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What To Expect From Jeep in 2011

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author photo by Autotrader October 2010

Ever since Italian automaker Fiat purchased Chrysler, many have been worried that the distinctly American Jeep vehicles would lose their boxy ruggedness and turn into Euro-flavored mini-SUVs. Speculation about the marque’s future has run wild, fueled largely by an almost palpable silence from company officials. But Jeep product guru Chris Ellis says quiet time is over. Showing off three new or revised Jeep models, he said: “The idea was to work on the product first, then start talking.” For 2011, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is all new, while models like the Wrangler and Patriot get noticeable updates. There’s also a Liberty Renegade version for 2011.

Jeep says the new Grand Cherokee is better off-road than before, thanks to a new Quadra Lift air suspension, a choice of three four-wheel drive options, a host of skid plates and a choice of V6 or Hemi V8 power. The V6 is Chrysler’s new all-aluminum Pentastar engine, which is more powerful and more fuel efficient than previous Grand Cherokee V6 engines. A Select Terrain function allows the driver to choose from five driving modes depending on the surface conditions. The interior is now much more luxurious, with lots of high-quality materials, interesting textures and plenty of metallic trim. Base price is about $31,000 for a two-wheel drive V6 version while the top-of-the-line Overland 4x4 is about $42,000.

The Jeep Wrangler isn’t fresh for 2011, but it does see some significant revisions. Real Jeep fanatics will be happy to know they can still remove the top and doors and fold down the front windshield. The exterior gets just a few tweaks this year: a body-colored hard top is now available and the rear side windows are larger. It doesn’t sound like much, but these two simple changes give the Wrangler a different and much cooler look, almost like an old Land Rover Defender 90. The most dramatic changes are inside, where the look and feel is noticeably improved. The dashboard, control knobs, door panels and center console are all new. The center console is lockable on all models and the armrest that covers it is softer. A new steering wheel sports audio and cruise controls, while the side mirrors are now power adjustable and heated. Jeep is also making 1,500 special-edition “Call of Duty” Wranglers. Just like the Jeep featured in the video game of the same name, the “Call of Duty” version gets blacked-out trim and black wheels.

The 2011 Jeep Patriot is basically the same as the 2010 model, with just a few changes. The front and rear end have a new look, and there are more soft-touch surfaces inside. Up front, the Patriot gets revised fog lights, adds tow hooks and a new, lower front fascia that highlights the vehicle’s approach angle. Jeep wants to make sure everyone knows that even the Patriot can go off-road, so the ride height has been raised by one inch. On the sides, there’s a new lower body kit and out back the lower rear bodywork partially covers what was an exposed muffler. That muffler is now painted black, so it doesn’t stand out. In addition to the soft-touch materials on the dash and arm rests, all 2011 Patriots come with steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls.

A slightly revised Jeep Compass is on the way too. Jeep’s message is that, even with a new corporate owner, nothing has really changed. The vehicles we expect from Jeep are still around and even improved. The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is on sale now and the revised Wrangler, Compass and Patriot will be out by the end of the year.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
What To Expect From Jeep in 2011 - Autotrader