The dictionary defines grand as impressive in size, appearance or general effect. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is just that. First introduced in 1993, the Grand Cherokee ZJ was a bigger, better version of the already spectacular Jeep Cherokee.
The Grand Cherokee is a mid-size luxury SUV, constructed on a unibody chassis, instead of a traditional truck frame. For its entire existence it has provided smooth on-road driving characteristics along with exceptional off-road capabilities.
(Second Generation 1999 – 2004)
The redesigned second generation WJ Jeep Cherokee hit showrooms in 1999. It featured a more rounded body style as well as a 4.7L 8-cylinder engine. A new automatic all-wheel drive system also debuted, named Quadra-Drive. Interior space was increased and many creature comforts were added.
The final year of the second generation, 2004, saw the introduction of factory-installed DVD navigation system integrated into the radio, as well as Columbia, Freedom and Special Edition trims.
(Third Generation 2005 – 2010)
The introduction of the third generation WK in 2005 marked the Grand Cherokee’s transition from a refined rock crawler into a cross-over SUV. In addition to the fresh exterior, 2005 marked the introduction of a host of new technological firsts including Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive and an independent front suspension. Two new engines were also made available: a 5.7L Hemi 8-cylinder and a 3.7L 6-cylinder.
Fourth Generation (2011 – Present)
The Grand Cherokee was once again redefined in 2011, and dubbed the WK2. It got a more modern exterior as well as a longer wheelbase and more interior room. Underneath, the solid rear axle got deleted in favor of a four-wheel independent suspension, and air-ride suspension was made available. A new power plant was also added to the lineup: a 3.6L 6-cylinder.
In 2012, the high performance Grand Cherokee SRT8 was introduced with a 470-hp 8-cylinder engine under the hood. Model year 2013 marked the introduction of the off-road ready Trailhawk edition. For 2014, quite a few changes were made including a refreshed interior and exterior, a new 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Finally, for 2015, a noise cancellation package was added, making the Grand more refined.
If you’re the type who likes playing in the mud as well as black tie events, the Cherokee is the vehicle for you. Its go-anywhere capabilities allow you to hit the trail, get dirty, and still make it to a formal event in style. It’s no wonder the Grand Cherokee has popular for over 23 years.