Originally made to be the next-generation Jeep Cherokee, the bigger and better Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven to be a tough player in the SUV game. With its exceptional manoeuvrability, spaciousness, and style, it’s no surprise that it’s been around for almost two decades and is still here today, constantly changing, getting bigger and better through the years.
1993: The first Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee was first introduced in three trim levels; the base, Laredo, and Limited. All three models have a driver's side airbag and four-wheel antilock brakes, two features are unique to the Grand Cherokee as they cannot be seen on other vehicles of the same class.
1994: Safety first
New safety features and other refinements were added to the Grand Cherokee in 1995. These features include four wheel disc brakes, front and rear door beams, upgraded sound systems, rear seat headrests, and a power sunroof. For added crash protection, side-impact beams were added to the doors of the base model which was officially named “SE”.
In 1995, Jeep launched the Grand Cherokee "Orvis" edition which was named after a purveyor of outdoor equipment. The Orvis edition featured a unique color scheme and a v8 engine with increased torque output for better acceleration and hill climbing abilities. New options offered included a flip-up liftgate window, darkened the deep-tint windows, mini-overhead console with the sunroof, and optional integrated child safety seats.
1996: Revamps galore
The Grand Cherokee went through hefty upgrades in 1996. The passenger's side airbag was added for maximum protection. While the six cylinder engine received more torque and was refined for a quieter operation. A variable assist feature was added to the power steering of the Limited models for more power assist at slow speeds and less assist at higher speeds. Other changes included revised front clip and nameplates, revised climate control outlets and ducts, better temperature control performance, a universal garage door opener, panic button on the remote, and a whole lot more.
1997 – 1998: Going leather
In 1997 and 1998, the TSi edition Grand Cherokee came out with minor cosmetic changes. It featured leather upholstery, 225/70R16 tires on alloy wheels, and a more powerful stereo. A new 20 four-wheel antilock brake system was also added to Grand Cherokees in 1997. This new brake system offered a quieter operation, better diagnostic capabilities, and less pedal feedback than the earlier system.
1999–2004: The Quadra
For the 1999 version of the Grand Cherokee called WJ, the tire was moved to under the floor from the side of the cargo compartment where it was originally placed. Chrysler's PowerTech replaced the two heavy pushrod V8 engines that produced less torque, offered better fuel economy, and provided similar on-road performance. The most notable feature in this in this generation was Quadra, an automatic four wheel drive option that uses a gerotor and a clutch pack coupled to a hydraulic pump to transfer torque between axles.
2005 – 2010: Going grand
The new WK Grand Cherokee that came out in 2004 with a design that emphasizes luxury and power. Aside from the significant amount of work done to improving noise, vibration, and harshness, the new WK Grand Cherokee also included features that were never seen before in a Jeep. These features include the Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive, a rear-seat DVD player, and an optional 5.7 L Hemi V8. It also had the new 3.7 L V6 engine replacing the 4.0 L Straight-6. It was also the first time Jeep focused on on-road performance as much as it does with off-road capability.