Used 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Lightweight unibody construction, excellent on and off-road manners, optional V-8, standard ABS, dual airbags, lots of standard equipment
- Spare tire hogs cargo area, engines hog gas, not as roomy inside as some competitors, price climbs rapidly as options are added
Edmunds' Expert Review
For years, the Ford Explorer has been the best-selling sport-utility vehicle in this country, but in 1993 a new challenger called Grand Cherokee arrived to try to wrest the sales crown away from the champ. It was not successful. However, it did outsell every other sport utility on the market, and became the Explorer's biggest threat.
Indeed, this Jeep has the most car-like feel of sport utilities, and is among the most stable on pavement. In fact, with the optional 5.2-liter V8 pumping away under the hood, the Grand Cherokee becomes the Porsche of sport-utes. Equipped with a dual airbag system and four-wheel antilock disc brakes, Grand Cherokee buyers have long list of equipment to wade through, including three different drive systems (2WD, part-time 4WD, full-time 4WD), four different trim levels (Laredo, TSi, Limited, Orvis), and a host of luxury and convenience items.
The exterior is all hard edges and angles, but is instantly recognizable as a Jeep product and looks rugged. A retro touch we could do without is the location of the spare tire. The Grand Cherokee doesn't have tiny tires, and the cargo area is among the smallest in the class to begin with, so why is the tire in the cargo area? It should be under the cargo floor, mounted under the truck or placed on a rack on the liftgate. Otherwise, we have few quibbles with this sport ute.
Jeep improved the Grand Cherokee for 1997. Mechanical changes are limited to the availability of the optional 5.2-liter V8 on 2WD models, and a revised 4.0-liter inline six that allows the JGC to qualify as a Transitional Low Emissions Vehicle in California. According to Jeep, the anti-lock brake system has been refined this year.
Inside, Jeep modified the tilt steering column, extended the rear seat heating ducts, and improved the fit and appearance of the floor carpeting. The entry-level cassette stereo has been upgraded as well. Outside, Jeep adds three new exterior colors, and all Grand Cherokees have a full-body anti-chip coat of primer under the paint. As you can see, Jeep isn't resting on its laurels waiting for the competition to leave the Grand Cherokee in the dust.
In January, the TSi model debuted, sporting specific alloy wheels, monotone paint in a choice of three shades, dark blue pinstriping, leather seats, high powered audio system, and more luxurious interior trimmings.
Unfortunately, just as Jeep caught up to and surpassed the Explorer in comfort and safety features last year, Ford went and squeezed a V8 under the Explorer's hood. This year, Ford is offering a new overhead cam V6 engine in the Explorer which puts out 20 more horsepower than the Jeep inline six. The Ford also has more room, a more comfy rear seat, and a lower price tag. Plus, you don't have to load cargo around a big ol' tire in the back. The verdict? For around town family hauling, we prefer the value-packed Explorer XLT. But for speedy fun and off-road prowess, the JGC Laredo V8 gets our vote.
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Features & Specs
Used 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overview
The Used 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in the following submodels: Grand Cherokee SUV. Available styles include Laredo 4dr SUV 4WD, Limited 4dr SUV, Limited 4dr SUV 4WD, Orvis 4dr SUV 4WD, Laredo 4dr SUV, TSi 4dr SUV 4WD, and TSi 4dr SUV.
What's a good price on a Used 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.