Jeep Grand Cherokee historical past: How the SUV advanced over practically 3 many years – Roadshow

Nonetheless seems good in any case this time.


A brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee is nigh, y’all. About to enter its fifth technology, the Grand Cherokee ought to proceed to be an enormous vendor for Jeep, with plenty of luxurious, tech and naturally, off-road cred. However earlier than the brand-new Grand Cherokee formally bows this week, let’s have a look again on the SUV’s previous.

ZJ Grand Cherokee: A smashing debut

Like, actually smashing. As a part of its 1992 Detroit Auto Present festivities, Jeep drove the then-new Grand Cherokee up the steps of Detroit’s Cobo Corridor and smashed through one of the convention center’s plate glass windows with a view to present how tough and difficult its new SUV was. It is my second-favorite auto show introduction of all time.

Meant to be a extra luxurious Cherokee, the primary ZJ-gen Grand Cherokee got here in Base, Laredo and Restricted trims and was initially provided with a 4.0-liter straight-6 engine with 190 horsepower. Rear- or four-wheel drive choices have been obtainable, as have been five-speed guide and four-speed automated transmissions.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee was the primary SUV to be provided with a driver’s aspect airbag (fancy!). Right now, even our knees have airbags, however again then, a driver’s aspect bag was an enormous deal. The Grand Cherokee additionally had novel-for-the-time applied sciences together with anti-lock brakes, energy door locks, energy home windows and even cruise management. The Restricted trim stepped all the pieces up a notch with gold exterior accents, leather-based seats, keyless entry and digitized local weather controls.

For the preliminary 1993 mannequin 12 months, Jeep provided a Grand Wagoneer model of the Grand Cherokee. It had a 5.2-liter V8 with 235 hp and the older Wagoneer’s iconic woodgrain paneling. The Grand Wagoneer nameplate is returning in the not-too-distant future, however as a separate car, not only a fancy trim stage.

A number of new variants got here on-line through the ZJ Grand Cherokee’s lifecycle. The 1995 to 1997 mannequin 12 months Orvis Version had a signature hunter inexperienced exterior with gold accents and a two-tone green-and-tan inside. The 1997-98 Grand Cherokee TSI was a barely sportier take, with distinctive 16-inch wheels and a bumping stereo system that featured controls on the steering wheel. 1998 noticed the introduction of the Grand Cherokee 5.9 Restricted, that includes a 5.9-liter V8 with 245 hp. The primary stirrings of a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, anybody?

The second-gen Grand Cherokee was fairly good-looking.


WJ Grand Cherokee: Extra rugged, extra refined

When the second-gen Grand Cherokee arrived in 1999, it solely shared 127 components with the first-gen mannequin (that is not quite a bit in automotive phrases). The bottom 4.0-liter I6 carried over, however the older V8s have been canned, changed with a 235-hp, 4.7-liter V8. A four-speed automated transmission was normal with a five-speed auto arriving in 2001.

Jeep’s four-wheel-drive tech received an enormous improve throughout this technology. The corporate’s Quadra-Trac II system introduced a two-speed switch case, with 4-All, Impartial and 4-Lo settings, the primary of which might solely ship energy to the rear wheels, however may switch torque to the entrance when wheel slippage was detected. A brand new Quadra-Drive system was additionally provided, which took all the pieces nice about Quadra-Trac and added entrance and rear limited-slip differentials, permitting for side-to-side torque vectoring, quite than simply entrance to again.

Oh, and enjoyable reality: Jeep’s then-parent firm, DaimlerChrysler, teamed up with Porsche to strengthen the Grand Cherokee’s unibody body. Known as UniFrame, the upgraded building added power and rigidity to the Jeep’s platform, leading to diminished noise, vibration and harshness.

Inside, the WJ boasted extra room for individuals and cargo, and the controls have been positioned in additional ergonomically pleasant areas. Heated seats have been obtainable, as was dual-zone local weather management and even a 10-disc CD changer. In 2004, the WJ received a slight makeover with a brand new grille and spherical foglamps. At the moment, drivers may additionally go for an in-dash navigation system.

Ooh, you fancy.


WK Grand Cherokee: Extra, extra, extra

The 2005 Grand Cherokee got here with large modifications, together with an impartial entrance suspension and five-link rear axle. A 3.7-liter V6 engine was normal, producing 215 hp, however consumers may additionally get 4.7-liter or 5.7-liter Hemi V8s, the latter of which pushed out a wholesome 330 hp. All engines used five-speed automated transmissions, and the upgraded Quadra-Drive II system gained electronically locking entrance and rear differentials, in addition to traction management.

The third-gen Grand Cherokee was quite a bit longer than its predecessor. The oblong headlamps have been swapped out in favor of spherical models, and the D pillar was pushed ahead, giving the Jeep a extra rakish look. The 2005 mannequin was initially solely obtainable in Laredo and Restricted trims, however some fairly swank choices joined the get together, like a rear-seat DVD system, automated headlights and ultimately even Bluetooth connectivity.

In 2006, two new variations arrived. You won’t keep in mind the luxurious Overland, however you certain as heck keep in mind the Grand Cherokee SRT8, filled with a snarling 6.1-liter Hemi V8 that provided 420 hp. With fats, sticky tires, Brembo brakes and Bilstein shocks, I keep in mind driving one and pondering no SUV would ever be faster than that. Jeep clearly proved me unsuitable there, and the corporate additionally provided a 3.0-liter diesel choice starting in 2007. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 received an improve in 2009, as properly.

WK2 Grand Cherokee: An necessary improve

When the WK2 Grand Cherokee launched in 2011, Jeep’s mother or father firm was going via laborious instances. In actual fact, Chrysler used the event of this new Grand Cherokee to show that its future autos can be constructed to a brand new, increased normal.

The WK2 had totally impartial suspension geometry and a brand new terrain administration system was provided, with Auto, Sport, Snow, Rock and Sand/Mud modes. This was when the Grand Cherokee additionally launched its Quadra-Carry air suspension, complementing the Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive programs.

Loads of the unique WK Grand Cherokee’s underpinnings are nonetheless used right now. This SUV had one of many first purposes of Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, although a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was provided, too. The earlier diesel and SRT8 choices did not initially make the lower with the 2011 Grand Cherokee, however they each ultimately made a comeback.

When the SRT8 rejoined the lineup in 2012, it packed a brand new 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 470 hp. As a part of the 2014 mannequin 12 months refresh, the SRT dropped the 8 from its title, with a view to coincide with Chrysler’s short-lived standalone SRT model. The refresh additionally launched the three.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, which did not stick round very lengthy, and the luxurious Overland Summit mannequin dropped the primary a part of its title, and nonetheless lives on because the Summit.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk joined the lineup a pair years later, with distinctive air suspension tuning that allowed for 10 inches of floor clearance, and the Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system gained Selec-Management, a type of off-road cruise management. This Grand Cherokee additionally had skid plates and off-road tires wrapped round 18-inch wheels.

Jeep misplaced its thoughts for the 2018 mannequin 12 months and gave us the Trackhawk, with Chrysler’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 beneath the hood. The 475-hp SRT was nonetheless provided, however come on, who’s going to move up the possibility to personal a 707-hp Jeep?

Right now, the Grand Cherokee is accessible in Laredo, Restricted, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk variants, and affords plenty of nice tech together with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise management and Chrysler’s incredible Uconnect infotainment system.

WL Grand Cherokee: The 2021 mannequin is sort of right here

All that historical past leads us as much as this week, when the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee will make its debut. The 2021 Grand Cherokee must be bigger than the present mannequin, with nicer supplies inside and an enormous tech improve. Do not count on the massive dual-screen setup from the brand new Grand Wagoneer, however a digital gauge cluster, rotary shift knob and a bunch of recent lively security options are anticipated to be provided. V6 and V8 engines will doubtless carry over, and quite a lot of four-wheel-drive programs will little doubt be obtainable.

After 10 years available on the market, the present Jeep Grand Cherokee is certainly prepared for an overhaul. I can not wait to see what’s subsequent.

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