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CaptRB 08-16-2012 01:14 PM

Overland owner review and Pics
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How much competition is there for the Grand Cherokee Overland? The answer is: Not much.

Seeking serious off road, deep snow capability combined with real luxury and proper road-car manners, I easily narrowed down my choices for a mid-sized SUV. Who didn't qualify? Frankly most of those others can't really handle the rough stuff. An X5 or Q7 are nice, but the reality is that they are excellent all-weather road cars and nothing more. My friend's X5 was not any more capable than my Mitsubishi Outlander or Subaru Tribeca. If you see a lot of snow don't kid yourself that an MDX can save the day. We learned first hand that it can't. Another choice might have been the LR4, but the bad quality reports are common and I could find few happy owners. A brand new LR4 at a dealer would not unlock and a 2nd one wouldn't start. No thanks!
Last year we had one bad storm, a few days before Halloween, that really socked us. Two feet of snow crushed one of our steel sheds and my wife had to abandon our Subaru 3 miles away. I tried to rescue her, but our Outlander would not budge. Standing by the side of our un-plowed road I watched a white Overland punch through the snow, it's ride height at max, and cruise down the road without a care. Days later I met the owner (he lives on our road) and listened to his logical buying process that led him to the Overland. He had found a SUV he felt might be better, but it was the Toyota Landcruiser; a giant mega SUV that was an unfriendly ride on our narrow roads and just too big. His choice was not an emotional one. His wife worked as a EMT and she needed something that would not get stuck. Like me they had been through the Subaru's, 4 Runners and AWD wannabees that were great until things got really rough. Then all of the AWD lock buttons weren't worth diddly.

So here I am with a new Black Forest Green Overland with V8 Hemi, Saddle Black interior, Adaptive Cruise, Summit grill and chrome accents (and skid-plates soon to come). Let me start with what I don't like!

1) The NAV system is needlessly complicated, though it's quite powerful overall. As others have pointed out the Sirius radio control is limited in only displaying a small group of stations at one time. It's just a clunky interface across the board. Once mastered it's nice enough.

2) The EVIC display is good in some respects and poor in others. I like that NAV info is mirrored there, but the separate status screens for oil temp, tire pressure and so on....just ridiculous. All of that info should be viewable in ONE page via the NAV screen. The info is useful, but the manner in which you need to get to it is once again CLUNKY!

3) It's a bit of a bummer that the giant sunroof only opens half way. It lets a lot of light in, but I think the sunroof on the Subaru Forester "opens bigger."

4) The switchgear for the headlights feels like it came from a Ford Fiesta.

5) The hidden padded area for Phone with the USB under the armrest is a pretty cheap looking/feeling item, though it's functionality is fine.

6) No third row. Even a little pop-up jumper seat like the one if our previous Mitsubishi would have been welcome. But I understand the trade off....full spare and no tire under the car.

And there you have it. Not a long list! Here are some additional observations: Hemi vs. V6. Having driven both versions quite a bit and noted the rather small difference in MPG, I went with the V8. If you haven't bought the GC yet don't bother with the V6. On hills and highways it's going to strain at times while the V8 is never really working hard and conveys a feeling of power that is in keeping with the luxury level of the Overland. And allow me to discuss the Overland trim level for a moment. Don't talk yourself out of it for ANY reason unless it's beyond your means. The quadra-lift suspension is part of the end-game in the logical evolution of the new Grand Cherokee. Handling: Make no mistake; this is not a car and never really handles like one. The weight and suspension are truck like when it comes to driving dynamics. Good work has been done and road manners are secure, but this is not a SUV body riding on a sports sedan chassis and doesn't try to be. Fit and finish in the Overland is very well done, but the paint is somewhat below the mark as it's not a perfectly glass-like job. I had put a small dent in the door and the new paint applied to the area actually looks BETTER than the factory job! Not noticeable unless you stare like a mental patient, but I do think Jeep can do better on the factory paint. Beyond that there is little to complain about. The Overland is in a class all to itself. I've got an interior that makes Mercedes owners jealous, true off road/heavy snow capability, luxurious and very quiet ride, serious towing ability and a upscale appearance that is what you should expect in a truck costing 45-50K. If you don't need it's unique abilities a good case can be made for an X5, X3, Q5, Q7 and so on. Otherwise I feel like I'm driving a luxury tank that can do what few other SUVs can manage! :thumbsup:

2012 Overland, V8, Adaptive Cruise, Summit Grill


AAAA 08-16-2012 01:31 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Nice. Enjoy.

CaptRB 08-16-2012 01:31 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Oh, and I'd like to mention the deal I got and the hard work done by the dealer:

After shopping around at 4 dealerships I ended up working things out with Shari at Bill Volz Westchester Jeep in NY. While other dealers gave me stories on what they couldn't find, this dealer actually got me a Black Forest Green Overland V8 with the SB interior and adaptive cruise. On top of that they installed a Summit grille for me and took the time to make sure everything was perfect.
The only wrinkle was the 750 dollar power bonus which they were not sure I was eligible for, but they called Jeep right in front of me and it was a done deal. I got the 1K off, plus another 1K bonus coupon, for $2750.00 off an already low 44K. I did get a bit hot under the colar over the 750, but they were 100% willing to work it out. I doubt I'd have walked over 750, but they did right by me.

The Overland in Dark Forest Green is black on a cloudy day and deep dark green with metal fleck in sunlight with tinges of blue in some lighting conditions. Those who know about color matching get how well the SB works with green...perfect!
Other additions: Chrome fog bezels to match summit grille, weathertech mats all around, chrome door sill guards (should be standard!) and skid plates.

Again, very happy with the Overland, though I admit it's very early in the honeymoon!


JRNYC 08-16-2012 02:01 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Good Choice :thumbsup:

Must have good advice :D

Great review!

Jamesla30 08-16-2012 02:29 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Are you worried about offroading with the 20's? That is what I am contemplating as well... I hugely prefer the 20s look over the 18s, but i worry if I want to take a semi-offroad trail to go camping or the like with the thin sidewalls. I wonder how they perform in deep snow too. The reason I ask is that you are adding the skid plates so you probably do some kind of offroading every once in a while at least.

Lastly, I like the idea of getting overland and just adding summit grille.. did they buy and do that all for free?

PeterM 08-16-2012 02:47 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
A very honest review, enjoyable to read.

ehletimo 08-16-2012 04:00 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Very nice review. I absolutely agree with you about the V8 vs V6. My '13 Overland in black forest green with black interior arrives from the factory next week. I can't wait!

FAUEE 08-16-2012 05:45 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Your thought process sounds exactly like mine. I compared all the same vehicles, and the wifey's vehicle is an Outlander (great vehicle for what it is too).

As far as your comments go:

1) I'm inferring you've got the 730N nav unit. This is an easy fix. Go to your dealer, tell them the 730N is terrible, and to swap out your 730N with a 430N on their lot. They will get to upcharge someone for the "better" system, and you get a system that doesn't suck (it's Garmin nav is fantastic).

2) I agree here. Or at least an overall view with a few key things displayed.

3) It's the nature of the beast. I've never seen a dual pane moonroof where both opened up (where would the glass go?) Subaru has a few huge moonroofs that are single pane, as does the H3, I think you may be right about the SUby opening more.

4)I've never used it, so I can't really comment. I put mine to auto, and have been happy ever since :)

5) I personally thought the felt lining, and lighted USB port was a pretty upscale touch. Cheap feeling is the plastic on the lower parts of the dash, instead of continuing the leather from the dashboard. I'd bet that works its way onto the refreshed or next-gen model.

6) I have to disagree here, I HATE that stupid 3rd row sat in our Outlander. I wish I could find someone with the 2 rows and the storage box who wants to trade for the 3rd row, it's useless and takes up space that could be otherwise used for storing things. Like the legit full size spare tire in the Jeep, and the little bins I keep a first aid kit and air compressor and tire stuff in.

Anyways congrats, and you got a MEGA KILLER deal. Probably one of the best on here. So congrats on that.

As an aside, the 20s are fine for mild offroading. The 18s are better for offroading, but if you're intending to go over some gravel roads or something like that, it's not a big deal. It's also not a HUGE investment to buy a set of 18" wheels that will fit (think previous generation GCs, etc.) and put some offroad tires on those for when you're planning to go on an off road adventure.

JoeSchmoe007 08-16-2012 05:45 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
EVIC display is also a trade-off - base Laredo configuration doesn't have NAV but that information (oil temp, tire pressure etc.) needs to be displayed somewhere.

JTS97Z28 08-16-2012 07:19 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Overall great review and glad you love your Jeep. I disagree on a few things though.

No reason the complain about no third row as this vehicle is not designed to have one. That's kinda like getting pissed the Corvette doesn't have a back seat. It's not supposed to!

No complaints on the headlights switch. Mine feels rock solid and has the look and feel of a higher end car. Regardless though for the most part it sits in auto and never gets touched.

No complaints on the dual pane roof. Where did you want it all to go? It's got the normal sunroof feature and glass the rest of the way. Functions great and looks awesome.

As for the V6 vs V8 comments, well that's more personal opinion, but I have yet to be in a situation where the V6 felt under powered. Sure I would always love the extra power of a V8, but for me it's just my daily cruiser and the cheaper purchase price, less maintenance, and use of regular grade fuel I guess we're more important to me.

Cherodude 08-16-2012 09:36 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Looks great! (But then I am partial to green.)

CaptRB 08-16-2012 09:41 PM

Re: Overland owner review and Pics
Thanks for all of the comments...a few notes...

1) The Outlander's 3rd row is little more than a jump seat, but it fold flat into the floor. It's weakness is that it's too small for anyone but kids and it does take up space that could be used for storage. It's strength is that it CAN be used quite well when you want to carry a 5 adults and two kids and so on. This is obviously not going to be something everyone needs, but we found it handy. I would have liked it in the Jeep, but I see the design conflicts clearly.

2) I wasn't taking a pot-shot at the V6. It's a very workable engine and does okay. The V8 is better, but at the expense of some MPG. Thus far I'm happy with the V8 gas consumption. 22 MPG is just fine.

As I said before, the Overland goes head-to-head with very short list of vehicles. How many SUV's have such a high level of luxury combined with true-off-road ability?

Anyway...cheers and good night!


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