Track Tested: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 V6

Track Tested: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 V6

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 V6

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

It goes without saying that the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee had better be good. Developed during the Daimler-Chrysler days and based on the Mercedes M-Class, this midsize SUV is the only major vehicle introduction since Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009. Its performance in the marketplace will undoubtedly set the tone for Chrysler's immediate future.

Although we have a full road test in the works, we thought you'd enjoy this early look at the 2011 Grand Cherokee's performance in instrumented testing at our test track. Our four-wheel-drive Jeep tester was equipped with the volume engine, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. There's a lot riding on the Pentastar, too, as Chrysler plans to spread it throughout the lineup, offering displacements from 3.0 liters to 4.0 liters, with and without turbocharging, and eventually with direct injection.

The 3.6-liter in our Grand Cherokee is merely normally aspirated and port-injected, though rated at a respectable 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with last year's five-speed automatic transmission, and as you'll see after the jump, the transmission proved to be a limiting factor during our track testing. Good thing Chrysler has announced plans to replace it with ZF's eight-speed automatic transmission, though U.S. production of that transmission won't start until 2013.

Vehicle: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 V6
Odometer: 2,943
Date: 6/7/2010
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Base MSRP (with destination): $41,900
Options on test vehicle: Advanced Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,295 -- includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection and collision warning systems), Off-Road Adventure II package ($275 -- includes 18-inch wheels, off-road-performance all-season tires, skid plates and tow hooks), Blackberry Pearlcoat Paint ($225).
Price as Tested: $43,695

Drive Type: Four-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic
Engine Type: Normally aspirated V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,604/220
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 290 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 260 @ 4,800
Brake Type (front): 13.9-by-1.2-inch ventilated discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.6-by-0.55-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double-wishbones, pneumatic springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front & rear): LP265/60R18 109T (33 psi cold spec)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Latitude Tour
Tire Type: All-terrain, all-season, off-road performance
Wheel Size (front & rear): 18-by-8 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Cast alloy
Curb Weight, as tested (lb): 5,048

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.5
0 - 45 (sec): 5.8
0 - 60 (sec): 9.0
0 - 75 (sec): 13.1
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.6 @ 85.6
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.7
30 - 0 (ft): 31
60 - 0 (ft): 125
Braking Rating: Good
Slalom (mph): 59.4
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.72
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 40.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.2
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.2

Acceleration Comments: Weak. Long, tall gearing is painfully obvious when accelerating quickly. Fortunately, the engine is willing to rev, but should it have to in this midsize SUV application?

Braking Comments: Relatively long-travel, soft pedal, but consistent distances and stable performance. It stays straight, too, with no wandering.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Highly managed. Even with stability "off" (it's not fully off) in "Sport" mode, this is a stomp-and-steer procedure. Just hold your foot at a constant throttle opening and steer. "Driving" doesn't actually help much. Slalom: Feels stable, safe and highly managed here as well. "Sport" mode does expand the handling limits over "Auto" mode, but expect this Jeep to simply go where it's pointed within the threshold of physics.

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