Experts at TheCarConnection.com point out that the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee shines off-road—and it manages to keep its act together on-road.
For 2010, Jeep cuts down the number of powertrains available on the Grand Cherokee. Base models still carry a 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission, but the 4.7-liter V-8 engine that we liked best of the gasoline engines has been scrapped. Jeep has also gotten rid of the 3.0-liter diesel V-6 engine that was available in 2009 models. This leaves buyers of the Grand Cherokee who are not opting for the SRT8 model to choose between the base V-6 engine and the HEMI V-8 engine that puts out 357 hp and 389 pound-feet of torque. The HEMI V-8 also includes a Multi-Displacement System (MDS) to boost fuel economy. Most shoppers will find the base V-6 adequate, while performance with the V-8 is impressive, with decent handling to match. Those who want more performance will be pleased to see the return of the range-topping Grand Cherokee SRT8—a rip-roaring on-pavement-only edition with a monster 6.1-liter HEMI engine rated at 420 hp.
When it comes to engine choices, 2010 sees a cutback in the number of options available to Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers. The selection still retains the base-level 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission, which is rated at 15 mpg city, 20 highway in rear-drive models. Kelley Blue Book notes that the V-6 has "a tough time moving all that weight...particularly loaded and passing at highway speeds." For 2010, the step-up engine, a HEMI V-8, is more powerful. It puts out 357 hp and 389 pound-feet of torque (an increase over previous incarnations). Jalopnik notes that it has "more power and torque" than before. Additionally, the new V-8 includes a Multi-Displacement System (MDS) to boost fuel economy.
For those who want pure performance, check out the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, a rip-roaring on-pavement-only edition with a monster 6.1-liter HEMI rated at 420 hp. Kelley Blue Book rates the SRT8 at "zero to sixty in five seconds on wet or dry pavement" and at 0-100 and back to 0 in 19 seconds—impressive for a 4,700-pound sport-utility vehicle. Car and Driver predicts "thrill-seekers will go for the SRT8, which makes up in performance what it lacks in practicality," noting that this performance-oriented model "can tow only 3500 pounds."
The 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee does include real off-road ability, especially if you specify a four-wheel-drive model (all include high- and low-range transfer cases). Jeep offers several packages and individual options beyond the four-wheel-drive system to increase the Grand Cherokee's already formidable off-road capabilities, including locking differentials and skid plates. Car and Driver is one of several reviewers to express satisfaction with the Jeep’s off-road prowess: "the Jeep surmounted every awful obstacle along our trails." Cars.com reports that "rear- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered, and the latter driveline comes standard with Hill Descent Control that's designed to keep the SUV's speed to a crawl when traversing difficult terrain." The SRT8 edition is only available with four-wheel drive. "Grand Cherokees have a five-speed automatic transmission," states ConsumerGuide, "because that's the only way Jeep builds 'em," gripes Car and Driver.
EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee are listed at 12 to 16 mpg in city driving and 16 to 21 mpg on the open road. All that V-8 power comes at a price; as Kelley Blue Book puts it, "don't expect frugal fuel efficiency." Car and Driver says the Grand Cherokee Jeep SRT8 has the "worst observed fuel economy" of all at 12 mpg city, 16 highway, and TheCarConnection.com’s editors observe figures in the low teens from several Grand Cherokee V-8 models.
The 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee scores well with reviewers for handling and general drivability. MyRide.com says this Jeep offers "superior off-road capability comparable to that of the upscale Land Rover LR3." Kelley Blue Book finds that "off-road, we were amazed by the grip that the Quadra-Drive II displayed” and how the “Jeep seemed oblivious to deep mud, extremely steep slopes and wildly uneven terrain." ConsumerGuide has concerns about on-road handling, warning that "body lean prompts slowing down for tight, fast turns, even in the handling-oriented SRT8" and that steering "isn't quick or precise." They like the braking, however, and assert that the Grand Cherokee "absorbs most bumps with little harshness." However, Kelley Blue Book quips that if you're "a true-blue driving enthusiast craving speed, speed and more speed," the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee (SRT8) is "one of the fastest, best-handling SUVs on the planet" and offers performance "at a price that will send the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo scampering home with their tails between their axles."