A Jeep designer once said, “100-percent of Jeep owners go off road – – – in their mind.” That is absolutely true as I have met many Jeep owners who have never set one wheel on anything rougher than tarmac. On the other hand, Jeep owners make up the highest percentage of truck owners that WILL go off road.
That’s why, to some people, taking a shiny-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee off road– REAL off road, is an utter sin. This new Grand Cherokee is damn close to being a full blown luxury car (especially in top level Overland trim) and to disturb its lovely new lines is blasphemy.
It is for others visual bliss as these folks realize, “Hey, that Jeep has a REAL transfer case, REAL off road suspension, REAL off road ground clearance, (especially with the optional air suspension) AND this new Jeep has a REAL-good platform for driving in the rough! Ha-Zah!”
There are two schools of thought from various owners who adore their Grand Cherokees – mine is right. For it is me, your humble scribe who has tasted the fruits of luxury travel (took the wife to an opulent anniversary dinner in one) and tasted the dust-of-manliness as I beat the CRAP out of one off road.
I have in my possession a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited that is a lovely green. Now covered in dirt, dung, twigs, insect guts, grime, dust and I think some sort of donkey urine — it is ready for MORE. The 360 hp, 390 lb ft of torque 5.7-liter HEMI only shouts when prodded and returned nearly 19 mpg during teenage-like crappy driving. Power is good and it pushed through everything (including some menacing boulders) with relative ease. Hose it down, vacuum the interior and buff the grill to return to urban respectability.
Not bad for about 40 grand.
There is a caveat for frivolous off road antics: you really should take off the front chin-splitter. It’s a plastic component that sits underneath the front bumper and it IS removable. Keep it on and enjoy better aerodynamics, take it off and get a much better approach angle. OR get the airs suspension and lift the Jeep Grand Cherokee high enough to where you may never need to remove the splitter.
We at TFLcar.com learned that despite the splitter and the fixed height of our tester (that used a regular suspension) the tradeoff of on road, highway and off road ride is supremely good.
The video attached to this brief review may put a face on what I’m talking about. Click HERE to read my more detailed first look review. Although we joke around and drive with abandon (at least – I do) the off road area we used has torn the hell out of lesser vehicles. For a vehicle running on stock, street biased tires at regular inflation, this 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee kicked ASS!
I say, “Halleluiah baby, this new Jeep is for real!”
Enjoy the video—Nathan Adlen