Pictorial Review: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit

As far off road as most grand cherokees will go

By now we’ve all seen the current generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Last November I briefly drove this very Jeep and came away very impressed. Now, however, I’ve spent a long weekend with it and… remained equally impressed, except for one thing (keep reading). This time, in lieu of writing just another review, I chose to focus on the little details that are often omitted from general vehicle reviews.

There are no bad cars today. Pick any one, because all of them are good. They’re all safe, reliable, long lasting, and perform their functions well. It is the execution of these everyday functions; the ergonomics and the easy of entry and use for instance, which separate the good vehicles from the great vehicles. Here is a look at some of those details, good and bad, on the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

And that one thing that I didn’t like.

After my first trip with the Grand Cherokee I was confused. I was pretty sure that it was the V8 model; it was the Overland Summit edition and it had two tailpipes, one on each side, which emphasizes additional power and substance over lesser Jeeps. But it did not jump off the line like the V8-powered Grand Cherokees of yesteryears; it did not have much of a mean growl either. It wasn’t the hot-rod sleeper it once was; instead it was a focused mature adult, smooth and refined, and in a way, kind of boring. I opened the hood – 5.7 V8 Hemi. I blame the programming of the engine and transmission, which emphasizes fuel economy over fun.

Cruise Control radar looks vulnerable below the bumper, probably pricey to replace too.
A classic Jeep grill in a new Jeep headlight. Cool.
The trailer hitch is nicely integrated. Two equally nice and covered harness connectors are a nice touch.
Non-ergonomically placed glass release button (1) on the right and glass lift on the left (2). You're more likely to grab the wiper and and use that to lift the glass, possibly ripping it off at some point.
The rear side doors open to almost 90-degrees which comes in handy when loading kids into their car seats.
Who knew that the Grand Cherokee had double-pane side windows? They make the interior quieter and reduce fogging. I know that the old S-class had them and perhaps the Phaeton?
This is what you see when you look back from the driver's seat, which is to say not much due to the large C-pillars. Also note, the very cool panoramic sunroof (no pic)
Can't see the Accord, can you Russ? That A-pillar blind spot is huge.
The old-school dimmer switch/interior light switch needs to go. If I want to turn on the interior light I look toward where the light is, not behind and below the steering wheel.
The glove-box has an area specifically designed to hold the owner's manual, which allows you to actually use the glove-box for other stuff. BMW should take notice, as nothing besides the owner's manual fits in that automaker's glove boxes.
The heated and ventilated seats are nice. Their settings should go up to 3 however, be separated from other HVAC controls, and should be knobs not buttons.
There are two cup-holders in the center console. I'm a coffee drinker, as is my wife. We also drink water, especially on long trips, so these door pockets are nice when your primary cup-holders are occupied by coffee mugs. Also note the randomly placed seat memory switch.
Everything was covered in leather in this almost-top-of-the-line GC, which was nice, but the quality of the leather wasn't top. Still, nice.
This GC came with one of those "smartkeys", which didn't always work well (Infiniti/Nissan works much better), however it was still in shape of a rather oddly-shaped large key. The Terrain Response system was very similar to that of Land Rover, always defaulted to "Auto" when the car was turned off. The air suspension was rather slow to adjust too.
Rear heated seats will seldom be used, but I think every car should have a 120vAC receptacle.
It would only be better if the tailgate glass rolled into the hatch, like old school longroofs or Toyotas.

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