RECENTLY DRIVEN

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 

 

 More sophisticated design and much improved fit and finish compared with its predecessor  

Vehicle tested 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Body style Four-door wagon
Engine 3.6L-V6 (290 horsepower)
Transmission Five-speed automatic
Base price $37,995
Price as tested

$46,120 (Laredo 26X package, Trailer tow group, Off-Road Adventure package)

Market Fact
The Grand Cherokee is based on the last-generation Mercedes-Benz ML. The seven-seat
Dodge Durango is a long-wheelbase version of the Grand Cherokee.

History
The fourth-generation Grand Cherokee has a new body, engine and cabin for 2011.

Key Competitors
Mercedes-Benz ML, Toyota 4Runner, Volkswagen Touareg.

 

Smooth flanks and restrained bright trim of the new Grand Cherokee

Performance
Unless pushed to the redline, when it sounds a bit harsh, the Grand Cherokee's
3.6L V6 is smooth, quiet and provides sufficient urge to render the optional V8
superfluous unless you are destined for heavy towing. The five-speed automatic
transmission upshifts smoothly, reacts quickly to downshifts and is geared for relaxed
cruising. Like the recently driven Dodge Grand Caravan, the Jeep's drivetrain has
no "creep" factor when in gear at low speeds, needing some throttle even while
manoeuvring the car into a parking spot. For a such a tall, heavy vehicle with impressive
off-road capabilities, the Grand Cherokee, with an absorbent ride and stable handling,
is surprisingly nice to drive. Nicely weighted steering. The brakes shed speed well enough,
but the soft brake feel and long travel before anything happens are disconcerting.
Smooth and quiet, the Grand Cherokee is a superb highway vehicle. Powerful air-conditioning
and a very good audio system.

Interior
Fronted by a dashboard housing crisp instruments, logical controls, classically conservative
shapes, matte-finished soft-touch materials and careful assembly, the cabin of the new Grand
Cherokee is a massive improvement over that of its predecessor. Large, deeply-padded multi-
adjustable front seats combine with ample space and a good driving position to keep the driver
and front passenger very comfortable. With plentiful legroom and a supportive seat, rear seat
occupants are better catered to in the new Grand Cherokee than they were in the previous model,
which was short on legroom. The cargo bay is versatile, spacious and deep below the window
line. 

 

 Crisply-marked gauges flank the trip computer 

 Elegant dashboard features simple, logical controls 

 Nicely-trimmed cargo bay is deep below the window line

 Flat cargo floor with the rear seat folded down 

Reliability
New model, not rated. Engine, body and cabin are all fresh for 2011. The previous Grand
Cherokee was rated Average for reliability. Three-year/60,000 km bumper to bumper
warranty, five years/100,000 km on the powertrain.

Pricing
Reasonably-priced options and option packages. The Laredo with the 26X package represents
the best value in the line-up. Leasing is not available on the Grand Cherokee. As equipped, our
test Grand Cherokee was priced roughly $1900 less than a Toyota 4Runner Limited and about
$7800 cheaper than a Volkswagen Touareg Highline.

Safety
Standard seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags. Rated Good in the IIHS front, side and
rear impact tests, and Good for roof strength as well. Standard ABS and ESC.

 

Clean rear styling of the Grand Cherokee