2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeEnlarge Photo
2010 Toyota 4Runner TrailEnlarge Photo
That's right. The publication, which buys its own test vehicles and has in the past been accused of having a bias toward Toyota, has now ranked the Chrysler product on top.
Consumer Reports confirmed what The Car Connection has noted in its full review on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: that the automaker has a winning product with good performance; an excellent, upscale look and feel inside and out; and class-leading entertainment and connectivity features. The 4Runner, on the other hand, feels more like a traditional truck, with a busier ride, as well as a nice but more ruggedly styled interior.
CR was also impressed with the new 290-hp, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, noting that it's "smooth and gets 18 mpg in CR's own fuel economy tests." They also noted the nicely finished interior, but noted that the Jeep was somewhat difficult to control in emergency handling tests.
"The interior is utilitarian and features cheap-looking plastics," they said about the 4Runner.
"The 4Runner, which still uses a body-on-frame design, is disappointing on the road," said CR's senior director of auto testing, David Champion. "The 4Runner doesn't let you forget you're driving a truck."
Both are reasonably good choices for those who have to regularly tow a boat or small trailer, or need some measure of off-road ability.
As tested, the two vehicles were priced about the same: $39,010 for the Grand Cherokee and $37,425 for the 4Runner.
Although the Grand Cherokee scored so well in testing, CR can't make it recommended—at least not quite yet—because of the Grand Cherokee's lackluster record for reliability.