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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an extremely popular SUV in the pre-owned market. Shoppers recognize the vehicle as luxurious, capable, spacious, and downright stylish. However, particular used Grand Cherokee model years don’t live up to the hype and might be more of a problem than a joy ride.

Thankfully, industry experts have gathered years of data on the Grand Cherokee, helping us determine which models to avoid. So, what should shoppers look out for when searching for a used Jeep Grand Cherokee? And what are some alternatives to this rugged SUV?

Why should you consider buying a used Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The Grand Cherokee seems to have it all. Its incredible combination of rugged performance and a plush, spacious cabin is undoubtedly tempting for any buyer. Unfortunately, new models are quite expensive, with 2021 Grand Cherokees starting at $34,220.

So, it’s no surprise why shoppers turn to the used car market to get behind the wheel of this beloved SUV. For example, a lightly used 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo E in ‘outstanding’ condition retails for just $26,155, according to Edmunds. You can score even more savings with older models.

Shoppers can get behind the wheel of a base model Grand Cherokee for a reasonably low price. While these versions will be serviceable for families on a budget, the SUV’s higher trims are well worth the upgrade. Notable options include Jeep’s iconic 4×4 systems, high-quality leather upholstery, cutting-edge safety systems on newer models, and premium infotainment technologies.

Which used Jeep Grand Cherokee model years should you avoid?

A grey 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee driving down a road with a setting sun in the background
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in action | Stellantis

Not all Grand Cherokees live up to expectations. You’ll want to skip over a particular segment of the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee. Jeep built this iteration of the midsize SUV upon the WK2 platform and debuted it for the 2011 model year. However, it got off to a rough start.

The fourth-generation Grand Cherokee featured a sleeker design than its predecessors. But concerning problems resided underneath the SUV’s stylish exterior. For these reasons, Consumer Reports named the 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee models on its ‘Used Cars to Avoid Buying’ list.

The publication’s data on these versions reveals severe concerns about the SUV’s long-term reliability. It gathered information from its subscribers to evaluate 17 potential trouble spots for these used Jeep Grand Cherokee model years. 

Consumer Reports determined that the 2011 Grand Cherokee has a 19% chance of remaining trouble-free. The 2012 and 2013 Grand Cherokees fared even worse – earning a 17% and 14% rating, respectively.

Owner data reveals significant concerns in just about every crucial category. For example, the 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee earned low reliability scores for its engine, fuel system, electric system, suspension, and power equipment.

Try these affordable used SUV alternatives instead

It’s challenging to drive with peace of mind after purchasing a pre-owned vehicle with reliability issues. Thankfully, there are plenty of other affordable yet plush options available. You can even choose a better option within the Jeep Grand Cherokee family.

Jeep quickly rectified the Grand Cherokee’s shortcomings with a light refresh for the 2014 model year. The manufacturer tweaked the interior and exterior styling, made the SUV’s technology controls more user-friendly, and added a turbo-diesel V6 engine option. 

Most importantly, these newer models are more dependable. Consumer Report’s data shows that all Grand Cherokee models between 2014-2020 have higher reliability scores than the 2011-2013 iterations. 

Plus, you won’t have to pay too much extra for a newer version. Consumer Reports estimates that the 2011-2013 retail for a low as $9,125 and as high as $24,500. Meanwhile, you can buy a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee between $13,700-28,775.
Alternatively, a 2011 Honda CR-V is a used SUV under $10,000 that may be a better option. It lacks the Grand Cherokee’s ruggedness, and it’s classified as a compact SUV rather than a midsize. However, it’s deceivingly spacious, and it’s one of the most reliable pre-owned models on the market.


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