Perhaps the most important vehicle to be launched by Chrysler this year, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, will start at a price that's a shade less than $33,000 for a four-wheel-drive model. The base model with two-wheel drive is $30,995.
This Jeep, shown in concept form for more than a year, is critical to refreshing the Detroit automaker's aging lineup and generating some much-needed product mojo.
The Grand Cherokee arrives in June and will be joined by updated versions of the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 later this year. These vehicles, along with the well-received Ram and the soon-to-be-refreshed Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring (or whatever it will be called), will form the basis of Chrysler's revitalization efforts.
No single vehicle is more important for a vibrant automaker than the dramatically redone Jeep. The Grand Cherokee gets new sheetmetal and the Pentastar V6, with an impressive 290 hp and up to 23 mpg. It is being billed as the most luxurious Grand Cherokee ever, and it will anchor the Jeep lineup, known as the original go-anywhere, do-anything brand.
The Grand Cherokee will be offered in three models. The Laredo 4x4 starts at $32,995, including a $780 destination charge. It comes with keyless entry, electronic stability control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power driver's seat, Sirius satellite radio and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The mighty Hemi, cranking out 360 hp from a 5.7-liter V8, is an option on this and the other models. The two-wheel version is $2,000 less.
The midlevel Grand Cherokee model is the Limited, which starts at $39,995. It adds heated front and second-row seats, panoramic sunroof, parking monitor and 18-inch wheels. It's $2,500 less for 2WD.
The top level is the Overland, summoning an iconic name from Jeep's origins. The Overland starts at $42,995 and adds air suspension, premium interior, wood-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel, stitching, power liftgate and 20-inch wheels. It's $3,500 less for two-wheelers.
Jeep also offers different versions of the four-wheel-drive system, new suspensions, a new body structure with increased torsional stiffness and a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds. There are four more inches of legroom and 17 percent more cargo space. It's all clothed in sleeker sheetmetal punctuated by more dramatic headlights.
Tech gizmos available include live television with FLO TV, Sirius back-seat television and UConnect Internet service.
The Grand Cherokee will be built at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.