The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is redesigned, with freshened styling, a new V6 engine, and new features. This midsize SUV seats 5. The 2011 model is about 5 inches longer in wheelbase and 2 inches longer overall than the 2010 Grand Cherokee. Trim levels include base Laredo, mid-level Limited, and top-end Overland. Each offers rear-wheel drive or Jeep's Quadra-Trac all-wheel drive. Quadra-Trac I is a full-time AWD system without low-range gearing. Quadra-Trac II has a low-range gear for off-road use. Jeep offers various off-road option packages that can include skid plates, hill-descent control, front tow hooks, and a load-leveling suspension. The standard engine on all models is a new 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which replaces a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6.
This engine is capable of running on E85 ethanol-blended fuel. A 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 is optional. The sole transmission for both engines is a 5-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds with the V6 and 7,400 pounds with the V8. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. Hill-descent control is standard on Limited and Overland and optional on Laredo. Features Chrysler says are slated to arrive later in the model year include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alert, and Rear Cross Path, a system that activates when the transmission is in reverse; it detects any traffic moving towards the vehicle. Also available is Chrysler's Uconnect multimedia suite, which can include a navigation system with real-time traffic alerts, wireless cell-phone link, and 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital-music and picture files. This evaluation is based on preview test drives of pre-production vehicles.