The Grand Cherokee has now spent half a year in our possession and in the meantime, I've driven a number of Chrysler's new products. Though the Jeep has held up well, there's one thing that driving the other new Chryslers has made me wish our GC had: Auburn Hills' giant 8.4-inch high-resolution touchscreen. It's in the Charger, it's in the 300, it's even in the Journey -- but it's not in the Jeep. In fact, it's unlikely to show up in the Grand Cherokee prior to its mid-cycle refresh in a year or two. The 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8s that have made their way to the MT Garage have the same low-resolution screen as this 2011.
That said, if I were the owner of this SUV, I'd be quite happy with how it's held up over the course of six months and 11,000 miles. Upkeep has been cheap -- less than $80 for a lone oil change and a replacement taillight bulb -- while everything has aged well. Squeaks and rattles remain absent, which is notable because it wasn't that long ago that Chrysler was virtually synonymous with "crappy, poorly-made interior."
Unsurprisingly, fuel economy continues to be suspect and only marginally better than that of the larger and more-powerful Infiniti QX56 -- the Jeep has averaged 17.8 mpg, the Infiniti 15.2 mpg. The V-8-powered Cherokee would probably match the Infiniti's figure or be slightly lower due to its EPA ratings being 1 mpg lower. Either way, if the trade-off of the V-6 is supposed to be power for fuel economy, Grand Cherokee V-6 buyers are getting a relatively one-sided trade. That's not to say that the 3.6-liter Pentastar is a bad engine, but when the Hemi V-8 is only $1500 more and the fuel economy difference is 2-2.5 mpg, its hard to say "nah, I'm gonna stick with the V-6." There might be a third option on the horizon -- a diesel -- but I'm not going to hold my breath.
With summer coming to an end and temperatures gradually winding their way down, the Grand Cherokee should spend more time out in the desert -- and come ski season, the snow -- giving us more opportunity to test out the little-used Selec-Terrain System and accompanying 4WD. For now, we're staying in Auto and 2WD as the concept of inclement weather only shows up in Southern California for a few weeks a year.
| Our Cars |
| Months in service || 6 |
| Miles ||11,754|
| Average fuel economy/CO2 ||17.8 mpg/1.09 lb/mi|
| Energy cons|| 189 kW-hr/100 mi |
| Unresolved problems || None|
| Maintenance cost || $72.61 (1- oil change, tire rotation)|
| Normal-wear cost || $6.57 (2- taillight bulbs)|