I own a '93 and now this '97. The new 4.0L gives a little less HP than the 93/4/5 but a few cheep mods can kick it up to about the same. I drive a lot of highway and offroad most weekends. ZJs are very good for both. I have driven no problem 3000 miles in 3 days, and even been excited to start the next day. In the snow this Jeep is as safe as any subaru etc. The balance and traction is second to none, and it is difficult to get out of control. Driving this Jeep is easier than most cars, and light years ahead of most '07 SUVs. Without a doubt the best SUV for the money.
The traction system and balance. The interior is durable and very livable.
I've owned this vehicle for over 5 years and have had no major problems. This is my primary work vehicle and I spend a lot of time working on the road. I also use it to pull an oversized boat and to go into the field hunting and fishing. It goes and comes back where others can't. 4x4 is easy to operate and totally dependable. The only weak points have been the electronic accessories: heated mirrors, photochromic rearview mirror and rear windshield wiper. Fuel mileage is very good considering it's an SUV. I average 22 MPG highway and 16 MPG around town (according to the DIC). 6 cylinder layout is such that regular maintenance is easily accomplished by owner.
Driver Information Center. Layout of the cockpit. I enjoy the additional power outlet for my cell phone charger. Split rear seats facilitate larger loads easily.
Reinforce the steel in the driver's seat. Have had to repair it twice (I'm 300 pounds, but an SUV that's designed to go off-road should be able to handle that easily).
I bought the AWD Jeep grand Cherokee used in 2000 with 60K miles. I have more than 162,000 miles on it now and it has been incredibly reliable. It is a V8 with plenty of power. I has all of the bells and whistles and everything still works great. I have never experienced any mechanical problems, just the normal expendables such as brake pads, shocks, and tires. All normal stuff. It is the most reliable and road worthy machine I have owned. I drive it in the Rocky Mountains and on road trips and offroad - Moab and 4x4 mountain passes. GREAT SUV!
This is the 3rd Jeep I've owned in the past 20 years, and while the Laredo was my favorite when I was younger, I've got to say there comes a point when all the bell and whistles are nice to have! I know Jeeps, and I know they need preventative care, Having said that, regular maintenance is not a problem. If you are looking for a quality vehicle, safe, roomy and enjoyable to drive to that cabin in the woods, or skiing, you can't go wrong with the Orvis. Watch out for ignition switch wear, I have learned to have them pulled and replaced at 100k, wear on this can cause automatic shut-down on the vehicle.
Sunroof, stereo, heated seats.
Better hinges on the center console, 2 have broken in 2 different Jeeps.
I bought my V8 Laredo from the dealership with 17K miles and have almost 200K now. Drove it in Los Angeles for 2 + years then mostly in the mid-west, with frequent cross country trips. This car has held up superbly over time. The body and interior are still in excellent shape. There have been a few standard repairs over the years. The only real problem is the rear axle and bearings; they have had chronic problems since around 100K miles - they need to be rebuilt replaced about every 2+ years which can hurt the wallet. This car has been otherwise excellent in all driving conditions and weather. Very good car for long trips! I'm shooting for 250K miles for sure.
Very comfortable interior and seats. Strong V8 engine has plenty of pep in traffic or for pulling.
I hope they figured out the problems with the rear axle.