Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $16,500 – $48,600*


2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Front


2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Rear


2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior


2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Profile

Pros:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Quietness
  • Ride/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (V8)

The latest Jeep Grand Cherokee does a fine job balancing confident on-road dynamics with off-road tenacity. Attractive, comfortable interiors, tidy exterior dimensions, and a wide range of options are other strong suits. The smooth 3.6-liter V6 should offer enough muscle for most buyers, and if it doesn’t, the available 5.7-liter V8 surely will. The main disappointment here is with the EPA fuel-economy estimates, with the V8s being particularly thirsty. Still, the Grand Cherokee is a very strong and Recommended (2012) entry in its class, deserving of consideration from buyers in this crowded segment.

Overview

Freshened styling and a new V6 engine went into the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee as part of its redesign, which also added new features. Seating five, this midsize SUV was about 5 inches longer in wheelbase and 2 inches longer overall than the 2010 Grand Cherokee. Trim levels included base Laredo, mid-level Limited, and top-end Overland and Overland Summit. Each came with either rear-wheel drive or Jeep’s Quadra-Trac all-wheel drive. Quadra-Trac I was a full-time AWD system without low-range gearing. Quadra-Trac II incorporated a low-range gear for off-road use. Jeep offered various off-road option packages that could include skid plates, hill-descent control, front tow hooks, and a Quadra-Lift adjustable air suspension. The standard engine on all models was a new 290-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6, which replaced a 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6. This new engine was capable of running on E85 ethanol-blended fuel. A 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 was optional. Sole transmission for both engines was a five-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity was 5,000 pounds with the V6 and 7,400 pounds with the V8.

Standard safety features included all-disc antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Hill-descent control was standard on AWD Limited and Overland models and optional for Laredo. Other available features included adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alert, and Rear Cross Path–a system that activated when the transmission went into reverse, and could detect traffic moving towards the vehicle. Also available was Chrysler’s Uconnect multimedia suite, which could include a navigation system with real-time traffic alerts, wireless cell-phone link, and a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital-music and picture files. SUV competitors to the Grand Cherokee included the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota 4Runner.

Yearly Updates

2012 Grand Cherokee
A high-performance model returned to the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup for 2012. The revived SRT8 came with a 465-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and Quadra-Trac all-wheel drive. At the same time, the 5.7-liter V8 switched to a six-speed automatic rather than the prior five-speed unit.
2013 Grand Cherokee
For 2013, the Grand Cherokee got a new, off-road themed option package dubbed Trailhawk. It added several off-road and luxury features to the base Laredo model. Also, the Summit package, available on the top-line Overland trim, received some new equipment, as well.
2014 Grand Cherokee
Revised front and rear fascias joined a redesigned interior as part of Grand Cherokee model-year 2014 freshening. The interior update included a new instrument panel with a design reminiscent of the new-for-2013 Dodge Dart. The standard V6 and available V8 engines got new 8-speed transmissions, and an optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 joined the lineup as well.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

As redesigned for 2011, Grand Cherokees came with either a 3.6-liter V6 engine or a 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8. Both engines mated with a five-speed automatic transmission. Jeep launched an SRT8 edition for 2012, with a 6.4-liter V8 that generated 465 horsepower. Also for 2012, the 5.7-liter V8 switched to a six-speed automatic transmission. For 2014, a 240 horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 joined the lineup. All engines were mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Turbodiesel dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 420
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic

21/28

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/220
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
16/22
18/25
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 360
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 390
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
13/19
13/20
14/22
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.4/392
Engine HP 465
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 465
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
8-speed automatic
12/18
13/19

Road Test

Jeep’s 3.6-liter V6 has enough muscle to allow a Grand Cherokee to easily keep up with traffic and cope with nearly any traffic situation. The V6 never feels sluggish; but even with the smooth, alert five-speed automatic, it never quite manages to feel quick, either. The V8 offers noticeably more vigor. Again, the five-speed automatic is smooth and responsive, with quick downshifts to summon more power for merging and passing. As expected, performance in the Grand Cherokee SRT8 reaches into stunning territory, though not everyone is interested in blazing acceleration with an SUV.

Fuel economy is not a bonus. In Consumer Guide testing, 4WD V6 models averaged just 15.6 mpg in mostly city driving and 18.2 mpg with more even city/highway use. The V6 uses regular-grade gas (and can run on E85 ethanol), while Chrysler recommends mid-grade 89-octane for the 5.7-liter V8, and premium for the SRT8’s 6.4-liter V8.

Ride quality is quite good for an SUV with serious off-road abilities. Most bumps are absorbed without harshness, though a bit of SUV-typical wallow and unpleasant body rocking occur over sharp pavement breaks. Grand Cherokee’s solid body structure enhances overall comfort. We’ve noticed little difference in ride quality among the various models driven.

Steering is accurate with good road feel and just enough power assist. Handling is reasonably car-like for an off-road-flavored SUV. Body lean is well controlled, though you have to slow down quite a bit before a fast turn. The available Quadra-Lift air suspension offers a sport mode that lowers ride height and adds a bit more fun to the drive. Quadra-Lift also gives the option of an increased ride height for off-road excursions, and a removable front air dam further increases clearance. Braking is strong and swift.

Quietness is another Grand Cherokee strong suit. Wind noise is very well controlled, with just a hint of wind rush noticeable at highway speeds. Likewise, this SUV does an admirable job of filtering road noise. The V8 produces an all-American rumble. The V6 is as refined as the best in this class. Some tire rumble is present on coarse surfaces, but it doesn’t intrude.

Easy-to-read gauges and simple, clearly marked switchgear are the rule for Grand Cherokee’s cabin. Easy-to-use cruise control buttons are mounted on the steering wheel, rather than on a small stalk like many Chrysler products. The navigation system absorbs most audio controls, which complicates some functions. The screen and its surrounding buttons are on the small side, requiring an extra moment’s look away from the road in order to find the function you want.

Interior materials are a mixture of soft-touch and hard plastics. Overall, the interior is very competitive for the class, and nothing looks out of place. However, silver-painted plastic trim on the central control panel and some ordinary appearing switchgear keep Grand Cherokee’s interior from matching some premium-brand competitors for ambiance. Overland models have a handsome leather-covered dashtop and genuine wood trim.

Front-seat headroom and legroom are ample for six-footers. Wide seats are comfortable and supportive, and even the passenger side has power adjustment. Available ventilated leather seats have been a welcome touch. Despite a tall ride height, entry and exit are surprisingly easy.

Headroom and legroom are adequate for 6-footers in the back seat, even with the front seats adjusted for a like-sized passenger. This is a vast improvement over the cramped accommodations in the previous-generation Grand Cherokee.

Total cargo space is ample by absolute standards, but on the small side for the class. Still, Grand Cherokees have good suitcase or grocery-bag room behind the split rear seat, whose backs fold easily, and nearly flat, to increase cargo room. Models tested had the available full-size spare tire, which lays flat under the load floor. Also under the load floor are two small bins. Interior storage is good, with small pockets and bottle holders on all doors, mesh pockets on the front seatbacks, a good-size glovebox, and a bi-level console compartment. A useful covered bin in front of the shifter also houses a 12-volt outlet.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with Quadra-Trac I

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 65

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
114.8 189.8 76.3 69.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
68.7 24.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 39.2 40.3 38.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Hard starting
Description: The engine may fail to start and/or the remote keyless entry unit may not work intermittently due to a software glitch requiring reprogramming the wireless ignition and/or totally integrated power module (TIPM). (2011)
Keyless entry
Description: The passive entry or keyless go functions may not work intermittently requiring replacement of the receiver antenna. (2011)
Oil leak
Description: The oil filter housing could leak oil. (2014)
Suspension problems
Description: Front wheel bearing may need to be replaced if there is a steering wheel vibration at speeds 65-80 mph. (2014)
Suspension problems
Description: Loose halfshaft boot clamps could allow water and debris into the CV joint and cause premature failure. (2014)
Battery
Description: Jumping the battery by making connections at the battery instead of the remote jumper posts blows the fuse on the totally integrated power module (TIPM) and possibly damages the TIPM itself. (2011-12)
Electrical problem
Description: The hands free module may quit working (lose communication) requiring rebooting or a software update to the module. (2011)
Transmission problems
Description: The transmission may shudder when accelerating or coasting requiring reprogramming the drive train control module. (2011)
Liftgate
Description: The liftgate may not power open or close due to failure of the drive motor. (2011)

Recall History

2011-13 Grand Cherokee
Description: The fuel pump relay may fail and cause the engine to stall.
2011-14 Grand Cherokee
Description: The wiring for the illuminated visor mirror may short circuit and increase the risk of fire.
2011-14 Grand Cherokee
Description: The brake booster center shell could corrode and allow water in the brake system. This could freeze and limit braking ability.
2012 Grand Cherokee with 3.6-liter engine
Description: Due to debris inside engine block, engine may experience connecting rod bearing failure, which may lead to engine seizure and could increase risk of a crash.
2012-13 Grand Cherokee
Description: Under certain circumstances, the Ready Alert Braking System (RAB) may result in a hard pedal. If the driver experiences a hard pedal, the driver may not push the pedal as intended and lengthen the stopping distance.
2012-14 Grand Cherokee with 3.6-liter engine
Description: The alternator may fail and cause the engine to stall.
2014 Grand Cherokee
Description: The radio may have software that allows third parties access to vehicle control systems.
2014 Grand Cherokee
Description: A faulty Occupant Restraint Control module may disable seat belt pretensioners, front airbags, and side airbags. This would increase the risk of injury in crash.
2014 Grand Cherokee
Description: Electronic Stability Control could be disabled by faulty software and increase the risk of a crash in certain situations.
2014 Grand Cherokee
Description: Parking lights may not function properly, reducing vehicle visibility and increasing the risk of a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.