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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs. Toyota 4Runner

Redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee outperforms Toyota 4Runner in face-off

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Photo: Chrysler LLCThe redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee mid-size SUV earned a Very Good road test score and outscored its traditional rival, the Toyota 4Runner, which earned a Good score, in a face-off between the two vehicles in Consumer Reports' December 2010 issue.

The Jeep's ride, quietness, and interior won it points, though it was hampered by its emergency handling. By contrast, the 4Runner, redesigned for 2010, fell short on the road (though it showed terrific off-road prowess) and scored at the bottom of its class.

The 2011 Grand Cherokee is the first new model that Chrysler has released post-bankruptcy, and it's based on the next-generation Mercedes-Benz ML.

“The Grand Cherokee is a big improvement over the previous model, with refinement on par with models that cost a lot more,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. “The 4Runner, which still uses a body-on-frame design, is disappointing on the road. The 4Runner doesn't let you forget you're driving a truck.”

The Grand Cherokee is too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data and the 4Runner scored too low in CR's testing for CR to recommend it.

CR only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

2010 Toyota 4Runner SUV. Photo: Toyota Corp.The Grand Cherokee rides well and is quiet and steady on the highway. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo X 4WD is powered by a 290-hp 3.6- litre V6 engine that is smooth and gets 18 mpg overall in CR's own fuel economy tests. During CR's emergency handling tests, the Jeep was difficult to control in the avoidance manoeuvre. The five-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. Braking is very good. The interior is nicely finished, with soft touch panels and nicely detailed leather seats. Cargo room can be increased by folding the rear seatbacks.

The 4Runner's ride has constant body motions and body lean is pronounced in corners, even at a leisurely pace. Its overly light steering is slow to respond. The Toyota 4Runner SR5 4X4 is powered by a 270-hp, 4.0-litre, V6 engine that is punchy and gets 18 mpg overall. The five-speed automatic transmission is responsive. Braking is very good. The interior is utilitarian and features cheap-looking plastics. Cargo room can be increased by folding the rear seatbacks.

Full tests and ratings for both vehicles appear in the December 2010 issue of Consumer Reports. The reports are also available to subscribers of

Posted Oct. 29, 2010.


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