For 6 months now, I've been rolling around in the 2011 Grand Cherokee, the very same one I wrote about here on DriveTribe 4 months ago. Back then I covered various aspects of the car, so this time I thought I would write a more driver focused short review, talking about what the car is like to drive in greater detail.
The Grand Cherokee (the one I have is the Overland version) has a 5.7 liter V8 Hemi engine that pushes out 360 hp (268 kW) and 529 Nm (390 lb. ft.) of torque and operates Jeep's Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system. The engine delivers a beautiful surge of power enough to accelerate the roughly 2200 kg (4850 lb) car with ease across any condition of driving surface. 0-100 kmh is done in 7.3 seconds, which isn't exactly Trackhawk beating times but as I'm sure you will agree, it's enough for what this car is.
A 6-speed ZF-8HP gearbox is mated to the engine. I don't have many complaints about this gearbox except that it takes too long to shift down after you floor it. A manual mode is available for the gearbox and is activated when you move the selector to drive and push it to the right. Under manual control, gearshifts are slow, so I'm assuming this feature was made for off-roading, when you have to lock the car in a single gear.
The Jeep's suspension is set up for comfort more than anything else. You get a lot of rolling and wallowing around corners, and there is a lot of pitch under acceleration and braking. Going around corners you can feel all the car's mass pressing on the outside front wheel of the car and from this you can tell that understeer is imminent. Thankfully Sport mode does help the problem by lowering the car, which drops down the center of mass and just gives you a better feeling through your steering wheel. The steering itself is not very sharp and direct, which, of course, is to be expected of an SUV this size.
This car is surprisingly fun to drive despite all its shortcomings. Driving in twisty roads, the car just has a certain simple charm somewhere in its handling characteristics, which is accompanied by a satisfying rumble from the low-revving Hemi. Overall, I have enjoyed all the months I've spent with this magnificent beast and I hope my time with it is not cut short anytime soon.