C/D Road Test - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4WD 5.7L

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Yeah, it’s got a Hemi.

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    BY BARRY WINFIELD
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL DELANEY
    November 2004

    It's been a long time coming, but look at what Jeep has finally produced: a brand-new Grand Cherokee line with a choice of three engines (including a 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi), three four-wheel-drive systems in addition to good ol' two-wheel drive, and prices from the high 20s to the mid-40s. There should be something for everyone in that mix.

    At first sight, the Grand Cherokee looks like a slightly massaged version of the previous bestseller, but closer examination reveals some substantial shifts in philosophy. The new shape is boxier, for sure, with flatter planes at the sides and rear aspect, and with less tumblehome in the greenhouse.

    The wheelbase is more than three inches longer, as is the length. At 73.3 inches, the Grand Cherokee is an inch wider, providing an extra inch of hiproom that makes up the only significant increase in passenger space over the former model. It is also lower by almost two inches, with a low hoodline that greatly improves forward visibility when creeping along in the rough. Not that many owners do, of course, but our Grand Cherokee Limited 4WD wore a proud "Trail Rated" badge to reassure the faithful that four-wheel-drive versions will still slog through conditions that would stop a tank.

    In front, a seven-slot grille and round headlights (designer Mark Allan insists these will appear on all Jeeps from now on) distinguish the new Grand Cherokee from its predecessors. New eyebrows over the lights are a marked departure from the rectilinear face of the old car, providing a contrast to the flat planes elsewhere on the body. The side cladding of the previous model is nowhere to be seen, and there's a chin spoiler now, helping the vehicle to better aerodynamic performance in this age of more costly fuel.

    The Jeep's so-called trapezoidal wheel arches are there to maintain design continuity, and they combine with the new design so well that this latest model assumes the old car's visual persona almost immediately. In keeping with the times, the greenhouse has been shortened relative to the vehicle's height, but the use of single-pane windows in the rear doors and a bright strip below the side glass clean up the car's side view.

    Other modern touches include body-color fascias front and rear, with clear taillight lenses and a chrome bumper strip. Allan says a disproportionate amount of work was done to quiet and smooth airflow around the exterior mirrors, and since these objects never brought attention to themselves throughout our test, the effort undoubtedly succeeded.

    To meet impending 50-mph federal offset collision requirements, a rear tubular cradle supports and reinforces the vehicle's structure around the cargo compartment, and it doubles as a bumper bar as well as a tow-hitch mount. Inside the new Grand Cherokee you find lighter colors, plusher materials, and a new symmetrical dashboard design that can adapt to left- or right-hand-drive configurations with minimal cost.

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    A major mechanical departure for the Grand Cherokee comes in the form of an independent front axle, with upper and lower control arms at both sides along with an eight-percent improvement in travel compared with the solid axle of yore. Also new is a rack-and-pinion steering mechanism that replaces the old recirculating ball. The rear axle is still solid but is now located by five links, the fifth one a lateral unit acting to prevent sideways deflection.

    All this nifty new hardware was present in our Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7L test car, where it combined to provide excellent tracking and turning stability, despite a ride so pillowy it bordered on outright float. Somehow, the plush ride doesn't seem to hurt the Jeep's handling. But in cars fitted with the optional dynamic handling system (DHS), which uses hydraulically engaged anti-roll bars to control body sway in corners, it ought to be even better. With DHS, the bars are disengaged on the straights and add no bump stiffness to the ride. The bars are fairly hefty to arrest roll in curves, and the overall spring rates are soft in the interests of ride comfort.

    Even without DHS, our Limited wafted along pitted roadways with little noise or noticeable impact transmission. The only obvious imperfection was a bobbing motion in the dash and steering column that accompanied front-suspension excursions across rippled surfaces. Perhaps that was due to the elevated unsprung weight in the Jeep's beefy suspension bits.

    If the supple ride had us expecting wallowing handling in the mountains, then the Grand Cherokee took us completely by surprise. Our 5.7L carved through the canyons with commendable poise and control, the anti-roll bars catching the Jeep's substantial mass in the corners while the rack-and-pinion steering held the car on an unvarying line.

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    Even with fairly tall sidewalls on the 65-series tires, the car's steering response was reasonably quick and positive, with far better off-center feel and response than Jeeps of old. The only time the car felt at all discombobulated was during braking on bumpy surfaces at high speeds, when the softly sprung Jeep floundered a little.

    Other than that, this Grand Cherokee will hound all but the best drivers of sports sedans through the hills. Then, when it gets to the dry riverbed, it will leave them for dead. As we mentioned, there are three four-wheel-drive mechanisms. Quadra-Trac I is a full-time single-speed transfer-case supplied on 3.7-liter V-6 models that splits torque front to rear on a 48/52-percent basis. Quadra-Trac II—fitted to 4.7-liter V-8 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 models—has Jeep's two-speed NV245 transfer case with an electronically controlled clutch pack to vary torque distribution from its center differential. It also incorporates brake-operated traction control.

    Our 5.7L Limited featured an even more elaborate arrangement known as Quadra-Drive II, with the NV245 transfer case augmented by electronically controlled hydraulic clutch packs on the front and rear diffs. Although the hydraulic pumps activate the system when wheel-speed disparities allow the rotors to turn relative to their housings, there is some capability in this system to lock the clutches even when wheel speed has been equalized.

    All of this endows the 5.7L Limited with fairly amazing rough-terrain mobility. We tried it out at Camp Jeep near Santa Barbara, California, and this new truck scaled steep slopes and negotiated deep gullies with relative ease. The various traction enhancement devices allow the immensely torquey Hemi engine to tow the vehicle out of tough spots without breaking a sweat. Short body overhangs and carefully trimmed approach and departure angles allow some dramatic maneuvers, even though ground clearance at the Jeep's rear axle is a relatively unimpressive eight inches. Because the Hemi's throttle is electronically operated, it utilizes separate control mapping when the car is in low-range four-wheel drive, dramatically slowing throttle rotation. That's not true of the 4.7-liter engine, and the throttle in that model was particularly difficult to control in slow and bumpy going.

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    Another thing about the Hemi V-8: It really propels this SUV. The Grand Cherokee managed 0-to-60-mph sprints in just 7.0 seconds, despite having put on a few pounds in its new guise. Now weighing a fairly portly 4860 pounds (complete with virtually all options and loaded with the expected gadgets and safety trappings of a modern full-size luxury SUV), the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4WD 5.7L tripped the quarter-mile lights in 15.5 seconds at 90 mph. This thing eats other vehicles on long upgrades, then switches off half its cylinders to save fuel going down the other side (although even with the engine's cylinder-deactivation feature, we still averaged a gas-hog 12 mpg).

    Strange though it might seem in a real "trail rated" vehicle, there is a list of extravagant options such as Sirius satellite radio, a powerful six-speaker Boston Acoustics stereo, and navigation and DVD-entertainment systems. A rear-park-assist gizmo and trick new smart-beam headlights, which automatically dim through several stages at the approach of other vehicles, reveal the extent to which Jeep engineers plumbed the combined resources of the German-American empire. With all those engines, drivetrains, and options, the Grand Cherokee just about covers all the bases. Of course, we still think the best news is that it now has a Hemi.

    ------

    THE VERDICT

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    Highs: Big power, refined control sense, genuine off-road capability.

    Lows: Floaty ride, limited rear-seat space.

    The Verdict: More performance and more off-road potential than ever.


    ------

    C/D TEST RESULTS

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    ACCELERATION Seconds
    Zero to 30 mph 2.6
    40 mph: 3.7
    50 mph: 5.2
    60 mph: 7.0
    70 mph: 9.0
    80 mph: 11.9
    90 mph: 15.5
    100 mph: 19.9
    110 mph: 25.4
    Street start, 5-60 mph: 7.4
    Top-gear acceleration, 30-50 mph: 3.5
    50-70 mph: 4.8
    Standing 1/4-mile: 15.5 sec @ 90 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 112 mph


    BRAKING
    70-0 mph @ impending lockup: 205 ft

    HANDLING
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad 0.72 g
    Understeer moderate


    FUEL ECONOMY
    EPA city driving: 14 mpg
    EPA highway driving: 21 mpg
    C/D-observed: 12 mpg

    INTERIOR SOUND LEVEL
    Idle: 46 dBA
    Full-throttle acceleration: 72 dBA
    70-mph cruising: 66 dBA

    JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LIMITED 4WD 5.7L

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    Vehicle type: front engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon

    Price as tested: $40,415

    Price and option breakdown: base Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4WD (includes $645 freight), $34,690; Customer Preferred package (includes heated front seats, stability control, and sunroof), $1925; 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, $1245; DVD entertainment system, $1200; curtain airbags, $490; rear park assist, $255; Sirius satellite radio, $195; P245/65R-17 tires, $190; Deep Beryl Green Pearl Coat paint, $150; tire-pressure monitor, $75

    Major standard accessories: power windows, seats, locks, and sunroof; remote locking; A/C; cruise control; tilting and telescoping steering wheel; rear defroster and wiper

    Sound system: Boston Acoustics AM-FM radio/cassette/CD changer/DVD/MP3, 6 speakers

    ENGINE
    Type: V-8, iron block and aluminum heads
    Bore x stroke: 3.92 x 3.58 in, 99.5 x 90.9mm
    Displacement: 345 cu in, 5654cc
    Compression ratio: 9.6:1
    Fuel-delivery system: port injection
    Valve gear: pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
    Power (SAE net): 330 bhp @ 5000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 375 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
    Redline: 5800 rpm


    DRIVETRAIN
    Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
    Final-drive ratio: 3.73:1
    , limited slip
    4-wheel-drive system: part-time or full-time 2-speed
    with electronically controlled limited-slip
    center, front, and rear differentials
    Transfer-gear ratios (low/high): 2.72:1/1.00:1
    Gear, Ratio, Mph/1000 rpm (L/H): Max test speed (L/H)
    I, 3.00, 2.8/7.6, 16/44 mph (5800/5800 rpm)
    II, 1.67*, 5.0/13.6, 29/79 mph (5800/5800 rpm)
    III, 1.50*, 5.6/15.1, 32/88 mph (5800/5800 rpm)
    IV, 1.00, 8.3/22.7, 48/112 mph (5800/4900 rpm)
    V, 0.75, 11.1/30.2, 64/112 mph (5800/3700 rpm)
    VI, 0.67, 12.4/33.8, 72/112 mph (5800/3300 rpm)
    *The 1.67:1 ratio is used for upshifts, and the 1.50:1 for kickdowns.

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase: 109.5 in

    Track, front/rear: 62.0/62.0 in
    Length/width/height: 186.6/84.3/67.7 in
    Ground clearance: 8.0 in
    Drag area, Cd (0.41) x frontal area (29.5 sq ft): 12.1 sq ft
    Curb weight: 4860 lb
    Weight distribution, F/R: 53.9/46.1%

    Curb weight per horsepower: 14.7 lb
    Fuel capacity: 20.5 gal

    CHASSIS/BODY
    Type: unit construction
    Body material: welded steel stampings

    INTERIOR
    SAE volume, front seat: 57 cu ft
    rear seat: 47 cu ft
    cargo, seats up/down: 34/67 cu ft
    Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle;
    driver only: front height, rear height,
    lumbar support
    Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts, driver and
    passenger front and curtain airbags
    rear: manual 3-point belts, curtain airbags

    SUSPENSION
    Front: ind, unequal-length control arms, coil springs,
    anti-roll bar
    Rear: rigid axle located by 4 trailing links and
    a Panhard rod, coil springs, anti-roll bar

    STEERING
    Type: rack-and-pinion with variable ratio and
    hydraulic power assist
    Steering ratio: 13.9-15.8:1
    Turns lock-to-lock: 2.8
    Turning circle curb-to-curb: 37.1 ft

    BRAKES
    Type: hydraulic with vacuum power assist and
    anti-lock control
    Front: 12.9 x 1.2-in vented disc
    Rear: 12.6 x 0.6-in disc

    WHEELS AND TIRES
    Wheel size/type: 7.5 x 17 in/cast aluminum
    Tires: Goodyear Wrangler SR-A, P245/65R-17 105 S
    Test inflation pressures, F/R: 33/33 psi
    Spare: full size on matching aluminum wheel

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  2. BoogieKnight

    BoogieKnight Active Member

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  3. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    IFS Grand Cherokee?!!?!??!!




    Fuck Jeep.
     
  4. cam75

    cam75 Guest

    saw one at the MSU tailgate last week. the IFS almost made me cry
     
  5. Rob

    Rob OT Supporter

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    We've seen that coming for a long time. :(
     
  6. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    I knew it was coming, but not this soon.


    First they kill the Cherokee, which sucked, but the Liberty was need in the lineup, now this?




    When is the TJ redesign, I had heard 05?
     
  7. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    So, like, when is the hemi going into something fast? :rolleyes:
     
  8. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    but that thing's got a Hemi now! :eek3:
     
  9. ChosenGSR

    ChosenGSR Mama always said you'd be the chosen one

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  10. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    Just cram it in a ZJ and call it a day.
     
  11. slowbird

    slowbird I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is c OT Supporter

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    Looks like they got the headlights from the Mercedes section of the parts bin :mamoru:
     
  12. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    better stick w/ that Magnum/300C. I don't think the Challenger will go into production, and I don't think they will plant another sportscar between the SRT-6 and the Viper.
     
  13. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    What is the chassis code for this one? Jeep Crew?
     
  14. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    what is that?

    Cherokee/Liberty?
     
  15. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    Those aren't fast :(

    What the fuck is dodge thinking? The hemi didn't build a legendary reputation in trucks and fucking family cars. :mad:
     
  16. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    Grand Cherokee, 99-04
     
  17. Rob

    Rob OT Supporter

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    I am not positive, but I think it is WK. First one not to end in a J. :hsugh:
     
  18. Jim311

    Jim311 New Member

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    Unless flex is required. :rolleyes:


    The 5.9 was a better Grand Cherokee both on and off road than this pile will ever be. Although I'd still pimp one for tow-slut duties and daily driving :naughty:
     
  19. Jim311

    Jim311 New Member

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    Negative. 93-04 are all grand cherokees, but the ZJs = 1993-1998 and WJs = 1999-2004. 2005+ are WKs..
     
  20. wow another fucking suv :rolleyes:
     
  21. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I think a factory Hemi Wrangler Rubicon would be very cool. :x:
     
  22. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    that might be neat :o
     
  23. Jim311

    Jim311 New Member

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    Not gonna happen. :o
     
  24. Fishbone Walker

    Fishbone Walker Fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas wi

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    Fuck, you are correct, I switched them around.
     
  25. N8

    N8 This fucking guy.

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    12 MPG???

    :ugh2:
     

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