It has been a top performer in both government and independent crash tests…
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011 to 2013
The redesigned 2011 Grand Cherokee was still unmistakably a Jeep, even though it came with an all-new chassis and body.
It was offered with an impressively wide range of basic hardware choices that included three 4×4 systems, an optional Quadra-Lift air suspension system and two engines.
The standard engine is a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and other than some early production line glitches, (see recalls) it’s a pretty reliable, fuel efficient modern unit. A big improvement on the previous 3.7 V6, the 3.6 V6 features 24-valves and variable valve timing and can produce 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. And fuel economy is rated at: 13.0/8.9 L/100 km (city/highway).
That’s considerably better than the optional 5.7-litre V8 hemi engine, which is rated at 15.7 L/100 km in the city and 10.6 L/100 km on the highway. The pulling power (390 lb-ft of torque) of the big V8 engine, however, helps to more than double the potential towing capability of the Grand Cherokee, from 1588 kg to 3266 kg. Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
The Laredo and Laredo X trim levels come with Quadra-Trac I, a full-time 4×4 system that distributes drive 48/52 front-to-rear, but no low-range is provided. Quadra-Trac II was optional on Laredo X and standard on Limited and Overland. This system is capable of sending 100 per cent of drive to either the front or rear axle and has a selectable low range, which is important for demanding off-road use.
Then there’s Quadra-Drive II. This was optional on the Laredo X, Limited and Overland and adds an electronic limited-slip differential that can concentrate up to 100 per cent of drive to a single wheel. It also comes with Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist systems.
The optional (Quadra Lift) air suspension can lower or raise (to a maximum of 27 cm) the ride height. It has a Park Mode that drops to its lowest (making it easier for passengers to get in or out) and an Aero Mode that automatically lowers the Grand Cherokee at highway speeds for improved aerodynamics and stability.
In addition to being a more rigid platform, the new chassis gave Grand Cherokee a 13 cm longer wheelbase and a new independent rear suspension. High-speed handling and highway ride comfort, particularly for rear seat passengers, was noticeably improved.
A new top-line SRT edition of Grand Cherokee, with a 6.4-litre V8 hemi engine, was added for the 2012 model year. A six-speed automatic transmission also replaced five-speed automatic with the 5.7-litre V8 and a U-connect hands-free phone feature became a standard on all versions.
No significant changes were made for the 2013 model year and the big news for 2014 is the introduction of a diesel engine edition plus a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
The iconic Jeep brand’s popular premium luxury utility vehicle, the Grand Cherokee has been around for more than twenty years. A generally good reliability record has helped make it a Consumer Reports “Recommended” buy and safety-wise it has been a top performer in both government and independent crash tests. If you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll love the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Price Check: 2011 – 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee (January 2014)
Year Edition Expect to Pay Today
2011 Laredo $26,000 to $30,000
2012 Laredo $29,000 to $34,000
2013 Laredo $33,000 to $38,000
*Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.
Safety Recalls: 2011 to 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee:
2012 – Debris in the cylinder block (from the manufacturing process) of 3.6L engine could cause connecting rod bearing and crankshaft bearing damage. Abnormal engine performance may be noticed and in some cases the engine could fail. Dealers will replace the engine assembly.