Finally Drove an '11 WK2 Laredo X 4x2
And what it ride it was! There's no way around it, this is a monumental product for the Jeep brand, and the Pentastar.
Interior: I was hugely impressed with the interior quality, it's like you couldn't fit a pin head between the panel gaps if you wanted to. It looks/feels air tight. Interior room was excellent for my 6'4" frame, no cramped quarters anywhere. It's like I could sit in the drivers seat for hours with no feeligns of fatigue. Perfect.
Exterior: The exterior is a nice take on a modern interpretation of the *ZJ GC while still looking entirely fresh and decidedly masculine (it looks like an SUV designed and built for "dudes", like myself and probably a good chunk of the members on here, not to sound sexist- but it's nice to see in a world of "uber" soft looking crossovers/suv's). I especially loved the wheels and flares that graced their surroundings. Every line/ornament has a purpose. Designs like this last forever.
Performance/Ride/Handling: The particular model I drove is the car I'd actually buy, and for this reason I'm glad to have driven the particular car I did. The Phoenix V6 (for me) provided more than adequate power for most typical driving situations I find myself in. I've read in several reviews this engine seems to lose it's breath in higher elevations, but only camping several times a year this will hardly be a problem, and if I camped more often.....well, we'll get over it. You're not going uphill forever.
The ride was super soft and very comfortable. The car feels quite nimble for its size though there's some body roll, which is to be expected for a car of this size and class. The brakes were phenominal and pedal/brake actuation was very pleasing and confidence inspiring. This is the perfect ride/handling compromise Chrysler engineers struck with the WK2.
Conclusion: Being a huge car enthusiast and having grown up around several *ZJ's in the family as a kid the WK2 bought back fond memories of spending time with my Grandma driving around in her at the time brand new WK1. Beyond that the proportions and overall feel of "Grand" are still intact. I talk to a lot of guys that share a similar passion as I, and you'll often hear the term, "it fits like a glove" when someone is describing a car they feel fits them to a "T". For me, the WK2 reflects this sentiment. Gone forever are the days of me buying a passenger car ever again. The WK2 reminds me of why I love the SUV. Huge gas tanks and at times $$$ @ the pump.
In a few years I'll probably pick up a used copy after (if) they've launched the 8 spd auto, and if the new Explorer (another nostalgic product for me) doesn't hit me over the head after I see/drive it come Winter time.