2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Test drivers rave about the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s combination of on-road poise, off-road brawn and interior comfort.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee shares a platform with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and test drivers say it shows. Though far from sporty, reviewers find that the Jeep Grand Cherokee drives more like a crossover than the burly off-road SUV that it is. Still, there are a few improvements in its drivetrain and performance that reviewers wish to see, even after the Grand Cherokee’s much-needed and much-loved overhaul last year.
Though the Grand Cherokee’s performance is unmistakably Jeep-like, it’s got an interior that some auto journalists compare with luxury brands like Lexus. Previous generations of the Grand Cherokee are infamous for their cheap, low-quality interiors, so reviewers are doubly impressed that Jeep was able to improve the new model’s interior so drastically. That shows through in its price though, since fully-equipped, top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee trims can run up a tab that places them in luxury SUV territory.
Overall, most test drivers say that if you’re looking for a family SUV that can handle off-road trips and carpool duty, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a top pick in its class. Just be prepared to make frequent stops at the pump. Some four-wheel drive Grand Cherokee models get worse gas mileage than a four-wheel drive Chevrolet Suburban.
Other Off-Road SUVs to Consider
It’s hard to find another off-road SUV with such impressive on-road handling and luxurious interior accommodations, but if you’re willing to sacrifice some off-road prowess in return for gas mileage and interior comfort, you should take a look at the Ford Explorer. With two-wheel drive and its optional Ecoboost engine, the Explorer gets significantly better fuel economy than the Grand Cherokee’s best fuel economy. The Ford Explorer is a bit more expensive than the Grand Cherokee, but it offers seating for seven and an interior that reviewers say is one of the classiest available in an affordable midsize SUV.
Shoppers who are considering upper trim levels of the Grand Cherokee and need serious off-road capability should consider the Land Rover LR2. Its base price is significantly more than the base Grand Cherokee’s, but it costs the same as a Grand Cherokee Laredo X with four-wheel drive. Plus, the Land Rover offers similar interior features as the Laredo X, like a panoramic sunroof and a manual mode for its automatic transmission.
Details: Jeep Grand Cherokee
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in five trims: the base Laredo, Laredo X, Limited, Overland and Overland Summit. For 2012, Jeep gives V6 models its well-reviewed electro-hydraulic steering system that was previously only paired with the V8 engine. Additionally, V8 models get a revised transmission that allows for six speeds when in manual mode. See the full list of 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee specs.
- "But the 2012 Grand Cherokee, with its well-trimmed and roomier interior, powerful V6 and more refined performance and ride, is in fighting shape as a top contender among midsize SUVs.” -- Edmunds
- "The new Grand Cherokee is a very strong entry in its class, and deserving of consideration from buyers in this crowded segment.” -- Consumer Guide
- "This new one blends an exceptionally refined and solid chassis with a plush interior. It provides nearly full-size SUV roominess, towing capacity and, of course, it maintains the Jeep trail capability.” -- Popular Mechanics
- "No matter your destination or proclivities, there's a Grand Cherokee to suit your needs on road, and the competition doesn't even come close to matching its abilities off road.” -- Autoblog
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