The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be available in five trims: the base Laredo, Limited, Overland, Overland Summit and the high-performance SRT8. All but the SRT8 feature a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The flexible-fuel engine features variable-valve timing and is available with a 5-speed automatic transmission. An optional 5.7L Hemi V8 engine is available. All but the SRT8 are available with either 4-wheel drive or rear wheel drive.
The SRT8 comes with a 6.4L V8 that makes 465 horsepower. It only comes with a Quadratrac on-demand all-wheel drive system.
Independent front and multi-link rear suspension systems and a unit-body structure have made the Grand Cherokee's frame very rigid. Jeep's Quadra-Lift air suspension, capable of lifting the vehicle 4.5 inches for more off-road ground clearance, and Selec-Terrain traction control systems are available on 4-wheel drive trims only.
Standard safety equipment across the lineup includes 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, active head restraints, a full array of airbags, including full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax air bags, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, hill-start assist, auto-on headlights, trailer-sway control and tire pressure monitoring system.
Standard equipment on the base Laredo includes keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an anti-theft system, MP3 player and an auxiliary power outlet.
The Limited trim adds upgraded 18-inch aluminum wheels, a leather interior with power-adjustable heated seats and memory. The panoramic sunroof is an upgrade, as is a premium sound system with hard disk storage and satellite radio. Safety and convenience are enhanced with a rear parking aid, integrated turn signal mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and HID headlights. Comfort enhancements include automatic climate control, proximity entry and heated rear seats.
The Overland gets standard navigation, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a wood/leather steering wheel. It also gains a remote trunk release and a power liftgate.
The range-topping Overland Summit includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot/rear cross-path detection system, front collision warning and exterior trim enhancements.
Options available across the lineup include a 360-horsepower 5.7L "Hemi" V8 engine, a rear DVD entertainment system, a full-size spare, an array of aluminum wheel options and two different levels of towing equipment. A collision preventing blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system is available, as is an adaptive cruise control with Forward Collision Warning.
The 4-wheel drive models are all seriously capable, but can be outfitted to a greater degree depending on the customer's interest. Off-Road packages that include skid plates, hill descent control and a high-performance Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel drive system are available.
The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a different beast. Intended for on-road performance, it utilizes an on-demand 4-wheel drive system, a 465-horsepower 6.4L V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Underneath, there's an electronic limited-slip differential, active damping suspension and performance-tuned steering. 20-inch aluminum wheels, special body-color trim, HID headlamps, fog lamps and rain-sensing wipers are standard as well. Inside, the SRT8 comes with heated and ventilated power-adjustable leather seats, a heated steering wheel and keyless proximity entry.
True, Proven Off-road Prowess
Powerful Engine Lineup
New High-performance SRT Variant
Following a full redesign in 2011, the Grand Cherokee returns, adding a new SRT8 high-performance variation that sports a 6.4L 465-horsepower V8.
The standard equipment list on the base Laredo was slimmed down a bit with a corresponding reduction in base price, but a "Laredo E" group can add much of that equipment back.
The 70th anniversary models have been dropped for 2012.
The Grand Cherokee has proven itself the premiere luxury SUV for 20 years. The newest Grand Cherokee builds on that tradition by offering civilized highway driving as well as the equipment to make a credible show off-road. The base Laredo 2-wheel drive starts at just under $27,000 and comes very well-equipped. The top-of-the-line SRT8's all-wheel-drive on-road performance rivals that of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, but for half the price.