By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 15, 2010
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. It competes with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Explorer.
(cool rock intro) Cars.com auto review. Hi I'm Mike Hanley with Cars.com. I'm here with the much anticipated 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.
It's been fully redesigned for the 2011 model year, and it gains much improved on-road driving refinement, but not at the expense of its impressive off-road capability. The Grand Cherokee styling is all new, but it manages to maintain a design connection with its predecessor which is a tough thing to do. It's more aggressive overall, but has familiar Jeep styling cues like a seven slot grill, and these headlights give it that more aggressive design. Buyers get a choice of either a 290 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 engine, or a 360 horsepower 5.7 liter V8 in the Grand Cherokee. Now the V6 is an all new engine for Chrysler, but it's teamed with this heavy vehicle. The Grand Cherokee and four by four form with a V6 is nearly 5,000 pounds. So that makes the V6 work pretty hard when driving it. The Grand Cherokee gets an all new four wheel independent suspension and Jeep's done a really nice job tuning it for on-road driving refinement. It really does drive a lot like a crossover vehicle, even though it's a capable SUV. Now, the Grand Cherokee also introduces a new system. It's called Select Terrain, and it's a lot like Land Rover's Terrain Response System and that it lets you control the vehicle's four by four systems by just the dial in the middle of the center console so you can change it from on-road driving to snow, or any of the other modes it offers. Grand Cherokee also introduces QuadraLift, an optional air suspension that gives you up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance. And that's quite a bit more than the regular suspension offers, which is around 8.6. One element of the previous Grand Cherokee that was lacking was its interior quality, which really wasn't up to the level of the competition. But Jeep's address that for the most part in the new Grand Cherokee, and you can see the results in this top of the line overland trim level. It comes with this stitch leather dashboard, real wood trim that looks good and overall panel fit that's a big improvement over the old model. Not everything is great though, there's still too much silver trim here that doesn't look especially good. And some of the buttons have kind of a rickety feel to them, but overall there's a lot of good stuff going on in the cabin. The Grand Cherokee's load floor is kind of high. So shorter people may have to lift taller to get it over that but if you get the optional QuadraLift suspension, you can lower the ride height 1.5 inches to make it easier. Now this space measures 35 cubic feet and it's enough for a couple of golf bags and to expand cargo area to the maximum 68.7 cubic feet, you just drop the second row seats. The Grand Cherokee was part of the booming SUV segment in the nineties, but times have changed a lot since then and some of its competitors, like the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC Envoy, are now gone and others like the Ford Explorer are changing from truck based to unibody designs. The Grand Cherokee is changing though too and it offers much more refined on-road driving dynamics that should appeal to crossover shoppers while retaining the off-road credibility that Jeep enthusiasts demand. <v Narrator>For more correlated news, go to cars.com, or our blog, Kickingtires.net.