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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (photos)

Jeep brings the Grand Cherokee to the premium SUV market with the 2011 model, offering a refined interior and ride. But the Grand Cherokee is no slouch, able to tackle tough terrain with its off-road systems.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET
Chrysler has gone through some rocky territory over the last few years, but internally the company kept working on making a new Jeep Grand Cherokee that would compete well in the premium SUV segment. The 2011 model is a good indication that Chrysler can build quality and refinement.

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The Grand Cherokee incorporates Jeep's seven-bar grille, a design cue that Jeep regards as important to the brand. But the sides and rear of the vehicle have a less individualistic look.

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This 3.6-liter V-6, a new engine for Jeep, uses variable-valve timing to eke out 290 horsepower. It gets the Grand Cherokee around, but does not feel powerful. A 5.7-liter V-8 is also available.

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The Grand Cherokee keeps a five-passenger SUV format, with no option for a third row of seats.

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The Grand Cherokee can be had with an air suspension, giving it an extra 2.6 inches of clearance as needed. Its all-wheel-drive system uses advanced technology to help it keep grip in tough terrain.

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The cargo area is ample in the Grand Cherokee. Carpet and metal runners show the vehicle's premium character.

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Jeep used quality materials in the cabin, and it shows good fit. The cabin electronics could use some refinement, but they do bring in many useful features.

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Unlike other high-tech Chrysler company vehicles we've seen, this one puts a voice command button on the steering-wheel spoke, making it easy to access. The arrows control an instrument cluster display.

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These buttons work the adaptive cruise control. This system can bring the car to a complete stop if traffic in front is stopped.

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The five-speed automatic is a little simple for a 2011 model. We would like to see a six-speed in the Grand Cherokee. There is also no manual gear selection.

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The Selec-Terrain knob lets you dial in the Grand Cherokee's electronic road-holding systems for different surfaces. The Sport mode dials down traction control, letting the vehicle rotate a little in the turns.

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This media-center head unit is standard in the Limited trim version but does not include navigation. Jeep is integrating a Garmin GPS system into the head unit at a later date.

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The satellite radio interface is indicative of how generally cluttered the various screens are. The look is not in keeping with the Grand Cherokee's premium SUV character.

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This music library interface lets you select music from the 30-gigabyte hard drive.

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We were very impressed with the quality of the Grand Cherokee's audio system, which uses 10 speakers and delivers very enjoyable sound.

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Although the interface does not offer much feedback on the phone system, we found that the voice command system works very well. For example, we could dial a contact in our phone by saying the name of that person.

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The rear-seat entertainment system not only includes DVD playback but also offers Sirius satellite TV.

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The backup camera shows distance lines, but no trajectory.

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