SUV shoppers who value excellent off-road abilities and impressive hauling power, while still enjoying capable on-pavement performance, will likely find the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee an appealing choice. Toss in its outstanding crash test ratings and high-performance SRT8 version, and the new Grand Cherokee will once again merit its place as a top choice for those looking to meet more challenging transportation needs.
The advanced four-wheel-drive system of the 2010 Grand Cherokee ably maintains its strong off-roading genetic heritage, dating back to the early 90's. This, combined with its 7,400 pounds of towing capacity, place it in a small group of SUVs.
However, those considering the new Grand Cherokee should be aware that there is really nothing special about those equipped with its V6 engine. It's the V8 models that set it apart. Both optional V8s provide plenty of power and the muscle-SUV SRT8 can actually sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds.
New this year, the Overland model has been dropped, as have the diesel and smaller 4.7-liter V8 engines. There's also been some minor changes to the feature alignment for this year's models.
In terms of competitive alternate choices, those needing off-road prowess may want to take at look at the new Toyota 4Runner. For overall SUV versatility and performance, the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano are solid choices.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV available in three trims: Laredo, Limited and SRT8. The Laredo and Limited are offered in both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive versions, while the SRT8 comes only with four-wheel drive.
Standard features on the already well-equipped base Laredo include full power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, steering wheel audio controls, an 8-way power driver seat, heated exterior mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seatback and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Available optional features for the Laredo include leather seating, remote ignition, navigation, power-adjustable pedals, heated front seats, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, a rear back-up camera with parking sensors, automatic headlights, foglights, a power front passenger seat, an upgraded sound system and an iPod interface.
Standard features on the loaded Grand Cherokee Limited model includes all of the Laredo's options, plus heated rear seats, driver seat memory settings, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing wipers.
The performance-oriented Grand Cherokee SRT8 is outfitted a lot like the Laredo (and with similar options) but adds a sport suspension, front sport seats, 20-inch wheels, larger brakes, leather and suede upholstery, unique exterior styling accents and a performance trip computer.
Available options for the SRT8 include an 11-speaker Kicker audio system and a body-heat-sensing climate control system.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and Limited models is a standard a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. Also available is the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that delivers a robust 357 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. Under the hood of the ultrahigh-performance SRT8 is a 6.1-liter V8 that's good for a massive 420 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. All of these engines are paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. A manual transmission is not available.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for V6 models comes in at 16 mpg city and 21 mpg on the highway for two-wheel-drive versions, while the 5.7-liter V8 models come in at 14 and 20, respectively. The four-wheel-drive models are rated at 1 mpg less in both city and highway driving. As expected, the SRT8 gets the lowest mileage at 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway.
Laredos with four-wheel-drive are equipped with the Quadra-Trac I system, which basically functions as all-wheel drive. Standard on the Limited and optional on the Laredo is the full-time Quadra-Trac II system with a set of low-range gears. The Quadra-Drive II system is offered on both the Laredo and Limited, and combines a two-speed transfer case with front, rear and center electronic limited-slip differentials. The Cherokees with the Quadra-Drive II also come with hill start assist, hill descent control and skid plates. The SRT8 is outfitted with a special all-wheel-drive system to maximize performance.
A properly equipped Grand Cherokee with the 5.7-liter V8 has a maximum tow capacity of 7,400 pounds.
Standard safety features across all 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee models include stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) and side curtain airbags with a roll-over detection system. In addition, trailer sway control is an available option on Laredo and Limited models.
In government crash testing, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was awarded top five-out-of-five-star ratings for all frontal and side impact protection categories for all occupants.
The Grand Cherokee's cabin is attractive and user-friendly, while there's also been some improvement in the quality of materials. The seating is comfortable and supportive. But while there is ample room in the front seats, rear passenger room is small for the midsize segment and is best left as children-only. Cargo capacity is adequate coming in at 35 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 69 with the seats folded.
Aimed more towards those seeking off-road prowess, the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee's regular pavement handling is surprisingly capable. The Grand Cherokee has great grip as well as precise steering, but the rough-and-tumble suspension means the ride can get a bit bumpy over road imperfections. Off-road, however, the Grand Cherokee's advanced four-wheel-drive system and significant wheel travel helps it shine.
A V6-equipped model, however, negates many of Grand Cherokee's performance strengths. If it's in the budget, it's the V8 models that stand out. And the SRT8 truly is a performance vehicle and a blast to drive thanks to its impressive acceleration, precisely tuned suspension, oversized Brembo brakes and sharp steering. Bear in mind, however, that its firm suspension does detract from ride quality.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Repossessed Bank Cars And Government Auto Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee:
Laredo, RWD: list price: $30,710, invoice price: $29,191
Laredo, 4WD: list price: $32,680, invoice price: $31,054
Limited, RWD: list price: $37,480, invoice price: $35,352
Limited, 4WD: list price: $39,420, invoice price: $37,187
SRT8, 4WD: list price: $43,325, invoice price: $40,741