2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – click above for high-res image gallery In the span of three years, Chrysler has been bought and sold more times than Duke Cunningham. Its warped "merger of equals" with Daimler ended in 2007 and the disastrous reign of incompetence extended into its relationship with Cerberus Capital Management – now a "bad word" within the hallowed halls of Chrysler, according to one exec. After filing for bankruptcy in April of 2009, the reformed Chrysler Group partnered with the Italian automaking juggernauts at Fiat and have since rolled out a five-year business plan that's nothing if not ambitious. But you didn't come here for an abbreviated history lesson on Chrysler and its failed suitors. You want to find out how your $6.6 billion in federal funding is being spent and if the company's products are finally up to snuff. Well, here's the short version: The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the first Chrysler product since the 300 that deserves your attention. Follow the jump to find out why. %Gallery-95773% Photos by Damon Lavrinc / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc. Unlike the scads of products being teased by the Big Three for the past few years, the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee has struck the perfect balance of exposure in the run-up to its on-sale date later this year. And if you're fond of the ZJ and WJ models of yore, then there's a lot to like about the new WK2's exterior. The Grand Cherokee's design is the epitome of evolution, retaining the short overhangs, trapezoidal wheel openings, fast windshield and backlight, and of course, the iconic seven-slat front grille. Mark Allan, Jeep's head of design, was committed to retaining the overall shape of past GCs, saying, "You should be able to tell its a Jeep from far away, but we wanted it to be more serious; more stern." Allan and his team have succeeded – not just with the overall design, but in the details. The deeply recessed creases in the doors, the blacked-out B- and C-pillars, furrowed brow, standard fog lamps, color-matched spoiler and the tasteful use of chrome – something most domestic automakers still haven't mastered – all blend into a cohesive whole that's at once masculine and refined. And they've even fitted a set of front tow-hooks, something the designers and engineers fought hard to include. The whole package has grown by three inches in width, but only 1.8 inches in overall length, with a 114.8-inch wheelbase – over five inches longer than before. With the rear wheels shoved so far back, it pays dividends for rear-seat passengers, with an additional four inches of rear leg room. But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wholesale changes inside. The pitiful excuse for interiors that Chrysler, and by extension Jeep, have foisted on consumers for the past 20 years has finally been addressed, and if the GC's insides are any indication, journalists will need a new horse to flog if these …
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