Still looks good after all this time.
A new Jeep Grand Cherokee is here, all of you. Close to its fifth generation, the Grand Cherokee should continue to be a bestseller for Jeeps, with loads of luxury, technology and of course off-road credibility. So next to thatLet's take a look back at the SUV's past this week.
ZJ Grand Cherokee: A great debut
Like literally smashed. As part of the 1992 Detroit Auto Show celebrations, Jeep drove the then-new Grand Cherokee up the steps of Cobo Hall in Detroit and pounded through one of the glass panels at the Convention Center to show how rough and tough its new SUV was. It's my second most popular auto show launch of all time.
The first Grand Cherokee of the ZJ generation, which was intended as a more luxurious Cherokee, was offered in the versions Base, Laredo and Limited and initially offered with a 4.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine with 190 hp. There were options for rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, as well as five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first SUV to be offered with a driver airbag (chic!). Today even our knees have airbags, but a driver's bag was a big deal back then. The Grand Cherokee also featured novel technologies such as anti-lock brakes, electric door locks, electric windows and even cruise control. The Limited trim has made everything even better with gold exterior accents, leather seats, keyless entry, and digitized climate controls.
For the first model year 1993 Jeep offered a Grand Wagoneer version of the Grand Cherokee. It had a 5.2 liter V8 with 235 hp and the iconic wood grain of the older Wagoneer. The Grand Wagoneer nameplate is, but as an independent vehicle, not just as a chic equipment variant.
Several new variants were put online during the life cycle of the ZJ Grand Cherokee. The Orvis Edition of the model year 1995 to 1997 had a characteristic hunter green exterior with gold accents and a two-tone green-brown interior. The 1997-98 Grand Cherokee TSI was a bit sportier, with unique 16-inch wheels and a butting stereo with controls on the steering wheel. In 1998 the Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited was introduced with a 5.9-liter V8 developing 245 hp. The first moves of a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk?
The second generation Grand Cherokee was pretty handsome.
WJ Grand Cherokee: More robust, more refined
When the second generation Grand Cherokee arrived in 1999, it only shared 127 parts with the first generation model (which isn't much in the car). The base 4.0-liter I6 was carried over, but the older V8s were potted and replaced with a 235-hp 4.7-liter V8. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard, with a five-speed automatic transmission arriving in 2001.
Jeep's all-wheel drive technology has received a major upgrade in this generation. The company's Quadra-Trac II system brought in a two-speed transfer case with 4-All, Neutral, and 4-Lo settings, the first of which only supplied power to the rear wheels but provided torque when the wheel slipped forward was found. Also on offer was a new Quadra-Drive system that has everything that is good about Quadra-Trac, adding front and rear limited-slip differentials that allow for side-to-side torque transfer rather than just front-to-rear.
Oh, and a fun fact: Jeep's then-parent company DaimlerChrysler partnered with Porsche to bolster the Grand Cherokee's unibody frame. The improved construction, known as UniFrame, gives the Jeep platform additional strength and rigidity, resulting in less noise, vibration and harshness.
Inside, the WJ offered more space for people and cargo, and the controls were placed in more ergonomic locations. Heated seats were available as well as two-zone climate control and even a 10-disc CD changer. In 2004 the WJ was slightly redesigned with a new grille and round fog lights. At this point, drivers could also opt for an in-dash navigation system.
Oh, you feel like it.
WK Grand Cherokee: More, more, more
The 2005 Grand Cherokee came with major changes, including independent front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. A 3.7 liter V6 engine was standard and made 215 hp. However, buyers could also pick up 4.7-liter or 5.7-liter Hemi V8s, the latter of which made a healthy 330 horsepower. All engines used five-speed automatic transmissions, and the upgraded Quadra-Drive II system received electronically locking front and rear differentials and traction control.
The third generation Grand Cherokee was much longer than its predecessor. The rectangular headlights were swapped out for round units, and the D-pillar was pushed forward, giving the jeep a rougher look. The 2005 model was originally only available in Laredo and Limited versions, but added some neat, fancy options like a DVD system in the back seat, automatic headlights, and finally even a Bluetooth connection.
Two new versions arrived in 2006. You may not remember the luxurious Overland, but you sure do remember the Grand Cherokee SRT8 filled with a growling 6.1-liter Hemi V8 that delivers 420 horsepower. I remember driving one with fat, sticky tires, Brembo brakes and Bilstein shocks and thinking no SUV would ever be faster. Jeep obviously proved me wrong there, and the company also offered a 3.0-liter diesel option from 2007. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was also upgraded in 2009.
WW2 Grand Cherokee: A Major Upgrade
When the WK2 Grand Cherokee launched in 2011, Jeep's parent company was having a tough time. In fact, Chrysler used the development of this new Grand Cherokee to prove that its future vehicles would be built to a new, higher standard.
The WK2 had a completely independent chassis geometry and a new terrain management system with the modes auto, sport, snow, rock and sand / mud was offered. At this time, the Grand Cherokee also introduced its Quadra-Lift air suspension, which complements the Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive systems.
Many of the original foundations of the WK Grand Cherokee are still in use today. This SUV had one of the earliest uses of the Chrysler Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, although a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was also offered. The previous Diesel and SRT8 options didn't cut the 2011 Grand Cherokee down at first, but both eventually made a comeback.
When the SRT8 got back in line in 2012, it packed a new 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 470 hp. As part of the 2014 model year update, the SRT removed the 8 from its name to match Chrysler's short-lived standalone SRT brand. The update also introduced the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, which didn't last long, and the luxurious Overland Summit model dropped the first part of its name and continues to live on as the Summit.
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a fire-breathing, 707 hp brute ute
View all photos
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk came into the lineup a few years later with a unique air suspension that allowed a ground clearance of 10 inches, and the Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive system received Selec-Control, a kind of off-road cruise control. This Grand Cherokee also had skid plates and off-road tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels.
Jeep lost his mind for the 2018 model year and gave us thatwith Chrysler's 6.2 liter Hellcat V8 compressor under the hood. The 475 hp SRT was still on sale, but come on, who's going to miss the chance to own a 707 hp Jeep?
Today, the Grand Cherokee is available in the Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk variants and features many great technologies including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and Chrysler's fantastic Uconnect infotainment system.
WL Grand Cherokee: Now with 3 rows
Theis technically offered in two variants. The L with a longer wheelbase is the first model of the Jeep and brings much more functionality to Jeep's best-selling SUV: a third row of seats.
Yes, the Grand Cherokee L is a full foot longer than the outgoing WK2 model and offers space for two additional passengers on the way back. This fully updated Grand Cherokee is far more elegant inside and out and comes with many new infotainment and driver assistance technologies, including the Uconnect 5 multimedia system.
What hasn't changed is what's under the hood. The Grand Cherokee L is equipped as standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 from Jeep, which develops 290 hp. However, buyers can opt for a 5.7-liter V8 with 357 horsepower. Several all-wheel drive systems are available, including the Quadra-Lift air suspension system, which gives this large SUV impressive off-road geometry.
The five-passenger Grand Cherokee will debut later in 2021.
Look at that:
Jeep shows the three-row 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Get in the driver's seat for the latest car news and reviews, delivered to your inbox twice a week.