The standard engine is the 290 horsepower Pentastar V6, said to be smoother than competitors from Toyota, Honda, and GM. It has variable cam timing for better gas mileage, and in fact gets just 1 mile per gallon less than the diesel-powered Mercedes ML350.
The Hemi is optional across all models, and may be pushed by Chrysler while V6 production ramps up. Europeans will use a 2.8 liter VM Motori diesel at 195 hp, as well as the Pentastar gasser, according to “mrmopar;” both will use the W5A580, not the 545RFE.
The independent front and rear suspension have isolated cradles. Variable-rate rear springs improve on-road handling and comfort, and the spare tire is stored inside as opposed to underneath. Torsional rigidity has been increased 146%.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, with a new, upscale interior, advanced four wheel drive system, 290-horsepower Pentastar V6, five-speed automatic, numerous standard features, and towing capability, will start with a U.S. list price of $32,995 including destination.
The interiors have better craftsmanship, with soft-touch, premium materials and genuine wood trim; all models have bright chrome accents. The Keyless Go system, optional on some models and standard on others, unlocks and locks the doors without a fob. The CommandView sunroof has fixed glass panels above both rows of seating, with an express power shade to cover it.
Compared with the outgoing Grand Cherokee, the 2011 Jeep has 4 inches more rear seat leg room, with 12° of recline, a standard center folding armrest and rear seat vent controls, and 17% more cargo capacity… with the spare tire now mounted inside.
The base engine is a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine pumping out 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 N•m) @ 4,800 rpm; 90% of peak torque is available from 1,600 to 6,400, so it’s not a “peaky” or “paper horsepower” engine. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 is not only more powerful – by 80 horses – but gas mileage is 11% higher.
The V6 Grand Cherokee has more horsepower than Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and GMC Acadia, with more torque than Highlander or Pilot, and similar gas mileage to all three competitors (within 1 mpg) according to Chrysler Canada’s materials. Towing is rated at 5,000 lb with the V6, similar to or more than the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and GMC Acadia; but goes up to 7,200 lb with the Hemi V8 (equipped properly).
The Pentastar V6 is attached to the Mercedes W5A580 five-speed automatic, with Chrysler’s controls and the driver-interactive control. The gas tank has been increased to 24.6 gallons, which allows for a range of around 500 miles.
The base model, the Laredo E, is a well equipped machine with standard passive entry/keyless go, new double dash construction with acoustic side glass, electronic stability (with hill start, roll mitigation, and trailer sway control), side curtain airbags in front and rear, front side airbags, front active head restraints, power driver seat, 17 inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, power-adjusted heated mirrors, trip computer (with feature personalization), LED interior lights, and dual zone temperature control. Overall, the base model is as fully loaded as some top line models; but it is the only model that cannot be ordered with the Hemi.
The Laredo X brings leather trim, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, 18 inch wheels, hard-drive based stereo with hands free phone system, 506-watt, 9-speaker Alpine stereo, remote starter, Park-Sense (rear distance detection), and alarm.
The Limited adds a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, Quadra-Trac II, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated first and secondrow seats, ventliated front seats, power liftgate, heated and tilt/telescope steering wheel, memory settings (for seat, mirrors, and radio), 18” shiny wheels, HID headlamps with SmartBeam, rear backup camera, and rain sensitive wipers.
Finally, the Overland model (shown below) adds a unique interior, real wood/leather wrapped heated steering wheel, premium navigation system with voice recognition, and new 20” aluminum painted wheels.
Options include the Hemi with bright dual exhaust, Class IV trailer tow group, Quadra-Drive II (Hemi only, July availability), and Quadra-Lift (July).
Cargo capacity has increased 17% over the last model, with 36.3 cubic feet of space.