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The Jeep Grand Cherokee was known for its ability to balance award-winning off-road capabilities with the luxury and comfort of a vehicle made to drive on city streets. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most popular SUVs on the market today, and sales continue to stay strong.
The origins of the Grand Cherokee begin in 1983, when American Motor Corporation (AMC) wanted a larger successor to the smaller Jeep Cherokee XJ. The original design of the Cherokee successor was termed the "XJC" project, and was essentially a clay model of the new design. AMC was purchased by Chrysler in 1987, and Chrysler continued the conceptual development of this SUV, eventually bringing it into production in 1992. The Grand Cherokee was debuted in a great spectacle at the North American International Auto Show in January of 1992. Chrysler President Robert Lutz drove the Detroit mayor up the steps of Cobo Hall, where the event was being held, and through a plate glass window to dramatically reveal the new vehicle.
The newest Jeep Grand Cherokee offers quality off-road driving abilities while still boasting a wide array of luxurious interior options. The interior features leather trim, real wood accents, and the newest electronic options, such as heated leather seats, navigation, and Bluetooth. The engine choices include a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 or a 5.7-liter, Hemi V-8. Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II are all four-wheel-drive system options for the 2013 Grand Cherokee as well as an optional Quadra-Lift system to increase ground clearance. A Selec-Terrain system offers various pre-set driving modes for several different road conditions.
The current generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is the fourth generation and while it still maintains the original Jeep styling, it has given it a much different look with much more rounded corners and an overall sleek look. The new body design increases aerodynamic efficiency yet increased overall stability. Engine choices include the 3.6-liter V-6 or the 5.7-liter V-8 and various four-wheel drive systems. The transmission is a five-speed automatic Trim Levels include Laredo, Laredo X, Limited, Overland, and Overland Summit, each offering more luxury items with each upgraded level.
The ZJ models (1993-1998) came in three basic trim options: Base, Laredo, and Limited. The base model, later named SE in 1994, featured full instrumentation, a cloth interior, and a five-speed manual transmission; however, it lacked luxury features such as power locks and windows. The SE model was discontinued in 1995. The Laredo became the new base model in 1996, and did feature power windows, locks, and cruise control. The Limited was the premium model, offering leather seats, an optional power sunroof, and power mirrors, seats, and keyless entry. There were several engine options depending on the year, all of which came with a four-speed automatic transmission. The 4.0-liter and 5.2-liter engines were offered throughout the six years of production, while the 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 was offered only in 1998. The 5.9-liter Mangum V-8 also offered even more interior luxury items but limited sales ended production after just one year.
The WJ was released as a complete overhaul of the ZJ model, and was on the market from 1999 to 2004. The new engines offered were a 4.0-liter V-6 producing 195 horsepower, or a 4.7-liter V-8 producing 235 horsepower. The engine was then paired with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed automatic transmission. There were several engine upgrades, including the replacement of the old pushrod configuration with the new PowerTech design. While this engine produced less torque, it increased fuel economy and was lighter. The intake manifold was also redesigned, adding ten more horses to the WJ's powertrain. Chrysler also added the automatic four-wheel-drive option, a new transfer case, and Vari-Lok differentials. These new components increased torque delivery to the wheels. The interior was also redesigned with larger doors, more interior space, new controls for headlights, heated seats, and rear windshield wipers.
Many of the features of the WJ carried over to the next-generation WK model (2005-2010), with slight interior redesigns to decrease noise, vibration, and harshness during driving. The Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system was introduced in this model, with new transfer cases mounted to the front and rear axles to limit slip with electrical control systems. The list of available engine options was also expanded with several new configurations. A 3.7-liter, PowerTech V-6 was offered from 2005 to 2010 and produced 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. From 2005 to 2007, a 4.7-liter, PowerTech V-8 was offered, producing 265 horsepower (hp) and 305 lb-ft of torque; the 2008 and 2009 versions of this engine put out 305 hp and 334 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7-liter, Hemi V-8 produced 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque from 2005 to 2008, and 357 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque from 2009 to 2010.