Hint: It's named after an Indian tribe.
Four Wheeler, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious four-wheel drive publication, has announced that the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been named the winner of its coveted Four Wheeler of the Year award for 2011. The in-depth street and trail test has been held annually since 1974, and the win marks Jeep’s tenth overall in the competition. To qualify for the award, a vehicle must be a four-wheel drive sport-utility model that is either entirely new or sporting substantial mechanical revisions from a previous model year.
This year’s Four Wheeler of the Year competition featured three extremely capable midsize SUVs in head-to-head-competition: the Grand Cherokee, the Land Rover LR4 HSE, and the Lexus GX 460. The test itself is a week-long evaluation covering over 1,000 miles and a variety of terrain, including pavement, gravel, dirt, sand, rocks, stream crossings and mud, at elevations ranging from sea level to over 9,000 feet.
“The Grand Cherokee continues Jeep’s tradition of building four-wheel drives that excel like few others in harsh backcountry conditions,” said Four Wheeler Editor Douglas McColloch. “The 5.7L Hemi V-8 offers ample horsepower throughout the powerband; its tightly tuned unibody chassis and four-wheel independent suspension give it a sporty on-road ride; and the Jeep’s new Terrain-Select off-road driving mode and class-leading Hill Descent systems virtually eliminate guesswork when crawling through uneven and off-camber terrain. It’s the most street-tuned, pavement-friendly version of this vehicle ever built, yet it’s compromised little if any of its legendary off-pavement prowess. Overall, it’s a highly deserving Four Wheeler of the Year winner for 2011.”
For our complete report, and full specs and data, check out the April '11 issue of Four Wheeler, on sale February 21, 2011.