Last redesigned for the 1999 model year, the top-of-the-line model from DaimlerChryslers Jeep division has been the highest-volume seller. Bigger than the new Liberty, the four-door Jeep Grand Cherokee competes against the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner and other midsize models, as well as luxury SUVs like the Infiniti QX4 and Lexus RX 300.
For 2002, a new pressure-based tire monitoring system goes into the Grand Cherokee, which is said to be the first sport utility vehicle to get such a system. Sensors attached to the wheel rims send signals to a central receiver, which emits both audible and visual warnings of low pressure. Curtain-type airbags are a new option for 2002.
Featuring the bold upright grille that is a Jeep hallmark, the Grand Cherokees classic four-door SUV styling is evident but is more rounded than some rivals. Measuring 181.5 inches long overall, the Grand Cherokee rides a 105.9-inch wheelbase, stands 69.4 inches tall and is 77.3 inches wide. The rear liftgate contains a window that swings up separately.
Laredo and Limited models both seat five occupants. The snazzier Limited has standard leather upholstery, which is optional on the Laredo. Cargo volume is 72 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. The Grand Cherokees spare tire is mounted underneath the rear cargo floor. Standard Laredo equipment includes a cassette stereo, roof rack, rear privacy glass, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Stepping up to the Limited adds such standards as dual-zone automatic temperature control, power front seats, heated mirrors and a cassette/CD audio system.
Under the Hood
The standard engine is a 195-horsepower, 4.0-liter inline-six-cylinder that drives a four-speed-automatic transmission. A 230-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 with a five-speed automatic is optional. Depending on the model, the Grand Cherokee comes with rear-wheel drive or a choice of two four-wheel-drive systems. Selec-Trac is a full-time 4WD system that can be left in 4WD mode on dry pavement, while Quadra-Trac offers on-demand 4WD that distributes power among the four wheels as needed for traction. Both systems have a two-speed transfer case. All-disc antilock brakes are standard.