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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review By Marty and Michael Bernstein

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee


By Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor-at-Large
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

Amazing what difference an owner makes. In this case, regarding Jeep’s latest incarnation of the Grand Cherokee one of the best vehicles I’ve driven recently. The difference is striking from the moment you open the door, in fact it doesn’t take that long. That’s because this beauty had already caught your eye.

Jeep first launched Cherokee back in 1984 and it was popular from the get go. Obviously the love affair continues and the 2012 version has captured the essence of the original but now the signature line is sleeker and features a lower profile that casts a refined silhouette.

Make no mistake however; this beauty is a Jeep at heart, engineered to handle anything from Baja to Zion. Thanks to an impressive roaster of new and improved driving and handling system refinements, including: Quadra-Trac II 4WD system, Selec-Terrain System, Quadra-Lift Air Suspension, and Hill Descent Control, all of them synchronized and engineered to ensure maximum off road performance. These features allow the novice trail blazer to let loose, while the more experienced enthusiasts will appreciate the flexibility and ease of control the center knob provides over the entire system’s options.

Sadly, most of us will only experience this technology taming the wilds of rush hour traffic, but rest assured all those systems are there for you, along with an army of safety features that will help you navigate the harshest winter weather conditions, all in the enveloping comfort the Cherokee’s interior cabin provides every occupant.

Starting up front, where both passenger and driver enjoy the comfort of the plush bucket seats that are customized using the 8-way power controls, your comfort is only further enhanced by the four-way power lumbar adjust. The leather wrapped seats also feature the option to heat or cool them, as weather conditions dictate, at the touch of a button. This attention to comfort is further extended to the driver by touch point control as well as the ability to heat the steering wheel, a plus for those of us who hate wearing gloves while driving.

The dashboard is also leather wrapped and adorned with wood accents. The overall mood created can best be described as IKEA-chick. The instrument clusters and display screen were neat, clean and efficient. The interior’s beauty was only further enhanced by the accent lighting that not only made for easy identification of all instrumentation, but also that illuminated the parameters of the door handle, center console and in-door storage bin.

If that wasn’t enough ambiance for you, the entire roof area is a two panel “universe roof” that, when open, can allow nature’s beauty to illuminate the entire cabin with ambient light. This was a big plus for me because it really opens up the cabin and increases the sight lines for any of the up to 6 passengers.

How about fuel economy you ask, it’s an Overland 4X4, with a 5.7L V8, but it will get 20 mpg highway, not great, but acceptable. On the road, or off, the Cherokee’s fit and finish was outstanding. There is nothing cheap about this vehicle, including the base MSRP of $42,000, $47,000 for the one I had the privilege to drive.

No smoke signal needed to find this Cherokee, just stop by the nearest Jeep Store and see how much fun you can have behind the wheel of a Jeep. This is the best Jeep ever.

Michael Bernstein contributed to this review.