Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV made by Jeep, a division of
Daimler-Chrysler. European Grand Cherokees are manufactured in Austria
by Magna Steyr.
The Grand Cherokee was a spinoff of the notably smaller Jeep Cherokee.
Based on the Jeep Concept 1 (1989), the Grand Cherokee's origins date
back to 1983 when American Motors engineers were designing an XJ
Cherokee successor. The first generation (ZJ) was the first Chrysler-badged
Jeep product since AMC came up with the concept; the AMC
engineers/designers behind the project, later Chrysler employees (after
the 1987 buyout) were pushing for a late 1980s release date; however,
then-CEO Lee Iacocca was pushing for redesigned Chrysler minivans,
delaying the ZJ's release until late 1992.
The Grand Cherokee debuted in grand fashion at the 1992 North American
International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Then-Chrysler president
Robert Lutz drove Detroit mayor, Coleman Young up the steps of Cobo Hall
and through a plate glass window to show off the new vehicle. Production
of the Grand Cherokee started shortly afterward in the purpose-built
Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit, Michigan and has remained there
The ZJ models, manufactured from 1993 to 1998, originally came in 3
general trims, the Base, Laredo, and the Limited. The Base model (also
known as SE) offered basic features such as full instruments, cloth
interior, and a five-speed manual transmission; The SE model was dropped
in 1996 in favor of the Laredo. The Laredo is the mid-scale model,
features included added body cladding, fancier seats, power windows,
power door locks, and cruise control; exterior features display a medium
grey plastic lower body paneling and five star spoke aluminum wheels.
The Limited is the premium model, with the lower body paneling being the
same color as the vehicle color. The Limited also boasts features such
as leather seating, optional power sunroof, mirrors, seats, and remote
keyless entry system; a basic onboard computer; and waffle-like cast
1996 brought cosmetic changes ranging from improved body modeling
(grille, bumpers), better wind aerodynamics, and integrated fog lights;
Interior features added dual-airbags and increased fabric quality for
seating. At the same time, the American Motors-fonted "Grand Cherokee"
fender emblems were replaced with a font style used on other Chrysler
vehicles (e.g. Sebring, Breeze). The AMC 4.0 L I6 engine was also
refined, though receiving slightly less horsepower but gained more
torque and presented quieter operation. Limited models that year and on
had more luxury items such as driver placement memory, remote radio
control from the steering wheel, and variable assist while driving and
Specialty models included the Orvis (1995-1997); a Grand Cherokee
Limited package that featured an exterior color scheme of deep hunter
green with red and gold strip accents (1995), 96-97 Orvis exteriors were
of hunter green tone with basic gold striping; the interior was a
two-tone green and champagne seats complimented with red accents and "Orvis"
company badging. A sporty TSi model (1997-1998) briefly debuted,
exterior features included single color body paneling, with a light blue
striping accent. TSi packages came equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels,
225/70R16 tires, leather seats and premium sound system. The 5.9 Limited
was produced only for the 1998 model year, having more luxury than that
of the regular Limited. It housed a powerful 5.9 L V8 engine with an
output of 245 hp and 345 foot-pounds of torque, going from zero to 60
mph in only 7.3 seconds, making it the quickest SUV available that year.
Other features separated the 5.9 from the standard Limited model, such
as mesh grille insert, unique five-spoke alloy wheels, improved premium
stereo, and softer leather trim.
For 1993 alone, Jeep resurrected the Grand Wagoneer name for a special
luxury version of the Grand Cherokee with the 5.2 L V8, this marked the
last appearance for the Grand Wagoneer from the Jeep lineup.
4WD systems included Command-Trac, a part-time unit offering temporary
4-wheel assistance; Command-Trac was dropped from lineup in conjunction
with the SE trim in 1996. Select-Trac had the option of either full-time
or part-time operation; Both shift-on-the-fly Command-Trac and Select-Trac
were already available for the Cherokee XJ lineup, and were adopted to
the ZJ platform. Exclusive to the Grand Cherokee was the introduction of
Quadra-Trac having all-time four-wheel assistance only, this was
standard on all Limited and specialty trims and optional for Laredo
models alike. Two-wheel-drive models were sold though only for "Laredo"
trims in late 1993, it wasn't until 1994 when 2WD was available for
Limited; and in 1997 5.2 L V8 engines were sold along with 2WD.
The Grand Cherokee V8 was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list and
was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 1993.
- 1993–1996 – Base "SE"
- 1993–1998 – Laredo
- 1993–1998 – Limited
- 1995–1997 – Orvis "Limited Edition"
- 1997–1998 – TSi
- 1998 – 5.9 Limited
- 1993 – Grand Wagoneer
AMC Power Tech
The redesigned WJ 1999 Grand Cherokee shared just 127 parts
with its predecessor. The structure was stiffened (by Porsche
Engineering) for sharper steering and lighter weight. The spare
tire was relocated from the side of the cargo compartment to
under the floor to great relief of owners. The two heavy pushrod
V8 engines were replaced by a single aluminum SOHC unit,
Chrysler's new PowerTech. Although this engine produced less
torque than both previous V8s, it was lighter and got much
better fuel economy.
While other Jeep vehicles used the Mopar 5 x 4.5 bolt circle,
this was the first Mopar to receive a wider bolt pattern - 5 x
5. The 5 x 5 bolt pattern (also 5 x 127mm), although common to
GM FR vehicles and light duty trucks/vans, has spread beyond its
use with GM (and Ford with their 1973-78 LTDs and Lincolns).
A notable feature that was available this generation is the
automatic AWD option called Quadra-Drive. With three viscous
clutches, it was the only truck all wheel drive system on the
time with triple difs, as Toyota had removed the front locker
from their Land Cruiser.
The 45RFE automatic transmission in the WJ cherokee was
notable. It included 3 planetary gearsets rather than the two
normally used in a 4-speed automatic. This gave it six
theoretical speeds, and it would have been the first six-speed
transmission ever produced in volume, but it was programmed to
only use five of these ratios. Four were used for upshifts, with
a different second gear for downshifts. Although five of the six
ratios were used, Chrysler decided to call it a "4-speed
The Laredo and luxurious Limited trim levels were standard
- 2002–2003 — Sport
- 2002–2004 — Special Edition
- 2002–2004 — Overland
These specialty models
appeared for a brief time, The Sport was slightly more equipped
than the Laredo and offered a two-tone black trim interior for
style. The Special Edition was introduced offering the same
quality of the Limited, differences include 4.7 L V8 engine and
slightly revised front grille were standard issue on the Special
Edition. The Overland (appropriated after the former Jeep
parent, Willys-Overland) is top-of-the-line of the WJ brand
boasting the 4.7 L H.O. V8 as well as a wealth of standard
features such as front and side-curtain airbags, an Infinity
sound system with 10-disc changer, heated/power front seats,
integrated rock rails, power sunroof, wood/leather steering
wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Power Tech I6
Output PowerTech V8
all-new WK 2005 Grand Cherokee debuted in 2004. Features
available for the first time in a Jeep included Quadra-Drive II
4WD and a rear-seat DVD player.
The design still emphasizes power and luxury, with significant
work done on improving noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
However, for the first time, Jeep also emphasized on-road
performance to a similar extent as the cornerstone of its brand,
This newfound emphasis on on-road refinement led Jeep to replace
the live-axle with leading-arms front suspension found in the ZJ
and WJ, prized by off-roading Jeep fans for its ability to
maintain consistent ground clearance and provide optimal wheel
articulation, with a double-wishbone independent setup like that
which debuted in the 2002 Liberty, known as the Cherokee in the
UK. Jeep changed its philosophy due to what it perceived as
increasing demand in the SUV marketplace for on-road performance
and decreasing demand for off-road capability.
- 2005–present – Laredo
- 2005–present – Limited
- 2006–present – Overland
- 2006–present – SRT-8
An SRT-8 version of the Grand Cherokee debuted at the 2005 New York
International Auto Show. Powered by a 415 hp (310 kW) version of the
6.1 L Hemi, it also features upgraded Brembo brakes, a special transfer
case, and interior and exterior updates.
A version of the Grand Cherokee with DaimlerChrysler's BlueTec Diesel V6
from the E320 is expected in 2006.
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation