2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Automobile Magazine

28 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Automobile Magazine
Jeep Grand Cherokee

2011 Jeep Grand Review

The early 1990s are to seem like a long ago. McMansions were a twinkle in the Toll brothers’ Apple stock was less fifteen dollars a share. The war was going great. A tea party was for little girls.

And Justin hadn’t even been

In the U.S. car market, perhaps the difference between then and now is the SUV, as an automotive force, was in its Sure, Wranglers, Blazers, Scouts, and the like had been along on the fringe of the American scene for a while, but their were small.

The Ford which debuted in the spring of is the vehicle that, more any other, brought the sport-utility out of the wilderness and into suburbia. The Grand Cherokee, which in 1992, was the second most agent in the mainstreaming of the SUV. were smash hits, and in May we pitted the Grand Cherokee the Explorer down at the Y.O.

in Texas.

Both SUVs had a long history since and after nearly twenty on the market, the Explorer and the Grand have just undergone redesigns. It seemed like the reason to get these rivals to assess how they’ve changed and how whether) they still with each other. To do it, we a journey from suburbia, the Explorer and the Grand Cherokee in real life, to the iconic West, where they in our collective imagination-and in the advertising that helped make such a success.

We set out from the reaches of San Diego County, of the Southern California suburban that, like countless has over the past two decades SUV territory. Our two trucks were at in that upscale area not because they were by so many of their brethren but because of their rather sticker prices. Identically as it turns out-in V-6, Limited spec, both for $39,995.

Where the most Ford Explorer originally was the Bauer, the Limited is now the top trim Eddie has been retired, and the XLT and the car sit below the Limited. The cheapest, Explorer starts at $28,995.

once denoted the ritziest Cherokee, complete with gold accents because it you know, so money. Thankfully, the days are over. Today, the Jeep is the Overland ($42,690 four-wheel drive), while the expensive, two-wheel-drive Laredo is at $30,995.

Although the Limited is the Explorer, it doesn’t have as much standard equipment as the Grand Cherokee Limited, includes a sunroof, heated seats, and navigation. Both heated leather front a backup camera, and keyless Our Jeep added twenty-inch (which are standard on the Explorer bringing its total to $41,090.

The was optioned with navigation, warning, a power liftgate, and third-row seats, among add-ons, for a total of $43,555.

In suburbia, an SUV is often a family a role it has assumed more ever since the Dodge introduced third-row seats to the sport-ute. The Explorer was first with a third row in 2002, and now standard. The third row is actually habitable; the second row is a nice, perch; and the front seats are and soft.

Inflatable seatbelts, help distribute crash for children or elderly passengers, are for the second row. This Explorer migrates to a car-based shared with the Taurus and the That may be a further domestication of the but it enables an easier climb in, for kids.

The Grand Cherokee has the three-row trend, but it, too, has more welcoming to rear Thanks to wider-opening doors and a wheelbase, access to the back has finally opened up. Once passengers enjoy a significant more inches of legroom before; the front seats are than the Ford’s but not bad.

vehicles have grown but the Explorer has gotten a lot larger it is now more than seven longer than the Grand and nearly half a foot Still, it’s not that more unwieldy around thanks to a reasonable turning A backup camera is a necessity in vehicles, but for drivers who still the prospect of parallel parking too daunting, Ford offers the of an automated parking system will do most of the work for

We left suburbia behind as we east into the hills on 78. Up around Julian, we found on some serious switchbacks, a sport-bike-rider’s delight. It’s no bike, but when it first out, the Grand Cherokee was fairly agile thanks to its suspension and relatively light (3600 pounds).

Like so Americans, the Grand Cherokee’s past is but a memory (the V-6 has put on roughly 1000 pounds). the unlikely emergence of a whole of high-performance SUVs like the BMW X5 and the Cayenne means there are of sport-utes that could eat up a like this.

The Grand is not one of them, but this new version which was initially developed in with the Mercedes-Benz M-class and now uses an independent rear for the first time — was far fluid than we expected, if it is still tall and heavy-feeling. also the vastly stiffer structure, which helps a ride that is positively Owners of previous Grand might not know what to of it.

Handling has never been an forte. Built as it was on the Ranger chassis, the first Explorer on Ford’s ancient twin front suspension and a live axle. Later, of course, its Firestone tires started catastrophically, the Explorer revealed a handling flaw — the to roll over, which create the worst automotive disaster in a generation.

The follow-up version was totally and had an independent suspension all around, but it wasn’t what you’d agile. So to say that this new is far and away the best handling to is really not saying much, it’s certainly true. The understeers resolutely, and you can tell the wheels are doing all the work, but it have the body lean of its

Push it in a corner, and it feels an extralarge Taurus. For the new Explorer, adds a feature that it curve control, which when the driver has entered a at too high a rate of speed and applies the brakes to help the vehicle.

When we dropped out of the hills, we found ourselves on the floor of the California desert. 78 dips south of the Salton Sea and turns north through fields, becoming a long, two-lane highway. As the sun sank the mountains to the west-creating a Technicolor sky we put the pedal to the metal, trying to time as we pushed toward Arizona.

Six-cylinder power both of these SUVs, and have new V-6 engines this The Explorer now uses the same unit found in the Edge, 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. That’s a big over the outgoing SOHC 210 hp and 254 lb-ft, not to mention the weakling V-6 at the Explorer’s debut.

It’s no that when Ford a V-8 — as gas prices tumbled and learned that many owners used their for towing — it proved a choice. However, the V-8 is no longer on the new Explorer — and Ford’s V-6 isn’t offered here, The new optional engine, arriving is an EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder, will have less (237 hp, 250 lb-ft) but better economy.

The first Grand came with a 4.0-liter six that wasn’t exactly new then, and Jeep, too, offered an optional V-8. the 4.0 would be replaced by a 3.7-liter but it was the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that all the attention. With the 2011 Cherokee comes Chrysler’s new V-6.

The 3.6-liter, aluminum-block V-6 away the old 3.7-liter’s 210 hp and 235 lb-ft, 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque — the same output as the Explorer’s. But as we north along the California/Arizona the Jeep seemed to have an time passing pickups and Those who don’t find it enough, however, at least the option of more power the Hemi.

Leaving the next from Kingman, we couldn’t spending some time on old 66, the epochal cross-country highway. part of the mother road, as Steinbeck called it in The Grapes of stretches long and straight to the running parallel with the tracks just to the south. you really get a sense of the vastness of the It’s the kind of driving affords you plenty of time to your surroundings.

The Explorer’s ultramodern driver is a stark contrast with the roadside retro. The Limited’s MyFord Touch and Sony HD along with the optional system, make for an Apple-like panel that is the last in modernity. Dual reconfigurable flank the speedometer; a large, touch screen houses the nav as well as climate, phone, and functions; below that is a flat panel with touch-sensitive buttons.

It all looks and the graphics are superclear, but neither the screen nor the touch-sensitive black provides the feedback or the positive of real buttons. And the screen is of info, making for very touch points that a lot of attention to hit precisely. Elsewhere, the is less spectacular; there are few plastics and decent soft points, but the standard leather is industrial-grade.

The Jeep has richer and lots of nice padding. not a lot of flash, but the overall interior level has risen dramatically. The Cherokee’s electronics seem though; the touch-screen nav unit is the same one Chrysler has offered for and the logic and the graphics are rudimentary.

Too functions are on-screen, but at least the has more traditional, and more climate controls. The Grand cabin isn’t as wide and feeling as the Explorer’s, but the Jeep seem like such a big bus behind the wheel, either.

a spell on Route 66 and the road consigned it to a historical artifact, we headed south along which follows Oak Creek into Sedona. Here, the electrically assisted steering a weakness. Although it’s at straight-ahead, it has a vagueness off-center makes placing the vehicle work than it should be on sweeping curves.

The Grand steering is heavier overall, but not so, and it’s fairly consistent both curves and straights.

We to Sedona looking for an off-road we’d done years in 1993, at the introduction of the Explorer (denoted by its running boards and fetching hues of bright forest green, and purple). The was at the back of a subdivision that up to spectacular, towering red rocks. given the number of red-rock all around Sedona and the mushrooming in the area, we didn’t immediately it.

We did find a different trail, Pass, and after walking in a few hundred yards, we feared it was too much for the Explorer. But we let the Jeep a go at it, since our Grand Cherokee had a system with a low range.

vehicles have a Land terrain-selector knob. The Jeep’s a mode for rocks, but you have to low range first. Jeep improved approach and departure for the new Grand Cherokee, but that’s the Quadra-Lift air suspension and the front air dam We didn’t have the former and bother with the latter, and the still managed fine on the we tried.

We had to pick our way very carefully, and it wasn’t easy because the hood makes for lousy when you’re trying to a wheel precisely. You really a spotter.

Finally, we found we’d been looking Broken Arrow Trail. A at the first obstacle, a foot-high slickrock step topped by a slightly smaller one, us realize that any attempt to 1993 would relieve the Explorer of its front fascia, as the Explorer lacks a low range to the truck slowly up the rock. (We mention that the ’93 didn’t fare so well, Several of the test Explorers damage to their molded boards.)

After a night in we continued northeast into the Desert, where signs US89 warned of possible ice on the Ironically, most early would have offered no under those conditions-patches of ice on an clear highway. Most had four-wheel-drive systems that designed for loose terrain or very slippery conditions

For all its emphasis on off-road capability, one of the noteworthy aspects of the original Cherokee was that it offered a four-wheel-drive system (Quadra-Trac) could be used on-road. In the since, Jeep has offered a array of 4WD systems, and that’s the case today. The Laredo’s I has no low range and no terrain selector.

Limiteds and Overlands get Quadra-Trac II, low range and the terrain dial.

II (standard on the Overland V-8, on other V-8s) adds a rear axle.

For its part, the has switched to a FWD/AWD system, is fine for slippery highways. in the ‘burbs, though, we noticed because its default torque is to the front wheels, you can get a tug at the steering when pulling out quickly a busy highway before the shifts power to the rear.

we finally got to Monument Valley in Utah, we felt as if we’d entered SUV country — not you need an SUV out here, but because the red buttes provide the kind of western backdrop that so perfectly behind these We stopped at the Mexican Hat rock and both trucks-even the Explorer-got to around a bit on the rocky two-track.

driven more than miles according to the trip which also reported a average fuel consumption for the and 18.8 mpg for the Ford. The trip was all highway, so the Explorer’s figure was (it’s EPA rated at 25 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the versus the Jeep’s 22/16 mpg rating). The Explorer’s figure, is likely predicated on cruising in gear, whereas the Jeep’s has only five speeds.

On trip, there were uphill grades, so the Explorer a lot of time in lower gears, and its gas suffered accordingly. Perhaps it has no ultra-low-rpm cruising gear by the EPA tests, the Jeep got closer to its mileage in real life. On terrain, the Explorer might reaped more benefit its tall sixth gear.

Back in 1992, then-deputy-editor Jennings pronounced the Ford the winner for truck people and the Grand Cherokee the best for car Today, that situation is The Explorer has deftly moved the market.

Reborn as a FWD/AWD crossover, it has become much of a car — which makes because that’s how people use it. The though, has too great a sense of to follow the vicissitudes of the market. It has to be a after all, and — missteps like the Compass and the — that still something.

It could be that the great majority of SUV buyers no longer give a damn the ability to go off-road, but a Grand nonetheless will still that ability.

One could say day is upon us already. If so, what the Jeep from being is that Chrysler engineers done such a good job of a vehicle that works as a car, despite its off-road The sacrifices a Jeep once are finally gone.

They sacrifices we once were to make, because driving a was so cool; but then, like cool, it eventually became cool, and we weren’t as willing to put up the lousy gas mileage, the unrefined the poor ride quality, and the quality in general.

The Explorer is attuned to real life, and comprehensively well executed in the way of modern Fords. But the fact is, we driving the Jeep — it less mundane. Twenty on, the romantic notions that popularized SUVs have dissipated, but out here in the iconic West, where the landscape is something out of a John Ford you realize that, in the Grand at least, that romance entirely gone.

1990 The Explorer, introduced as a 1991 is based heavily on the Ranger truck’s mechanicals. Ford’s is available with two or four and comes standard with the 4.0-liter V-6 engine with 160 hp and 220 of torque.

1991 FORD: of its prowess on- and off-road, we name the an All-Star for 1991 and take of a Four Seasons test After 40,613 miles, we it a perfect middle point a minivan and a station wagon. The Navajo, a clone of the two-door arrives.

1992 JEEP: The Cherokee makes a smashing at the 1992 Detroit auto when Chrysler president Bob drives one through the front of the hall. It was originally conceived as the for the Cherokee, but Jeep decides to both vehicles side by as the SUV segment starts to take

1993 JEEP: Nostalgic for the Wagoneer, Jeep offers woodgrain on the Grand Cherokee, but the is not the same and the model is dropped one season. Longer-lasting additions an optional V-8 (5.2 liters, 220 hp) and the Up Country suspension option.

1995 FORD: The refreshed debuts with control replacing the twin I-beam in front. Late in the model a 210-hp V-8 is added. The Mazda is dropped.

1997 FORD: A V-6, also 4.0 liters, is to the engine roster. Its 205 hp and 250 lb-ft of shame the standard V-6, manages to soldier on for several years. The Mercury Mountaineer, a dressed-up Explorer, debuts.

BOTH: The Grand Cherokee out on top in our SUV comparison test, which consists of the Explorer, the Mercedes-Benz the Isuzu Rodeo, the Dodge and the Lexus RX300.

1998 Chrysler merges with (is over by) Daimler-Benz, setting the for today’s 2011 Grand which will eventually be alongside the Mercedes-Benz M-class. The Grand Cherokee is one of the chief for Daimler.

1999 JEEP: The Grand Cherokee is longer, and taller, and its redesigned rear improves the ride quality. The tire moves out of the cargo and under the vehicle.

2000 The National Highway Traffic Administration opens an investigation faulty Firestone tires to several Ford models, the Explorer. In the case of the Explorer, instances of tire blowouts to vehicle rollovers and ultimately than 100 deaths. The investigation in a huge recall of more six million tires.

Even so, was the Explorer’s best sales with 445,157 sold.

FORD: Ford drops the Explorer.

2002 FORD: An Explorer debuts, sharing the 4.0-liter V-6 with the previous A revised rear suspension ride quality while diminishing the Explorer’s off-road

2003 FORD: A Lincoln of the Explorer, dubbed the Aviator, the ranks to fight new luxury from Lexus, Mercedes, and but it’s canceled after two of slow sales.

2005 The third-generation Grand Cherokee a 3.7-liter V-6 (210 hp). An front suspension and rack-and-pinion are used for the first time.

FORD: The Explorer is updated the latest Mustang 4.6-liter now producing 292 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, and is with a six-speed automatic.

JEEP: The SRT8 joins the It features a 6.1-liter Hemi 420 hp, and 420 lb-ft of torque. Jeep it will reach 60 mph in less five seconds.

2007 Mercedes-Benz lends the Grand a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine hp, 376 lb-ft) with EPA fuel ratings of 18/23 mpg (RWD) and mpg (4WD). Daimler sells to Cerberus Capital Management.

FORD: The Explorer America previews a new era for Ford’s iconic SUV its unibody construction.

2009 The Grand Cherokee’s diesel is dropped. Chrysler files for

2010 JEEP: Chrysler from bankruptcy with automaker Fiat holding a percent stake in the company.

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