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.
With a longer wheelbase and a more effective use of space, the current Jeep Grand Cherokee provides more interior space for passengers and cargo. The much improved fit and finish amplifies the upscale feel, and adds invisible dollar signs to the Jeep's pricetag.
When it was redesigned for the 2011 model year, the Grand Cherokee gained 5.3 inches of length in between its front and rear wheels. The stretch in wheelbase enabled designers to increase leg room, in front and back, and to draw wider doors, for easier entry and exit. Climb into the Jeep's front seats and the extra width is noticeable, though you'll also notice the base seats can seem fairly flat, with bottom cushions that may seem too short for bigger drivers. Most drivers and passengers will find a great seating position, though, and the cockpit is wide enough to keep those up front from making contact with either the center console or the door panels.
Most of the added space is devoted to making rear-seat passengers more comfortable. In the old Grand Cherokee, the knee and shoulder room were tight, for such a large, tall vehicle. Now three adults have a good shot at sitting in the back seat comfortably; two will be quite happy, with plenty of room to slouch and fold down the center armrest. The seatbacks recline for even better comfort, all the better to enjoy those four additional inches of leg room.The Cherokee totes about 35 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.
Thoughtful details complement the comfortable seats and spacious cabin inside the Grand Cherokee.