Jeep’s Grand Cherokee was introduced as a premium mid-sized SUV in 1993, with its first introduction at the N. American International Auto Show at Cobo arena in Detroit. It is currently in its fourth generation configuration and has always featured unibody construction.
The car is on a hot streak, being named a Consumer Digest “best buy” for the seventh consecutive year. Since 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee annual sales have topped 200,000 on seven different occasions, including last year. And the 2017 4×4 Grand Cherokee such as I recently tested has been awarded a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
My Grand Cherokee test vehicle for June was a Velvet Red Pearl Limited 4×4 that carried an M.S.R.P. of $46,680.00. I’m partial to red equipment and with the 18″ double ten-spoke gray wheels the Jeep was quite attractive. A black leather interior was on hand including heat in front and rear seats, 506-watt XM stereo, 8.4″ touchscreen display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, navigation system, blind spot detection, power-tilt steering column, and 9 speakers with a subwoofer.
The Grand Cherokee is a mid-sized SUV and seats five with cargo room in the rear of 36.3 cubic feet. If the second row seating is folded flat that number increases to 68.3 cubic feet. The Jeep wheelbase is 114.8″, length is 189.8″, and the weight is 4,677 lbs. The ride, interior noise suppression, handling and guidance on the highway are all on target and visibility is good, as well.
When driving my test Jeep with Ruth, my wife, I often requested that she handle the gear shift when getting underway. At first I am sure she thought I was nuts, but what I wanted her to experience was the deluxe “feel” associated with the transmission control. It seems that the Jeep is definitely a “high touch”, and a “high utility” luxury SUV.
I mentioned the wheels, and can add that tires mounted on them were Michelin Premier LTX 265/60R18 all-season radials. Of course the Jeep is a 4×4 with Quadra-Trac active on-demand system and electronic limited-slip differential. Select-Track options while driving include Track, Sport, Auto, Snow and Tow modes. Additionally, the Jeep had a trailer tow group of options with receiver hitch, wiring harness, etc.
Power for the Grand Cherokee Limited is supplied by a 3.6 liter (220 c.i.d.) Pentastar 24-valve V-6 with 295 horsepower, 260 lb. ft. or torque, and stop-start technology. It is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission with, as Jeep describes it, a “Classic style” shifter. Economy ratings are 25 mpg-highway, 18 mpg-city, and 21 mpg-combined, and my observance was at 21.4 mpg during my time with the Jeep.
It’s evident to me why the venerable Grand Cherokee has had such staying power for almost a quarter-century.