Comfort and Quality » 8
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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
Front-seat cushioning is firm, but the seats were comfortable for a day of driving. Part of the credit goes to the longer seat cushions and the extra thigh support they provide…. With the front seat adjusted to where I'd drive backseat legroom was generous, with a few inches between my knees and the front seatbacks.
The extra distance between the wheels was put to use largely in the rear seat, where riders get an additional 3.1 inches of legroom. Curiously, although the 2011 GC is 3.7 inches wider, a half-inch of shoulder room was lost in the front and rear seats.
Car and Driver
The whole package has grown by three inches in width, but only 1.8 inches in overall length, with a 114.8-inch wheelbase – over five inches longer than before. With the rear wheels shoved so far back, it pays dividends for rear-seat passengers, with an additional four inches of rear leg room.
The seats are comfortable, there's a bit more living area (notably 4 inches more legroom in the rear) and the interior trim is miles ahead of where the Grand Cherokee has been. More acoustic insulation from the improved headliner materials as well as thicker glass also make this the quietest Jeep ever built.
All three trim levels, including Limited and base Laredo, have a much-improved interior with plastics and fit-and-finish that are up to, but no better than the level we expect from mainstream manufacturers today.
This time around, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's growth isn't all on the outside. Passengers get more interior space, thanks to a 5.3-inch boost in wheelbase, and the door openings and cargo area rise as well.
The Grand Cherokee's front seats strike us as pretty flat, with bottom cushions that might be a bit too short. The driving position is about ideal for taller adults, though, and the cabin is wide enough to keep legs from rubbing the door panels. (The center console's shaped well, too, so your knees won't rub against abrupt corners.)Most of the extra space goes to rear passengers, who got a sour deal in the old Cherokee. Now three adults might really fit across the second-row seat, and two will be flat-out comfortable—especially with the seatbacks reclined a bit,enjoying the additional four inches of legroom. Headroom's great for all, by the way.
The Cherokee totes about35 cubic feet of stuff behind the second-row seat (it offers no third-row seat,like the Touareg, but unlike the Pilot and Traverse). The tailgate has flip-up glass or you can raise the entire liftback; on the ritzy versions, the cargo area gets fine padding and trim bars. You can flip down the rear seats with a single lever, and on some versions the front passenger seat will fold flat,too—just in case that grandfather clock needs a new home. Our favorite storage detail: The removable dual bins hiding under the cargo floor, molded to fit around the spare tire. At first glance, they look right-sized for a six-pack on ice. We're just saying.
People and their things get a better deal in the new Grand Cherokee, and thoughtful details add to the narrative.