Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee
In the end, it was the Jeep Grand Cherokee that racked up the most points, undoubtedly helped by its huge price advantage over the rest of the field. The Grand matches most of the features of the also-excellent LR4, for about $17,000 less at our as-tested prices.
Starting with modern styling and a feature-packed, elegant interior, the Jeep easily feels $10,000 more expensive than it actually is. The Grand is roomy, yet cockpit-like from the driver's seat, and it offers all of the technology with none of the frustrations of the competition. You can just get in it and go.
On the pavement, the Jeep shines as a driver's car. With Selec-Terrain in Sport mode, the Grand was a blast to push hard on winding roads. Turn the knob to "Auto," and it can easily wolf down endless miles of highway, and you wouldn't get tired of driving it. Not only does the Grand have the chops to run with the luxury crowd, but it also has the capability that comes with the Jeep badge.
With the right options selected, this all-around performer comes with a complete compliment of skidplates, real tow hooks, and available factory rock sliders. Thoughtful touches abound, such as the way the trailer hitch and dual exhaust are integrated into the rear bumper, protecting them to a degree. The Grand was also the only vehicle in the test not to have a low-hanging spare tire. It is tucked out of the way, under the large cargo area floor.
Jeep also offers a new navigation option for 2011, which uses Garmin software. The best part is that through the USB port on the head unit, you can upload all of your Garmin waypoints from your handheld GPS and navigate to them in the Jeep. This is an awesome feature we have been asking for, for years.
While the Land Rover put up a tough fight, overall the Grand was the complete package at a price that leaves some extra cash for the project that has been sitting in your garage for years. Congratulations to Jeep and the 2011 Grand Cherokee-our Four Wheeler of the Year.
Hemi power, underbody protection, amazing on the highway, beautiful interior
Air suspension noise, no front ELSD, high crawl ratio
2011 Four Wheeler of the Year
From the Logbook:
- "I love this version of the Grand."
- "The Grand is really fun on the road, especially in Sport mode."
- "The slanted windshield, big mirror and headrests block visibility."
- "Only one with full skids and rock rails."