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Car Review: 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Autoline Detroit

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Jeep

When the current Grand Cherokee came out in late 1998, Jeep only faced about a dozen serious competitors in this segment. Today, there are over 20 serious entries it has to go up against. And that forced Jeep to start with a clean slate when it set out to design the new Grand Cherokee.

Customers told Jeep they really didnít want a bigger vehicle, but they did want a more comfortable one with more interior room, better ride and handling and more creature comforts. The result is the 2005 Grand Cherokee.

Purists may protest that the new model has an independent front suspension, instead of the a rigid solid axle. However the new set up provides great ride and handling, and the new model still has the Rubicon-conquering capability that Jeeps are known for.

While the styling is completely changed, itís instantly recognizable as a Grand Cherokee. The headlamps have borrowed a look similar to what Mercedes-Benz now uses and the rear end is very square and straightówhat Jeep designers refer to as a brush cut look. Yet, the new styling seems to have lost a lot of the tension and poise of the previous model.

The are now three engine choices; a base 3.7 litre V-6 which replaces the inline 6. A mid-level 4.7 liter V-8. And then surprise, surprise the Grand Cherokee now offers the Hemi engine as an option. Though curiously, there will be no Hemi badge on this Jeep. It will only be identified as a 5.7 liter V-8.

The interior features a two tone color arrangement that comes across as inviting and well made. And it certainly fits with the character of the base model. But a fully loaded Grand Cherokee can cost $40,000 and the choice of materials isnít luxurious enough for a vehicle that costs forty grand.

The base price starts is $1,000 cheaper than the old model, even though it has more equipment.

Criticism aside, everything about this vehicle is better than the previous model and should please off-roaders and asphalt dwellers alike.

And thatís Autoline Detroitís review at the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee