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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-size SUV that was originally introduced in the 1993 model year. The current generation of the vehicle, built on the WK platform, was first made available in the 2005 model year. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is manufactured in Detroit, Mich. alongside the Jeep Commander. Top vehicle competitors for the Jeep Grand Cherokee include the Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda Pilot.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 4-door, 5-passenger vehicle that features two rows of seating. With a total vehicle length of 186.7 inches, width of 73.3 inches and height of 67.4 inches (modified to 68.7 inches in 2008), the Grand Cherokee is officially classified as a mid-sized SUV. Cosmetically, the latest Grand Cherokee received only minor updates to the previous WJ generation's styling. Notable updates include a removable front bumper for off-road use and rounded headlights.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Performance

The third generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee focuses significantly more on on-road performance and refinement then past Grand Cherokee models. A new independent double-wishbone suspension is intended to deliver a smoother drive for city and suburban drivers. The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 3.7-liter PowerTech V6 engine that provides 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft. of torque. Engine upgrades include a 4.7-liter PowerTech V8 that was enhanced in 2008 to deliver 305 horsepower and 334 lb-ft. of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 offers 345 horsepower and 375 lb-ft. of torque. Introduced in the 2007 model year, a 3.0-liter diesel engine that musters 215 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque is also available. All Jeep Grand Cherokee engines are coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Levels

The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee was originally available in two trim levels – Laredo and Limited. The 2006 model year added the luxurious Overland and limited-edition SRT-8 to the model lineup. In 2008 the Rocky Mountain package brought the total available number of trim levels to five. All models (except for the SRT-8) come standard with 2-wheel drive with the option to upgrade to 4WD.**** The base Laredo comes standard with Electronic Stability Control (ESP), telescoping steering wheel, cloth seats, 6-speaker stereo system with CD player and MP3 capability and all-terrain tires. The Rocky Mountain package focuses on off-road capabilities, adding a sunroof, premium stereo, door entry guards, fog lamps, roof rails and crossbars. The mid-level Limited edition builds on the Rocky Mountain package with leather-trimmed seats, automatic dual climate control, heated front seats, automatic headlights, security alarm and automatic rain-sensing wiper blades. The Grand Cherokee Overland includes all these features, plus high-intensity discharge headlamps, GPS navigation, remote start system and leather trim seats with edge welting.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8

The limited edition Street and Racing Technology Jeep Grand Cherokee is specifically designed for street performance. As the fastest Jeep vehicle ever produced, the vehicle features a 6.1-liter Hemi that boasts 420 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. Other notable performance enhancements include Brembo high-performance brakes, dual exhaust with polished tips, tuned suspension, gas-charged shocks, unique 4-wheel drive system and a Mercedes-Benz 5-speed transmission. The SRT-8 is also significantly lighter and lower to the ground than the other Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

The 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a carryover from 2008, although the turbodiesel engine option has been removed from the lineup. The 2009 Grand Cherokee comes in 4 distinct trims, each of which uses a 5-speed automatic transmission. The Laredo comes with a 210 horsepower, 3.7 liter V6 engine that also generates 235 lb-ft of torque. This unit’s fuel economy is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. The Laredo can also be upgraded to a 305 horsepower, 4.7 liter V8 engine that churns out a respectable 334 lb-ft of torque, and which turns in fuel mileage of 14 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway. This engine is found as standard equipment for the Limited trim, which can also be optionally outfitted with the smaller V6 or upgraded to include the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 found as standard equipment in the Overland trim. The latter generates 357 ponies and 389 lb-ft of torque, and uses cylinder deactivation to see fuel economy of 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway. Four-wheel drive is available for each of these trim levels.

The high performance SRT-8 edition of the 2009 Grand Cherokee uses a special all-wheel drive system matched to a 6.1 liter, 420 horsepower Hemi V8 that churns out 420 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for this beast is a modest 11 miles per gallon in city driving and 14 miles per gallon during highway cruising.