'05 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Slated to begin production in the third quarter of 2004, the all-new '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee will offer a number of features never before available in its predecessors. An independent front suspension is the most apparent change from previous model years, as the solid front axle was scrapped for the new model year. The new design is said to have increased front suspension wheel travel by 13 percent over the previous-generation vehicle, and the new rack-and-pinion steering system offers an improved turning radius and a more precise steering feel. A new five-link rear suspension matches the performance of the front design, providing improved lateral stiffness and optimum handling
Perhaps the most impressive new attribute of the '05 Grand Cherokee is the available option of the 5.7L Hemi V-8. The new engine option is said to provide best-in-class power and joins an available engine lineup that includes the 4.7L SOHC V-8 and the 3.7L SOHC V-6, which replaces the 4.0L I-6 as the standard-issue mill. In addition to increased horsepower and torque numbers, the 5.7L Hemi engine incorporates a Multi-Displacement System (MDS) designed to deactivate half the cylinders during cruising and light acceleration to increase fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. Two transmission options will be available in the '05 Grand Cherokee, including an all-new five-speed automatic mated to the 3.7L V-6. The carryover 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission will be used in both 4.7L V-8- and 5.7L Hemi V-8-equipped Grand Cherokees.
Continuing its long history of four-wheel-drive capability and prowess, the '05 Grand Cherokee will be offered with a choice of three new full-time four-wheel-drive systems. The Quadra-Trac I uses the NV140 single-speed transfer case and provides full-time four-wheel drive without the need of driver interaction. The single-speed transfer case offering is designed to attract a new group of buyers to the Grand Cherokee lineup and builds on the entry-level two-wheel-drive versions, which account for approximately 25 percent of Jeep-vehicle sales. The Quadra-Trac II uses the NV245 transfer case for full-time active four-wheel drive, and includes an electronic shift with a true Low-range gear and a Neutral position for towing the Grand Cherokee behind another vehicle. The final available four-wheel-drive-system option is the Quarda-Drive II, which uses electronic limited-slip differentials (ELSD) for quick response to changing road conditions and greater torque capacity.
Rounding out the all-new '05 Grand Cherokee are a number of interior and exterior visual enhancements. The signature seven-slot grille is flanked by round headlamps, a longer hood, a flatter windshield, and larger taillamps. The interior features a two-tone instrument panel, increased headroom, a reversible load floor panel for increased versatility and storage, and improved seat ergonomics. Additional new interior amenities include a GPS navigation radio, a rear-seat DVD, Boston Acoustics audio, a Uconnect hands-free communication system, and Smart Beam and Rear-Park Assist systems.
The contact information for Ego Jester Designs, manufacturers of the Dor Hammer, appeared incorrectly in 4xProducts in the June '04 issue. To contact the company, please use the following information: Ego Jester Designs, (800) 375-4628, ext. 88, www.dorhammerusa.com.
The Jeep Unlimited Tested
We were one of the first to get our hands on Jeep's new Wrangler Unlimited at the end of April. We testdrove the stretched TJ to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab and racked up more than 1,600 highway and trail miles. The Unlimited performed extremely well in stock form. The additional 10 inches of wheelbase offered a comfortable highway ride, alleviating the bounce that usually accompanies short-wheelbase vehicles. Additionally, the 103.4-inch wheelbase offered more stability while 'wheeling up steep inclines.
We swapped out the factory tires and wheels for better traction on the slickrock of Moab and to test the Unlimited's new sound-deadening characteristics. Jeep tells us that the Unlimited is 30 percent quieter than previous model TJs, with increased carpet padding in the rear and thicker dash padding. Even with the soft top and mud-terrain tires, the highway ride was exceptionally quiet and kept road noise to a minimum.
The Unlimited's 15 inches of additional cargo space made the trip even more comfortable. We were able to store all our travel gear, a large suitcase, a large Pelican camera case, a laptop computer, a toolbox, and assorted junk behind the rear tumble seat. This left the passenger and tumble seat open for passengers. We also bolted Body Armor bumpers to the front and rear to protect our vehicle out on the trail. The bumpers looked great attached to the new Unlimited and certainly did their job. In the coming months, we'll be featuring the first-built Jeep Unlimited from American Adventure Vehicles (AAV) in Missoula, Montana.
Diesel Liberty for '05
First created to further expand the depth and breadth of the Jeep brand, the Jeep Liberty is once again pushing the innovative envelope as it becomes the first U.S. and Canadian release of a diesel-equipped midsize sport utility vehicle. The '05 Jeep Liberty will be available with a 2.8L common-rail diesel (CRD) engine, rated at an estimated 160 hp at 3,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. Providing class-leading torque and towing capability, the new diesel also offers improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. The diesel engine will be available on both Sport and Limited models.
Also new to the Liberty in '05 is a redesigned Renegade model featuring unique styling to distinguish it from other Liberty models. The Liberty Renegade uses a new flatter hood, a taller grille, functional rock rails, four skidplates, off-road foglamps, and taillamp guards. Aggressive tread P235/70R16 all-terrain tires are also available on the Renegade model, in addition to a GPS DVD-based navigation radio, "diamond-plate-inspired" seat fabric, and an optional over-head lightbar.