By on January 14, 2011

Following the disastrous launch of the Chrysler Pacifica, which was supposed to take that brand upscale, Chrysler (the company, not the brand) did a 180 and started developing the cheapest, least refined, and least attractive vehicles sold in the U.S. End result: Chapter 11. But even before the bankruptcy Chrysler once again changed course, and set about developing more stylish, better-outfitted vehicles. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the first of these. How good is it?

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is considerably larger than the old one, with a wheelbase of 114.8 inches (up 5.3), a length of 189.8 inches (up 3.2), a width of 76.3 inches (up 3.0) and a height of 69.4 inches (up 1.7). The new body is rounder and smoother, but still far from generic. Especially given that the new SUV is based on the Mercedes ML, Chrysler did an outstanding job creating an exterior design that is both clearly a Grand Cherokee and thoroughly up-to-date, with athletic proportions (the wheelbase grew more than the length) and no trendy details to mar the clean, muscular bodysides. The interior design is almost as successful, with a similarly clean design, tight fits, and higher quality materials than in the 2010. “Almost” because the interior design is somewhat generic and, even in the most expensive trim levels, increasingly passe silver plastic trim covers the center stack and center console. Certainly Chrysler’s designers can come up with something better than this trim, and few parts are cheaper to alter.

The seats are high and comfortable, with a large, moderately raked windshield contributing to an excellent driving position. Compared to that in a Toyota 4Runner, with its upright windshield, the view forward in the Grand Cherokee is like that in a car, just much higher off the ground. One oddity: the A-pillars bow inward to an unusually large degree at the top and bottom, so the shape of the windshield is like that of an old television. Thanks to larger exterior the rear seat is much roomier than before, so adults now have plenty of room for their heads, shoulders, and legs. Cargo volume is about the same as before. Plenty for most uses, but you’ll find more in other SUVs.

Two engines are offered so far, a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 and a 360-horsepower 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8. The Pentastar will replace older V6s in many Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models during the 2011 model year, but it was introduced in the new Grand Cherokee. Not the best introduction. Though the new 3.6 is a fine engine, with very good power and refinement for its size, in the all-wheel-drive Jeep it’s saddled with 4,660 pounds of curb weight (up about 200). An antiquated five-speed automatic doesn’t help; a transmission with more ratios could provide a shorter first gear. An eight-speed automatic is likely on the way. Until it arrives, the V6 Grand Cherokee feels sluggish at low speeds and never feels quick. As hard as it would once have been to imagine, 290 horsepower seem merely adequate. The V8 feels considerably more energetic, but still isn’t quick, with 0-60 times similar to those for the V6-powered Toyota 4Runner. The Hemi could also sound more special; in the new Grand Cherokee they’ve muffled it overly much.

The new Grand Cherokee employs a sophisticated all-independent suspension based on a Mercedes design, so it should come as no surprise that it handles and rides much better than any previous Grand Cherokee save the SRT8, with excellent on-road body control and little noise. On paved roads the more softly suspended Toyota 4Runner feels squishy and imprecise in comparison. But the Jeep’s mass and high center of gravity cannot entirely be avoided—it leans more in turns than the typical car-based crossover. The new Grand Cherokee might be a very refined SUV, but it is still an SUV. Though less than in past Jeeps the steering is light and numb, and on-pavement driving is far from engaging. By which I mean it’s very pleasant, but boring. With Jeep developing ever more luxurious versions of the Grand Cherokee, with a new Overland Summit recently introduced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Lexus has far more to worry about than BMW. So far. SRT worked wonders with the chassis of the previous Grand Cherokee, and the new one provides a much better starting point. I’ve seen an SRT prototype around, so a new SRT8 is coming.

I did not drive either Grand Cherokee off the pavement [Ed: Despite what the press shots might have you believe], so cannot report how well it performs there. Jack Baruth’s press launch review suggests that, despite the Mercedes underpinnings, off-road performance remains worthy of the Jeep name, especially when equipped with the optional adjustable-height air suspension (also Mercedes-derived).

Even a minimally optioned 2011 Grand Cherokee with the V8 lists for $38,490, and it’s easy to configure one deep into the forties. Compared to the 2010, prices are up about $1,800, but the content level is up even more. Adjust for these additional features using TrueDelta’s car price comparisons. and the 2011 is actually $2,800 to $4,500 less pricey than the 2010, depending on trim level. These comparisons do not consider incentives, which were much higher with the 2010. More of a surprise: the 2011 Grand Cherokee V6 is about $4,000 less than a Toyota 4Runner or the even heavier new Ford Explorer when these are comparably loaded up. Though initially the prices might seem high, on closer examination Chrysler has priced the new Grand Cherokee aggressively.

I’ll be the first to admit that people don’t buy the Jeep Grand Cherokee for driving excitement. The things people do buy it for—style, luxury, the promise of off-road capability—have all been substantially improved with the 2011. Most impressive of all, the Grand Cherokee now has the look and feel of a premium vehicle, without a premium price. If you want these things, but also want to be thrilled by the driving experience, just wait for the SRT8.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

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68 Comments on “Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Take Two...”


  • avatar
    motownr

    Nice review, Michael–as always.
    I’d echo your sentiments on the GC, with the additional comment that even the newest suspension has not exorcised that uniquely Jeep sensation of being ‘on tiptoes’, complete with the occasional ‘scrunch’ noise from the front suspension.
    The rest of the vehicle defies resemblance to any Chrysler product I’ve driven in the past–the Cerberus mercenaries did a yeoman job.
    As taxpayers, we were awfully nice to hand this off to our (apparently) BFFs in Italy.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Don’t blame Fiat if this all just happens to work out.

      You do recall that Chrysler was insolvent, bankrupt and ready for Chapter 7* don’t you?

      *And even if you want to argue that they were only fodder for Chapter 11, there was no one willing to provide DIP financing or to even get involved in the mess, after GM gave up their aspirations to take-over, and RSA walked-away from the opportunity to take over.

      That Chrysler is even alive to day is due to two things:  1) Government involvement and financing, 2) Fiat’s willingness to take a chance on a payday.

      Don’t blame Fiat if this all just happens to work out.  Blame:
      - Cerberus (stupid name, no?) for their (stupid) machinations, manipulations, and excessive apetite matched with lacking competence and insufficiently deep pockets matched by a flagging economy;
      - Daimler for the lack of a clear vision to position Chrysler to be successful;
      - Mr. Eaton for selling the company to Daimler;
      - Mr. Iacocca for hiring Mr. Eaton.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Thank you Robert.  That was short and covered what has been forgotten by many.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Not to mention the hiring of Nardelli as the CEO.  A man whose credentials included no auto experience, and, whose claim to fame was the near bankrupting of Home Depot during good economic times.
       
      A nasty stupid man.

  • avatar

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with Merc’s SUV platform. I saw a game warden patrolling in an old and beaten Merc (at a private hunting ranch). It does just fine with adequate rubber.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    I like it, everything I have read is favorable and it would be at the top of the list were I in the market for a SUV. In fact it would be the whole list. It’s hard to believe though that it actually has a shorter wheelbase than the Charger and 300. That platform needs to shrink some.

  • avatar
    thebeelzebubtrigger

    Thanks Michael for the frank and thorough review. Is it just me though, or is it a bit crazy to expect a JGC with all that silver plastic inside to sell for as much as the much more upscale Touareg?

    Oh and BTW ATTENTION SITE ADMINS:
    When I went to post this I found myself logged in as “Carmen Ritacco”, though I hadn’t logged in and had just recently cleared all cookies. Something’s misconfigured, guys!
    There’s definitely no-one but me out here in these woods using this computer. 

    • 0 avatar

      It doesn’t sell for as much as the Touareg. When they’re comparably equipped the VW is about $7,000 more.
      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php
      This might explain why these vehicles are rarely compared on my site.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      Ah my mistake, thanks. Unbelievable to me how pricey these things are…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Still, this is the one SUV that I see competing directly with the Touareg, base price notwithstanding. Both are doing the upscale, small interior, high tow capacity, real off road SUV thing, but in an American and not British way. Others tend to do a bigger interior, or be too up or low scale to stack up as equivalents. This is obviously just a gut feeling more than a spec comparison but it’s honestly how I view the cars.
       
      I’ve always been a fan of grand cherokee. It was one of the first “hero” cars, kind of like the Bronco, to hit the streets en masse. I logged some truly idiotic hours in and around these vehicles during my teenage years. “Goes anywhere, mom owns it” is a hell of a tag line.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I’ve seen them in person quite a few times now and they look surprisingly handsome and polished looking, something I never thought I’d say about a Jeep.  Still, no matter how much better the handling is on tarmac, I’d still opt to find and older GQ with solid axles for vastly superior articulation and simplicity.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I remember when I saw the uncovered pre-prod vehicles crusing around Chrysler H.Q. in mid-summer 2009 … the ones that I saw were in black and I thought they were devoid of character…  but looking at these pics I have to admit that my first impression was wrong … these cars look nice.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The improvements that Chrysler has made to the JGC and the other 2011 models is nothing short of remarkable. God, even the new 200 is actually quite attractive in person. Who da thunk it?

  • avatar

    I’d very much like to report how reliable these all-new vehicles are. So far 18 owners have signed up to help with the Car Reliability Survey. A good start, but to provide a solid result we’ll need at least twice as many.
    To help with the survey, with just about any car:
    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      As someone who always buys after warranty expires (and price drops to comfortable levels) I am more interested in long-term reliability and economies of upkeep from that point on.
      Upon reading about the 3.6 engine design I am not so sure I would be looking at it – it is configured too much as a throwaway item, not meant to sustain neither high mileage nor being repairable. Plastic covers and (as far as I could tell from pics) pipe/hose fittings, integrated exhaust manifold and that heat exchanger in the V – all seem suspicious to me. And that’s before we look into all those electronics…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Acubra, it is OK to stop embracing your inner-Luddite…

      Done properly, for the items you describe, plastic is SUPERIOR to any other material when the following are taken into consideration:
      - essentially dent, distortion and scratch (the kind that removes the finish and allows rust) proof;
      - corrosion and rust-proof;
      - low-mass;
      - optimized forms (that perform better than metal);
      - rather than transmit or amplify noise, plastic tends to attenuate and smother it.

      Again done properly, a plastic counterpart usually costs less and lasts longer.

      But I don’t blame you too much, there are still people out there that prefer wood to fibreglass ax handles, monaural AM to stereo FM, single to triple glazing, whole blood to plasma…

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      “Again done properly, a plastic counterpart usually costs less and lasts longer. But I don’t blame you too much, there are still people out there that prefer wood to fibreglass ax handles, monaural AM to stereo FM, single to triple glazing, whole blood to plasma…”
       
      Wow, which manufacturer is paying you to astroturf?
      It’s “modern” to prefer McDonald’s to a home cooked meal too, but those of us who don’t are not “luddites”. Wanting cars that aren’t disposable is not ludditism.
       
      “Plastic covers and (as far as I could tell from pics) pipe/hose fittings, integrated exhaust manifold and that heat exchanger in the V – all seem suspicious to me”
       
      Exactly. Should raise red flags for the few people left who don’t look at their car as a disposable fashion statement.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      @Robert.Walter – you can make a case for plastic in the generic sense, but it’s like steel in the generic sense – there are steels that endure and steels that rust. Plastic gets embrittled – like the cracked air intake in my oldest car that is now wrapped in Gorilla brand duct tape. It also creeps – takes a permanent set – when loaded for example by a snap fit between parts. I have a nice hole in a wall in my house where I had to get in to replace a bath fan whose snap fit plastic outlet adapter gave up the ghost and let the fan exhaust directly into the wall cavity. The fan was replaced with one that had stamped metal outlet adapter. Another example of that is those cheap printers and faxes that you throw away – the fairly tight paper feed tolerances get bollixed up due to preloads in plastic parts that creep out.
      Yes, plastic has the virtues you list but damned if I can tell the difference between the cheap stuff and the good stuff by looking at it. But, then, damned if that isn’t the case with steel too.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I’m hardly an astroturfer … as a mechanic-cum-mechanical engineer, with over 25 years experience in the automotive game I have no particular love for any material over another, hence my twice-repeated caveat “done correctly” … some of the products that I developed couldn’t have been in plastic, some of the innovations I created couldn’t have been done with out plastic. 

      Also, not all plastics, like all metals, are not created equal and are not equally appropriate for every application.

      We are not talking McD’s v. Mom’s Kitchen here, if we are, then this is a matter of taste, and that can not be argued.

      But advocating the correct use of materials is not a “geschmacksache”, and the arbitrary or nostalgic use of a material (here metal for each and every part you list) would be as irresponsible for a competent engineer (with likely negative anti-competitive consequences for the product and firm) as an inappropriate use of materials or technology would be.

      Would anybody ever advocate an airbag out of metal?
      Who would prefer to return to steel chromed bumpers?
      Air cleaners or electrical junction boxes made of metal?
      Low-carbon steel steering wheel armatures and rims instead of today’s die-cast magnesium?
      Carburettors instead of FI (which became feasible, in part, through the use of plastics), or sheet-metal instead of blow-moulded fuel tanks?
      And even the lowly gasoline can, who would ever wish to return to its sheet-metal predecessor?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Ummmm actually I really liked chrome steel bumpers.  I still have a bottle of “Mother’s” chrome polish. 

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      @ Robert Walter:
      Chromed bumpers made a car look like a car, not a suppository.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Yes, they are pretty, and I love them on my ’69 XR-7, but on my daily driver, I rather prefer RIM-plastic front & rear faciae … I wouldn’t want the weight, cost, acceleration, repair, cleaning or mpg penalty just for the sake of aestetics…

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Robert.Walter,
      You somehow manage to read so much more in my comment than there is actually there.  And from your arrogantly patronising statement of obvious I am not any wiser too.
      I am not against technology development, I am against coproeconomy (circulation of crap), when cheaply made and complicated stuff you do not need is forced upon you and it is touted as something extra-super-absolutely cool/new. Or legislated into being a required item (Tire Pressure Monitors, seatbelt and key-out chimes that do not annoy, anyone?).

      As for plastic, can you please remind me when exactly was the last time it was done properly as you mention? Probably, in the case of plastic radiator fittings and water pump impellers in BMWs, which if not replaced every 60-70 k, can write off an engine? A true Luddite like myself can search around for some Luddite Inc aftermarket offers and replace these items for steel substitutes that can be left there for good.
      Also, plastic bumpers do look sorta nice and cost a dime to make and install, but you will fork out $$$$ to replace one after somebody reverses into your car on a Walmart parkade, and leaves unnoticed.
      And those properly made plastic headlight lenses covers, due to usage of which you cannot have headlight wipers anymore?
       

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      @Acubra  I was reading your reply and noted that you list seatbelts as an unnecessary burden. I think Mr. Walter may have nailed it.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      probert,
      Sir, if you were actually READING it, you would notice that “seatbelt” was followed by a word “chime”, thus making your statement unfounded.
      It is funny how often (not just on web forums) people look at a statement A+B=C, but read something like A-B+D/2-F=C and them fume at the author who dared to write such an utter nonsense.
      Respectfully yours.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    I did not drive either Grand Cherokee off the pavement, so cannot report how well it performs there.
     
    At a 4×4 starting price point of $32K+, it won’t matter…these things will not be going off road anyway.  But then, why should they?  The parking lots of Target, Bath & Body Works, Kohls & similar are graded & paved…
     
    BTW:  That is one seriously gray interior.

  • avatar
    obbop

    $38,490
    I seriously doubt any of those contraptions ever end up as lawn ornaments upon concrete blocks deep in the heart of hillbilly heaven.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Don’t give-up hope, these things take the help of time and a steep depreciation curve:

      http://www.caradvice.com.au/9186/where-are-they-now-supercars-abandoned/

  • avatar
    aspade

    “An antiquated five-speed automatic doesn’t help.”
     
    The achilles heel here.  The undersized V6 needs all the help it can get but isn’t getting any, 13/19 on the window of the V8 is a tough sell now and only getting tougher in the foreseeable future.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      gswhiz

      Just what the country needs and wants with oil pushing $100/bbl (Translating to $3.20/gal gas):
      A heavier SUV with worse real – world mileage. I just don’t get it. I really just can’t fathom the total denial that this country is in, from car companies to drivers. WE. ARE. RUNNING. OUT. OF. OIL. PERIOD.
      If we have any collective wisdom left this 4,600 lb doorstop will remain unsold on dealer lots. It’s exactly the wrong kind of transportation investment.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      Good, I hope we will run out soon, so Hydrogen infrastructure will become available and gas station will become hydrogen stations. Then we wont have to care about fuel mileage.
       
      And please stop whining about $3.20/gallon gas. Try $1.15/L for the 87 and $1.35/L for premium!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The problems with hydrogen is a) how do you make it, or at least how do you make it in a net-energy-positive way, and b) how do you get past the transport-and-storage issue.
       
      I think we’ll see universal, swappable EV batteries long, long before we see hydrogen as an automotive fuel.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Hemi could also sound more special; in the new Grand Cherokee they’ve muffled it overly much.
     
    God damn it.
     
    Why would ChryslerCo do something so awful? At least offer a factory exhaust upgrade.

  • avatar
    InstantKarma

    I bought the V8 Overland 2011 and love it.  (I’m on TrueDelta, Michael)  I shopped around and, being 6’7″, couldn’t fit in most things.  The JGC interior is also nicer than most of the competitors.  My only knock on it, as mentioned above, is the 5-speed.  It would be better with 6 or more. 

    Like most people, I won’t be taking it offroad at first, but once the shine is off I look forward to putting it to work.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My 4Runner is a V6 + 5AT and I don’t see a problem with it after living with it for 12,000 miles.  When I was shopping, the 5AT was a huge turnoff, but when I actually drove it, I quickly forgot that it only had 5 cogs to swap.  I think, with time, you’ll agree.
       
      I think Jeep did a great job with the new JGC.  It is attractive and the interior looks nicer than my T4R.  I would still chose my T4R over the JGC, but it is good to see proper competition and that the JGC didn’t turn into a FWD biased crossover made to look like an SUV. [ahem, Explorer]

    • 0 avatar
      InstantKarma

      I agree with you: the 5AT is not a big deal.  The V8 is strong enough that there aren’t any problems.  I’d still rather have a 6-speed.

      The 4Runner would have been in the running had I fit in it.  I quite like it.

    • 0 avatar

      I noticed less of an issue with the 5AT in the 4Runner. It’s not much lighter than the Grand Cherokee, but its V6 is about as quick as the JGC with the V8. Partly a matter of a stronger low end, but a shorter first gear (even with the same number of ratios) could also play a role.

  • avatar
    pudelpointer

    Back in 99′ Diemler-Chrylser introduced a new JGC as well……………they offered a fantastic lease and I fell for it.  It was the worst vehicle I have ever owned/leased, as it was in the shop on a monthly basis.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.   

  • avatar
    cmus

    The 11 JGC is not “based on” the Mercedes ML.
     
    From Allpar: “Chief Engineer Phil Jansen wrote: “We started developing Grand Cherokee as DaimlerChrysler and leveraged our partnership with Mercedes. While there are some common componentry that we share, the vehicle in platform is truly a Jeep.””
    I couldn’t actually find the quote that I was looking for, but I think the “common componentry” is actually with the not-done-yet 2012 ML, not the 2011 ML.  I guess if we wanted to go all chronological, the ML is based on the GC.  But, really, I’m fine with some co-developed componentry.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Not really an impartial source the Chief is.  Chief more-or-less has to say that regardless of the degree to which the products have been separated.

      Oh, and the silent part of the Chief’s statement: “And the Daimler product is not.”

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Having just spent a week in a Mercedes SUV (Hertz rental upgrade) with the 7spd auto-tragic, all I can say is more ratios is more chances for the #@$@#$@# thing to be in the wrong gear. Utterly miserable.

    And why on earth should a 4600lb vehicle feel QUICK?? I can’t even imagine that the V6 does not provide far more than adequate power. Especially for the soccer Mom’s who actually drive these stupid things. People need to adjust thier expectations, or just keep flushing money away at the pumps for capability that no one even uses in the real world. Then again, that is pretty much the definition of “Trail Rated” for 95% plus of the owners.

    • 0 avatar
      dima

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I’ve driven a friend’s V6 GC a couple of times, and while it was no rocket, it was ok, I could easily live with it. I’ve owned two GC’s, one of the first year, a 93, and a 99. I really liked the 93, and kept it longer than any other vehicle I’ve owned, and really hated the 99 (drove great, but the seats killed me, and the steering wheel was way too far over to the right!). I like the new one even better than my first one. The only real negative to it is the size of it. It seems even bigger than it is to me.

    • 0 avatar
      gswhiz

      “trail rated” is joke. If marketers were honest they’d call these things “mall rated” or “gated subdivision rated” and be done with it.
      But everyone wants their image to say “rugged, tough individualist, don’t mess with me!” I guess “fearful super mall shopper” and “crappy McMansion dweller” just doesn’t have the same appeal.

  • avatar

    “Most impressive of all, the Grand Cherokee now has the look and feel of a premium vehicle, without a premium price.”  Really?  $40k+ isn’t premium??

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Apparently not anymore. I just bought a new car, and the sticker was over $37K, and I think back to the first car I bought in 1974, and the sticker was just over $5K. A friend has the same car I do, (2010 Challenger), and his sticker was over $40K!! It’s mind blowing to me.

  • avatar
    erik_t

    Sounds like a big fat turd, frankly. Maybe if you like big fat turds, it’s a fantastic offering and it’s just the vehicle for you.
     
    I don’t really like big fat turds.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Why being so arrogantly derogative towards those who like/prefer something that you do not?
       

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Like plastic?

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      OK, so erik_t doesn’t like big fat turds.  How about skinny turds?

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Like automotive engineers that are capable of designing vehicles that can remain economically viable past warranty period, are professional-mechanic-friendly and… wait, I already want too much of them…
      BTW, Robert.Walter, from your comments I figure out that you are a Chrysler man.
      So could you please enlighten us whose genius developed the wonderfully modern, reliable and long-lasting 2.7V6 engine?
      Or 99-04 Intrepid PLASTIC door lock gears that would die a noisy and premature death after just a few years’ service? To be replaced to the tune of $150-200 a unit? Because some other genius made them sealed for life and impossible to swap just worn gears?

  • avatar
    geo

    Anything over $40,000 is a premium price.  I don’t care what the norm is, prices are getting ridiculous. 

    If a vehicle can’t be considered “premium”, critics and enthusiasts moan, groan, and savage the vehicle until the name is completely tarnished and nobody wants to buy it.  So vehicles get bigger, fancier, more powerful, and the interior becomes full of soft, squishy bits that people can poke away at like one-fingered typers.  

    Cars that don’t fall into this category become are considered bargain-priced junk that losers buy as they fail at life.  Critics sniff about them because that’s their job.  Enthusiasts sniff about them because it’s their hobby.  So cars become more and more overdone, overpowerful, and overexpensive.  When is enough going to be enough?  So now we have the Explorer with a cornering nanny.  Also available is automatic parallel parking.  So much for the independent, “free” image of the SUV driver.  He/she is now tied down by huge payments, electronic nannies, and 5000 pounds of weight.  The 1984 Cherokee and 1st-gen Explorer are rolling in their graves.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      When is enough going to be enough?

      I hear ya, but there’s money to be made – not from me though.  Too rich for my blood.

    • 0 avatar
      gswhiz

      @ geo: Post of the Day!
      I like old, used cars. I believe auto design peaked in the mid to late 90′s. If you look at cars though the cross-matrix lens of performance, efficiency and reliability . You can’t beat most of the 90′s Acuras or Hondas if you are looking for those qualities. And now you pick up just about any of them for short money.

      All the ‘passive safety’ crap adds weight, increases complexity, and reduces driver involvement and responsibility. People tool around texting, eating, talking on the phone, screwing around with the sat-nav. No one in America can f’ing drive anymore. There’s no joy or pride in it. People view it as a chore, to be tolerated while they tweet rolling along in stop n’ go traffic during their 2 hour commute.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    My largest put-offs:
    1. I hate this modern trend with packages. Why cannot I pick a Hemi, but with the most basic package (no fancy multi-modes, 3-knob heater, basic cloth/manual seats), yet with sunroof and 2-speed transfer box?
    2. The race to get favorable emissions and economy numbers suffocated Hemi to the point of it feeling slower than the original ’99 4.7V8, which was a real rocket, pure and simple.
    3. 3.6 can be rated at gazzilion HP, but torque will not be there – unless you stuff some turbo into there. Making one already complex engine even more complex.
    Oh, and with a free-breathing Hemi a 5 speed would be just fine. Had an AWD 05 Hemi Ram 1500 – one of the best tuned combinations for engine/throttle/gearbox I ever had.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    BTW, the Chrysler internal name for this project was “Unibody” … unless something (in either the platform or the definition of the term has) changed, this means there is no longer a separate BOF (body-on-frame) construction as in days past.

    So, the difference between a CUV (car-based) and TUV (truck-based, my own term) based SUV becomes blurrier … because what an OEM would wish to portray of a vehicle in this segment (namely that it was more TUV than CUV) no longer holds.

    For years I was telling my colleagues that these segments would converge, that the heavyweights (TUV) would lighten-up and the lightweights (would beef-up), and now we see this, the JGC and Ford Explorer may have started, or at least recently been something light light TUV’s, but have now transformed their way into heavy CUV territory.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      The commentator below got it– I was going to remind you that all not-gigantic Cherokees– since about 1984– have been unibodies. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Right, that’s why I added “definition” to my comments … I was fairly sure that JGC was a unibody since a long time… my thoughts about convergeance were more centered on Explorer’s move from the U251 bof platform to the D3 unit-construction one.

  • avatar
    rdeiriar

    It should be noted that all Cherokees and Grand Cherokees, from the seminal XJ on, have been unibody.

  • avatar
    AJ

    My wife wants one, and I’d want the HEMI. But with this economy, I’m in no rush for the payments. Maybe in a couple of years…

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    Particularly with gas prices projected to hit $5 before long (thanks Obama for pandering to the enviro-weenies and not letting us extract U.S. energy supplies!), this thing is just crying out for a diesel (they’re offering one overseas) and a tranny with more gear ratios.  Even though per-gallondiesel fuel sometimes spikes over gas prices (in the U.S. due to our taxes), this is typically more than offset by the better fuel economy … and love that torque and engine longevity. (But please delete “urea injection.”)
     
    As for the GC it is tempting overall, in spite of it being assembled by the UAW (post-bailout I’m really trying to avoid ever purchasing a UAW vehicle again).
     
    BUT the big question mark is long-term reliability.  The components were spec’d under the Daimler-Cerebus era — both as to internally and supplier sourced components — and one wonders if the “mean time to failure” was merely enough to get through the warranty period, but at the expense of longer-term longevity, merely to his a “price point.”
     
    In fact, I remember the seventies, and across the board I’m starting to sense that manufacturers are (once again) starting to engineer quality down in order to reduce costs and inflation in sticker prices, and to promote “disposability” / “planned obsolescence” in order to force buyers to keep coming back.
     
    Certainly these days it’s easy to engineer specs to have high reliability through the (only) three year J.D. Powers “long term” reliability survey, and so have the marketing wherewithal to tout scores, but to have a sharp drop-off after five or so years when the vehicle is out of warranty and to “nudge” buyers back into the showrooms (they’re no longer forced to improve quality to try to catch-up with Toyota / Honda (as those two have been losing their way in this regard), and it is unclear if Hyundai-KIA will pick up that mantle to force competition in “quality”).

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The new 3.6 is a great engine. Give it some time to break in and it will reward with good power and fuel mileage. The number of speeds in the tranny are really irrelavant. These silly 7 and 8 speed trannys are overkill with the engine constantly shifting and revving all over the place which is very annoying and not necessary if the engine is designed with good torque characteristics. My old 4 speed 4T65 in my 2008 Impala shifts better than most any new car I have rented or test driven with prefect on time often not felt shifts. The major issue with it is the large gap between first and second gear which any good 5 or 6 speed improves on if the gear ratios are properly chosen and the computer is properly programmed for shift quality. I don’t see a need for 8 speeds in an automatic with todays power levels.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      Exactly.  Just another example of the “one-upmanship” that is making today’s vehicles unnecessarily over-engineered and expensive.  Gear-counting is like the low-hanging fruit that critics go for first.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    Can we get a comments filter which automatically erases any post containing the string “obama”?


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