Celebrate Four Generations of the Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Grand Cherokee was designed for adventures both on and off the road since its inception. Unlike many other trail-oriented vehicles, including its sibling, the Jeep Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee has a unibody chassis instead of a body-on-frame setup to better handle itself on pavement. Luxurious and ample interiors along with smooth riding and handling make the Grand Cherokee popular with both urbanites and families. Despite the fact that the Grand Cherokee makes for an excellent commuter, this is still a genuine Jeep vehicle that can definitely go off the beaten path. Jeep has consistently improved the Grand Cherokee over four generations, let’s see how much it’s changed since the first generation debuted.

First Generation (1993 – 1998)

The late Lee Iacocca drove the first Grand Cherokee up a staircase, through a window, and finally onto the show floor of the 1992 Detroit Auto Show. Crowds whooped as the very first Grand Cherokee left a wake of shattered glass in its wake. Looking back, that moment became a metaphor for the glass ceilings the all-new SUV would break as the years passed. Initially based on a steel unibody, the first generation Grand Cherokee was powered by a 190-horsepower 4.0-liter inline six engine. A four-speed automatic transmission was the standard, although Jeep did offer a five-speed manual one as well, albeit very briefly. By the time this generation was coming to a close, Jeep had introduced a Grand Cherokee with an available 5.9-liter V8 engine capable of generating 245 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque, breaking barriers for SUVs and setting high-performance as a standard in the Grand Cherokee generations that followed. 

Second Generation (1999 – 2005)

The second generation Grand Cherokee featured more rounded, sophisticated styling and some innovative drivetrain technology. A revised 4.0-liter inline six engine was now the standard under the hood, while a modern 4.7-liter V8 offered drivers more refinement and smooth acceleration. Solid axles were retained to maintain that off-road performance, but overall comfort definitely improved when compared to its predecessor.

Third Generation (2005 – 2010) 

Jeep went back to the drawing board for the third generation Grand Cherokee, with the design returning to its boxy, angular roots. Standard engines ranged from a 3.7-liter V6 to a 5.7-liter V8 depending on the trim. Jeep also exchanged the solid front axle for an independent front suspension while adding an available hydraulic active stabilizer system, both additions intended to improve on-road composure. By 2006 Jeep had introduced the 6.1-liter V8 Grand Cherokee SRT8 thanks to the street-oriented improvements.

Fourth Generation (2011 – Present)

By the late 2000s, parent company Chrysler found itself in the midst of the financial crisis and the company knew they needed to bring its A-game if it intended to survive. The fourth generation Grand Cherokee redesign was of the essence, pushing the SUV to become more aesthetically domineering and luxurious than ever before. There was a new four-wheel independent suspension that improved handling, along with adjustable air springs that offered over 11 inches of ground clearance for the highest off-road setting yet. Standard engines remained the same as the previous generation, but Jeep did take it one step further when it introduced the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with 707 horsepower. 

The current generation is approaching the end of its life cycle and next-generation prototypes have already been spotted on the streets. Judging by the Jeep brand’s history of massive overhauls from generation to generation we can’t help but think that the best is yet to come.

Get behind the wheel of the most awarded SUV ever at Miami Lakes AutoMall. Check out our 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee inventory and schedule your test drive today! Already a proud Jeeper? You’ll be happy to learn that our service department is open on Sundays from 9AM to 3PM and you can schedule your service appointments online. 

Photo Source/Copyright: Consumer Auto Guide, AutoDetective, Jeep