SEE ALSO: Jeep Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 34,345 Price As Tested $ 38,195 Engine Type SOHC 16-valve 4.7 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 287 cid/4701 cc Horsepower 235 @ 4800 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 295 @ 3200 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 105.9"/72.3"/181.5" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 4118 pounds Fuel Capacity 20.5 gallons Tires (F/R) P245/70R16 all-season Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/four-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Five-passenger/five-door Domestic Content 86 percent Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.45 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 15/19/16 0-60 MPH 8.0 seconds Maximum payload capacity 1150 pounds Maximum towing capacity 6500 pounds * Sequential multi-point fuel injection
The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee marks the second year for a new version of this rugged unit. Daimler/Chrysler wanted to move Grand Cherokee further upscale without losing any of its legendary Jeep uniqueness. It is available in either the well-equipped Laredo or as our tester for the week, the top-line Grand Cherokee Limited.
OUTSIDE - New Limited badging identifies our loaner as the marque's flagship while its lower body-color side cladding, grille and door handles look very upscale. There's an understated stripe down the side and the wraparound front end slopes gently toward a steeply raked windshield, across a modestly arched roof line and then to a slightly less vertical rear hatch. The standard roof rack has adjustable rails and easily accepts aftermarket sporting equipment and cargo carriers. An extra four inches of length over the previous model went into extending the area behind the rear seats, which allows the spare tire to fit underneath the floor instead of standing upright in the cargo area. The 16-inch alloy wheels are standard with P245/70R16 tires optional.
INSIDE - A new interior makes things more user-friendly. Its step-in height has been lowered an inch to make it easier to climb inside, and its 1.6 inches of extra width gives more shoulder room than the older model. The ride is quieter because of new foam-filled body cavities and double-sealed doors. Visibility has been enhanced now that the spare tire doesn't impede rearward vision, and there are built-in cargo hold-down hooks and a 12 volt outlet in the cargo area. The 60/40 split folding rear seat features special headrests that don't need to be removed when the seats are folded flat. A unique ventilation system uses infrared sensors to detect the surface temperatures of the driver and front passenger, then adjusts the climate control system accordingly. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, speed control, keyless entry, tilt steering, 10-way power driver's seat, cargo compartment cover, memory settings for the seats, stereo and mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors, alarm and an AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo with six speakers.
ON THE ROAD - The standard engine is a reliable 4.0 liter inline six-cylinder. Most owners, however, will order the optional 4.7-liter, overhead-cam V8 that produces less noise, vibration and harshness while producing 30 percent less emissions than the V8 engine it replaces. Called PowerTech by Jeep, it produces 235 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty of power for towing and off-road duties. Backing it up is a unique automatic transmission that works as a four-speed during upshifts, but depending on speed and throttle position, produces one of two second-gear ratios upon deceleration to smooth out the shift and provide better performance.
BEHIND THE WHEEL - The new model has been stiffened using one-piece body sides and a front crossmember that is hydro-formed and welded, rather than bolted in place. Its rugged solid front and rear axle systems are a mainstay, while soft coil springs and gas-pressurized shocks smooth road bumps and pavement jolts. A repositioned steering system has reduced its turning circle by one foot and increased road and on-center feel. Its rear suspension uses a three-link setup now instead of a five-link system, resulting in less unsprung weight while it eliminates a phenomenon called "body-jacking." An all-new optional Quadra-Drive II full-time four-wheel drive system uses progressive speed-sensing differentials front, rear and center, which means the system can send power to any or all of the wheels, depending on the traction needed. With it, Grand Cherokee is nearly unstoppable off-road. Larger, more powerful four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) are standard, and now feature dual-piston calipers for shorter, smoother and quicker-cooling stops.
SAFETY - Dual airbags and ABS standard; Quadra-Drive II optional.
OPTIONS - Preferred Package (power sunroof, power, heated front seats), $1,050; Trailer Tow Group, $255; Quadra-Drive II, $550; Up Country Suspension, $390; 4.7 liter V8, $1,070.