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A charmer in terms of overall performance, looks and features, only a spotty reliability record prevents us from giving the JGC our whole-hearted endorsement.
Powerful 4.7-liter V8, all-terrain capability, roomy comfort for four.
Quadra Drive whine, mushy seats detract from long-haul comfort, spotty reliability.
Available Grand Cherokee SUV Models
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A new five-speed automatic tranny provides a second overdrive ratio, resulting in greater fuel economy and reduced NVH in models equipped with the 4.7-liter V8. Chrome front tow hooks are now included if you get the skid plate group on the Limited model, while the Laredo model offers a Special Appearance Group package with 17-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels, colored metallic front fascia and body cladding, body color license brow and liftgate handle, fog lamps, body side stripe, and leather seats. A hydraulically driven engine-cooling fan improves fuel economy on the 4.7-liter V8 and a quarter-turn fuel cap improves efficiency at the gas station. Limiteds get an AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD player as standard equipment, along with new "Euro-style" gathered leather seats as optional. The Trailer Tow Group now includes an underdash connector to make plugging in aftermarket trailer wiring harnesses a snap. Finally, child seat tethor anchors improve the Grand Cherokee's family-friendly nature while a LEV-compliant 4.7-liter V8 makes this Jeep more earth-friendly.
Jeep's rough-and-ready Grand Cherokee is one of the best-selling SUVs on the market, and it's easy to see why. With ruggedly handsome styling, roomy comfort for four adults, plenty of cargo space, and unsurpassed abilities both on and off the highway, Grand Cherokee delivers what most people want in family transport.
Grand Cherokee's Jeep-genetics are obvious with just one glance. A vertical slot grille, trapezoidal wheel openings, and steep approach and departure angles all announce "Jeep" loudly and clearly. Outfitted with recirculating-ball steering, a three-link rear suspension and front Quadra Link coil suspension, the truck delivers a stable and carlike ride, and handles like a pro both on and off the pavement.
The Grand's standard engine is a 4.0-liter inline six that produces 195 horsepower and 230 foot-pounds of torque. This aged powerplant provides disappointing acceleration and lacks refinement in terms of NVH control. Next step up is the optional 4.7-liter V8 with the new five-speed automatic transmission. We heartily recommend the V8, which brews up 235 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of twisting force. That may not sound like much. In fact, this hearty power-maker provides acceleration on par with some muscle cars.
You'll find standard cloth upholstery inside the Laredo and if you go with the low-buck, no-frills approach, you'll pretty much be able to buy a plain-Jane version of the JGC that'll provide you with decent levels of comfort without breaking the bank. The Limited, however, lets you slide behind the wheel onto leather-trimmed seats (optional on the Laredo) that feature 10-way power-adjustment. We're huge fans of the Jeep's 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.
The optional Quadra-Drive four-wheel-drive system 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 gets 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. Its petite dimensions allow it to squeeze through tight corners, and its high 8.7-inch ground clearance makes rock climbing a breeze. We can honestly say that it knocks the pants off of any other midsize SUV out there in terms of off-road prowess.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 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.