Interior / Exterior » 8
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STYLING | 8 out of 10
For '11, designers pulled off a combination of improved aerodynamics and familiar sheetmetal, muscular and upright with short overhangs on a 5.3-inch longer wheelbase.
It's clearly a Grand Cherokee, but it has a sleekness that its predecessor lacked. The old Grand Cherokee's design was blocky, but the new model looks like it was shaped by a wind tunnel.
The previous model's angular lines have been replaced by fuller shapes and softer corners, improving aerodynamics while communicating a more luxurious image. Even so, traditional Jeep design elements remain, like the seven-bar slotted grille, sleekly raked windshield and trapezoidal wheel arches.
The deeply recessed creases in the doors, the blacked-out B- and C-pillars, furrowed brow, standard fog lamps, color-matched spoiler and the tasteful use of chrome – something most domestic automakers still haven't mastered – all blend into a cohesive whole that's at once masculine and refined.
In keeping with Chrysler’s current interior-upgrade initiative, the SRT8’s cabin received a rich overlay of (optional) French-stitched leather and suede, genuine carbon-fiber trim, and elegantly polished metal-look accents.
Car and Driver
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has left its mall past behind. With better proportions and better detailing, it's a more boutique-inspired look in its current generation, even with the square jaw and Weber-grade grille that's carried it through SUV trials and tribulations for more than two decades. Last year's redesign corrected the blocky design disaster that had emerged before Chrysler's bankruptcy, replacing it with a sophisticated, smoothed-over look that ventured deeply into upscale territory. The traditional seven-bar grille still calls out Jeep's brand heritage, but it's tipped back and faired in, surrounded by smaller than usual headlamps, and unadorned by the wreaths and stars and roundels that stamp themselves on the front ends of the big-SUV competition. This one could use some of that visual meat. The details are finessed to near-perfection all the way around the rear end, though there's a strong resemblance to the VW Touareg and the BMW X5 from the rear quarters--intentional or not, it's still aimed in the right psychographic direction. If we have one complaint about the look—and it's hard to muster—it's that it might be a little too derivative, a bit excessively refined compared to Cherokees over time.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee's even more of a resounding success. There's a chunky three-spoke steering wheel,a usefully arranged center stack of controls capped with inoffensive metallic-plastic trim, and on some versions, real wood trim on the dash, doors,and the steering wheel. Clean ergonomics are just part of the effect; the Grand Cherokee's materials don't repel your touch, like the feel of some other recent Chryslers. This is probably Chrysler's best interior, with the Ram pickup coming a close second.
More boutique than mall, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee speaks to a more upscale clientele.