2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Diesel Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

Generous torque, lots of standard luxury equipment, smooth ride.

What’s Not

Interior quality not up to par with European competitors, no seven-seat option.

X Factor

Thrust without the thirst. Need we say more?

  • Country of Origin
    AUSTRIA
  • Price
    $60,000 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    177 kW / 550 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic
  • ANCAP Rating
    4
  • Airbags
    Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    8.3
  • C02
    218 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    677 L
  • Towing (braked)
    3500 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Tony O'Kane | Sep 24, 2011 | 9 Comments

JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE DIESEL REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Luxury SUV
Price: $60,000

Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.3 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 9.4 l/100km

OVERVIEW

At launch, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee was only available with two engines: a petrol V6 that was overburdened by the Jeep’s 2.4-tonne kerb weight, and a powerful petrol V8 that sucked more fuel than a 737.

Now there’s a 550Nm turbodiesel V6 in the range. By dropping fuel consumption without compromising torque, the diesel is the ideal powertrain for the Grand Cherokee.

With a monster towing capacity, and sharp pricing, it makes the big Jeep well worth a second look.

INTERIOR

Quality: The only significant negatives are the hard plastics on the lower dash and around the centre stack, which feel like they belong in something cheaper.

Otherwise, the Grand Cherokee’s cabin is nicely trimmed with clearly laid out controls and quality switchgear.

Comfort: All seats are well-padded, and the heated front seats are power adjustable. The rear bench is spacious and comfortable, and the outboard seats on the Limited model also score seat heaters.

Headroom and legroom is generally plentiful, although those seated in the outboard rear seats may find the C-pillar a little too close to the head.

One major negative is the foot-operated parking brake’s proximity to the driver’s left leg when in the ‘off’ position. Not only does it intrude into the footwell, but it would surely cause injury in the event of a crash.

Equipment: The Limited’s equipment list is peppered with such luxuries as bi-xenon dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, power folding and heated wing mirrors, front and rear parking sensors power-adjustable front seats (driver’s with two-position memory) and a power-adjustable steering column.

Also standard is dual-zone climate control, cruise control, seat heaters for all seats bar the centre rear, a trip computer, power adjustable front seats, a power adjustable steering column, a nine-speaker audio system with USB/iPod inputs and 30GB hard disk storage, Bluetooth phone integration and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Storage: With the 60/40 split rear seats up, there's a generous 782 litres of cargo space in the boot. The boot lip is flush with the floor, and the rear seatbacks easily fold flat to create a sizable 1554 litre cargo area.

A full size steel spare also lurks beneath the boot floor, and is surrounded by removable storage bins.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: The Grand Cherokee’s 3.0 litre single-turbo diesel V6 develops 177kW and 550Nm; that’s 30Nm more than the Grand Cherokee’s 5.7 litre petrol V8, and more than enough to whisk the big Jeep’s 2.3-tonne frame effortlessly up to highway speed.

Low-down torque is plentiful, while the V6 revs cleanly with relatively little vibration or clatter. With so much torque though, there’s little point in working the engine hard.

Instead, the turbodiesel V6 does its best work (and is at its most efficient) when being lugged around at less than 2800rpm.

Like its petrol-powered stablemates, the diesel Grand Cherokee is equipped with a five-speed automatic gearbox.

It shifts smoothly and generally had the right gear underfoot, but an extra ratio or two would give the Grand Cherokee some extra flexibility when towing heavy loads.

Impressively, we achieved an average fuel consumption of 9.4 l/100km without any great difficulty. Not bad numbers for such a heavy car.

Refinement: The big tyres provide good on-road compliance with little roar, making the Grand Cherokee a comfortable cruiser on the highway. Noise from the diesel engine is subdued too, aside from some light clatter just above idle.

Suspension: On the standard coil springs (height-adjustable air-suspension is available as an option), the Grand Cherokee’s on-road comfort is quite impressive. Roadholding is good despite the soft damping, although it feels somewhat ponderous when asked to change direction swiftly.

Potholes and expansion gaps are easily absorbed by the tyre’s tall sidewalls, and the cabin is well isolated from corrugations and other road imperfections.

The steering ratio requires a lot of turns lock to lock , which can make parking a chore. The over-assisted power steering also conveys little feedback to the fingertips.

Braking: The pedal is very soft and has quite a bit of travel, but given a decent prod it elicits good performance from the sizable 350mm and 330mm disc brakes.

Off road: The Selec-Terrain system allows the driver to switch between drive modes tailored to sand/mud, rock, snow or tarmac, which alters traction control behaviour to maximise grip.

The standard-equipment Quadra-Trac II system features a dual-range transfer case, while the Quadra-Lift air suspension provides impressive ground clearance. Wheel articulation is also good, even with the suspension at maximum height.

Whether you tow an off-road trailer, caravan or horse float, you’ll likely be more than satisfied with the Grand Cherokee diesel’s 3500kg braked tow capacity - equal to the V8, and a tonne more than the petrol V6.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Not tested

Safety features: Seven airbags (dual front, driver's knee, dual front side and full-length curtain), three-point seatbelts (front pretensioning), active headrests, ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control are standard.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3 years/100,000km

Service costs: Servicing intervals are set for every 12,000km, with an typical service costing between $470 - $500. The first major service is due at 48,000km, and costs roughly $1250.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 ($68,490) – The Discovery 4 is a proper 4WD that offers a great deal of capability for its asking price. It may feel slightly smaller and less opulent inside, but its third row of seats mean it can carry more people than the Grand Cherokee.

Its 140kW/440Nm 2.7 litre V6 is also less powerful than the Jeep’s motor, and as a consequence it makes a less-capable tow vehicle (see Discovery reviews)

Volkswagen Touareg 150TDI ($62,990) - Volkswagen’s Touareg has a very impressive eight-speed transmission and a refined 140kW/400Nm 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6. It also handles superbly on tarmac.

The options list is expensive though, and the Jeep bests it for standard equipment. The Jeep’s off-road driveline is also more capable, with the VW missing out on a standard-fit dual range transfer case. (see Touareg reviews)

Toyota Prado GXL diesel ($ 64,404) - The Prado is the least powerful of this bunch (with 127 kW) although its 410Nm 3.0 litre inline four produces 10Nm more torque than the Touareg.

Its maximum tow rating is only 2500kg, a tonne under that of the diesel Jeep. (see Prado reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Thrust without the thirst. That neatly summarises the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel.

It’s affordable too, and is one of the most (if not THE most) value-packed luxury off-roader on the market today. Even better, it costs no more than the petrol V8 Grand Cherokee, yet delivers more torque while consuming less fuel.

That combination of economy and grunt makes the diesel our pick of the Grand Cherokee range. It is quite reasonably priced compared to its closest rivals and is good buying for those looking for a luxury SUV.

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Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, diesel, Jeep, suv, 4wd, grand cherokee, jeep grand cherokee, automatic, family, large, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 5door, 5a

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  • denis says,
    2 years ago
    biggrinHi, i am a very proud owner of a 2009 jeep grand cherokee limited diesel and could not be happier after just completing a 15,000 kl trip around this great country of ours without so much as whimper towing a 2 ton + caravan and averaging 15 - 17 ltrs per 100ks from the diesel( 9.8 without the van on). My jeep has only done 93,000 ks so i,m keeping it for a while yet but when it,s time i will be looking for the 2011 jeep as a replacement , i love the look and style of the new 2011 jeep. cheers Denis
  • kelge says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    They look good, but why wilth their past shabby reputation would you waste your money when you could go out and buy a nissan toyota etc.
    • Sam says,
      6 months ago
      You cannot compare the 2011 onwards Models to those that came before as the WKII's are vastly better in all ways & quality control has been taken to a new level for Jeep.

      Yes some of the previous models over the years had some issues however I hope you realise that almost every car maker has had troubles, defects & recalls.

      I would say why would you buy a Patrol or a Prado when you can have a vehicle that in almost all ways is superior??
  • Ben says,
    8 months ago
    1 like
    Up until a month a ago I wasn't so much of a fan of Jeep although the adds weren't so bad! Recently I hired a Jeep Grand Cherokee limited V6 petrol to tour through Canada. Shared between two of us, the driving was effortless, we covered almost 4000 km in two weeks. The appointments were fantastic, everything was easy to use and made the trip extremely enjoyable. Our only issue was the eight-speed gearbox through the hills which struggled to hold the weight. Great vehicle.
  • David Scholes says,
    6 months ago
    1 like
    I've had my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD for 18 months now and I still love it even if the "new car smell" has faded. It tows my heavy caravan with ease and cossets me on a cold morning (just love that heated steering wheel). If I have to dig deep for critiscms there are three that I have found so far. First, the cruise control could be a bit more disciplined as it doesn't hold well on gradients. Second, the light switch on the lower dashboard could be better situated as I often hit it with my knee when getting in. And thirdly despite all its clever warning signs and sounds you can lock up the vehicle and walk away oblivious to the fact that you've left the sunroof open. Minor niggles really as this car continues to please every day.
  • David Scholes says,
    6 months ago
    1 like
    I've had my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD for 18 months now and I still love it even if the "new car smell" has faded. It tows my heavy caravan with ease and cossets me on a cold morning (just love that heated steering wheel). If I have to dig deep for critiscms there are three that I have found so far. First, the cruise control could be a bit more disciplined as it doesn't hold well on gradients. Second, the light switch on the lower dashboard could be better situated as I often hit it with my knee when getting in. And thirdly despite all its clever warning signs and sounds you can lock up the vehicle and walk away oblivious to the fact that you've left the sunroof open. Minor niggles really as this car continues to please every day.
  • S says,
    6 months ago
    1 like
    mad After purchasing this vehicle 18mths ago it has been in service department more than out, continued electrical problems! The car is unreliable and left me stranded on many occasions. Living in the country I am left for days on end while the repairs are done only to have it home for a day or so. Electrical faults constantly leave this car un driveable flat battery x 7, lights blowing, particle filters, fuel blockages, radio faults, hill start problems, random other faults. Thank god for road side assist! Money down the drain and no chance of a courtesy vehicle while repairs are being done. NOT A HAPPY CUSTOMER
    • Geoff simpson says,
      3 months ago
      What type of jeep which model
    • Jim says,
      3 months ago
      I have a 2011 Grand Cherokee Diesel and although I love driving it and it has served me well for 120,000 k's, I too have had numerous electrical problems, particuarly if I leave it sitting for more than 3 days, I could almost guarantee a flat battery.
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