Chrysler has taken steps to rectify a worrisome handling problem that we identified late last year with the V6 version of the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The SUV, based on the next-generation Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, was balanced and predictable enough on the track. But our V6 tested vehicle skittered and hopped sideways in our double-lane-change avoidance-maneuver test. (A heavier V8 version of the Grand Cherokee we tested later didn’t exhibit that problem.)
After they heard the news, Chrysler engineers visited our test track and reviewed our findings. In early December we were informed that Chrysler had developed a fix. It’s a software update focused on the stability-control system. Chrysler started incorporating the update as of December production. The company also issued a technical service bulletin, and dealers have been performing that repair free for customers since early January. The fix has also been applied to all vehicles in stock. It involves a “reflash” that updates the vehicle software.
We had the fix performed on our V6 Grand Cherokee and have just repeated our emergency avoidance-maneuver tests. The Grand Cherokee performed much better, managing a top speed of 50 mph (improved from 48.5) through the course. That’s good for a beefy SUV, but more important, it no longer behaves unpredictably when pushed up to and past its limits, which gives drivers more confidence in such situations. As a result, the Grand Cherokee V6’s overall test score has risen from 66 to 71. The higher score adds to the appeal of a vehicle we find enjoyable.