A good utility player can do it all. For a sport-utility vehicle to do it all, it has to perform well on the street and off-road, and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee certainly fills the bill. Want a low center of gravity for handling and aerodynamics? The Grand Cherokee does it. Want a lifted rig for better ground clearance? Yup, with the Quadra-Lift air suspension system, the height of the vehicle increases 4.1 inches from the lowest park mode to the highest off-road setting, which is a class-leading 10.7 inches of ground clearance.
The all-new sculpted body features lines are at once athletic, sleek and aerodynamic. The refined style lines also hide a new toughness. The body structure is much stronger in terms of torsional stiffness, which improves stability both on and off road.
Hitch And Haul
Better looking does not mean less functional. Door openings are larger and the doors open wider (78 degrees compared to the previous model’s 67 degrees). Passengers get 4 more inches of rear seat knee and leg room.
Larger cargo volume (35.1 cubic feet) provides 19 percent more room for gear compared to the previous model’s 29.5 cubic feet. The cargo compartment features a storage unit with a removable/rechargeable flashlight; removable dual storage bins, great for wet or muddy gear, are inside the spare tire compartment.
The 5.7 liter V-8 Grand Cherokee can tow up to 7,400 pounds in 2-wheel-drive; the V-6 offers a 5,000-pound tow rating.
Flex Fuel Plus
The all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is standard. This flexible-fuel engine features double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and a high-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder block in a 60-degree configuration. Variable-valve Timing (VVT) helps deliver 290 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque.
The Pentastar V-6 improves fuel economy up to 11 percent compared to the previous Grand Cherokee equipped with a V-6. It is coupled with the proven W5A580, a five-speed automatic transmission that includes adaptive electronic control or Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver-interactive manual control, and an electronically modulated torque converter clutch.
You can also get the Grand Cherokee equipped with the 5.7-liter multi-displacement V-8, which alternates between high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode for more power. The V-8 produces 360 horsepower and 390 foot-pounds of torque.
Safe And Secure
Safety features abound for the fisherman driving in the pre-dawn hours on curvy mountain roads. Bi-Xenon High-intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps are standard on Limited and Overland models. SmartBeam headlamps, which also adjust to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting, are also standard on Limited and Overland models.
Standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) includes Electronic Roll Mitigation, hill-start assist, trailer-sway control and hill-descent control. Also standard are full-length side-curtain air bags, seat-mounted side thorax air bags and active head restraints that deploy in the event of a rear collision.
A blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system notifies the driver of a vehicle in blind spots with lights on the side-view mirrors and an audible chime.
The adaptive cruise control system decreases the vehicle’s speed when closing in on another vehicle or when another vehicle pulls into same lane. When not in cruise control, the Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system detects when the vehicle may be approaching another vehicle too rapidly and alerts the driver.
Suspension, including new front and rear independent suspensions, is a big part of the Grand Cherokee’s new platform. Isolated front and rear suspension cradles combine with variable-rate rear springs to minimize body roll while offering exceptional off-road capabilities.
Jeep offers a choice of three 4x4 systems—Quadra-Trac I (full-time 4-wheel-drive with single-speed transfer case), Quadra-Trac II (with two-speed transfer case) and Quadra-Drive II with rear Electronic Limited-slip Differential (ELSD). The Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II can be controlled through the new Selec-Terrain system, which offers five terrain settings: Auto, Sand/Mud, Sport, Snow and Rock to match driving conditions.
Finally, Chrysler’s Advanced Interior Design Studio did a great job with the Grand Cherokee’s interior. Premium soft-touch materials and climate-controlled seats combine with a variety of “infotainment” technologies for driver safety and passenger enjoyment. Passengers can stay entertained with a multitude of features, including Flo TV, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sirius Backseat TV, Uconnect Navigation, Uconnect Phone and Uconnect Web.
Off-Road 2 — Raises suspension 2.6-inches for Best-in-Class 10.7-inches of clearance
Off-Road 1 — Raises suspension 1.3-inches for added height to help clear obstacles
Normal Ride Height — A very capable 8.1 inches of ground clearance
Aero Mode — Lowers suspension .5-inch for improved aerodynamics
Park Mode — Lowers suspension 1.5-inces for easier entry, exit and loading
Jeep’s Selec-terrain traction control system electronically coordinates up to 12 different powertrain, braking and suspension systems, including throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
The Selec-Terrain’s control dial allows the driver to choose from five driving conditions in order to achieve the best driving experience on all terrains:
Sand/Mud: Traction control and Quadra-Lift operate with sensitive response to wheel spin, and torque is tuned for optimal performance
• Sport: Provides enhanced on-road "fun-to-drive" capability
• Auto: Automatically adapts to any on- or off-road situation
• Snow: Vehicle traction adjusts for ultimate performance over snow-covered roads
• Rock: Quadra-Lift air suspension system raises to maximum height (10.7 inches) and the transfer case, differentials, and throttle coordinate to provide low-speed control
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee