• Fantastic refinement and handling, heaps of space, off-road ability, styling
  • Thick A-pillars, non-detachable headrests, some cheap plastics

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

You may have noticed Jeep’s advertising blitz at the moment. Radio, television, internet – Jeep is going nuts promoting the brand. You can’t blame them; Jeep has plenty of models on offer and it’s also the company’s 70th anniversary proving a long heritage of off-road machinery.

Sure, there have been some ups and downs along the way, but judging by its latest offering, the Grand Cherokee, things are on the up and up.

On test here is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited V6, the second tier in the four-tier line-up. It’s a $10,000 premium over the base Laredo, but for your extra money you get 20-inch wheels instead of 18-inchers, heated seats in both rows, full leather interior, privacy glass, parking sensors, tyre-pressure monitor and display, Alpine premium audio and Jeep’s Memory System. This includes memory of seat settings, radio presets, steering wheel position and mirror positions, with each keyfob given its own settings; very handy for husbands and wives who like their own preferences.

Under the bonnet lies the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 mated to a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic. The engine makes 210kW and 346Nm and is quiet, smooth and when revved has a nice note. It’s a shame that its outputs are blunted by the nearly 2.3-tonnes of mass that the Grand Cherokee is carrying (and that’s before you’ve got passengers), so it takes a while to get going.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

Once you’re past 4000rpm, the V6 will pulling quite strongly, even in first gear, and on the roll the engine is a reasonably willing performer. The 5.7-litre V8 (which is a $5000 option) will satisfy those with a thirst for power, with its 259kW and 520Nm outputs, however an urban fuel figure of 21.1L/100km means you’ll be on a first name basis with your local service station operator. There is a diesel Grand Cherokee coming in a few months, too, so watch this space for our impressions on that.

The five-speed auto does a great job of shuffling ratios in a creamy manner and while the luxury SUV segment seems to have set six-speeds as the standard, it never feels a gear short. It did, however, clunk a couple of times in stop-start conditions in a traffic jam we found ourselves in, but not after that. That was perhaps the only blight on an excellent drivetrain.

Even its fuel economy isn’t too bad. With our week split exactly down the middle between city and country driving, covering 400km of each, we settled on 10.6L/100km for the country run, and 13.8L/100km for the city jaunt.

In fact, our goal for the country run was to test long distance comfort, fuel economy and road manners at speed. The Grand Cherokee scores three out of three. We spent four straight hours behind the wheel on a round trip from Perth to Bunbury and by the end, we were most impressed.

What’s surprising is that first impressions made the seats seem a little hard. But after hours behind the wheel, you wouldn’t have them any other way. There was no fidgeting, no aches, just hopping out and feeling refreshed. The other surprise came when you threw it at some bends.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a seriously good handler for its size and weight. While there’s no getting around the laws of physics, its firm suspension settles into a corner quickly and allows a lot of speed to be carried. It isn’t flustered mid-corner by bad surfaces, and at speed, the optional air-suspension (as fitted to our test car) drops the car by 13mm, further improving its stability.

Sure, the ride is firm, but never crashy or thumping, so on the road it’s still comfortable. Off road, it softens up further and the long travel absorbs challenging terrain without issue. With its air suspension, it’ll climb to a whopping 271mm of ground clearance. Further helping its off road cause its the selectable terrain dial (called Quadra-Trac II®) which allows the driver to set the best mode for what lies ahead.

It also comes with a proper low-range transfer case, clearly showing its intent, unlike its rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. It’s an extremely capable and rugged off-roader, as we showcased in our launch drive (click here for the story). But that doesn’t mean it’s basic.

The seats are beautifully trimmed in soft leather and the interior design is definitely modern. At night there’s a luminous blue-green glow coming from the cupholders, gearshift surround, behind door handles and in door pockets, putting you in mind of TRON. During the day, it looks classy, despite a few cheap plastics, but nothing that looks out of place – even the silver finishes look nice.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

There are some worrying elements, like the sunglass holder whose plastic surround creaks loudly when you press it and the gear lever which can easily knock left into manual mode – simply by brushing your arm against it – due to the right-hand-drive configuration (it doesn’t happen in a LHD car – knocking to the right doesn’t change into manual). Another gripe is the thickness of the A-pillars. They are by no means small, and worse still, they thicken further at the base. Combine that with huge wing mirrors and your left-hand visibility coming up to intersections or roundabouts is quite poor.

While we’re on the negatives, it would be nice for the rear headrests to detach or at least have some gap underneath them. The reason? Well, if you’re in the family way, it’s a struggle to fit child seats. If the straps are widely spaced, you could possibly go around the headrests, but for those close together it is almost impossible to feed the latch underneath the headrests. If you do manage (I got two seats fitted – one for each of my kids) you run the risk of scratching the leather, so be very careful.

The good thing is there’s plenty of space to fit the seats. While from the outside the Grand Cherokee looks compact, it’s a tardis inside. The boot is massive, swallowing two prams side-by-side if need be. Three abreast across the back row is no problem, and headroom is excellent, even for those over six-feet.

The front seats have plenty of (fully electric) adjustment and as mentioned previously are extremely comfortable on long journeys and the backrest is able to recline, further improving comfort.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

The sat-nav (standard equipment on the Limited) is very quick and extremely accurate. Touch screen capability is helpful and you can control audio and phone settings from the screen or from buttons behind the steering wheel. You can play and recharge your iPod or iPhone using the cable inside the cubby-hole at the bottom of the centre stack, and setting up Bluetooth is as simple as using voice commands.

Fitted to our test car was the Luxury Group II pack which costs $3250 and comprises a heated steering wheel as well as an electric tailgate. Also optioned was the $3250 CommandView panoramic sunroof. Put another way, the cost of those two options could have paid for the V8 model, and some spare cash for extra fuel. I’ll let you figure out what the best way to go is.

Whatever options you decide to specify, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited remains exceptional value for money. In the luxury SUV segment it is impossible to beat for someone who wants comfort and to be able to go off-road, too.

It’s miles bigger than a Land Rover Freelander, and much, much more competitive than a BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. It’s also more rugged and capable off-road than its German, Japanese and Swedish rivals, but still maintains excellent road-holding.

If it’s a five-seat, luxury bush-basher you’re after for under $60,000, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is currently the one to beat.


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JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE BREAKDOWN

Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
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  • Jerrycan

    Well this will put the cat well and truly amongst some very complacent overpriced German and British 4WD pigeons!

    • James Cortez

      You’ve got that right. Waaay overpriced German & British 4WDs. Hell I guess because of some Ozs stupidity who “don’t mind” getting ripped off.

      • bob

        Way overpriced German and British everything, not just 4WDs

  • G6Eturbo

    I test drove the new V8 Grand Cherokee a month ago and it was amazing, nothing like the old crap.

    can’t wait for the new SRT8 to come next year going to be a blast

    • noMOAR!

      Drove the v6 model. very impressive.
      Love the direction the interior has taken!

  • B

    I would have bought one if they had the 430N audio head unit with Garmin GPS built in. The 430N costs an extra US$300 over the 430 in the US. Currently they only have the 430 audio head unit and the 730.

  • http://www.nsmg.com.au Wil-son

    B, really? you didn’t buy one because you couldn’t get the awesome audio system over the fantastic standard unit?? Yeah right!! What sort of excuse is that. What did you buy then? And was the Audio the big seller?

    • B

      Am not in a hurry to get it as I’ve got a couple of cars. See if Jeep Aust. will bring in the 430N.

      • noMOAR!

        are u serious?
        the my gig system is great and u didn’t buy a car because of that?

        • SteveP

          MYGIG is great? what drugs are you on?
          ask any chrysler jeep technician there honest thoughts on mygig!

  • m2m

    Such a handsome car! Probably the most ageless SUV on the road by far. Will look great for many many years.

  • jeepy

    picking up mine this week,70th edition ltd.briliant black can’t wait.

  • Mr Gaspo

    Excellent car and for the price unbeatable. I would be nice to have the option of an LPG conversion… Asked dealers and converters and no joy.

  • Dustin

    Car Advice,

    A work colleague test drove the car a few months back and they mentioned the park brake in the footwell kept hitting their shin while driving? Did you notice this to be an issue?

    Otherwise a very impressive car for its value. The diesel variant would be the pick when it comes to Aust.

  • TK

    Test drove the limited a couple of months ago and very impressed.
    Do have 2 questions for CA though.
    1.What happens if someone pushes the low range button by accident if you are cruising at 110km/h?Does it have a safety override?
    2.Is satnav standard on the limited? I was told it is part of the luxury pack options?

    • Mark

      It does have a safety override, will only go into low range at a certain speed. Sat Van isn’t standard on Limited, only on Overland. It comes with the heated steering wheel and the power lift tailgate as part of the Luxury Group Package.

      Also, I though it was an Infinity sound system, not Alpine. There you go.

      Great car though, fantastic presence on the road and a very good drive, waiting for the diesel though to get mine. Shame Jeep cannot seem to supply enough vehicles for orders though

  • Steven

    Do you have any tall test drivers? Are the front seats flat or do they have enough drop to support the thighs AND allow you to stretch your left leg?

  • The Dazzler

    I have a diesel Laredo arriving in a couple of weeks. Great value and makes the new Territory look a bit underdone. Can’t wait.

  • Ben

    Fantastic car, if I had the cash i’d be out to get one right now. I think I will be stuck waiting for the second hand market though.

    Even the base model is very impressive for about 48k

    • James Cortez

      CA you just featured mazda cx-9 front drive test a week ago and this is also waaay overpriced compared to the genuine 4wd cherokee. Th emazda has no four wheel drive, no low range, spartan interior. Why do you Australians don’t boycott their products?
      So not only the german and brits, some japs are alos overpriced.

      • pja

        you know the answer. because sadly most ppl dont buy 4wd vehicles for the 4wd.

        • James Cortez

          People who buy 4WD without using its capabilities must have air head then. If you don’t intend to do four wheeling then buy a seda, wagon etc. why pay more??? S****d.

  • Bryan

    It is a shame that the diesel model [probably] won’t be out in time for the end of financial year sale pricing; the discounts that you normally get would probably off-set the premium that Jeep will undoubtedly ask for the diesel engine over the petrol.

    Our closest Jeep dealer is about an hour and half’s drive away so I haven’t had a chance to see/test drive one yet; maybe I will make the trip when the new motor becomes available…

    • Mal

      Good luck getting much of a deal. They have more orders than stock. They are unlikely to offer any serious discounting. I nearly fell over when they said dealer delivery is $1895. I am hoping that the DFP system in the CRD will not be a problem.

      • Y

        Don’t like DPF. I won’t touch a diesel with DPF, rather get a diesel which is cleaner burning.

      • Steve

        Dealer Delivery is just a rort. I was in the car game for 10 years and its just another way for them to make extra cash. Dont pay it and if they whinge just go to the next dealer. They’ll come to the party.

  • Mal

    I have a CRD Overland on order with a end of July delivery. Looked at many different SUV’s, but the Jeep had more than the $100k+ Euro SUV’s without the price.
    I was all keen to geta new Territory, but it was way short on tech and standard features

  • Theo

    Mopar…hell yeah!!!!

  • Dave

    Picked up my Grand Cherokee Overlander… Wow am loving it… After years of diesel turbo’s it is so nice to have the power and on the open road getting 9 lts per 100 km’s which is sensational… Put the foot down and you are gone….. Love all the options It is the nicest SUV bt miles.. It is a winner…..

    • Bryan

      Which engine has yours got in it? If it is one of the petrol models, 9 liters per hundred is terrific!! I think I read somewhere in the review that even the guys from Jeep said that the V6 is their engine of choice…

  • Richo

    I bought my Pajero back in 2010, $55k worth. I looked at the Grand Chekka at the time and decided the Pajero was the better car back then.

    Then this beauty comes out! So much better then the old Grand Chekka, i’m properly depressed now… I still love my Pajero, but this new Jeep is awesome!

    • Y

      Next time do ur maths. From the past, new Grand Cherokee models come out every 5-6yrs. Completely new Pajero’s probably come out once every 12-15yrs lolx

  • Planned_Obsolescence

    Even though I have a 2002 Grand Cherokee V8 which is is fabulous to drive..& it does go for a vehicle of its weight & is pretty good offroad too, it’s great to hear so many positives about the new one & that people are praising a Jeep, who would’ve thought.

    Even my wife who takes less than a passing interest in cars has suggested we buy one…sometimes i think Im dreamin when I hear her say that.

    Cheers

  • JeepTragic

    The bottom line is that with the strong Aussie$, having to pay $69.5k for 2011 GC Overland is a rip-off. The Overland sells in the US for $44K,similar in Canada and the Middle East. And all the talk from Jeep regarding ADR compliance and shipping costs does not justify having to shell-out $25.5k extra here in Aus. I loved the car but don’t like being ripped off.

    Ausralian public needs to demand that cars here get sold at the ‘real’ vehicle value not the market value.

    • B

      They put the $25.5k into advertising. Jeep ads are everywhere these days. Divide the total Jeep advertising cost for each Jeep sold (not many) and it may well work out to be $25.5k per Jeep lol.

  • Andy

    Test drove the V6 petrol last week with a view to ordering a diesel Laredo. Awesome car and huge improvement. However when it came to pricing the final deal man o man – Jeep is deluded. So $5k for the diesel donk it a bit rich, as is close to $2k for dealer delivery, a grand plus for the tow bar, and the roof rails req custom cross bars at over $600. Add to that – zero fleet or corporate rebates which is a little unusual for a brand that has been doing it tough for the past few years.

    Still a great car and the base model is a bit of a bargain but came out too rich for me dammit.

    • Sumpguard

      The diesel seems a lot over the petrol but it is a V6 Vm Motori and Nissan manage to squeeze around 10 grand extra out of you to step up from an already diesel 2.5 ltr to their version of this motor. Put in perspective the diesel is a bargain against the Nissan.

      I’m not sure how long you’ve been buying new cars for but towbars typically start around the $900.00 mark for a genuine item (heavily negotiable if you play hard like I did) and that’s on standard sedans/small suv’s.

      This vehicle in the diesel I am told has a 3.5 tonne tow limit (braked) and a very handy ball weight in the vicinity of 280 kg which means it is capable of towing large vans that vehicles such as the dearer prado and Pajero can’t get near.

      With 177kw’s and 550 nms the diesel version will quickly become a must have tow vehicle I’m certain. The various caravan forums I have been studying lately in anticipation of my own venture around Oz are already discussing the diesel. Jeep have a winner if it lands for a rumoured sub $60k price.

      • Sumpguard

        I should have specified in the Nissan I am refering to the Navara. The V6 version of the Pathfinder is a ridiculous $76,000 making the Jeep an even bigger bargain.

    • Michael

      Just did the same thing Andy. Bought the Laredo petrol. Also paid $1200 for a tow bar, they say it’s cos they fit an oil pre cooler and lots of rubber casings. Also bought the roof racks for surf boards. Also paid $600, but they are lockable and very heavy duty. Buy it, you’ll love it! And no, there is no fleet set up for Jeep yet, as I also tried. They say it is coming. But compare vehicles and compare the bottom line prices. So you might get $5000 fleet discount off a toyota, but the bottom line is less with Jeep.

  • Michael

    I just took delivery of a new Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, the base model. I am and always have been a Prado driver but due to the lack of vehicles coming out of Japan, I had to look at alternatives. This car is a winner. The base model Laredo has stacks more standard features and it drives a dream. It’s comfortable, powerful, awesome to drive, the bluetooth is seamless for streaming from my iPhone and I love everything about this car. This weekend sees it in the sand on the beach at Straddie. Look out Toyota, Jeep is coming and coming hard!

  • TORA

    I spend a few hr’s testing the three engine choices last weekend and decided on the Diesel. what a great donk and even as quick as the Hemi V8!This engine made the whole package even better. It sounds great also and realy suits this beast. be sure to shop around and shop hard. I ordered the Laredo diesel with leather and tow bar for 55k drive away:)Now just have to wait until Oct for delivery:(

  • Kevin

    Tora,

    Wow. Any chance of naming the dealer you bought from?

  • Josh

    I test drove the diesel the other day and it was immediately sold! Compared to it’s Japanese counterparts is got more fruit, power and style, not to mention value for money. Pick mine up in October.

  • amlohac

    FYI – Sat nav isnt standard on the limited, its only standard on the Overland. Its part of the Luxury Group for the Limited Model.

  • http://www.higear.com/brands/ford/ Ford Rental

    Great ‘adventure’ style review. Budget aside, it would be kind of cool if Jeep offered such a ‘trail’ day for their customers, in much the same way performance car makers offer track days.

  • AU

    Looking at purchasing a Laredo v6 petrol. Does anybody do towing with their vehicle? I would like some reviews on that

    • randan

      Just bought my Loredo V6 and towed my 1600kg camper on the weekend….. towed beautifully not a problem. It is just a dream to drive this vehicle….so quiet and sure footed.

  • lionel young

    I have an overland on order delivery oct 2012 what an impressive car yes its as grunty as the V8 and i checked out the standing start times from 0 to 100 itwas 8.2secs .Great car bit issed with dealer deliv fee and Govt luxury tax  bloody bandits .

    • Wheelz1

      I want to know I was interested in the new jeep grand diesel and a friend has advised me his heard talk of there being transmission probs? Is this a trur or false statement?

Jeep Grand Cherokee Specs

LAREDO : 3.0L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
JEEP
Model
GRAND CHEROKEE
Variant
LAREDO
Series
WH MY08
Year
2011
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
3.0L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO V6
Max. Torque
510Nm @  1600rpm
Max. Power
160kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
74.7W/kg
Bore & Stroke
83x92mm
Compression Ratio
18
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
2.95
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
10.2
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
16L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2142
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1740mm
Length
4750mm
Width
1870mm
Ground Clearance
209mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:3500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
BALL - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.2
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
245/65 R17
Rear Tyres
245/65 R17
Wheel Base
2780
Front Track
1575
Rear Track
1575
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Driver
Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
Off Road Group
Driver
Satellite Navigation
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  12,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
9-H-19
Country of Origin
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA