Following a full redesign in 2011, the Grand Cherokee returns, adding a new SRT8 high-performance variation that sports a 6.4L 465-horsepower V8.<p><p>The standard equipment list on the base Laredo was slimmed down a bit with a corresponding reduction in base price, but a "Laredo E" group can add much of that equipment back.<p><p>The 70th anniversary models have been dropped for 2012.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be available in five trims: the base Laredo, Limited, Overland, Overland Summit and the high-performance SRT8. All but the SRT8 feature a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The flexible-fuel engine features variable-valve timing and is available with a 5-speed automatic transmission. An optional 5.7L Hemi V8 engine is available. All but the SRT8 are available with either 4-wheel drive or rear wheel drive.
The SRT8 comes with a 6.4L V8 that makes 465 horsepower. It only comes with a Quadratrac on-demand all-wheel drive system.
Independent front and multi-link rear suspension systems and a unit-body structure have made the Grand Cherokee's frame very rigid. Jeep's Quadra-Lift air suspension, capable of lifting the vehicle 4.5 inches for more off-road ground clearance, and Selec-Terrain traction control systems are available on 4-wheel drive trims only.
Standard safety equipment across the lineup includes 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, active head restraints, a full array of airbags, including full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax air bags, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, hill-start assist, auto-on headlights, trailer-sway control and tire pressure monitoring system.
Standard equipment on the base Laredo includes keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an anti-theft system, MP3 player and an auxiliary power outlet.
The Limited trim adds upgraded 18-inch aluminum wheels, a leather interior with power-adjustable heated seats and memory. The panoramic sunroof is an upgrade, as is a premium sound system with hard disk storage and satellite radio. Safety and convenience are enhanced with a rear parking aid, integrated turn signal mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and HID headlights. Comfort enhancements include automatic climate control, proximity entry and heated rear seats.
The Overland gets standard navigation, 20-inch aluminum wheels, a wood/leather steering wheel. It also gains a remote trunk release and a power liftgate.
The range-topping Overland Summit includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot/rear cross-path detection system, front collision warning and exterior trim enhancements.
Options available across the lineup include a 360-horsepower 5.7L "Hemi" V8 engine, a rear DVD entertainment system, a full-size spare, an array of aluminum wheel options and two different levels of towing equipment. A collision preventing blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system is available, as is an adaptive cruise control with Forward Collision Warning.
The 4-wheel drive models are all seriously capable, but can be outfitted to a greater degree depending on the customer's interest. Off-Road packages that include skid plates, hill descent control and a high-performance Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel drive system are available.
The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a different beast. Intended for on-road performance, it utilizes an on-demand 4-wheel drive system, a 465-horsepower 6.4L V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Underneath, there's an electronic limited-slip differential, active damping suspension and performance-tuned steering. 20-inch aluminum wheels, special body-color trim, HID headlamps, fog lamps and rain-sensing wipers are standard as well. Inside, the SRT8 comes with heated and ventilated power-adjustable leather seats, a heated steering wheel and keyless proximity entry.