1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Available in 4 styles:  Grand Cherokee 4dr 4X4 shown
Asking Price Range
$417–$5,993
Estimated MPG

15 city / 20–21 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

By 

Orlando Sentinel

The increasing number of car buyers switching from luxury cars to upscale sport-utility vehicles has been one of the steady trends in the auto industry in the past couple of years.

So powerful a trend is it that Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz already have announced plans to build luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles, and Lexus, Lincoln and Cadillac officials have said they are thinking about it.

Land Rover, with its Defender, Discovery and Range Rover, has been the most successful automaker when it comes to catering to the small but growing crowd of buyers who don't mind spending more than $30,000 for a dolled-up truck.

More recently, Ford, with its upscale Explorer Limited, showed that it can serve up a hit in that part of the market.

Now Chrysler is moving in.

This week's test vehicle, a Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition, is the most attractive, well-equipped and expensive Jeep you can buy.

Orvis is the manufacturer of upscale outdoor accessories, such as clothes, fishing and hunting equipment, and luggage. For this Jeep, Orvis lends its logo and trademark dark green and burgundy colors in what has to be the classiest combination of hues ever seen on a Jeep.

Because few of the people who spend upward of 30 grand on a truck ever bother to take it off-road, we tested it in a manner more in keeping with how expensive sport-utility vehicles are used these days: We packed the Orvis with a precocious 2 1/2 -year-old, a child safety seat, a cooler and a load of toys, then set out on a long road trip.

After more than 1,000 comfortable, trouble-free miles behind the wheel, I can say that the Orvis Edition probably will find a welcome home in the minds, in the hearts and - more importantly - in the garages of well-to-do buyers.

PERFORMANCE

The Orvis edition of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is outfitted with Chrysler's best drivetrain: a 5.2-liter (318 cubic inch), 220-horsepower V-8, computer-controlled four-speed automatic and Quadra-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system.

The Grand Cherokee is the only mid-size sport-utility vehicle other than the Land Rover's red-hot Discovery (also priced at about $32,000) that is available with a V-8 engine.

This Jeep's acceleration can best be described as effortless.

The quiet, smooth-running V-8, which makes a stump-pulling 300-pound-feet of torque, launches the vehicle from a stoplight or up the ramp to the interstate with vigor.

While the six-cylinder performance of the Jeep's domestic and foreign competitors (such vehicles as the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4-Runner and Chevy Blazer) is adequate in most instances, there is still nothing like having eight cylinders working for you. Here's why: Chrysler claims the Orvis delivers a best-in-class towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. That should give you enough power to tow most boats and horse trailers.

Also, the engine never strains, even when the Jeep is fully loaded with kids and cargo.

Less inspiring is the four-speed automatic. It shifts unlike any other transmission I can recall. Instead of a positive upshift, it feels as if the transmission floats from one gear to the next. It just doesn't shift like other automatics.

Thatsaid, I have to report that no manner of driving - easy, hard or under a load - made the transmission misbehave in any way.

Because the Orvis is aimed at those with fat wallets, fueling up should be nothing more than a minor - but somewhat frequent - nuisance. The Orvis uses the least expensive grade of unleaded, but it guzzles it at the rate of 13 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway, according to the on-board computer.

HANDLING

When you take a long trip in a sport-utility vehicle, you'll understand why the station wagon is practically extinct.

As with other sport-utility vehicles, the Grand Cherokee gives you a commanding view of the road. The roof is 64.7 inches off the ground - about 9 inches highert an a Ford Taurus wagon's roof.

The added height and the better view it affords makes you feel safer. If you spot an accident or road hazard ahead of you sooner, you can stop quicker.

As with other sport-utility vehicles, high winds tend to bother the Grand Cherokee. As we drove through the remnants of a thunderstorm at highway speeds, it took both hands on the steering wheel to keep the vehicle in its lane.

In normal weather, the Grand Cherokee is as easy to drive as a car. And it handles like one too.

The power-assisted steering makes for easy and, if need be, fairly sharp turns. Chrysler says the Grand Cherokee can turn a circle in 36.6 feet - excellent by sport-utility standards.

Bumps are smoothed over by the Grand Cherokee's ''Quadra-Link'' suspension system, which consists of live axles front and rear. The body leans slightly when you round a corner at more than normal speeds but then you don't drive a sport-utility like you would a sports car, so such maneuvers are not recommended.

The anti-lock power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes are strong. The anti-lock system engages at just the right moment and prevents the wheels from locking up.

The all-wheel-drive system is controlled by a lever on the floor to the right of the shifter. The driver can shift into low for extra traction in slow driving.

In most driving situations, the transfer case will be left in its normal position, which transmits 48 percent of the power to the front wheels and 52 percent to the rear. In bad weather, all-wheel-drive is like an insurance policy that ensures the vehicle won't lose traction on wet or snowy roads.

Our test vehicle simply devoured highway miles during a 700-mile trip. It proved capable, comfortable and predictable.

FIT AND FINISH

Mechanically, the Orvis is identical to other top-of-the-line V-8-powered Grand Cherokees.

It's the color and makeup of the Orvis Edition that make this Jeep special. The Orvis comes only in Chrysler's deep and rich Moss Green Pearl Coat paint.

Two Jeep owners complimented the color, which they noticed before the small ''Orvis Edition'' decals on the side of the vehicle.

The comfortable, electrically adjustable bucket seats are covered with a perforated tan leather that has green leather inserts and burgundy piping.

The doors and dash have a faux wood treatment that looks classy. The finishing touch is the spare tire cover: It has an embroidered Orvis logo showing a fly fisherman casting into a stream.

Chrysler builds the Orvis just one way: fully loaded. The only thing that isn't standard is a power sun roof. The long list of standard features includes cruise control; power windows, door locks and mirrors; a powerful eight-speaker AM/FM radio with a CD player; and a computer system with a compass.

Generally, our test vehicle was screwed together well. However, the driver's door made an annoying squeak that mysteriously d isappeared a few days into the test drive.

While on the highway, I noticed quite a bit of wind noise near the door mirrors.

One other minor gripe: The radio-controlled door locking system did not work well. It usually required several presses of the button to lock or unlock the doors.

In any case, all four doors open wide, which makes getting in and out easy. A child safety seat can be installed with no problem, and there is enough room for plenty of cargo or another passenger on the rear bench seat, which can be split and folded forward.

The spare tire swallows a large chunk of available storage room in the rear compartment. The roof rack can hold any luggage or items that won't fit inside.

If the Grand Cherokee has a weak point, it's the dash. The squared off, boxy-looking dash has a jigsaw-puzzle look, and the orange and black gauges are fairly plain-looking.

The computer-controlled air conditioner, adjusted by using three rotary knobs in the cent r of the dash, worked well.

The Jeep's dash looks dated when compared with the interiors of the Ford Explorer and the Chevrolet Blazer.

Even with a somewhat dull dash, the Orvis Edition of the Grand Cherokee is an all-round excellent vehicle that is classy, attractive and user friendly.

Truett's tip: The Orvis Edition is the most luxurious version yet of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It comes standard with every option Jeep offers except a sun roof.


    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

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