The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-size, five-door SUV with a unibody chassis design. It has been in production since 1992 and is currently in its fourth generation. Originally, it was supposed to replace the smaller Jeep Cherokee, ultimately released years later than anticipated, set to compete with Ford Explorer. As it turned out, Jeep Cherokee continues production to this day, with two generations rebranded as Jeep Liberty in the United States.
The First Generation (1993-1998)
Grand Cherokee was released in 1992 as the 1993 model year, initially with only one powertrain option, a 4.0L AMC-derived inline-six petrol engine producing 142 kW of power and 305 Nm of torque. This was later expanded with 5.2L V8 petrol (164 kW, 386 Nm), 2.5L turbo diesel (86 kW, 300 Nm), and 5.9L V8 petrol engine (183 kW, 468 Nm). Transmission options included a 4-speed automatic transmission and a manual version that remained in use on the European diesel models.
Available trim levels were: Base or SE, Laredo, Special Edition, TSi, Limited, Orvis Edition, 5.9L Limited.
The Grand Cherokee got a 4-star rating in the Frontal Driver impact (three-star with the later model), and three stars in the Frontal Passenger impact (four stars with the newer model) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It received several awards over the years, including a place on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best lists, Motor Trend's Truck of the Year for 1993, Petersen's 4x4 of the year 1993, 1996 and 1998, along with numerous rewards from smaller magazines, enterprises, and reviewers.
The Second Generation (1999-2004)
The new generation received a complete overhaul, sharing just 127 parts with the first generation. Some of its innovative features were Quadra-Drive (automatic four-wheel-drive system fitted to improve off-road capabilities), HomeLink (garage and gate opening system), dual-zone climate control system, a memory system for seat positions, side mirrors and radio settings.
Trim levels available were: Laredo, Limited, Sport, Special Edition, Freedom, Columbia Edition, Overland, and 60th Anniversary Edition.
The NHTSA rated the second generation of Grand Cherokee with a three-star Frontal Driver impact, three-star Frontal Passenger impact, four-star in Side driver impact, five-star in Side passenger impact, two stars in 4x2 Rollover as well as 4x4 Rollover.
Powertrain options include:
- 4.0L PowerTech inline-6 (145 kW, 312 Nm)
- 4.7L PowerTech V8 standard (175 kW, 400 Nm)
- 4.7L PowerTech V8 high-output (198 kW, 441 Nm) variants
- 3.1L OHV inline-5 diesel (104 kW, 367 Nm)
- 2.7L inline-5 diesel engine (122 kW, 400 Nm)
Transmission options include 4-speed and 5-speed automatic transmission.
The Third Generation (2005-2010)
This generation made its appearance at the 2004 New York International Auto Show, featuring an updated Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system. It received a minor facelift in 2008, featuring a revised 4.7L engine, a removable lower portion of the front bumper, updated headlights with high-intensity discharge and auto-leveling.
Available trim levels were Laredo, CRD, Limited, Overland, and SRT-8.
The Euro NCAP tested the Grand Cherokee and gave it a four-star rating in Adult occupant safety, three-star rating in Child occupant safety, and 0 stars in Pedestrian safety.
The IIHS rated the Moderate overlap front offset as Good, Side-impact as Marginal, while the Small overlap frontal-offset and Roof strength were not tested.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did a full scope of testing, rating the Frontal Driver, Frontal Passenger, Side Drive, Side Passenger safety with a 5-star rating, three stars for 4x2 Rollover, and four stars for 4x4 Rollover.
Powertrain options available in Australia:
- 2.7L Diesel engine producing 120kW (161hp) and 400Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 3.0L Diesel engine producing 160kW (215hp) and 510Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 4.7L Petrol engine producing 175kW (235hp) and 393Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 5.7L Petrol engine producing 246kW (330hp) and 508Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 6.1L Petrol engine producing 317kW (425hp) and 569Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
The Fourth Generation (2011-present)
Revealed at the 2009 New York Auto Show, the current-generation Grand Cherokee combines elements of classic Jeep styling and modern design. Extensive testing has been done to achieve optimal aerodynamic efficiency while also improving body strength with over 5400 welds. It resulted in a 146% increase in torsional rigidity compared with its predecessor, as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness of ride.
Euro NCAP gave Grand Cherokee four stars in Overall safety rating, 81% and 29 points in Adult occupant safety, 69% and 34 points in Child occupant safety, 45% and 16 points in Pedestrian safety, and 71% and 5 points in Safety assist.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated it Good for Moderate overlap frontal offset crash, Marginal for Small overlap frontal-offset (driver), Poor for Small overlap frontal-offset (passenger), Good for Side-impact, and Good for Roof strength. IIHS scores from highest to lowest are: Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.
Swedish auto magazine Teknikens Värld reported that Grand Cherokee failed the well known ‘Moose test’, while other SUV vehicles in the class had no problems passing. Auto Motor und Sport tested it on a slightly different avoidance test that meets International Organization for Standardization standards, and it passed without any issues. In 2014, Teknikens Värld revisited the test with an updated Grand Cherokee, which passed even at speeds of 71km/h.
The Grand Cherokee comes in these trim levels: Laredo, Laredo 'E', Laredo 'X', Upland, Trailhawk, Sterling Edition, Overland, Overland Summit, SRT 392, SRT Trackhawk.
- Laredo is the base trim level. It includes 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a 5-inch color touch screen radio (upgraded to a 7-inch infotainment system in 2018), a 6-speaker audio system, a 7-inch TFT color display instrument cluster, air conditioning, a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat with backrest recline, manually-adjustable front bucket seats, premium cloth trim, keyless access with push-button start.
- Laredo ‘E’ adds an A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD/MP3 player and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, upgraded to a 5-inch touch screen radio from 2014 to 2017, and 7-inch infotainment system from 2017.
- Laredo ‘X’ adds 18-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, leather seat trim, power-adjustable front seats, premium Alpine 9-speaker sound system, touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity.
- Upland is based on Laredo ‘E’ with styling cues from Trailhawk: 20-inch black-painted aluminium-alloy wheels, light blue-accented emblems, seat stitching, interior door panels, and centre console.
- Trailhawk is based on the Laredo ‘X’ as an off-road-oriented model, adding leather seat trim, 18-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, Selec-Terrain control system with Quadra-Lift air suspension, and Kevlar coated on/off-road tyres.
- Limited Edition succeeded Laredo ‘X’ from 2014, offering the same equipment with the addition of heated and ventilated front bucket seats, Nappa leather trim seats, 20-inch aluminium-alloy wheels.
Powertrain options available in Australia include:
- 3.6L Pentastar V6 petrol engine, producing 216kW (290hp) and 353Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic, later upgraded to an 8-speed automatic transmission
- 5.7L Hemi V8 petrol engine, producing 268kW (360hp) and 529Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 3.0L CRD V6 diesel engine producing 140kW (188hp) and 434Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic, later upgraded to an 8-speed automatic transmission
- 3.0L CRD V6 diesel engine producing 177kW (237hp) and 569Nm of torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission
- 3.0L V6 diesel engine producing 184kW (247hp) and 569Nm of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission
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Author: Luka Kusic