for me on a rather technical and difficult sand course at Hollister Hills in NorCal. The new Selec-Terrain rotary controller mimics Land Rover’s “Terrain Response”, and it’s teamed with a first-for-Jeep “Quadra-Lift” air suspension. It can lift the “JGC” to eleven inches off the ground or drop it for passenger loading.

There are two off-road-oriented AWD systems available. Quadra-Trac II has an intelligent center diff and a brake-operated traction control system all the way ’round. Quadra-Drive II adds an electronically-controlled LSD in the rear. Both variants feature a hill descent control that also works in reverse to permit a safe back-out from over-enthusiastic climbing attempts. Using a V-6 powered, Quadra-Lift-and-Quadra-Drive-II Grand Cherokee Overland, I was simply unable to get myself stuck. Even the most rookie moves, like stopping just short of the breakover point on a sand-covered rock, couldn’t faze the Jeep. Applying any amount of throttle simply “tells” the Grand Cherokee to find the wheel with traction and gently feed it through until the obstacle is cleared. It’s the next best thing to the off-road ideal of triple locking diffs… hell, it might be better for those of us who are clueless about how to maintain traction.

You get the idea. Although this is the first Grand Cherokee to have IRS all the way ’round, the off-road ability has been manifestly improved by the additional ground clearance and the available intelligent drive systems. The notion of off-road supremacy is a core part of the Jeep “brand fundamentals”, and it’s present and accounted for here. In the real world, however, these trucks rarely leave the tarmac, and that is why Jeep and Land Rover are not the leading volume nameplates in this segment. Real-world buyers want real-world usability, and that’s where the Grand Cherokee has fallen far behind the car-based competition.

Chrysler’s chosen to address this deficiency in the most aggressive way possible. The new JGC still looks like a Grand Cherokee, but the visual similarity hides larger rear doors, four desperately-needed inches of rear-seat room, and a class-competitive interior package. Interior materials are of similar quality to what you’d find in a Flex, and if the uConnect isn’t even close to SYNC in terms of usability and eye appeal, the Jeep has an Audi-style multicolor display between the tach and speedometer that can be very addicting to use. Active Cruise Control is available and it works better than it does in the competition, permitting a closer gap and “falsing” less often on two-lane roads.

The new Pentastar V-6 is the engine the Grand Cherokee has needed for eighteen years. It’s an oversquare engine, revs with alacrity, and returns 23mpg in RWD variants. It has more than enough power off-road and on fast roads. The only reason to choose the cylinder-deactivating HEMI would be to bump the tow rating from 5000 to 7400 pounds; the Pentastar is that good.

Nor does the chassis let the motor down. It’s possible to have your JGC completely optimized for on-road use; in addition to the RWD model, there’s a no-low-gear, no-touch AWD system available. Either can be had with 20″ wheels and reasonably sticky rubber. The 17″ and 18″-wheeled off-road variants, however, can still hustle on-road. It’s possible to easily double posted corner speeds and tuck into the triple digits between turns on twisty two-lanes. I’ve been on BMWCCA “fast road drives” where this JGC would have been twenty miles ahead by lunchtime. Don’t expect a Chevy Traverse or RX350 to come close to the Grand Cherokee on a twisty road.

If you have a Land Rover LR4 and an Acura MDX in your garage, and you don’t require a third row of seats, you can send them both to the auction and replace them with this Grand Cherokee. It’s that good. There’s just one little issue: this is no longer the vehicle the market seems to want. It’s the perfect Iron Maiden album, delivered a decade too late. The market has clearly indicated its preference for car-based crossovers. The original Grand Cherokee debuted into a market full of truck-framed, molasses-slow, cramped and unwieldy entries. This one arrives in a market where a Camry-platform variant is king. It won’t meet the needs, perceived or actual, of the average buyer. I’d love to own one, but what do I know? I’m still listening to Iron Maiden.

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75 Comments on “Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee...”


  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    We’ll see how the Jeep holds up in reliability but all the people I know who have had engines replaced in their Acadias (and their rebadged siblings) due to faulty camshafts along with water leaks and strange electrical gremlins certainly aren’t faring any better.

    This new Jeep is stunning both inside and out.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d like to be able to provide reliability stats for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee ASAP. Just a matter of how quickly we get enough owners involved in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. It is derived from the Mercedes M-Class, which in the past has been very troublesome. The air suspension is a common problem area in the related GL-Class.

      With the Acadias, I don’t think engine replacements have often been necessary. Usually “just” the camshafts. The water leaks were much more common and harder to fix.

      For information about the survey, and to sign up to participate:

      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    ott

    Nice to see a positive review on a -gasp- Chrysler product!

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      I just finished reading the review and had that same exact thought.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I’m not a Chrysler fan at all, but my sister and family are getting good service out of a small fleet of Jeeps they’ve bought in the past several years.

      They have two Patriots and a Grand Cherokee and rack up miles quickly. Only regret I’ve heard is that the V6 is a bit slow in the GC.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Checking calendar… nope not April 1st.

    • 0 avatar

      This sums up my initial impression as well! Is it possible Chrysler hit one out of the park after being almost universally subpar for so long?

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Unfortunately, in typical Chrysler fashion, even though they may have hit one out of the ballpark with the new Grand Cherokee, it’s highly probable that no one will be coming to the ballgames.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    I hope Chrysler does well with this new Grand Cherokee. I’d give the new one serious thought after the kids come but if I have as many as I’d like too, I’ll need the third row of seats. Let’s be honest, the Acadia/Traverse et al. are just really butch minivans.

    • 0 avatar
      musicalmcs8706

      Actually it’s more like they wish they were butch minivans. Having driven my grandfather’s Traverse I was not impressed at all, except for the amount of stuff we could get in the back. There are many other better choices for three row crossovers IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      If you want the third row, wait until the end of the year. This vehicle will sport a longer wheelbase with a third row and Dodge styling to be the new Durango or Magnum.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    This Jeep is retro without looking retro, so it dilutes it’s marketing message. What do Jeeps do? This one does it. What do Jeeps look like? This one doesn’t. Instead it looks like a 2002 Grand Cherokee, updated.

    With the Wagoneer, we saw Jeep mimicking HUMMER. With the Grand Cherokee, we see Jeep mimicking Jeep-cum-other brands. What we need here is a Jeep that looks like it’s roots.

    What made these vehicles popular is no longer. What Jeep has to do is be Jeep, just as it was before it’s popularity. What Jeep has to be is profitable, credible and desirable due to it’s credibility. More Jeep steampunk, less Acura or Verza than we see here. I am willing to pay Acura prices for a Jeep, when Jeep demands respect fot itself, as a JEEP.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Nice review. The open and finish have a strong Clarkson feel to them and I like that.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I wonder if the new JGC is going to demonstrate the same level of NVH as previous products.

    A good friend of mine has a year or so old outgoing generation JGC which has been a bit of a let down of a vehicle. The disappointment stems from the trio of driveline noises it makes on command (I’ve witnessed this). I doubt he will buy another Jeep as this is the 2nd consecutive Jeep product he has been displeased with due to incurable noises. These are warranty issues and I’ve seen how the local Jeep dealer deals with them… or in this case doesn’t.

    I thought this fellow learned his lesson a few years ago with a then new Wrangler X which had throwout bearing noises and incurable squeaks from the hard top. The service tech at the dealer couldn’t hear the noise or thought it was normal. I drove that wrangler and it was IMO unusually loud… my old XJ never made any noises like that.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    What’s the projected price on these? I agree that the car is very nicely styled inside and out. For a certain buying subset, it really sounds well-executed.

    With the air suspension, it would seem a far better value and not much of a compromise over the usual offerings from Land Rover. I imagine it costs a pretty penny less than any competing Land Rover?

  • avatar
    Roundel

    It would seem frog that the outgoing Grand Cherokee was simply not good enough… A friend bought an 05 with low mileage and the 4.7 L V8. The thing was loud, mostly because of the differential. The interior was also a drag as well. Unsupportive and uncomfortable seats, a downgrade IMO from the 99-04. The climate control backlighting was already burnt out with less than 35,000 miles on it.
    My mother owns an 04 Laredo Special Edition and its been an absolute joy to her. Nearly 96K on it now and the only thing needed replacing other than wear and tear items was a power steering line that had corroded. New England winter salt could be to blame for that. The car has the 4.0 L 6 in it so its a bit underwhelming in power, but it gets the job done. Overall it has been the most reliable car she has ever owned. She can not wait to buy a new one.
    She’s not an off-roader by any means, but she wants a Jeep because its a Jeep. And thats fine, car buying should have some emotion in it. And you can’t stir the soul with a Venza..
    This vehicle will return Chrysler to pre Daimler days…

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    If the one in the pix is the one you tested, JB, looks like about $48k on the hoof. Am I close?

  • avatar
    fitisgo

    I think the styling is very sharp, and from the review, it’s an exceedingly competent vehicle. I guess reliability is still up in the air for now, but it’s an encouraging sign. I wonder, though, why a decent new product now? Surely this project must have started during the Cerberus years; did they “get good” all of a sudden or is there any of Fiat’s hand in the end result?

    • 0 avatar
      t8528sl

      It was recognized by the team as early as December 05 that the current model had hit its cost target, at the expense of the customer (interior too cheap). After spending 2 years trying to spruce up the current model in the 08 refresh, in 2007 CY the new Grand Cherokee was started. There was a lot of focus on the Interior team that the new model had to be stellar, regardless of cost. Thank Ralph Gilles (VP Design at the time) and Jim Lyjiynen (Senior Manager over Interior). The old method of saving cost up front in the design of the vehicle, and then discounting the car absurdly in it’s lifecycle devalued the brand. The GC is about luxury as much as capability. Luxury requires premium materials. We returned to the formula that worked previously. Too bad the market moved away from this segment. I predict volumes of 65-75K per calendar year US retail but with less incentives than before.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Good review Jack, like the Iron Maiden comparison (even if I don’t know the music!)

    Vehicle externally stunning except for the GM-esque rear end (ugh!) and what looks like a well-executed but boring interior.

  • avatar
    mjz

    This should be a huge success.

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    Iron Maiden still rocks, just saw them myself! (yet another sold out show) Buy what you want; there IS a market for it, just like Maidens music. And the very fact the car-based POS’s are popular just proves the average new car buyer is no smarter than an ox; heck I bet an ox could even drive better. Maiden! Maiden! Maiden!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I’m too much of a financial realist to get into off-road driving, especially in a $45,000 luxury vehicle. Why?

    Because I know that every time I go to any place a regular car couldn’t go, there’s a reasonable probability that I’m going to break something that costs at least $2,000 to fix. I’m sorry, make that “I’m liable to break something that costs $2,000 to fix AND I’ll have to pay somebody $2,000 to get me out of there.” AND even if I don’t break something, I’m liable to ding up the outside of my car $2,000 worth.

    Even if I don’t break something. Even if I don’t ding up my car. Each time I take it out 4-wheeling, I’ll have to spend a full day cleaning it up afterwards. You can’t exactly spray out the interior of a Grand Cherokee.

    Even if I don’t go 4-wheeling at all, I have to drag around that extra hardware that cuts my MPG all year round and costs me money.

    IMHO it’s better to take an on-road vehicle to the trailhead, then hike it bike it or dirt-bike it from there.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, there’s 4-wheeling and there’s 4-wheeling. There are large (albeit lightly populated) parts of this country where you need 4-wheel drive to get up and down the back roads in any season except summer, and in summer too if there’s a gully-washer, and to drive the main roads in the snowy winters besides. It seems from reading this excellent review that this new Grand Cherokee should do well in places like that. I think it’s quite a feat for a vehicle to be as good both off- and on-road as Baruth thinks this rig is.

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      Leave the four-wheeling to the people who lease, right?

    • 0 avatar

      Which is why the ideal off road vehicle is a $2k beater Cherokee or Samuari that allows you to off-road with wild abandon. Body damage just adds “character” on such a vehicle. Only a fool or a trust fund baby would take his brand new Grand on a serious trail like Rubicon or Fordyce.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    Thanks for the review. The old GC was ill handling and kind of cramped. I’m interested in how the three row Dodge version does…

  • avatar
    CV

    “My tester — a well-equipped Overland V6 — was $43,900 or thereabouts.”

    No one takes a $40,000+ vehicle off-roading. Unless you consider speed bumps in the grocery store or mall parking lot off-roading. That’s where I see most Jeep Grand Cherokees.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    “This vehicle will return Chrysler to pre Daimler days…”

    Other reviews I’ve read say that the new JGC was designed with Daimler, and will also be used as the next M-Class.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    “…$43,900 or thereabouts.”

    I think I’ll just buy a totally loaded Outback Limited 3.6l for $31.5K, enjoy the better-than-average reliability & resale value and pocket the $12K+ difference. Okay, no I won’t…because just as I would never spend $30K+ for a Subaru, I would never drop $40K+ on a Chrysler product.

    For this thing to move at any price-point over $25K, Chrysler is going to have to go back to “basics”: MSRP discounting, rebates, $249/month leasing and fleet sales. In other words, the same stupid things that got them in to trouble previously. Meh.

    Now, all that said, it’ll be a bargain on the used car market…just like GC’s. Guess I’ll wait three years and pray that the A/T’s in these things have finally become reliable…though I’m not holding my breath.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Great review. Refreshing to see a well written article without USA auto bashing. Jeep has always been about solid dependable rugged vehicles. The rest is just fluff for the yuppies. Last winters snowfall only allowed the 4×4 trucks, the Tahoe crowd and good old jeeps on the road. Not too many yuppiemobiles made it out.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Seriously dude an Outback Limited? This is about 4wd off road vehicles. Ladies cars are in the other thread.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      —Banjos playin’, mullet shirkin’ in the Ozark breeze, cut-offs showin’ a bit too much cheek—

      Settle down, Lee Greenwood. As we all know, the new JGC…like the old JGC…is mainly going to be doing mommy duties to Target, Safeway and the local elementary school. Smart men (ie, the guys who won’t be buying this failure), don’t dump $43K into an “off road” vehicle and then actually take it “off road.” So that leaves you and like six other guys to go buy one of these clods and take it off-roading; of course, when a JGC loses half it’s value in the first year, it might actually be worth doing so.

      BTW: If you think that a Subaru is a “yuppiemobile,” you need to get in the hot tub time-machine and join the rest of us in 2010. I mean come on dude, what rock have you been hiding under? It’s a $25K station wagon for Christ’s sake, not an index of socio-economic success. Here, have some beef jerky and come out of the cave. There you go! But hey Brah, don’t go slobbering on my Sperry Topsiders…

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned 2 Subaru Legacy’s – the JGC beats them hands down. Now, the Forrester is another matter. I’d shop that against this 2011 JGC for value and build quality. The in-laws bought a 2009, and it seems to be holding up well so far.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      See, again the lady’s cars remark about the Outback Legacy is indicative of the dangerously US attitude towards actual ‘off road’ capability.

      Here, off road is a nebulous concept that consists of recreational, entertainment driving, almost exclusively.

      For non-recreational off tarmac driving, Subie wagons are just as suitable for 95 out of 100 conditions.

  • avatar
    flameded

    I’m also curious about the reliability.
    As I mentioned in another reply about something…
    I had a 03 JGC..when it was on it was on. BUT..these things had such problems..mainly electrical..from what I’ve read:
    passenger heated seat would over heat causing fire hazard (mine just stopped working)
    blower motor “resistor pack” would overheat and melt (mine did..so I just rigged up a switch to turn the blower on/off to get through the winter.
    Faulty gasket somewhere leading to the fuel pump caused fuel leaks(what a combo….fuel leaks and fire.
    Front wheel bearing went after 70k(they said it wasnt covered under warenty because it wasn’t a rear wheel.I said it’s friggin full time
    4wd how is it any different?..after lots of phone calls and “complaining/maybe threats…they finally covered it.)

    It was a very capable vehicle…when it was fuctioning properly.

    My opinion:

    If you want a new luxury vehicle, buy a luxury vehicle not a chrysler product.
    If you want a new chrysler product, buy a chrysler product.
    If you want an actual Jeep….you’re SOL, Because they don’t make em’ anymore.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    Are you interested, or would you rather have a GMC Acadia?

    Hey, I know the answer to that one!

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Consumer reports in 2010 said they could not recommend any Chrysler Vehicle, they look nice but the quality and long life is just not there imho!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Consumer Reports needs to stick to toasters. But I do know some people that had JGCs and they did have issues on a rather regular basis. The stealerships, which have the ability to at least lessen the sting of such issues, chose not to do so, even for items that were warranty.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Yeah but who can recommend Consumer Reports? After their completely subservient recommendation of Toyota during the gas pedal fiasco. Nice job on the dishwashers though.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      No they didn’t:

      http://www.leftlanenews.com/consumer-reports-pulls-recommendation-for-eight-toyota-models.html

      If you can read (the article), you’d see that CR pulled their recommendation over the pedal recall…hardly “subservient.”

      But hey, it’s all a conspiracy against the domestics, right? Cuckoo-cuckoo…

      PS: CR does sort of suck though.

  • avatar

    Wow, am I torn.

    I generally despise SUVs, and my wife’s 1999 JGC Laredo 2WD seemed like overkill to me. Over the past 5 years, though, and especially as we make nearly weekly treks from the Bay Area to the Sierra Foothills, I’ve learned to appreciate a few things about our Jeep. Namely, 1) it has held together extremely well for an 11-year-old truck: no shakes, rattles or undue problems. Sure the radiator started leaking recently, but it’s got 165k on the odo; 2) with its leather, sunroof, premium sound system and cargo room, it has been an excellent freeway cruiser, moving van and vacation machine; 3) we don’t offroad, but the times we’ve had to slowly descend a rutted, rocky slope to get to Scout Camp or punch through a snow drift, I was thankful that the Jeep wasn’t wearing wimpy passenger car tires; and 4) it’s unlikely we’ll ever get rid of it until it falls to pieces or a suitable replacement comes along.

    The intermediate-generation replacement wasn’t as suitable. The looks were too squared off for my wife. So, this gently updated, smoothed-out look could be a winner.

    It also sounds like, from this excellent review, that Chrysler has enhanced those things which made the 2nd Gen JGC so great. Replacing the rear axle with IRS should satisfy my hoonish side more aptly, too.

    It’s been our experience when checking with other JGC owners of the vintage that we were somewhat lucky on the reliability front. I’ll be very interested to see how this one stacks up (hello, Mr. Karesh). Since we’ll now more regularly be in snow country, we might have to look at 4WD more seriously.

    No Acadia for us, though. GM build quality is much more suspect from my experience, and I’d be more inclined to believe various bits in equivalent service would have shaken off by now. The JGC just gives you the impression that, since it was built for off-road use, it will last longer in daily use. That has certainly been the case with ours.

  • avatar

    I must say I’m a little shocked. I expected it to be a good vehicle, but I have yet to read any serious negative knock against this vehicle in any review I’ve come across.

    I’m on my second Grand Cherokee, had an ’02 before my ’05, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this one in a couple of years. They have served me very well in the past and this new one looks like a big leap forward. I might even dump my 5.7 Hemi for the new 3.6 while doing so.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    I live near a school, so I expect to see a few of these driven by the people who think they’re too cool to get a Caravan. That really is the only place where these $40,000 SUVs with 4WD systems that can seemingly take the truck up Mt. Everest are taken.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Local Jeep dealer just got in 2 new 2011′s. One a 4×4 Limited and the other is a base 2wd. WOW what nice vehicles. Plenty of neat stuff especially the moonroof part. Has the new 3.6 v6 engines. That should be interesting. No chance to drive on the road yet. Plenty of legroom front and back. Plenty of touchy feely stuff and the entry features are great. I like it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      You should hold out for a year or two, until Chrysler is offering .9% financing and $4500 cash back on the higher trim levels. Plus, by then, J.C. Whitney will have an aftermarket snorkel/fording package available; it will help you show those JGC moms in the Starbucks drive-thru that it’s much more than a Grand Caravan w/’tude.

  • avatar
    hurls

    I’m torn about SUVs in general — if you need one, they’re awesome. And my first drive as a hand me down 78 GMC Jimmy (you know, one of the big truck ones with a granny gear and manual hubs and all). Loved it. Love cars more though… And I’ve become a station wagon guy in my old age.

    But still… hell if I don’t want one of these, even if I have no use for it. But count me in the group that might pay $44k for a car, but wouldn’t take said car somewhere it might not come back…

  • avatar
    ajla

    It needs two exhaust pipes.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    Quit waivin’ your flag, “European.” I’m American, the photo is a joke about “Heino” and my football team starts play in August.

    Again, Mopar started all this garbage with his silly world view of associating certain social types with the cars they drive. It’s a simple one and one that he repeats throughout this thread. I mean, it’d probably kill the guy/girl that my neighbor is a red-meat Republican and yet owns two Priuses. In all actuality, I’m surprised he didn’t play the “lesbian” card when the subject of Subaru came up (though he whiffed at it when he tried his “beauty shop” comment). What can I say, some guys are simple…and then there are Mopar fans.

    But if you want to spend the rest of the evening holding his hand during this “discussion,” go for it bro’. I just think that a guy like him has all the answers way before he ever discusses anything, so why waste your time? Again, the guy is either a shill for Chrysler/Jeep or he’s got that 1970′s mullet headed “FORD = Found on Road Dead!” spiel. In the end, there’s no objectivity coming from that direction, so why not have some fun with him…

  • avatar
    gforce2002

    Wow, there used to be a time when this kind of direct poster bashing would get you summarily booted from TTAC. These guys are slipping.

  • avatar

    Definitely looks like a fine machine. But I’m pretty happy with my AWD 2008 4Runner with the 4.7L V-8 and there’s no way I’d trade right now. The 4Runner has 54k miles and still runs like new. Great highway ride, plenty of power, outstanding traction, and 21 mpg avg. Even the Michelin Cross Terrains won’t wear out, still have .2 inches of tread left.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I think the man who wields the “banhammer” is not at the helm…

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Wow, so many more snarky comments than usual. This however is the review I’ve been waiting for.

    I’ll consider one as a replacement to my 2004 GC Laredo, when it shows signs of expiring. It is a 6cyl model with the manual 4wd transaxel (Select-Trac I IIRC). I’ve owned Wranglers before and this is as easy to work on as they were. It’s had a couple of issues, mostly with ABS encoder replacements but other than that, it’s been the usual wear items. The interior is plain but it wears well.

    I like the GC because it’s a smaller SUV so it’s easier to maneuver off-road. I don’t do any difficult technical stuff anymore, but I have owned and rented property in somewhat inaccessible places and the Jeep has never failed me.

    If the new one turns out as good as my current one, I’ll buy. The cost doesn’t bother me because I’ll either buy new or find an off-lease one then put 8-10 years on it.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Definitely looks like a fine machine. But I’m pretty happy with my AWD 2008 4Runner with the 4.7L V-8 and there’s no way I’d trade right now. The 4Runner has 54k miles and still runs like new. Great highway ride, plenty of power, outstanding traction, and 21 mpg avg.
    ———————————————————————
    21 mpg? I have an 05 with the 4.7 and I couldn’t get 21 if I threw it off a cliff. Other than poor mileage it’s a great car.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Flameded, a true jeep has not been built in many decades. As far back as the 60′s they used the buick V8 and other engines and driveline components. When amc bought them they used their own engines and rear axles, with chrysler torqueflite and gm turbo 400 transmissions, different manual trannies and transfer cases.
    AMC also used the pontiac iron duke 4 cylinder in them, as well as gm’s 2.8 V6.
    There were enough different engine and driveline pieces used in them over the years to fill a book. I think that even willys used a 6 cylinder made by hudson in them. So to get a true jeep you would pretty much have to get one of the first ones built.
    The only thing that remains of the original jeep is the name, which became nothing more than a division of chrysler, same as dodge brothers.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Seems like a killer product, it’s up to Chrysler to screw it up in marketing and pricing…i hope they don’t the GC deserves to be among the best in the segment on heritage alone.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    this is the car my wife wants! or that i want her to want. she loves truck-like SUVs (currently driving an 02 Explorer). she wants it to look more like a truck, drive more like a car, and have “big mirrors” (she actually listed that as a criteria), but be relatively nice inside with leather and such. I want her to have something we can take to the beach and camping without worrying about being stuck in the sand and/or mud. and that i can put a one-man canoe on top of. i never even considered jeep. i thought of 4 runners and pathfinders and pilots and flexes and MDXs and the like. What she really wants is a landrover, but i will buy her this (1 yr used and hugely depreciated).

    you rock Jack.

  • avatar
    340-4

    I like it. A lot.

    I’ll go test drive one.

    Well done, Jeep. Now prove to the world that it’ll hold up.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    The new POS Explorer (well…not new once you realize it’s just a reskinned Flex) has A LOT to worry about.

  • avatar
    muthaiga

    I’ve been the very happy owner of a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan ES AWD for almost twelve years. 170K trouble free miles, but I always maintained it as recommended. Now, the kids are getting ready to head off to college and I’m feeling an itch. Not because the van is worn out or obsolete. In fact, on some level, it is too good. It does absolutely everything I can ask, in leather surrounded, ergonomically perfected, roomy, quiet comfort. Only the new AWD Toyota Sienna is close, but it has cheap plastic surfaces inside and Toyota’s tend to be noisier. I love that it can swallow whole bicycles, 4×8 sheets of plywood or seven passengers on a whim. Can’t do that with a JGC. The gas mileage is no better because the Jeep weighs 1500 lbs more than the van. Still…there is something about this new JGC that is drawing me like no other vehicle in recent memory. I just wish something would go wrong with my van to make my decision easier. I’m tired of being responsible. I want to play – in comfort. I want “macho luxury”.

  • avatar
    escapenguin

    A co-worker bought one of these to replace his old Cherokee. I was shocked at how composed, quiet and smooth it was on the road. It was such a huge contrast to his old Jeep. The V-6 is indeed, pretty good. Seeing that it’s based on the M-platform is hardly a surprise. If you’re in the market for an SUV, you owe yourself to test one of these.

  • avatar

    Michael, as a bus driver, I can tell you, anytime you involve air suspension, one should expect an unusually higher level of wear/problems. There’s a reason air is not popular on the private transportation segment. ;)

  • avatar
    AJ

    I’ll certainly replace the wife’s Liberty with one of these in a year or so. I was previously worried I wouldn’t be buying another Jeep. I’d love the new V6, but I’ll go with the Hemi so I can tow my TJ (Wrangler) with it.

  • avatar

    why does it look so toyota-ish
     
    bland and boring
     
     
    come on Fiat …er….chrysler
     
    do not soften these cars
     
     
    and i do not want the new dodge charger to be a rebadged Fiat Linea

  • avatar
    pcaker

    A surprising  oversight of this and most other reviews in my opinion, is that the rear opening of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is too small on the diagonal to allow the universal 48” dimension of sheet material to pass through without real risk of damage. This means that all sheet material would have to be cut twice to fit in the vehicle – a great inconvenience and frequently dimensionally unacceptable. As practical versatility is the prime claim of SUV’s, this oversight is hard to understand. Looking at the rear frame design, it appears to me that the design could easily have been modified to provide the extra inch required.
    Nevertheless, I really like almost everything else about this design. The reliability record, and the availability of a high efficiency diesel will be the deciders for me, because my existing V6 04 Highlander is a very good vehicle, even quite good offroad, and I will need very strong reasons to replace it.


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