MPG-o-Matic 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review Summary:
Simply put, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most refined to date, with a beautifully executed interior, superior ride, and a base FlexFuel V6 engine. When run on domestic E85 fuel, the FlexFuel Grand Cherokee helps in the quest to eliminate our reliance on imported oil, without any sacrifice in comfort, delivering true 4×4 off-road capability in a luxury SUV.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in both two-wheel- (2WD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD), with a range of models (from Laredo and Limited, to Overland and Overland Summit). The Grand Cherokee can be equipped with a 5.7-liter multi-displacement V8 engine, producing 360 horsepower (HP) and 390 foot pounds of torque, or the new FlexFuel 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine producing 290 HP and 260 foot pounds of torque. The V8 is fitted to a “multi-speed” automatic with overdrive, while the V6 is fitted to a five-speed automatic.
The multi-speed 545RFE automatic transmission features two 2nd gear ratios to provide better performance when downshifting.
We tested a well-equipped Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4 with the Pentastar V6 and five-speed automatic. The official fuel economy estimates for the four-wheel-drive V6 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland are 16 city / 22 highway miles per gallon (MPG). The two-wheel-drive V6 is rated at 16 city / 23 highway MPG. The 4×4 V8 is rated at 13 city / 19 highway, while the 2WD V8 is rated at 14 city / 20 highway.
After traveling over 500 miles in our Blackberry Pearl 4X4 review unit, we squeaked past the official mileage estimates, with an average of 22.9 MPG on the Interstate highway and 19.7 MPG combined in late-winter/early-spring temperatures. (All testing performed with regular unleaded gasoline.) Temperatures ranged from the twenties through the fifties, with Interstate highway testing temperatures in the mid-forties. The test vehicle was delivered with approximately 6900 miles on the odometer.
All 2011 Grand Cherokees are equipped with cast-aluminum wheels, with model-specific wheel sizes: Laredo – 17×8 inches, Limited – 18×8 inches, Overland – 20×8 inches. Our Overland 4×4 test unit was clad with P265/50R20 Goodyear Fortera all-season tires.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off/heat on, windows up: 22.6 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off/heat on, windows up: 23.2 MPG
The Pentastar V6 motivates the 4956 pound (curb weight) Overland 4×4 from zero to sixty in approximately 8 seconds. The V8 4X4 Overland weighs in at 5210 pounds. The 2WD Overland tips the scales at 4705 pounds with the V6 and 4920 lbs. with the V8.
Highway driving range is very good. The Grand Cherokee is fitted with a huge 24.6 gallon fuel tank. The FlexFuel Pentastar V6 is designed to run on 87 octane regular unleaded or E85. Although 89 Octane mid-grade unleaded is recommended for the V8, 87 octane regular is acceptable.
The Grand Cherokee is equipped with four wheel anti-lock (ABS) disc brakes. The vented front discs measure 12.9 x 1.2, while the rear discs measure 12.6 x 0.55.
The Grand Cherokee’s concise center-mounted monochrome Vehicle Information Center provides a simultaneous display of both average and real-time MPGs, with a handy triangular marker showing the average fuel economy on the real-time bar for visual reinforcement … great stuff for the fuel-efficient driver. The display includes two trip meters and tire pressure monitoring, among other data.
The smooth-riding Overland’s a pleasure to pilot both on-and-off road, with world-class running gear that includes Quadra-Lift air suspension, Quadra-Trac II 4WD, and Selec-Terrain traction control. The Quadra-Lift system allows the driver to raise the suspension as high as 4.1 inches (in Off-Road 2) from its lowest (Park Mode) setting. The suspension automatically lowers half an inch at highways speeds in Aero mode for better fuel efficiency.
Selec-Terrain can be set to Sport, Snow, Auto, Sand/Mud, or Rock modes to configure the engine, brakes, suspension, transmission, and transfer case for specific conditions. Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, and Electronic Stability Control are all part of the mix.
You might expect to see air suspension in a high-end imported SUV, but a Jeep? Well, there’s a reason for that … the Grand Cherokee’s running gear is the last best thing that came from the union of Mercedes and Chrysler.
The interior of the Overland model is packed with creature comforts, starting with the massive wood and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.
A positively scrumptious leather interior in a Jeep? Oh yeah.
The ergonomically-designed front bucket seats provide heating and cooling, along with eight-way power adjustment with four-way power lumbar and driver memory settings.
The Overland is equipped with a nine-speaker 506-watt audio system (with subwoofer), along with Uconnect hands-free Bluetooth and voice controls. The head unit includes a rear-view backup display, and a 40 GB drive for digital photo and music storage. The Command View dual-pane panoramic sunroof is also included with the Overland package.
There are 12-volt power outlets at the base of the dash, in the center console, and in the cargo area. A 115 Volt AC outlet is located at the back of the center console.
The highly accommodating second row provides 39.2 inches of head room and 38.6 inches of leg room – a gain of four inches of legroom over the previous model. Rear seat passengers will love the reclining 60/40 seat back and two-level seat heating in the Overland.
The Grand Cherokee’s cargo area is quite capacious, with 35.1 cubic feet of storage when the 60/40 rear seat is up and 68.7 cubic feet of storage with the rear seat folded down.
All-in-all, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee proves itself as the luxury SUV for folks who need true 4×4 capabilities, with a world class ride and interior. We applaud the new FlexFuel Pentastar V6’s ability to reduce America’s dependance on imported oil and look forward to the addition of an advanced eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as the return of a fuel-efficient clean diesel Grand Cherokee to the Jeep line up in coming years.
Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 71%
Final Assembly Point: Detroit, MI
Country of Origin:
Engine: United States
Transmission: United States
– by Daniel Gray
May 3rd, 2011
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