Need a pre-owned winter vehicle? How about a Jeep?
Jeep’s flagship SUV, the Grand Cherokee, received a major overhaul in 2011. That included a new body style, a new V6 engine, interior makeover and revised four-wheel-drive system.
Although it was no longer available with the Mercedes six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, a new Pentastar V6 apparently gave it greater driving range, and better fuel economy than its predecessor. Jeep claimed you could go up to 1,000 km between fill-ups.
Based on the same platform as the Mercedes ML350 and manufactured in Jefferson, Mich., the 2011 Grand Cherokee was available in four trim levels, with either the V6 or Chrysler’s Hemi V8 for power. The Hemi was offered with a fuel-saving, multi-cylinder displacement system and featured Chrysler’s variable valve timing system. It developed 360 horsepower and was matched to a five-speed transmission.
The base Laredo E came with the new 3.6-litre V6 only and developed 290 horsepower, also with a five-speed transmission. Jeep’s Quadra Trac I four-wheel-drive system was standard issue and one of three systems, varying from model to model.
The top-of-the-line Overland, for example, had Quadra Drive II, with an automatic ride height adjustment Jeep called Quadra-Lift. Hit a button and the vehicle raised or lowered up to 10 cm. This was the ultimate snow vehicle.
All trim levels of this generation of the Grand Cherokee came well-equipped. Standard kit included an electronic stability control program, hill start assist, power driver’s seat, 17-inch wheels and tires, satellite radio, dual zone air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, fog lamps and so on.
Step up to the Overland and you got leather interior, touch-screen navigation system, 20-inch wheels and tires, and interior wood trim, among other things.
There were no safety recalls for this year of the Grand Cherokee, either from Transport Canada or the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The latter organization, however, did have nine service bulletins, with a whopping 81 complaints registered. The service bulletins include a myriad of software issues for the suspension and various electrical accessories, plus issues with the transmission torque converter and hard starting under some circumstances.
The vast majority of these issues appear to be related to the powertrain control module, which controls a variety of vehicle functions. Complaints about this component are many. A sampling:
- “sitting in heavy traffic, Jeep stalled and caused a traffic backup;”
- “while driving at 30 mph, the vehicle stalled … vehicle was inspected and diagnosed as having a TIPM (powertrain module) malfunction;”
- “found myself in a bad part of town and the vehicle would not turn over.”
By far the majority of complaints registered with NHTSA concern faulty powertrain modules and prospective buyers were advised to check this out.
Consumer Reports liked the comfort level, fit and finish, and ride quality of this generation of the Grand Cherokee. But the organization gave the V6 version a “worse than average” used car prediction, while the V8 model received this organization’s worst possible rating.
Comments from owners to Consumer Reports:
- “had to have rack and pinion replaced months after taking delivery;”
- “this is a disappointing vehicle;”
- “the security system horn sounds intermittently without provocation.”
From a $38,000 base price in 2011, the Grand Cherokee’s value has held up surprisingly well – depending up which side of the market you’re on, of course. A base Laredo V6 model seems to be going for $10,000 to $15,000, while the middle-of-the-range Limited fetches $2,000 to $3,000 more. V8 models fetch about $1,000 to $1,500 more than the V6 versions.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Original base price: $37,995
Engines: 3.6-litre V6 and 5.7-litre V8
Horsepower/torque: 260/260 and 360/390
Transmission: five-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.0 city and 8.9 highway (V6), with regular gas
Some alternatives: Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Range Rover, Volkswagen Touareg, Chevrolet Tahoe, Mercedes ML350, Toyota Highlander.
Ted Laturnus writes for Troy Media’s Driver Seat Associate website. An automotive journalist since 1976, he has been named Canadian Automotive Journalist of the Year twice and is past-president of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).