2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Up Close

Jeepupclose

Jeep just unveiled the next-generation Grand Cherokee, which was summarily mobbed by journalists eager to see if Chrysler’s product pipeline is something to write home about. I dinked around inside and checked out the cargo area. The short verdict: The Grand Cherokee is promising, and if Chrysler can seal a deal with Fiat, Jeep enthusiasts have reason for optimism. Does the larger buying public need another 18- or 19-mpg SUV when there are competing crossovers that do 10% or 15% better? I doubt it.

Grandcherokeeprofile

I disagree with Dave's initial report; no one will mistake this for anything but a Grand Cherokee. It’s sleeker, to be sure, but traditional Grand Cherokee cues — from the seven-slot grille to the horizontal-bezel headlights — should signal nothing else. The design seems equal parts butch and luxury, as prior Grand Cherokees have been, but it doesn’t quite embrace the slipstream look of a crossover.

Cabinmaterials

Cabin quality in the well-optioned show car was good. From the optional leather wrappings atop the dash to the soft-touch door trim, it’s clear that Chrysler has taken criticism of its dashboard plastics to heart. There’s real wood trim, and the silver panels surrounding the center controls look respectable. Space up front is adequate, though the high gearshift console limits lateral knee room. The second row is better, with excellent legroom and headroom. Thigh support, however, is meager.

Proof of lasting change, of course, takes time. The old Grand Cherokee had dubious crash-test scores and even worse reliability. As promising as its replacement seems, a lot more than cabin quality needs to change. For Chrysler’s and Fiat’s — not to mention taxpayers' — sake, let’s hope it does.

Comments 

H

Is a good rating on the IIHS frontal offset test dubious?

This is a beautiful design inside and out. Perhaps they will fit it with the diesel or add the two-mode to it in the future.

No, he's talking about the Marginal side crash ratings. That's second only to Poor.

Original sheth

I dont think the Pilot looks like a crossover but people buy it. Chrysler's small crossovers really look SUV like as well. I think the point of this vehicle is to look like an SUV.

Wes

Its sleek, a little boring still, but its nice. Interior is very nice, although I wish the wood trim didn't match the leather seats. My heart skipped a couple beats when I saw that interior quality was good. Thats great.

As doubtful as I am of them, I'm really rooting for Chrysler to make it through this wretched economy. This, and the really nice looking sneak preview of the next 300, is hopefully what all Chrysler products will come to be. Almost all of their products now, are terrible in terms of quality ect. So its extremely critical of what they make as their next generation product. This is looking to be a good start.

H

Not to nitpick, but it is misleading then to say "dubious crash test scores", when it is solely the side impact rating which is subpar.

I don't think when it's a rare thing in a modern SUV to have that low of a rating no. I looked briefly and couldn't find another 2009 model with Marginal side ratings. Explorer, pathfinder H3 all have better ratings.

Brett G

Finally, a Jeep with great interior quality. At first glance the interior looks a little bit like a Range Rover

Happymantis

and wow, just like that, maybe I do want Chrysler to survive... pity that they took this long to get their act together.

JM

H,

of you dont think a marginal rating is bad, then go ahead and keep picking unsafe vehicles. a side impact is a MAJOR hit. all vehicles should get a good rating for frontal. getting a good rating for frontal crash tests nowadays is nothing. if anything, the standards for a good should be raised.

also, i hope that Chrysler realizes that they shouldnt make their wood trim so glossy. it makes it looks fake, like in the Durango and Aspen

H

Let me clarify: I am not condoning a marginal side impact rating however it is but one measure of many to categorize a vehicle's ability to protect occupants. And when "dubious crash test scores" is used to describe a vehicle, a reader will interpret that statement to mean that the vehicle provides subpar protection in general when in fact this particular vehicle received 5-star NCAP ratings for both frontal and side crash testing and good and marginal IIHS ratings respectively. So while the results from the IIHS side crash testing can be described as dubious and are subpar, it is inaccurate to describe the entire range of testing results as dubious.

sheth

Harhly any recently introduced vehicles score poorly in side impact so I would presume the JGC will show improvement relative to its predecessor. I don't think it should be condemned for test scores it has yet to achieve. I think most of us can agree that on paper this looks very good. I don't see the point in criticizing this vehicle based on the weaknesses of the current model. The whole point is for this to be better than the old one.

Hybrit

There's no excuse for any 2011 vehicle to have marginal side impact scores. The Honda Fit is an example of a ultra small car that scores well in that category. This is a major slip up for Jeep. No one should purchase a vehicle with that sort of deficiency - I'm not bailing anyone out at the cost of personal safety.

sheth

hybrit:

They are talking about the CURRENT model. No 2011 model has been tested for crash scores yet. This is obvious. Get of the soap box for a minute and read what was stated above.

sheth

In spite of all the hate being thrown in the direction of the JGC (including the obligatory taxpayer loan comment) this interior looks great. The pics above are very good and really show this interior to be top notch. It is the best work I have ever seen from Chrysler and looks better than high end interiors from Toyota and Honda. I'm not sure how badmouthing Chrysler products is going to help taxpayers get their money back but I believe in giving credit where it's due and this SUV looks great. The lack of standard 6 speed is the only major flaw I see so far.

George

The lack of a modern transmission is a fatal flaw.

sheth

George:

Base model has 5 speed just like the Pilot. V8 has 6 speed just like a Range Rover. Many vehicles (including a $50k Acura RL) use 5 speed autos these days.

Summer

I own a 2005 jeep grand cherokee limited and the car overall looks great and I've always gotten many compliments on it and it's a fairly comfortable ride but I must stress that I have sworn off buying Chrysler. Case in point, their customer service and quality of product is horrible! I've had many quality issues with everything from my keyless entry remote malfunctioning, engine and battery problems, dashboard problems and very poor customer service. Plus the dealership I bought it from has the worst service! Oh yeah and it's a gas guzzler. On average I get about 14 miles/gallon. But during the summer with the AC blasting I've gotten as low as 10. I have to say though that the 2011 revamped version looks good and I'm almost tempted. But not really, I think my next car is going to be a Lexus! Cheers!

sheth

Summer:

Lexus vehicles that are similar to the JGC get similar mileage. The GX and LX are not exactly fuel misers. YOu will get poor mileage in any heavy SUV with off road capability. See 4Runner, Land Rovers and Hummers for reference.

Sam

Still I haven't seen a Hybrid Model of the Jeep. 23 HWY? come on I thought American car compaies can do better. I rahter see a 30 or better for a Jeep now that's a car I would like to drive. My 96 Jeep has 185,000 and still runs bad on gas. When will American Auto makers make more Hybrids or better engines that gives Jeep buyers better MPG? American tax payers bails out auto makers but they lack making better Cars with better gas milage. Look at Chevy, last year they had the Chevy Hybrid car. 2010 Chevy killed the Hydrid car again.

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