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Expert Reviews 1 of 5
By Jim Flammang
September 1, 2005
Vehicle Overview A new Overland model joins the Laredo and Limited trims for 2006. An Electronic Stability Program and one-touch up/down front-door windows are now standard. New Laredo options include Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive and an offroad package for V-6 models.
Redesigned for 2005, the Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle can be equipped with a 3.7-liter V-6, a 4.7-liter V-8 or a 5.7-liter V-8. The 5.7-liter Hemi incorporates a Multi-Displacement System that deactivates half of the cylinders during cruising and light acceleration in order to increase fuel economy.
Three four-wheel-drive systems are available. Quadra-Trac I provides full-time all-wheel-drive operation and requires no attention from the driver. Quadra-Trac II is a full-time active four-wheel-drive system that has low-range gearing. Quadra-Drive II includes electronic limited-slip differentials for heightened offroad capability.
To satiate high-performance fans, a Grand Cherokee SRT8 debuts for 2006. (Skip to details on the:
Exterior Appearance is similar to the 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee, led by Jeep's signature seven-slot grille, which is flanked by round headlamps. The grille is body-colored on the Laredo model, chrome on the Limited and wire lattice on the Overland.
Cladding is no longer used on the sides of the Grand Cherokee. The SUV has what Jeep calls "powerful" wheel flares. Built on a 109.5-inch wheelbase, the Grand Cherokee is 186.6 inches long overall and 67.7 inches tall, with a 62-inch track width.
Interior Five occupants fit inside, and the driver faces a symmetrical two-tone instrument panel. The four-gauge cluster has LED illumination with red pointers.
Laredos get standard cloth upholstery, while seats in the Limited are two-tone leather with perforated inserts. Overland seats are covered in leather and suede upholstery.
A reversible load floor panel in the cargo area improves versatility. Available features include a navigation radio, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Boston Acoustics audio and rear-park assist. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 34.5 cubic feet.
Under the Hood Three engines are available: the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 330 horsepower and 375 pounds-feet of torque; a 3.7-liter V-6 that develops 210 hp and 235 pounds-feet of torque; and a 230-hp, 4.7-liter V-8. All engines work with one of two five-speed-automatic transmissions.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard. Side curtain-type airbags are optional in Laredo and Limited models but are standard in the Overland.
Driving Impressions With the Hemi V-8, this Jeep starts off with a leap. Acceleration is less assertive at highway speeds, but the automatic transmission performs well on steep upgrades by downshifting promptly when you push the accelerator.
The V-6 is short on power going up steeper grades, but otherwise its performance will suffice for most drivers. After a sluggish startup, speed actually rises fairly rapidly. Jeep's 4.7-liter V-8 is an appealing compromise — closer to the V-6, though more refined.
Ride comfort is appealing in each version. Surprisingly, the less-potent versions have felt a bit more stable on twisting roads and mountainous inclines. The Hemi edition eases through every forbidding offroad obstacle. The seats are exceptionally comfortable and have good support and fair side bolstering. Rear legroom is modest unless the front seats are well forward.
SRT8 The new SRT8 gets a 6.1-liter version of DaimlerChrysler's Hemi V-8; it develops 415 hp and 410 pounds-feet of torque. Equipped with full-time four-wheel drive, the SRT8 has an upgraded rear differential and a five-speed-automatic transmission with AutoStick for manual gear changes. Jeep claims the SRT8 has a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of less than 5 seconds.
SRT-tuned dampers, unique sway bars, special spring rates and suspension bushings are installed. Ride height has been lowered by an inch. Forged five-spoke aluminum wheels hold 20-inch tires. Brembo brake calipers are standard. The front fascia features integrated brake-cooling ducts and an air dam. A center cutout accommodates dual 4-inch exhaust tips, and sill extensions help give the SRT8 a distinctive look. Back to top
Expert Reviews 1 of 5
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