The Jeep Grand Cherokee is all-new for the 2011 model year. It comes in Laredo, Limited, and Overland trims with all available in both two-wheel and all-wheel-drive form. Two engines will be offered. The standard engine is a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 5.7 liter, 360 horsepower V-8 Hemi is a carryover from the prior generation.
The new Grand Cherokee sports improved aerodynamics. No longer is this your boxy, upright Jeep. Fuel economy is improved to 23 miles per gallon highway for the V-6. The exterior features Jeep’s seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches, and round headlamps. The new Grand Cherokee has a more upscale, athletic profile. It has standard 17-inch wheels with optional 18 and 20-inch wheels.
The new Grand Cherokee has an impressive 5.3 inches longer wheelbase compared to the 2010 model. This longer wheelbase provides more interior room. Rear seat passengers have an additional four inches of rear seat legroom. Cargo volume behind the rear seats gains an additional 6.8 cubic feet of cargo room for a new total of 36.3 cubic feet. The overall vehicle length is 1.8 inches greater. The Grand Cherokee is also three inches wider, which improves handling.
The interior configuration remains for five passengers. However, the Grand Cherokee now has an available fold-flat front-passenger seat that provides even greater cargo room on Laredo models. Also, the rear seats now recline up to 12 degrees backwards and forwards. An all-new Command View® dual-pane sunroof is available.
The new Grand Cherokee is built on the same platform as the Mercedes Benz-ML sport-utility vehicle. However, it retains Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities. The V-6 has been rated to have 7,400 pounds of towing capability. Outside the U.S., the 2011 Grand Cherokee will be offered with a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine that produced 247 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
The Laredo trim will start with a base price in the low $30s and come with a bevy of standard features. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is stylish and worth considering as a luxury SUV. It is due out in the fall this year.