2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland. Click image to enlarge
Related articles on Autos
First Drive: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
DBDR: 2011 Jee Grand Cherokee
Test Drive: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 5.7
Buyer’s Guide: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Manufacturer’s web site
Jeep Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Photo Gallery:
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Second opinion, by Chris Chase

These are busy days over at the reviving Chrysler group, with a suite of new and revised vehicles coming to market this year. Jeep is in the thick of it; their flagship Grand Cherokee arriving with all-new exterior, interior and a powertrain that promises more sophistication and better fuel economy.

At a starting price of $37,995, the base 2011 Grand Cherokee will save you $500 over last year’s North V6 model, although our $49,495 Overland edition packed in several enhancements, as you would expect for the nearly $12,000 premium.

The new variable valve timing 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine makes 290-hp and 260 lb.-ft. torque at 4,800 r.p.m., which is a significant increase over the outgoing V6 performance of 210 hp and 235 lb.-ft. torque (a 5.7-litre V8 engine is an available option).Regular fuel is specified, and the engine is mated to an electronically adaptive five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption — an increasingly important consideration of SUV ownership — is officially pegged at 13/8.9 L/100 km, city/highway.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland. Click image to enlarge

But speaking of V6s, it’s been about two-years to the day since I drove a 2008 Grand Cherokee Diesel from Ottawa to Niagara and back (about 1,200 kilometres), marveling at that now-retired 3.0-litre, V6 engine’s low highway fuel consumption (8.9 L/100 km was achieved on one stretch), and its ability to tow a 7,200-pound trailer (the same rating as the optional 5.7-litre Hemi V8). This new gasoline V6 promises similar fuel economy, but is rated to tow a 5,000 pound trailer.

It’s obvious that the 2011 Grand Cherokee is a considerably larger vehicle than the outgoing model. With seating for five, length increases to 4,821 millimeters from 4,742 mm; wheelbase is 2,916 mm, up from 2,781 mm, and weight increases to 2,201 kilograms from 2,097. The vehicle is also wider (76 mm) and slightly taller.

The Grand Cherokee Overland arrives with a range of desirable technologies and appointments including an Alpine sound system with nine speakers and subwoofer, Uconnect hands-free system, Nappa leather seating with contrasting piping, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power tilt and telescope steering wheel, genuine wood/leather trimmed heatable steering wheel, Sirius satellite radio, rear back-up camera and a power liftgate. Additional features include the new Jeep Selec-Terrain four-wheel drive system, height-adjustable air suspension, dual pane panoramic roof and Garmin navigation with media storage.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Overland. Click image to enlarge

Although the 2011 model wears completely new sheet metal, it is still quite recognizable as a Grand Cherokee; an evolution, if you will. It does, however, look more luxurious — there’s something BMW X5’ish about it — although with the chunky 20-inch wheels, purposeful grille and increased size, it still looks ready for action.

Make no mistake, Grand Cherokees have historically been good for some very tough off-road duty if required; much more than owners will likely ever use. The outgoing model would happily manage extreme trails, its body tilting acrobatically to one side, its wheels inelegantly splayed in midair while clambering over giant boulders and stumps. This is the kind of thing Jeeps are expected to do, right?

The 2011 Grand Cherokee will presumably do the same — it certainly looks the part — but as I say, people typically don’t buy this particular vehicle for that type of duty. It is, after all, trimmed in chrome and packed with creature comforts both urban and urbane.

Three 4×4 systems are available on Grand Cherokees: Quada-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive. Our test vehicle was fitted with Quada-Trac II, which comes standard with the new Selec-Terrain system and Quadra-Lift air suspension.

Connect with Autos.ca