The look is unmistakably Jeep, but everything else on the 2011 Grand Cherokee is a departure from the old. Outside Jeep ditched the body cladding look of the previous three generations, and has gone for a more unified appearance. It’s a combination of smooth and sharp lines that’s further accented by the reduction of the grille and headlight area. It looks almost like how Toyota would design a Jeep.
Jeep wants to up play the premium SUV elements of the new Grand Cherokee. For starters, Jeep is being very vocal about the new Grand Cherokee sharing a platform with the Mercedes M-Class. Inside the layout has not changed greatly, but the materials quality has been given a big upgrade.
The engine choices have now gone from five to two. The bread ’n butter engine will be the new flex-fuel flexible 3.6-liter V-6 engine that delivers 280 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 N•m) @ 4,800 rpm. Second one is a reworked version of the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. It now delivers 360 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (up 3 hp and 1 lb.-ft.).
Updated 05/12/2010: Jeep today announced prices for the 2011 Grand Cherokee that will be available in showrooms in June. The SUV will be offered in three trim levels: Laredo priced at $32,995, Limited priced at $39,995 and Overland that is priced at $42,995. The SUV will be offered with: standard Active Head Restraints, full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax air bags, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-start Assist, and Trailer-sway Control. A Blind-spot/Rear Cross-path detection system and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning.
UPDATE 05/19/2010</i>: Chrysler is getting an early jump on the upcoming market launch of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee next month by releasing a new video of the luxury SUV. Click on the picture above to check it out!
UPDATE 06/11/2010: Check out the first commercial for the all new 2011 Jeep Cherokee after the jump.
UPDATE 06/21/2010: Jeep has unleashed an online configurator for the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Check it out to personalize your ride before heading down to the dealer.
UPDATE 06/28/2010: Recently, Jeep’s Bob Hegbloom took some time to talk with Pentastar Video to discuss the painstaking process behind the creation of the Grand Cherokee. Among the finer points of the interview include Hegbloom laying the groundwork for how Jeep can maintain its brand image as a rugged SUV that puts a premium on customer satisfaction.
Press release after the jump.
The 2011 Cherokee is by no means a push-over; certainly, it comes with an exterior that has been designed with an all-new sculpted body and an athletic profile that carries a sleek and aerodynamic feel to the SUV. The Grand Cherokee also has a slew of new exterior features, particularly an all-new dual-pane panoramic sun roof that extends from the windshield to the rear of the vehicle. It also has a powerful rear liftgate for remote up/down convenience, a system that will be found for the first time on the Grand Cherokee.
Bi-Xenon, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps come standard for the Limited and Overland models. while segment-exclusive SmartBeam headlamps can be adjusted to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting. Completing the notable exterior features of the Grand Cherokee are a new set of 20" wheels that will be made available for both the LImited and Overland models.
The Grand Cherokee comes with a world-class interior that comes with a host of new features, including real wood and leather, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-way power lumbar controls, rain-sensitive wipers, Passive Entry/Keyless Go, ParkView rear back-up camera and a power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory. Meanwhile, the instrument panel comes with a larger glove box and a covered center-stack storage bin, making for a confident and clean interior set-up that rids away of the cluttered feeling other SUVs have.
Space is also a highlight of the Grand Cherokee’s interior. The doors, for one, provide larger front- and rear-door openings (78 degrees) for improved ingress/egress compared to current model (67 degrees). Once inside, a fold-flat front passenger seat provides improved cargo carrying capability. The SUV has more than four inches of increased rear-seat knee and leg room (38.6 inches) compared to previous model. Cargo volume was also improved at 36.3 cubic feet, 17% more space compared from its preceding model and finally, a well-appointed cargo compartment with removable dual storage bins inside the spare tire compartment.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a number of different powertrain options, including an all-new, flexible fuel 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that comes with Variable-Valve Timing (VVT) and delivers 280 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, a 33% increase in horsepower and 11% increase in torque. The higher-end model of the Grand Cherokee comes with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine that produces 360 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. Just like it’s 3.6-liter little brother, the HEMI comes with VVT and a fuel saving Multi-displacement System (MDS) technology with dual exhaust to provide maximum efficiency to the SUV.
To say that Jeep spent inordinate number of hours on developing safety and security features for the Grand Cherokee just may be an understatement in its own right. Among the 45 safety and security features of the SUV, one of the most important is the Standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a necessary feature for any kind of SUV. In this case, the ESC includes Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-Start Assist, Trailer-Sway Control and available Hill-Descent Control.
The Grand Cherokee also has a number of standard safety features, including full-length side-curtain air bags that extend protection to the front and rear outboard passengers, seat-mounted side thorax air bags that enhance protection of the driver and front passenger, active head restraints that come out when there’s a threat of a rear collision, a park Assist System that assists drivers at low speeds to detect stationary objects, a blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system that notifies the driver of vehicles in blind spots with illuminated icons on side-view mirrors or through an audible chime, an adaptive cruise control that decreases the vehicle’s pre-set cruise-control speed when closing in on another vehicle or when another vehicle pulls into same lane, and finally, a forward Collision Warning (FCW) system that detects when the vehicle may be approaching another vehicle too rapidly and alerts the driver.
To keep up with its reputation as a luxury SUV, Jeep gave the Grand Cherokee plenty of new components, including new independent front and rear suspension systems that deliver premium on-road manners with isolated front and rear suspension cradles and variable-rate rear springs. Together, they work to enhance the Grand Cherokee’s unmistakable on-road character and ride comfort.
The Grand Cherokee also comes with a Quadra-Lift air suspension system that features five height settings for optimum ride performance:
- Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.1 inches of clearance offers improved fuel economy and improved aerodynamics during on-road driving.
- Off-Road 1: Lifts the vehicle an additional 1.5 inches for added height in clearing obstacles (9.6 inches).
- Off-road 2: Delivers legendary Jeep off-road capability and provides an additional 3 inches of height for 11.1 inches of ground clearance.
- Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle 1.5 inches from NRH for easy ingress/egress. NRH and Park mode are driver-selectable giving the driver control over vehicle ride height.
- Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle .6 inches from NRH. Aero Mode is controlled by vehicle speed and adjusts for optimal performance and fuel economy.
The 2011 Grand Cherokee comes with a number of price tags corresponding to their respective trims levels. The first one, the Laredo carries a price of $32,995. That’s followed by the Limited, which sells for $39,995. And finally, the most expensive of the lot - the Overland - has been priced at $42,995.
The Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s official entry to the premium mid-size SUV segment and as such, it has its share of competitors, including but not limited to the Ford Explorer and the Toyota 4Runner.
One of the powertrains that come with the Explorer – and the closest in spec to the base level Grand Cherokee – is the 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. Compare that to the Grand Cherokee’s numbers and it’s a draw.
Meanwhile, the Toyota 4Runner 4x4, on the other hand, is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine that cracks out 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. In terms of output, the slight edge goes to the Grand Cherokee.
Each of these SUVs also come with their own unique features, but rest assured, the Grand Cherokee has what it takes to take the fight to whoever gets in its way.
- New exudes classy aggression
- Plenty of variants and trim options
- Spacious interior
- We expected more power
- Competitive market
- A little more expensive than we thought