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Competent on road and off, the Grand Cherokee has everything going for it: comfort, performance, looks...but not an untarnished reliability record.
Flawless 4.7-liter V8, all-terrain vehicle.
Gear whine, brakes feel slow to respond.
Available Grand Cherokee Models
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New exterior cladding has been slapped onto the Laredo, and both models have received interior touch-ups. Two-wheel drive is available with the 4.7-liter V8. Shale Green and Silverstone are the new skin tones.
The designers of the Jeep Grand Cherokee are taking some much needed RandR following last year's introduction of the second-generation Grand, so there have been no significant mechanical or appearance changes. It was the first redesign since its 1992 introduction (as a '93 model), and the public basically gained an all-new best-of-the-best Jeep. Signature items like the vertical slot grille and trapezoidal wheel openings remained but were altered just enough to distance it from the previous generation. It was also made 4 inches longer and outfitted with redesigned recirculating-ball steering, a fresh three-link rear suspension, and front Quadra Link coil suspension that make it stable and carlike, and handle like a pro. Another notable improvement was the new automatic transmission, which increases initial acceleration and provides smoother shifting between gears.
The Grand's standard engine is a 4.0-liter inline six, and the next step up is the optional 4.7-liter V8. In fact, this potent power-maker has been such a hit that Chrysler is morphing from it a version for the 2000 Durango and Dakota.
You'll find cloth surroundings standard inside the Laredo, while the Limited lets you slide behind the wheel in leather-trimmed comfort (optional on the Laredo); the leather front seats feature 10-way power-seating choices, but you'll likely find your comfort level short of that. We're huge fans of the behind-the-wheel stereo controls (standard on Limited, optional on Laredo), the Infinity sound system and the Infrared Dual Zone Climate Control System that allows the driver and passenger to have separate control settings.
Also new to the '99 Grand was the Quadra-Drive four-wheel-drive system that keeps things moving even if only one tire has traction, and its reaction time is faster than you can say "stuck." The Laredo's standard transfer case is the full-time Selec-Trac, while the Limited's is the on-demand Quadra-Trac II. While going off-road may not be something you've considered doing with your just-purchased luxury vehicle, remember that this is a Jeep, the original 4x4, and it hasn't lost any of its go-anywhere war heritage. It makes itself at home on the asphalt or in the boonies, and the 4x4 systems make it a walk in the park - even if it's a rocky one.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.