2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

The Good:
– Very handsome styling
– Decent cabin space and kit
– Handling on and off the road
The Bad:
– Could be a wee bit quicker
– Pretty darn heavy
– Pricey with options

The American auto industry has been in trouble since the 1980s. But contrary to popular belief, not all the Americans were in trouble. In fact, the Jeep brand has been profitable despite having multiple troubled owners over the past few decades. With models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’s easy to see why. But with the 2011 version, Jeep has taken their best model to a whole new level.

We’ve always considered the first two Grand Cherokee generations to be the most handsome 4x4s out there, combining the looks of a crossover with the capability of an offroader. While Chrysler lost their way in trying to give the square Jeep round headlights the last time, the boxy look is back for its fourth generation and looks better than ever, hiding a growth in overall size that came with switching to an all-new platform vaguely based on that of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class.

That growth pays dividends in the Grand Cherokee’s cabin volume, as the interior is larger in every dimension. Even with the low roofline, headroom is good, as is legroom both front and rear, although not as abundant as oversized 4x4s such as the Prado or the Pajero. There isn’t any third-row seating either, although the Grand Cherokee was always meant to be a premium 5-seater. The front bucket seats are meaty with moderate bolstering and power adjustability in our Overland tester, while the rear is a 60:40 split-folding bench with three headrests. There is no shortage of uncovered cup-holders in the centre armrests and bottle-holders in all the doors, while the boot area is sizeable, lined with chrome metal strips in the Overland for an upscale look, although you’ll always be worried about scratching that chrome when you throw your mountain bike in there.

Build quality is generally very good, better than Chrysler has ever been. Except for a couple of loose bits and maybe one uneven cabin panel, this is among the most solid vehicles on the market, with good use of leather upholstery, word trim, padded surfaces and soft-touch plastics all over, and hard plastics used only in panels below hip-level. Our Overland specifically came with “Overland” logos on the leather seats and a stitched-leather dashboard. And the chunky thick-rimmed steering wheel is instantly noticeable.

The Overland comes with a good bit of gadgetry, headlined by the touchscreen LCD screen that holds the navigation system, Bluetooth phone and 30GB multimedia hard-drive, all easy to use and even partially voice-controllable. The CD/MP3 stereo with subwoofer sounds good enough, with USB and AUX ports, while a DVD screen is stuck onto the ceiling for rear passengers. Other features in this version include a sunroof, cruise control, seemingly good dual-zone a/c with rear vents, front and side-curtain airbags, ventilated front seats, HID headlights, rain-sensing wipers, rear camera with all-round sensors, cargo net and even a built-in removable torch-light in the boot!

The Grand Cherokee Overland comes with the 5.7-litre “Hemi” V8, now good for 352 hp at 5200 rpm and 520 Nm at 4200 rpm, mated to a 5-speed automatic with manual-shift capability. While this powerful Jeep moves with authority at a press of the throttle, it is pretty heavy at 2307 kilos. Combine that with average low-end torque and an aging transmission, we managed a 0-100 kph time of 7.9 seconds in our January test, making it only slightly quicker that our own 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the old 4.7-litre V8, which weighs nearly half-a-ton less. Still, the 2011 Overland’s fuel economy matched that of our less-powerful Jeep, as we burned petrol at a rate of 16.8 litres/100 km.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee remains good to drive on the road. Whether you opt for the Overland with the air suspension or the Laredo with the regular shocks, this Jeep is composed around corners, with moderate body roll at most in the sharpest corners, and none of the floaty rebound that affects more truckish 4x4s. It pretty much drives like a tall crossover, and while it expectedly squeals its 265/50 tyres early in tight turns due to its weight, body control is always good.

All-round visibility is respectable. While the steering is surprisingly firm, it offers only a bit of feedback. The ride quality is fairly compliant, even if mildly on the firm side too due to the 20-inch wheels. Noise insulation is decent up to 100 kph, after which wind noise becomes noticeable. And the brakes are not eye-poppingly strong, but the ABS-assisted four-wheel-discs get the job done okay. We did drive it in heavy rain, and we probably have the invisible all-wheel-drive system to thank for being able to keep doing 130 kph on the wet highway without issues.

The Grand Cherokee remains a class apart by behaving like a crossover on the road, while being as capable as any truck-based 4×4 off the road. It now comes with a terrain-select system to choose between Sand/Mud, Snow, Rock and Sport, with a separate button to engage low-range gearing. We bashed some serious dunes with the V6-powered Laredo model at an earlier event, and the V8-powered Overland just ups the ante with a height-adjustable suspension system that adds several inches of ground clearance at the touch of a button. All-independent suspension is not a problem when you can just power through it all.

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the best 4×4 vehicles we’ve ever tested in terms of balancing on-road dynamics, off-road prowess, premium feel and V8 power. Nothing else comes close in its price range. With the latest iterations of the Porsche Cayenne, the Ford Explorer and the VW Touareg losing their low-range gearing, we assume only Land Rover’s trucks are left as viable competitors, as none in the Japanese set are up to the mark in road handling. So yes, we’ll go ahead and say it — the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a value-meal alternative to a Range Rover Sport.

25 comments to 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

  • Abilio Van-Dúnem

    I want one Jeep like these.

  • S Mathew

    Guys please be careful with going only on external appearances and marketing techniques (I am not implying by Drive Arabia as you guys get only a first impression and not a long term view). I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee (Limited) 2011 in July 2011 and was very impressed by it. Unfortunately it has lived by its reputation of very poor reliability. I have been experiencing software and GPS issues from day one. The pad of the parking break came off in 5 months’ time and Trading Enterprises said it was not under warranty and I had to pay for it. I took the vehicle on an Oman trip (no off-roading and I have never used it for off-roading) around 6 months after buying the car and it wouldn’t start after doing an uphill (again on good tarred road.)I had taken it to Trading Enterprises and they said everything is ok. Now the vehicle has developed some engine issues as the Engine fault light (also called as MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light)) comes on. I cannot understand how a new vehicle can have so many issues?
    The Trading Enterprises technicians cannot seem to find what the issue is with and have reset the computers so that the MIL light goes off. Yesterday the light came back on. Worst of all is I am left without a vehicle for all these days and they refuse to give a spare vehicle. I had also called Chrysler Middle East who promised to get back on the issue but with no luck.
    I even searched the net on the same and came across lots of negative feedback on Jeep GC (the new model) at American forums where they are more transparent. To all aspiring Jeep owners, my suggestion is to do a research on the net before buying this vehicle. I really wish reliability issues were brought up so that other buyers are not caught off-guard after shelling out so much money for a product that only looks good. Another warning; please do not go by what the sales persons at the Trading Enterprises say as they are extremely economical in the “truthfulness” area. I honestly regret for not having gone for a Pajero or a Japanese car. This is the first time I ventured for an American vehicle and I consider it the biggest follies of my life.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      There is a service bulletin/recall for V6 engine problems in 2011. I assume you have the V6? Ask to see the service manager, say you heard from the media about the recall, and if nothing is done, write a post in the MyRide forums and I will send it to Chrysler Middle East again.

  • S Mathew

    Thanks a lot Mash. Honestly you are the only one who responded with a help. Really appreciate your support. Yes you are right. I have a V6. I had already spoken to the service manager at the Trading Enterprise at Sheikh Zayed Road. Would you be having a link or communication regarding this recall? This would be really helpful when I take the case again.

  • prado

    S mathew

    consider your self a martr…. bcos of your sacrafice others will be spared from buying this lemon….

    we need to give you a medal…

  • J Jaleel

    Boy… Now that takes one vehicle off my shortlist. I was considering this as one of my options

  • Joe

    The V8 versions should be okay though! Powerful enough HEMI engine that is more reliable for such a heavy vehicle.

  • S Mathew

    Guys.
    Please go through this site which has reviews/problems of the car mentioned:
    http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/grand-cherokee/2011/consumer-reviews.html
    It has both positives and negatives mentioned.
    The below mentioned review was written by an owner of this vehicle in Dubai.
    Vehicle
    2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4dr SUV 4WD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
    Review
    I reside in Dubai, UAE and purchased this vehicle after reading reviews and watching several adverts about how the car performs well off-road. The truth – it cannot do well on major sand dunes. Around 10+ of these have had damaged radiator/condenser units after being driven offroad because of sudden jumps. Even the Overland model has had bad luck here. Thru insurance i got my radiator replaced, but weeks later overheating problems occured for which Jeep/Chrysler could not figure out why – so they changed the whole engine under warranty! Still didnt fix the issue! Later found that the coolant compartment was leaking! Extremely poor reliability of this vehicle. Jeep UAE admits it shamelessly.
    Favorite Features
    Great audio system in the Laredo model, great dashboard look, great on-road handling. Comfy seats. As long as this car is on road, its the best ever. Just dont take it to extreme off-road conditions.
    Suggested Improvements
    The Radiator/Condenser unit has been placed just behind the front bumper, exposing it to the ground, such that during offroading if the car were to jump and hit the ground, this would damage the condenser. The ride height of this vehicle is extremely low and the clearance not good enough. This is the major problem on this vehicle. Jeep UAE has asked Jeep USA as to why this has been built like this, and apparently this would only be fixed in the next model release!!
    http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/grand-cherokee/2011/consumer-reviews/comfortable-on-road-not-suited.html?style=101321737&sub=&reviewId=880008546
    It is ok on the road but off road, the sheer weight of the Engine creates problems while off-roading. I met another V8 owner recently at a car wash. He said he had problems during off-roading similar to the one mentioned above due to the weight of the engine. You cannot ‘rough it up’ like a Japanese 4WD.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      I’m sorry about your bad luck, but people breaking their own cars is not a sign of poor reliability. The other day I smashed the front bumper of a Land Cruiser, and I know another writer who damaged a Ford Raptor. Doesn’t mean anything about reliability. I agree that the Grand Cherokee isn’t as capable as it used to be. But every car has its limits, and one should figure out the ground clearance of any offroad vehicle before smashing into things with it blindly. When an obstacle is too tall for a certain vehicle, you drive around the obstacle, not try to “jump” over it and then complain that it broke. The people who broke their cars were probably amateurs.

      Do let us know if your engine issues have been resolved, which was the real reliability issue.

  • S Mathew

    Hi Mash. Thanks to your inputs and support, I was able to raise my issue with Chyrsler Middle East as the dealer in Dubai was initially not very helpful.
    They (Chrysler ME) communicated the issue to the dealer and they repaired/replaced the faulty cylinder heads. I was also given a replacement car during the period of repair (which took around a week). My only issue is that all this could have been avoided if the dealer’s “It is not my Problem” attitude was replaced with more care to a customer’s genuine problem.
    By the way I was only trying to prove that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is not as what it used to be in terms of toughness against its Japanese counterparts.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      Glad your issues got resolved. Do let us know if you have further issues.

      As for the Jeep, I still think it’s a good offroader if you know its limits. At the launch event, I was managing fine with a V6 Laredo, while the journo who got the V8 Overland kept getting stuck. Tells you a lot right there.

  • Manoj

    Hai Friends

    I am planning to sell my 2008 model FJ Cruiser. Is it ok to go for 5.7 L jeep grand cherokee?

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      Not sure how hard you offroaded the FJ, but if you weren’t too hardcore, then the Jeep is good for you.

  • Lawrence

    Guys,

    Can the Laredo be compared to Pajero 3.8L
    I am stuck between these two models. Not a hardcore offroader.

    All sujestions are highly appreciated.

  • S Mathew

    Hi Mash.
    Just thought of updating you on another issue that has cropped up with my Jeep GC 2011. I was experiencing squeaking sounds from the driver’s seat for the past few weeks. Did not think about it seriously until the noise got louder while going over the speed breakers and while getting on the seat. Took it to the dealer two days back and they said that the seat bridge and mount needs to be replaced. Fortunately for me I still had 7000 kms to complete before my 60,000 warranty finishes. They have agreed to replace the same under warranty.
    I still cannot believe that this is a coincidence and all these issues are happening only to me and that too for a car that is only a year and 5 months old. I cannot imagine what will happen after the 60,000km warranty gets exhausted. By the way in the UAE, they have increased the price from AED 150k to 160k for even less features (no GPS). Hope Jeep pays attention to customer problems resolves these issues. What else can I say?

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      That’s life with an American car, unfortunately. You have to be prepared to have “little” issues all the time. Get an extended warranty.

  • Aamir Sayeed

    Hi Mash & Mathew,

    Well I would join the bandwagon and would complain for the sub standard quality of premium car.

    I drive JEEP GC 2011 which has clocked 30K Km recently.

    My car was having MIL (Malfunction indicator light) switched ON/OFF @ regular interval which was supposedly fixed by service center on 12th Jan during 30K Service which costed AED 1300 ( recommended by Service Manager to have fuel ignitor serviced).

    MIL light came back ON few days later and I had to take the car back to Service center on 19th Jan 2013. Now, the cyclinder head was to be replaced as per Service manager which may take time until Monday.

    As my online research goes , This seems to be a perinienal problem with Jeep V6 engine:

    1) Why did they not fix this on 1st place on 12th Jan Service knowing the History behind MIL?

    2) Why a replacement car not provided knowing well the public transport scenario?

    I am severly unhappy with these issue on premium car which is just 1 year OLD.

    I am strongly discouraging friends/family/Aquaintence to strike the car off from evaluation , if they intend to buy a new 4WD.

    Jeep is big DIS-APPOINTMENT now !!!

    Regards,

    Aamir Sayeed – 0503936519
    Jeep GC
    Sharjah Plate 97X5X
    Engine number 1266111XX6

  • S Mathew

    Dear Mash,
    Need your expert advice on a recent recall announced by Chrysler. Please find the link of the same below:
    http://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2014/chrysler-recalls-suv-tipm-engine-stall.shtml?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20140921_recall_chrysler
    I get recall notifications from this (above-mentioned) site in my email after subscribing to the same. My Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 2011 model and I called the Dealer here regarding this recall. He informed me that recalls differ for vehicles with Middle East specifications from the vehicles with American Specifications. He informed me that there was a recall regarding the braking system which they rectified during my previous service.
    Is this true? Can there be different recalls for different regions even though as per my knowledge, they come from the same factory and use common components?

    Thanks.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      Generally it takes time for the recall notices to come here. It may well be that the dealer will fix it for you 6 months from now.

      Not sure if non-US cars are covered here, but you can try this tool to see if you’re affected:
      https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/

      Either way, if you end up having the problem before they perform the recall, they’ll fix it under warranty. If the warranty is over, post your story in the MyRide forums if your car breaks down due to this issue, and we’ll forward it to Jeep. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

    • S Mathew

      Dear Mash,
      As per your suggestion, I went to the above-mentioned website and put in my VIN and got the following:

      VIN: 1J4RR5GG0BC662380
      Year: 2011 Make: JEEP Model: GRAND CHEROKEE 4X4
      Number of Open Recalls: 2

      NHTSA Recall Number: opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 14V-391 Recall Date: August 19, 2014
      Manufacturer Recall Number: P36

      SUMMARY:
      THE SUN VISOR VANITY LAMP WIRING ON ABOUT 651,000 OF THE ABOVE VEHICLES MAY EXPERIENCE A HIGH RESISTANCE SHORT AFTER A SERVICE REPAIR TO THE SUN VISOR, HEADLINER OR WHILE GAINING ACCESS ABOVE THE HEADLINER.
      SAFETY RISK:
      THIS MAY RESULT IN AN INOPERATIVE VANITY LAMP AND AN INCREASED RISK OF FIRE.
      REMEDY:

      THE SUN VISOR WIRING MUST BE INSPECTED ON ALL INVOLVED VEHICLES TO FIND THOSE THAT MAY HAVE HAD AN IMPROPER SERVICE PROCEDURE. ANY DAMAGED SUN VISOR WIRING FOUND DURING THE INSPECTION WILL BE REPAIRED. ALSO, SUN VISOR WIRE GUIDES WILL BE INSTALLED ON ALL VEHICLES TO REROUTE SUN VISOR WIRING TO PREVENT WIRING DAMAGE DURING ANY FUTURE SERVICE PROCEDURES.
      RECALL STATUS: Recall INCOMPLETE

      MANUFACTURER NOTES:

      This recall data last refreshed: Jan 21, 2015

      NHTSA Recall Number: opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 14V-530 Recall Date: October 30, 2014
      Manufacturer Recall Number: P54

      SUMMARY:
      THE TOTALLY INTEGRATED POWER MODULE (TIPM) CONTAINS AN INTERNAL FUEL PUMP RELAY THAT COULD OPERATE INTERMITTENTLY OR FAIL WITHOUT WARNING.
      SAFETY RISK:
      AN INTERMITTENT OR FAILED FUEL PUMP RELAY COULD CAUSE THE ENGINE TO STALL WHILE DRIVING AND CAUSE A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.
      REMEDY:

      THE TIPM INTERNAL FUEL PUMP RELAY MUST BE DISABLED AND AN EXTERNAL FUEL PUMP RELAY MUST BE INSTALLED.
      RECALL STATUS: Recall INCOMPLETE

      MANUFACTURER NOTES:

      This recall data last refreshed: Jan 21, 2015
      ………………………………………..

      My car is due for its next service. Do I take a print out of this to address the issues? Or do you suggest I email them?

      Thanks.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      You can bother them with the printout, but they probably won’t do it until they have the new parts. Usually the dealers are upfront about recall work when they’re ready.

  • S Mathew

    Dear Mash. Thanks for your valuable inputs, will check and let you know. Appreciate the efforts you take to respond to every query we readers put in.

    I have been having an issue when I first start the car (in the morning or after a long rest). The starter makes a loud noise similar to the noise we hear if we fail or delay to release the ignition switch even after the car (with the normal key inserted starting) has started. Took it to the dealer for the last service and they said they had fixed it. But it still has this issue. Could it be related to TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module)recall?
    By the way I had extended the warranty to unlimited miles from 100K by paying around AED 3,400. So the warranty holds till 2016.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      Hard to say. In either case, just make sure your concerns are noted in writing by the service advisor. New parts are barely available so far it seems.

  • Daison

    i love grand cherokee alot …so much ….. a typical amarican cult classic

    but i just went for a Prado

    I HOPE THE MOTOR HEADS NEED NO CLARIFICATION

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