Last redesigned for the 1999 model year, this top-of-the-line model from DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep division has been its highest-volume seller by far. For 2004, the Grand Cherokee gets a fresh appearance with a new front fascia, grille and fog lamps.
Two new option packages have been added to the existing Laredo, Limited and high-performance Overland trim levels. The new Special Edition package has the monochromatic look of a Limited. When equipped with four-wheel drive (4WD), the Special Edition package includes fog lamps, a Quadra-Trac II system, and a 10-CD changer with a cassette player and Infinity speakers. A new Navigation Radio that includes a 4.9-inch display screen and DVD-based navigation system is available. Jeep is also adding a Freedom package, which features a uniquely painted front grille, a bright silver front fascia and 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels.
Laredos can now be equipped with a Quadra-Trac I single-speed transfer case as a no-charge option to regular dual-range Selec-Trac or available Quadra-Trac II. It’s designed for drivers who don’t go off-road or haul heavy loads.
The four-door Grand Cherokee is larger than its Liberty sibling. A 4WD premium Overland model with a high-output 4.7-liter V-8 engine and standard side curtain-type airbags debuted in the 2002 model year. Overland editions feature unique front and rear styling and a redwood-accented interior.
Featuring the bold upright grille for which Jeep is known, the Grand Cherokee’s classic four-door sport utility vehicle styling is evident, even if it is more rounded than some of its rivals. It measures 181.6 inches long overall, rides a 105.9-inch wheelbase, stands 69.4 inches tall and stretches 72.3 inches wide. The rear liftgate features a window that swings up separately. A roof rack is standard.
All models seat five occupants. Leather upholstery is standard in the snazzier versions and optional in the Laredo. Cargo volume is 71.7 cubic feet with the rear seat folded, and the spare tire is mounted underneath the rear cargo floor.
Standard Laredo equipment includes a CD player, rear privacy glass, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Stepping up to the Limited model adds such features as automatic dual-zone temperature control, heated mirrors and an Infinity audio system. Overland models have rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, and a wood- and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Adjustable pedals are optional.
Under the Hood
The standard Grand Cherokee engine, which is also used in models with the new Special Edition package, is a 195-horsepower, 4.0-liter inline-six-cylinder that drives a four-speed-automatic transmission. An optional 235-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 engine, which is standard in models with the Freedom package, teams with a five-speed automatic. For peak performance, the Overland gets a high-output 265-hp version of the V-8, which is optional in the Limited.
Depending on the model, Grand Cherokees come with either rear-wheel drive or one of four 4WD systems. Selec-Trac is a full-time system that can be left in 4WD mode on dry pavement; it is standard on the Laredo. Quadra-Trac II, which offers on-demand 4WD that distributes power among the four wheels as needed for traction, is standard on the Limited and models with the Special Edition package. Both systems have a two-speed transfer case. The new Quadra-Trac I system, which is optional on the Laredo, has no Low range. Quadra-Drive, which is standard on the Overland and optional on the Limited, combines Quadra-Trac II with Vari-Lok axles; the system can keep the vehicle moving even if only one wheel has traction.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side curtain-type airbags are standard in the Overland and optional in the other models.