JEEP Grand Cherokee
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk is the most powerful production SUV on the planet.
The Trackhawk’s all-wheel-drive systemgives it better grip off the line, which makes it quicker than the Dodge Hellcat brothers, even though it weighs hundreds of pounds more than either of them. It has the same 707 hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8 found in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat muscle cars under its vented hood. The engine is a gloriously ridiculous novelty in all three applications, but the Trackhawk makes the most out of it. Only 3 and a half secons are required from the SUV to reach 60 mph.
Jeep introduced the fifth generation of the Grand Cherokee lineup in 2021, and it proved worthy of its nameplate but added more luxurious and advanced technological solutions.
After seven million units sold, the Grand Cherokee was already a respected and worldwide known product. Ever since its first generation, in 1992, it offered great off-road performance and a comfortable interior. Over the years, the American SUV became more and more luxurious and proved to be performant on highways too.
The 2021 Grand Cherokee was so well designed that it even didn’t need a badge to recognize its brand and nameplate. Its seven vertical slats at the front were a distinctive sign for the Jeep brand, while its narrow headlights and fat bumper made a connection with its predecessors in terms of design. Jeep built the vehicle on the same platform used by the Stellantis group for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The designers managed to create a lower roofline for a sleeker appearance. The raked-forward C-pillars remained a clear characteristic for the Grand Cherokee.
While the first generation of the Grand Cherokee sported a spartan interior with just a few amenities, the 2021 model could compete in the luxury segment thanks to the use of leather, high-tech, and comfort features. I provided 144.6 cu-ft (4,096 liters) of interior space for the cabin. When the rear, split-folding bench was lowered, it allowed a trunk increase of up to 37.7 cu-ft (1,067 liters). For the front occupants, Jeep installed a Uconnect infotainment system with up to three 10.1” screens.
From the technical point of view, the most technologically advanced powertrain was the 4xe version. It featured a hybrid powerplant that combined a turbocharged inline-four and an electric motor mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee L at the beginning of 2021, just in time to be deployed at full scale when the world pandemic was done.
Chrysler promised a certain level of autonomous driving experience and a hybrid version for the Grand Cherokee’s fifth generation. It was a big gamble, and they knew it. The customers started to demand more eco-friendly vehicles than hard-core off-road cars, and the carmaker worked hard to deliver what the market asked for, even though in the beginning, the engineers just carried over the previously used engines from the Grand Cherokee MK IV.
The design team burned the midnight oil to finish the car’s final touches during the pandemic situation. It exchanged some terabytes of information during the extended Zoom discussions, but the final result was respectable. With wider gaps between the seven vertical slats, its front fascia resembled the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, while the extended greenhouse made the SUV look sportier than before.
Inside, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L was available with three rows of seats, either with room for six or seven occupants. The middle and the last row were folding flat and slide forward to increase the trunk space. Also new was its 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster with nearly two dozen different menus from which the user could select, including driver-assist technologies.
The engineers relied on the already proven engines from the fourth-generation of the Grand Cherokee under the hood, but they worked harder for the transmission systems. There were three versions for the mid-size SUV. The base version featured an all-wheel-drive system without low-range gear. Only the second and the third levels were available with that, and the latter featured an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
As the new Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced in 2013, Chrysler’s Street & Racing Technology brand didn’t take too long to introduce the high-performance version the popular SUV.
Fitted with the company’s new LED lamps, a redesigned grille and a new rear spoiler, the 2013 Grand Cherokee SRT is the most aggressive iteration yet. As expected, the beefed-up SUV was launched with the powerful 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine (470 hp / 465 lb-ft) mated to a eight-speed automatic transmission. Other features include Fuel Saver Technology, a new electronic T-handle shifter, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, retuned Selec-Track, and upgraded break system.
The fourth generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced in 2009 at the New York Auto Show and it was facelifted in 2013.
For the 2014 model year, the Grand Cherokee received more updates in terms of on and off-road performance. Since Chrysler is into an alliance with the Fiat, the Italians couldn’t let a facelifted model go out without several exterior improvements.
On the outside, the 2013 Grand Cherokee showed different headlights and front bumper design. The Trailhawk version received additional underbody shields and higher ground clearance. With a new set of wheels and off-road tires, the Trailhawk was ready to tackle serious off-road tracks. Permanent tow-hitches front and back were installed. An air-suspension was installed and that allowed an increase up to 11” (28 cm) of ground clearance.
Inside, there were new modifications in terms of infotainment and instrument cluster. The new Uconnect system was carried over and adapted from Fiat. It was available with several cameras to show a 360 degrees view around the car. Trailhawk-specific interior touches included black leather and performance suede seats with red accent stitching and Mopar slush floor mats front and rear.
For the engine compartment, the Grand Cherokee was offered with a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 unit, that complemented the 3.6- and the 5.7-liter units. All versions were mated as standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF.
On April 20, 2011, Jeep announced that the SRT8 version will be debuted at the 2011 New York Auto Show.
According to Chrysler, it’s the most powerful Jeep ever built.
The new Cherokee SRT-8, started production on July-16-2011, being equipped with a 465 hp (344 kW; 461 PS) 6.4 liter Hemi V8 engine. To keep the gas mileage respectable, Jeep has employed a new active exhaust system that lets Chrysler’s cylinder-deactivating Fuel Saver Technology operate over a wider RPM band. Chrysler claims that with the larger gas tank, the SUV can now travel up to 500 miles (800 km) on a single tank, while other sources estimate range to be 450 miles (720 km).
A popular choice in the SUV market, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s history started back in the early ‘90s.
Designed for customers looking for both off-road capabilities and good urban skills, the Grand Cherokee was fitted with an advanced four-wheel-drive system, however, driving it around town was fun also.
Not fitted with the most spacious cabin, the SUV could have fell off the list for larger families, as the cargo area was rather small compared to other vehicles available on the market.
Under the hood, the JGC came with a choice of 3 engines, a V6 and two V8s.
While you would think opting for the V6 would have come with an improved fuel consumption, it was not the case with the 2010 model. Thus, many customers opted for the V8s, with power ranging from 357 hp to 420 hp with the SRT8 model.
The most powerful V8 unit rocketed the JGC to 100 kph in around 4.7 seconds.
Offered in three trim levels, the SUV was available either with a rear-wheel-drive or a four-wheel-drive system, while the SRT8 was only available with the AWD system.
Safety wise, the JGC featured antilock disc brakes, stability control, side curtain airbags with a roll-over detection system and an optional trailer sway control.
The materials used inside the cabin were never the Jeep’s strongest point, however, the refreshed 2010 model upgraded their quality to make it more appealing to the customers.
The third generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was born under the DaimlerChrysler alliance and benefited from the know-how of both of its parents.
But the main ingredients were from the U.S. side.
When it comes to luxury SUVs, bigger was always better. A bigger wheelbase and a longer body made the Grand Cherokee more appealing for its customers. Due to the new proportions, it looked sleeker than before. And the technology hidden underneath the car confirmed the evolution.
The new look of the car kept the seven vertical slats on the grille. The new design for the headlights made a step away from the classic, rectangular, type. The overfenders on the wheel-arches, both front, and back, gave the car a sportier look. And it wasn’t for nothing.
Inside, the car featured the same luxurious interior as before. The base trim level featured cloth seats, but the top-of-the-range ones were fitted with leather upholstery, touchscreen infotainment systems, and automatic transmission.
For the drivetrain, the 2005 Grand Cherokee was a revolutionary model. It featured a front-wheel independent suspension and a five-link rear axle. It was available with or without low-range gear. Power came from a standard 3.7-liter engine in the Laredo trim level and went up to a 5.7-liter unit, Hemi V8 engine. For the European market, the Grand Cherokee was available with a 3.0-liter V6 diesel unit. All versions were mated to a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. The versions with low-gear transmission featured the QuadraDrive II system, with front and rear limited-slip electronically controlled differentials, with multi-clutch plates.
The SRT-8 stands for Street Racing technology V8 and the car that bears the SRT-8 logo is usually one a more powerful version than the original, tuned for more speed.
In the Grand Cherokee’s case it’s the 420 hp 6.1 Hemi engine that makes the difference, together with Brembo brakes, dual performance exhaust tips, Bilstein performance shocks, Mercedes 5-speed transmission and an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system that make the difference. The good news is that the car’s performances (0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph) aren’t limited in any way.
DaimlerChrysler unveiled a facelifted version for the WJ Grand Cherokee in 2003 for the last two years in production before the 2005 WK generation replaced it.
While the Grand Cherokee was already well known in the U.S., its presence on the European market was slim, mostly due to its size and low fuel efficiency. It was not a car for tight corners and narrow streets as those from Europe. Moreover, even though it offered a turbo-diesel version, it was too weak for the car’s size. But the 2003 model came and fixed that too.
On the outside, the 2003 Grand Cherokee received a minor exterior update. At the front, the car sported a new design for the signature seven-slat vertical grille. In the lower part of the bumper, the carmaker placed round fog lights instead of the previously used rectangular, horizontal ones. Jeep installed a metallic shield under the engine compartment to emphasize the vehicle’s offroad ability and extended it all the way to the front, under the bumper. On the sides, the 2003 model received additional turn signals.
Inside, Mercedes-Benz helped Chrysler in developing a friendlier interior. Jeep changed the older black dials inside the instrument cluster to white-faced ones with black needles. Other changes included fewer wood trims on the center stack and center console.
Under the hood, the most significant novelty for the Europeans was the 2.7-liter turbo-diesel engine carried over from Mercedes-Benz. It replaced the older WM-Motori 3.1-liter unit and provided more power and torque while offering better fuel efficiency. For the U.S. market, the most important addition in terms of engines was the 4.7-liter High Output unit that provided 30 more horses.
Developed in just 28 months and sharing only 127 parts with its predecessor, the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee – WJ represented a leap forward for the Jeep’s flagship model.
Made during the DaimlerChrysler alliance, the Grand Cherokee WJ was produced on four continents and featured significant technological upgrades. Some of them were carried over from Mercedes-Benz, while the two carmakers jointly developed others. Its all-wheel-drive system and lighter, evolved engines led to better fuel efficiency as well.
From the outside, it was clearly a Jeep. Its seven-slat grille was already a signature element. Since it was developed at the beginning of the new-edge-design era, it sported rectangular headlights but with rounded corners. Its bumper sat high to improve the approach angle, and only those who didn’t want to take it off-road chose the optional aluminum side steps, which decreased the break-over angle. Its flared wheel-arches gave the impression of a true off-road warrior. Jeep even marketed it as “the most capable SUV ever.”
Inside, depending on the engine option and trim level, the carmaker installed comfortable seats with velour upholstery, with an option for a leather-clad interior. The carmaker installed a wide center console for both levers between the front seats: the gear-selector and the transfer case lever. Jeep placed the audio system at the top on the center stack while in the mid-area installed the climate control dials and two vents. The Grand Cherokee sported two large dials for the speedometer and tachometer and another four gauges for various systems in the instrument cluster.
Under the hood, the carmaker installed a choice of four engines: an inline-six carried over from the Cherokee paired with a four-speed automatic, a 4.7-liter V-8 mated to a five-speed automatic, and two turbo-diesel powerplants for the European market. The 2.7-liter unit was carried over from Mercedes-Benz.
The Grand Cherokee’s story begins some time in 1983 when AMC was designing a successor for the smaller Cherokee XJ.
he buyout of AMc by Chrysler pushed back the release date of the production car that had the prototype ready by 1989. The car came out eventually in 1993 as a direct competitor of the Ford Explorer at the North american International Auto Show in Detroit. The first version was called the ZJ and it came with 3 trim levels: the Base, Laredo and the Limited as top of the range. The car remained in production until 1999, with a facelifted version in 1995 when the engine and the overall appearance were upgraded.