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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011-2019

VMR Scorecard (1 to 10 scale)
Performance
8.6
Reliability
7.6
Safety
9.7
Driver Experience
8.1
Interior
8.9
Value
8.0

For the 2011 model year, Jeep ushered in its fourth-generation Grand Cherokee. Unlike an increasing number of competitors, this 4-door, 5 passenger vehicle retained its true off-road capable SUV platform with 3 off-road 4x4 systems. Although offering improved levels of refinement, it still retained the key Grand Cherokee attributes of formidable off-road capabilities, rugged style and on-road competence.  It also offered a more fuel efficient 6 cylinder engine, all new body, improved passenger and cargo space, redesigned interior and new premium features. 

What's Available
The 2011 Grand Cherokee was offered in three trims: Laredo (E and X), Limited and Overland. Both V6 and V8 engines are available. The optional V8 engine can be added to everything except the Laredo E.  Both were initially paired with a five-speed automatic gearbox. American buyers could get the Grand Cherokee in two-wheel drive, but all Canadian models were four-wheel, with three separate systems available ranging from the simple full-time Quadra-Trac I system (Laredo E and X),  Quadra-Trac II, optional on Laredo X and standard on Limited and Overland and the highly capable Quadra-Drive II system.
Strengths
Interior Cabin
Off Road Capability 
Safety Score
Comfort
Weaknesses
No Third Seat Option
High Liftover Height
Limited Cargo Area
Early Electrical Gremlins
Both Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II boast a new Selec-Terrain system that lets drivers quickly adjust vehicle behavior for a variety of driving environments. The system alters torque distribution, as well as transmission and throttle behavior along with the stability control and the air suspension - if equipped - to maximize performance on snow, rocks, mud, sand or tarmac.

Also available was the aforementioned optional Quadra-Lift air suspension.   When raised to maximum height, the system creates 10.7 inches of ground clearance.  The system can also lower the vehicle, easing entry and egress as well as improving aerodynamics at higher speeds, enhancing fuel economy.
Base Model - The base 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee featured cloth seats, rear-wheel drive, an eight-way power driver's seat, automatic headlights, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and a six-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Standard safety features included stability control, traction control, electronic roll mitigation, trailer sway control, six-airbags and active head restraints. Optional entertainment and communications features included a premium nine-speaker audio system, USB audio port, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, navigation and the UConnect hands-free communications system. Other high-tech options available were rear parking sensors with a backup camera, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic detection.
Laredo E - Features on the Laredo E included 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air conditioning, passive keyless entry with pushbutton start, active front head restraints, eight-way power driver’s seat, cloth seats, 60/40 flat-folding rear seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, fog lamps, CD/MP3 stereo, Sirius satellite radio, heated mirrors, removable and rechargeable LED flashlight, tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic headlamps, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper, floor mats, cruise control, illuminated vanity mirrors, tire pressure monitor and hill start assist.
Laredo X - The Laredo X added 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather-trimmed seats, eight-way power passenger seat, premium Alpine stereo, CD/DVD/HDD media centre with Uconnect phone connectivity, remote starter, parking sensor and security alarm.
Limited – The Limited upped the ante with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated second-row seats, ventilated front seats, power liftgate, heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescopic column, driver’s side memory, bi-xenon headlamps with SmartBeam automatic control, backup camera, and rain-sensing wipers.
Overland - The upscale Overland added 20-inch alloy wheels, leather-stitched instrument panel, door uppers and center console armrest, navigation system and heated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee dash
The Grand Cherokee gets high marks for comfort.
Model Year changes
2012 - New SRT8 (6.4-liter Hemi put out 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque). It mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Had sportier styling with new front and rear fascias, fender flares, rocker-panel extensions, a vented model-specific hood, and a rear spoiler. Interior details included a heated flat-bottom steering wheel, carbon-fiber trim, and Nappa-leather sport seats with color-contrast stitching and SRT logos.
2013 - SRT8 added new white “Alpine” and black “Vapor” special-edition appearance packages.  Many features from the previously optional Luxury Group were now standard, including a power liftgate and leather trim on the door panels, dash, and center console
2014 - The “8” was dropped from the SRT8 name, so it was now Grand Cherokee SRT. New upgrades included an eight-speed automatic transmission with new console and paddle shifters, reprogrammed Selec-Track system, and launch-control capability. Exterior refresh with front LED accent lighting, LED taillamps, a new rear spoiler, and a redesigned tailgate assembly that eliminated the flip-up rear window to improve rear visibility
- Revised front and rear fascias, interior update including a new instrument panel
- Standard V6 and available V8 engines get new 8-speed transmissions, and an optional 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 joins the lineup
2015 - New Summit trim level gets a standard Active Noise Cancellation system, updated interior trim, and an available California Edition appearance package
- SRT model adds noise canceling technology, along with a five-horsepower bump (to 475 from 470) and a Red Vapor special-edition trim package
2016 - All Jeep Grand Cherokees (except SRT) get electric power steering and aluminum suspension components in an effort to reduce weight and increase fuel economy
- The available 3.6-liter V6 gains engine stop/start, along with modifications to its valve gear to increase both horsepower and fuel savings
- The unpopular joystick-like transmission shifter has been replaced by a conventional shift
- SRT model (which packs an exclusive 475-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V8) gets a new instrument cluster
2017 - New off-road-oriented Trailhawk model
- Summit model gets revised styling inside and out
- Grand Cherokee SRT has a new front fascia
- Lane-departure warning, parallel parking assist, and trailer-hitch camera are newly available features
- All Grand Cherokees now have standard reaview camera and rear parking sensors
2018 - New Diesel and SRT/Trackhawk high-performance models
- New Sterling Edition model that commemorates Grand Cherokee’s 25th anniversary
- All Grand Cherokees now have standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
2019 - New Limited X model
- Blind-spot alert and rear cross-path detection now standard on all models

Exterior
The 2011 Grand Cherokee’s new design demonstrated a clear connection with its predecessor while looking completely new and modern. The front end bears Jeep’s signature seven-slot chrome grille, a chunky front fascia, hexagonal wheel arches and rectangular headlights. At the back, the vehicle has a raked windshield and an almost upright tailgate, which softens the SUV’s rigid lines.  In back, for the first time on a Grand Cherokee, buyers could select a power rear lift gate.

Standard features included a chrome roof rack, foglights, 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic headlights and power mirrors. Optional features included 18-inch wheels, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, a tow hook and off-roading skid plates. The panoramic sunroof adds lots of natural light inside the cabin but creates quite a bit of wind noise when open.

The SUV is about 2 inches longer (4821mm), 3 inches wider (2154 mm w/mirrors) and one-half inch taller (1761mm w/roof rails) than the 2010 model, but its wheelbase has grown by healthy 5.3 inches (134 mm) to 114.8 inches overall (2915mm), resulting in more backseat legroom.

Interior
The previous-generation Grand Cherokee lacked an interior to match its price, but the all-new cabin in the 2011 model featured soft materials and upscale trim and a less blocky design. Improved materials included a stitched leather dashboard and real wood trim on Overland models, and interior panel fit is better compared with the old Grand Cherokee.

Most controls are easy to use, with some complaints about the audio controls being located on the steering wheel which can be accidentally disturbed with your hand in some situations or while off-roading.  Jeep opted not to squeeze in a third row of seats so the Grand Cherokee remained a five-seater, unlike some of its competitors.  In all fairness to Jeep, most of those third row seats are only suitable for small children.

Room/Comfort
Thanks to the SUV’s tall height and traditional body style, there’s plenty of interior space. Passenger space is good in all seating positions, with rear seat passengers enjoying an extra 4.4 inches (113mm) of leg room. This along with a reclining feature on the seat solves the previous issue of cramped quarters for rear passengers.  Most owners report that the seats are comfortable but some complain the cushions are too flat.  Seats are available with ventilation on the Limited and Overland. The rear seats are heated on the two upper trim levels. They also fold flat to increase the cargo area, dropping in a single motion while they tuck their head-restraints in by themselves which is far more convenient than the top of the backrest where some automakers choose to place the release.

Jeep claims the Grand Cherokee's cargo area increased by 19% up by 5.6 cubic feet.  It measures 35.1 cubic feet (994 litres) which is less space than what the Toyota 4Runner (47.2 cubic feet) and Nissan Pathfinder (49.2 cubic feet) of the period provided behind their second rows. With the backseat folded, cargo room increases to 68.3 cubic feet (1934 litres).  The wheel wells intrude somewhat into the sides of the cargo area, but the bigger issue for some will be clearing the tall rear bumper. The optional air suspension's Park mode provides some relief by lowering the ride height 1.5 inches.

Performance
The Pentastar V6 produces 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque while achieving a fuel economy rating of 13.0L/100km city and 8.9L/100km highway according to Jeep.  Natural Resources Canada reports fuel economy of 14.6L/100km highway and 10.5L/100K city. The 5.7L V8 with cylinder-deactivation makes 360 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque.  Fuel economy remains unchanged with this engine, and towing capacity maxes out at 3,266 kg (7,200 lbs) with the V8.
Click on this link to access complete Canadian fuel efficiency estimates for 2011-2019 Grand Cherokee.

Most large V-6 crossover vehicles have fuel economy ratings better than the Grand Cherokee. The early Grand Cherokee's somewhat older-tech five-speed automatic might be part of it as well as its weight of close to 5,000 lbs. on the V6 Overland. The cost of offering actual heavy-duty, rugged off-road capability is weight, and weight needs fuel.

When driven off paved roads, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee impresses with its sure-footedness and solid traction. In addition to a trio of four-wheel drive systems, each offering an increasing level of capability and sophistication, the Jeep's relatively compact dimensions allows it to squeeze through narrow passages that would stop other larger off-roaders. This fourth-generation Grand Cherokee featured an independent rear suspension instead of a live axle, an improvement for almost all situations, save rock crawling!

Most Grand Cherokees however, stay on pavement and during normal driving, the Grand Cherokee delivers a comfortable ride, good levels of grip when cornering, decent steering feel and a quiet interior, even at freeway speeds. The new four-wheel independent suspension absorbs bumps easily and it corners well without any of the top-heavy motions normally associated with SUVs. The ride gets a little better still if you get the optional Quadra-Lift adjustable air suspension, but the difference is subtle.  Some complaints of excess body lean during quick maneuvers and substantial dive under hard braking have been reported, but those a pretty common complaints of all larger SUV's.

Reliability/Service
The 2011 model year was somewhat troublesome, largely due to engine problems that surfaced from a defective TIPM power module. The TIPM controls and distributes power to all of the electrical functions of the vehicle. A law suit, filed November 1, 2013, accused Chrysler of ignoring problems with their model  2011-2012 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Dodge Durango vehicles which caused a variety of electrical problems including non-starting, stalling and fuel pump problems.  The plaintiffs claimed Dodge and Jeep owners spent considerable money on unneeded repairs for batteries, fuel pumps and other car parts when the real trouble was caused by defective TIPMs.

Chrysler issued a recall in September 2014, but that recall included only the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs. In February 2015, another recall was issued for the 2012-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs.

Later models seem to have improved markedly, a sign that those woes are behind the Grand Cherokee.   

Value
The value equation for the Grand Cherokee is a mixed bag.  While earlier models have a less than stellar record, it's likely that they have been sorted out through the recall process.  Make sure you get verification that the recall fix was performed on any example you may be considering.

Still, the Jeep brand in general enjoys relatively strong resale value, so you're likely going to have to pay a strong price to drive one off the lot.  You may want to consider the identical Dodge Durango as a slightly cheaper alternative.  It's all the vehicle without the Jeep name.    Current Grand Cherokee values.
Safety
The 2011, 2012 and 2013 Grand Cherokee were Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn the designation, it received Good overall scores in IIHS' frontal-offset crash test, side-impact crash test, roof-crush test and whiplash-prevention test. The final requirement for the award is the availability of an electronic stability system, which is standard in the Grand Cherokee.  The ease of use of the child seat anchors (latches) were rated as marginal on 2015-2018 models.  Prior to these years there were no ratings.

Standard safety features included antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for both rows and active front head restraints. Rear parking sensors and a backup camera were optional (became standard on 2017 models), and collision-warning and blind spot monitoring systems were bundled together in an option package for Limited and Overland trims. In 2017, lane-departure warning, parallel parking assist, and a trailer-hitch camera were newly available features.  Also, all Grand Cherokees received standard rear view camera and rear parking sensors.

NHTSA  Safety Ratings  (5 is the highest rating)
Overall
2011,2012,2013,2018 - 4
2014,2015,2016,2017 - 5

Front Impact Test
2011,2012,2013,2018 - 4
2014,2015,2016,2017 - 5

Side Impact Test
All Years - 5

Rollover
All Years - 4
New Car Prices
Dealer Cost for New Vehicles