Coming onto the market with a fresh redesign for the 2011 model year, the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee
gets an advanced car-like unibody platform, the choice of Pentastar V-6 or Hemi V-8 engines, and is arguably the best thing to emerge from the now-defunct DaimlerChrysler partnership.
You see, the Jeep’s platform was co-developed with Mercedes-Benz, which uses it for its new 2012 M-Class. Thanks to the additional resources that went into its development, the Grand Cherokee now features upmarket items such as fully independent suspension, including the Quadra Lift air-suspension option, torsional stiffness that’s 146 percent higher than on the model it replaces, and the latest uconnect connectivity and entertainment system.
While the platform’s design may have been influenced by Mercedes-Benz, the powertrains, interior and styling are all Jeep. This combination of American flair and German engineering ensures that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is relatively unique in the market.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 offered as standard offers flex-fuel capability and variable valve timing, and in the new SUV outputs 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine is also claimed to offer 11 percent better fuel-economy than the previous V-6 Cherokee, but lucky buyers overseas get an even more fuel efficient diesel model. There have been whispers
that the oil-burner could make its way Stateside eventually, but we don’t expect it for several years at the least.
If you need to tow a boat--or keep up with sports cars--the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee can also be ordered with one of two fire-breathing Hemi V-8s. The regular Hemi is a 5.7-liter unit with 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, though our pick is the 6.4-liter unit found in the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
This higher displacement unit develops 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque and will rocket the big SUV from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, pass the quarter-mile in the 13 second bracket and reach a top speed of 160 mph. In case you did want to tow something, the SRT8 model will haul up to 5,000 pounds.
For the off-roaders, the latest Grand Cherokee is available with Chrysler’s Quadra Lift air-suspension system, which provides height control and lifts the vehicle up to 4.5-inches from park mode to a maximum ride height of 11.1-inches when the going gets tough.
For a more detailed look at the styling, performance, quality and safety of the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, check out our detailed overview over at TheCarConnection