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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited Review & Test Drive

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The all-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Limited 4X4 is just as perfect as you can get in a sport utility vehicle that comes with plenty of power, performance, comfort, luxury, safety and renowned on and off road.  The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV ever, and now gets even better.

Start with an all-new 3.6 liter all-aluminum, DOHC, VVT six-cylinder engine with   improved fuel economy for best-in-class V6 driving range of more than 500 miles.  Add a new electro-hydraulic rack & pinion steering system, available Jeep Select-Terrain system, Quadra-Lift air suspension, and a more refined front and rear independent suspension to give the new model incredible ride quality on road and when challenging the toughest off-road terrain.  My Jeep Cherokee came with the Quadra-Trac II 4WD system and the new Select-Terrain system enabling this off-road warrior to achieve Jeep’s ‘Trail Rated’ status with a badge on the driver’s-side front fender.  I enjoyed every minute behind the wheel of this loaded Limited all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The new styling of the Limited edition Cherokee is more refined than ever.  Up front is the signature Jeep seven-slot grille finished in chrome with black vertical inserts.  At the sides are new powerful headlamp clusters with projector beam lamps.  The front bumper features foglamps to better light the night and down below is a black contrasting lower bumper with two tow hooks and an air intake with a chrome skid plate below utilizing air directional slits.  This is part of the off-road adventure package that also includes a front suspension skid plate, fuel tank skid plate shield, steel spare wheel with a full-size spare tire, the aforementioned Trail Rated badge, big Michelin 265/60R18 in. all-season on/off-road tires, an underbody skid plate and a transfer case skid plate.  My test Grand Cherokee came with the Trailer Tow Group that includes a 7 and 4 pin wiring harness, Class IV receiver hitch, and a rear load leveling suspension.  Now you can tow your favorite items as you reach your fun off-road destination in safety and security.

The silhouette is sleeker than before with steeply raked windshield A-pillars, a flat roof with a low profile roof rack to increase your cargo carrying capacity, a thick chrome strip running through each door with the Grand Cherokee brand embossed, a full-perimeter chrome molding around the greenhouse and chrome door handles giving the new Jeep a more luxurious look.  The black molding around each flared fender and lower side extensions in between give it a bolder look.

The rear style features a spoiler up top of the giant liftgate, wrap around lamp clusters, a thick chrome strip joining the lamp clusters, a step-up rear bumper with chrome surround, and a black lower bumper that connects with the black side molding finishing off with a 31/2 in. polished stainless steel exhaust tip.  My test Grand Cherokee Limited was painted using the new Winter Chill Pearl clearcoat that garnered a lot of attention and questions about the name of the new color.  Beautiful!

Powering the new Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 is the new Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 flexible-fuel engine that generates 290 hp at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb.ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm.  Fuel economy has improved to 16mpg/city and 23mpg/highway for the 4X4 model.  The new V6 engine is mated to Jeep’s W5A580 automatic, five-speed overdrive transmission with electronic range select (ERS) driver-interactive manual control and electronically modulated torque converter clutch-in other words-AutoStick so that you can keep in your selected gear longer for more spirited driving or when extra traction is needed in some situations.  When properly equipped, the V6 powered Grand Cherokee 4X4 can tow up to 5,000 lbs.

Turning all four wheels for on-road and off-road excellence is the Quadra-Trac II two-speed transfer case that actively manages torque and uses input from a variety of sensors in order to determine tire slip at the earliest possible moment and take corrective action.  The system uses throttle anticipation to sense quick movement in the throttle from a stop and maximizes traction before slippage occurs.  When the tire slippage is detected, as much as 100% of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.

To make my test Grand Cherokee even more fun-to-drive and off-road worthy, it featured the Jeep Select-Terrain system control dial that allows you to choose from five driving conditions in order to achieve the best 4X4 performance.  Torque management to the drive wheels for maximum grip is achieved through the following settings: Sand/Mud: Traction control and Quadra-Lift operate with sensitive response to wheel spin, and torque is tuned for optimal performance; Sport: Provides enhanced on-road fun-to-drive capability; Auto: Automatically adapts to any on-or-off-road situation; Snow: Vehicle traction adjusts for ultimate performance over snow-covered roads; Rock: Quadra-Lift air suspension system raises to maximum height (10.7 in.) and the transfer case, differentials, and throttle coordinate to provide low-speed control.

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee rides like a sedan on the road but can conquer almost any off-road obstacle.  The front and rear independent suspension features isolated front and rear suspension cradles to inhibit any noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).  Variable-rate rear coil springs deliver uncompromised on-road handling and comfort that complements the truck’s off-road capability.  The rear suspension allows the full-size spare tire to be stored inside the vehicle for easier access.  The front suspension features a SLA (short/long arm) setup with coil springs over gas-charged twin-tube shocks, upper/lower control arms and a stabilizer bar to keep the front end flat when taking curves.  The independent multi-link rear setup features coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks, aluminum lower control arms, independent upper links, tension & camber plus a separate toe link.  A stabilizer bar helps to keep the rear end flat in the curves.

Guiding the all-new Grand Cherokee on or off-road is the new electro-hydraulic power-assisted, rack & pinion steering system that gives quick feedback to your inputs plus it gave me an excellent feel for the road and the on-center feel was exquisite.  I loved working the beefy, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control buttons.  Also keeping me safe when driving on-road or off-road was the electronic stability system and traction control system that keep me on my chosen path.  When you are towing you can bet on the standard trailer sway damping control system to keep the trailer from swaying out.

Quickly and safety slowing the all-new Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 down from speed are large, power-assisted 4-wheel steel disc brakes.  Up front are 12.9 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.6 in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS with rough-road detection and four-wheel brake traction control system help you maintain control when braking on wet or slick pavement and when navigating off-road trails.  My all-new Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 was shod with Michelin 265/60R18 in. all-season on/off-road tires for excellent grip and a smooth ride.  They wrapped around 18X8 in. aluminum alloy wheels.

The interior of the Limited is roomy, ergonomic and luxurious features unique Black Olive burl wood trim blended into the instrument panel.  The distinctive polished trim wraps into the upper panels of both the front and rear doors surrounding passengers with the highest levels of craftsmanship.  All of the touch points are soft quality material that you’ll find in any luxury sport sedan or coupe.  Standard features not mentioned above include ParkView rear backup camera, ParkSense rear park assist sensors, keyless enter-n-go, push button start/stop, security alarm, cruise control, remote start, rain sensing wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer, heated front/rear seats, power 8-way driver’s seat/power 4-way front passenger’s seat, leather trimmed front and rear seats, center console with dual cupholders, storage bin up front and a two-tiered storage bin under the padded armrest, pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders, rear 60/40 split fold-down bench seat, dual climate control up front and climate control in the rear with dual vents at the back of the center console, grab handles above each passenger door, 2-12-volt power plugs, dual map lights, dual lighter vanity mirrors, power remote/heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, map pockets behind both front seatbacks, panoramic dual sunroof with power shade, CD/SAT/DVD/MP3/HDD/NAV/AM/FM stereo radio with 9-premium speakers with 506-watt amp and subwoofer, Garmin Navigation system with a 6.5 in. touch color screen, USB port, power windows/door locks with front express up/down, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, 40 GB hardrive.

Standard safety features include hill decent control, advanced multi-stage front airbags, supplemental side-curtain front/rear airbags, supplemental front seat-mounted airbags, LATCH system for child seats, hill start assist, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 will certainly keep Jeep at the head of the field in on-road and off-road sport utility vehicles.  This model has the great new looks, tough off-road capability, smooth and quiet on-road manners all in an environment of comfort, luxury and safety.  This all-new Jeep GC Limited 4X4 maintains it leadership.



  • Price: $39,295.00-base/$41,680.00 as tested
  • Engine: 3.6 liter DOHC V6
  • Construction: steel unibody
  • Fuel tank: 24.6 gallons
  • Curb weight: 4,850 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 114.8 in.
  • Track: f/r-63.9/64.1 in.
  • Overall length: 189.8 in.
  • Overall width: 69.3 in.
  • Overall height: 69.3 in.
  • Ground clearance: 8.6 in.
  • Approach angle: 26.3
  • Ramp Breakover angle: 18.8
  • Departure angle: 26.5
  • Headroom: f/r-39.9/39.2 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-40.3/38.6 in.
  • Cargo volume: behind rear seat-35.1/rear seats folded-68.7 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 37.1 ft.



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