Move over Land Rover. You are no longer the only brand that promises extreme off-road experiences in the lap of luxury.
The ’11 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit affords tranquility and elegance in equal measure thanks to a product-development process that leverages cutting-edge digital tools and the creative focus that comes with a dedicated interior design studio.
Redesigned for ’11, Jeep’s flagship SUV follows the ’09 Ram fullsize pickup as the second vehicle to benefit from Chrysler’s new commitment to interior design. And the results are “striking,” according to Ward’s editor James M. Amend.
The saddle-brown and black color scheme not only enchants the eye, it invites the sense of touch. The premium leather seats are nothing short of sumptuous, while the contrast stitching edge piping suggests a ruggedness that befits the brand.
“Black olive” wood and satin-finish metallic trim pieces demonstrate thoughtful integration. The latter, particularly, is well-executed, flowing harmoniously between the center stack and the console.
Jeep earns points for comfort and convenience with its generously padded center armrest and adjustable cupholders.
The latter seemingly were in short supply during this year’s testing as numerous entries from other auto makers featured simple wells to accommodate everything from Big Gulps to skinny Red Bull cans.
(Note to Subaru Forester designers: Square cupholders? Really?)
Back-lit with light-emitting diodes, the 2-gauge instrument cluster is crisp and easy to read. And the ample tiller wins the “meatiest steering wheel award,” says Amend. The wheel also is heated.
Laminated glass in the SUV’s “Command View” sunroof contributes to a cabin that is 12% quieter than the previous-generation Grand Cherokee, according to Chrysler.
Ward’s judges can’t confirm the measurement, but there is no doubt the Grand Cherokee Overland Summit offers a serene driving experience that belies whatever harsh reality prevails outside.