The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a premium midsize SUV. Introduced in 1993, the Grand Cherokee is offered in standard rear-wheel drive and available four-wheel drive configurations. The Grand Cherokee seats five and is prized for its around town versatility and off-road prowess.
2011 to Present: Jeep Grand Cherokee
The fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced in 2011. As it has all along, all Grand Cherokee models are offered in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations with multiple four-wheel drive systems available.
Upon its debut, the fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee offered two engine choices. A 3.6-liter, V6 engine making 290 horsepower was standard and came paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. That model is EPA rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway.
Also available was a 5.7-liter, Hemi V8 engine making 360 horsepower and paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. This vehicle is EPA rated at 14/20 mpg/city highway.
From 2012 on, Jeep expanded or upgraded the engine and transmission offerings for the Grand Cherokee. In 2012, the Hemi was paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Jeep also began offering the Grand Cherokee SRT8, a high-performance model powered by a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine and paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Beginning in 2014 and as part of a mid-cycle product update, Jeep added a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine to the product line. This model is EPA rated at 22/30 mpg city/highway. Jeep also paired every Grand Cherokee engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.6-liter engine was initially available with Laredo and Limited editions only, while the 5.7-liter V8 was standard or available with the Overland and Overland Summit. Beginning in 2013, both engines were available across the product line. In 2014, Jeep renamed the Overland Summit as the Summit edition. With the exception of the Laredo trim, Jeep also made the turbodiesel engine available across the product line. The SRT8 edition was renamed the SRT.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is recognized by its distinct fascia featuring a seven horizontal-slat grille. That look has been progressively updated to bring in LED daytime running lights, a lower-grille opening with a skid plate, muscular shoulders, available power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, an assortment of alloy wheel choices and chrome embellishments. This model has strong character lines, a rear spoiler, wraparound tail lamps and dual exhaust ports.
Chief competitors for the Jeep Grand Cherokee include the Ford Edge, Volkswagen Touareg, Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Murano and the Hyundai Santa Fe. Buyers might also consider the slightly smaller Jeep Cherokee. High-end versions of the Grand Cherokee might also be compared with certain luxury models such as the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, while performance-minded shoppers might compare a Grand Cherokee SRT with competitors like the Porsche Cayenne.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee has bucket seats up front and a 60-40 split-folding bench seat in the rear. Cabin space is excellent with 105.4 cubic-feet of passenger volume and generous amounts of head- and legroom for five. Jeep offers 36.3 cubic-feet of storage space behind the second-row seat and 68.3 cubic feet when that seat is folded. Towing capacity ranges from 6,200 to 7,400 pounds.
Cloth seating is standard, while leather upgrades are available for the Limited, Overland and Summit editions. All models come equipped with a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a USB port and front and rear 12-volt power outlets. All models except Laredo have a 115-volt auxiliary power outlet.
Two four-wheel drive systems are offered: Quadra-Trac I and Quadra-Trac II. Quadra-Trac I functions similarly to an all-wheel drive system, while Quadra-Trac II adds low-range gearing and includes Jeep's Selec-Terrain system, which features five drive modes: Automatic, Sand, Snow, Mud and Rock.
Both axles get a limited-slip differential when an available Quadra-Drive II system is selected, and an optional Quadra-Lift air suspension offers five height settings.
Beginning in 2015, Jeep added an Altitude edition, slotting it beneath the Overland. In 2016, a High Altitude edition was introduced and slotted above the Overland edition.
Earlier Jeep Grand Cherokee Models
The third-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced for the 2005 model year. Features new to the product line included Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive and an independent double-wishbone suspension.
Three engine choices accompanied the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee: a 3.7-liter V6 was standard and 4.7- and 5.7-liter V8 engines were available. Those models came paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. From 2006 to 2010, Jeep offered a Grand Cherokee SRT8 model powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 engine.
Three trim levels — Laredo, Limited and Overland — were available with the third-generation Grand Cherokee. Special or limited edition models, including Rocky Mountain, 65th Anniversary, and S Limited were briefly available.
Chrysler's Uconnect hands-free communication system, introduced as an accessory in 2002, was widely available with the third-generation Grand Cherokee. That earlier system connected cell phones through the audio system and does so wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled phones.