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#17

in 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $13,683 - $31,337
Original MSRP: $30,450 - $44,845
MPG: 16 City / 21 Hwy
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2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers felt that the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers excellent off-road handling and good performance from its wide array of engines -- five in all, including a new for 2009 5.7-liter Hemi V8.

  • "Gutsy with Hemi engine and relatively agile on pavement considering its formidable off-road chops." -- Car and Driver
  • "Do your SUV requirements include significant off-road ability? If so, the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee might be your ride of choice. Three different four-wheel-drive systems (Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II) provide escalating off-road abilities, from low-grade trail busting to 'Pack Mule Only.' And if you need to tow large objects, the JGC's maximum towing capacity is a significant 7,400 pounds." -- Edmunds
  • "V8 trims pack plenty of confident power, while the V6 engines seem sluggish and undermatched for the SUV's size and weight. Good towing capacity and the versatile 4WD system give owners flexibility and security." -- Car Gurus
  • "Grand Cherokee absorbs most bumps with little harshness. Solid-feeling structure enhances impression of car-like comfort. Some float is noticeable on dips and swells at highway speeds, except for the taut SRT8, which tends to jiggle on less-than-perfect pavement." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Grand Cherokee offers several engine options, from a base 3.7-liter V6 to the SRT8's 6.1-liter Hemi V8 and even a 3.0-liter diesel V6 option. Reviewers found power more than adequate, except in the case of the sluggish base engine. According to the EPA, the most efficient Grand Cherokee, the two-wheel drive with the V6 engine, achieves 16/21 mpg city/highway. However, models with the 6.1-liter V8 engine can achieve as low as 11/14 mpg -- making fuel economy a weakness.

  • "Based on our initial drive, buyers can expect adequate power from the V6, despite the fact that the Grand Cherokee gained about 500 pounds in the redesign (regardless of configuration)." -- Edmunds
  • "We got a limited drive in the Grand Cherokee CRD and can report it's a much better Jeep diesel than the discontinued Liberty CRD, which Chrysler says sold beyond expectations." -- Automotive.com
  • "As the first four-wheel-drive SRT vehicle, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 provides astonishing on-road and all-weather ability and power. The new Jeep SRT8 model boasts a zero-to-60 time of less than five seconds." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "The V6 is too weak for this vehicle's weight, but not the gutsy diesel. The SRT8 is a hot-rod wagon." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For 2009, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 has been redesigned, now applying variable-valve timing and cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy. The diesel engine delivers up to 30 percent better fuel economy compared to the gasoline engines, and it offers best-in-class towing (7,400 pounds)." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is fairly car-like in its ride, but according to reviewers, it isn't perfect. 

  • "Balanced and stable, but body lean prompts slowing down for tight, fast turns, even in the handling-oriented SRT8. Steering has well-judged effort and good feedback, but it isn't quick or precise. Braking is strong." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The long-travel suspension that makes it so tough on 4x4 trails leads to a moderate amount of float and bob over bumps and freeway expansion joints." -- Edmunds

Off-Roading

Reviewers found the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee solid enough for on-road driving, but where it really stands out is in its off-road abilities. The Grand Cherokee is available with a choice of three four-wheel drive systems. Quadra-Trac I is a full-time system that features a single-speed transfer case. It comes standard on the Laredo 4x4 model and the four-wheel drive-only SRT8. Quadra-Trac II provides a two-speed transfer case and is standard on Limited 4x4 models. Quadra-Drive II features a full-time transfer case with electronic limited-slip differentials and comes standard on the Limited 4x4 and was optional on the Laredo when equipped with the 4.7-liter V8.

  • "With Jeep's available Quadra-Drive all-wheel-drive system, Grand Cherokee remains a class leader in off-road capability." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Hardcore off-roaders will be pleased to know, however, that the new fascia is compised of two-pieces, the lower of which can be removed when trail-rating your new Grand Cherokee." -- Autoblog

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