Review: 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
More Jeep models are being offered than in the 65-year history of Jeep vehicles, but the Grand Cherokee remains the line's flagship.
The 2007 Grand Cherokee continues as a midsize, 4-door SUV with a two-piece tailgate and 5-passenger seating, although it's most comfortable for only four adults.
Among the most important new items is an optional Mercedes-Benz turbocharged diesel V6. It has 215 horsepower and an impressive 376 pound-feet of torque.
Other improvements for 2007 include interior and exterior trim upgrades, side-curtain airbags with rollover deployment and flex-fuel capability for the 4.7-liter V8. That means it can run up to an 85 percent concentration of ethanol (E85) for lower emissions.
Remote start is standard on the Limited and Overland trim levels and optional on the Laredo version. A rearview camera is newly optional for all trim levels.
Three Grand Cherokee 4-wheel-drive systems are offered: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II, which provides the best Grand Cherokee off-road abilities with items such as electronic limited-slip differentials.
Retail prices for this Jeep range from $27,990 to $43,015. It's offered in Laredo, Limited, Overland and hot rod SRT8 trim levels.
All have 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and traction/anti-skid control with rollover sensors. They're well-equipped, and numerous option packages are offered.
Next to the new diesel, the most fuel-thrifty Grand Cherokee has a 210-horsepower gasoline V6. It provides an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 21-22 on highways. However, it has marginal reserve passing power.
A 5.7-liter 330-horsepower HEMI V8 has a cylinder deactivation feature for better economy. It's rated at 14-15 city and 19-20 highway, depending on the rear- or 4-wheel-drive setup.
Hot Rod Version
The 3.7 and 4.7 only need 87-octane fuel, while the 5.7 HEMI requires 89-octane, and the 6.1 HEMI needs at least 91-octane gasoline.
A responsive 5-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual shift feature works with all engines.
Handling was secure, even during moderately hard driving, and stopping distances were short.
It calls for a little additional effort to get in and out, although large outside door handles help when sliding in. Front seats provide good side support, but need more under-thigh support.
Dual front cupholders are positioned to avoid spills, but more interior storage areas would be welcome, although front doors have fairly large pockets and there's a moderately large covered console storage bin. However, small rear door pockets are nearly useless.
Narrow Rear Doorways
The hatch door has a handy separate-opening glass area, but the wide cargo area opening is rather high. That area is large, but rather shallow. Rear seatbacks flip forward and sit flat to increase cargo room, with headrests that automatically tuck out of the way. Cargo space is decent even when the rear seatbacks are in an upright position.
The hood is held open by a hydraulic strut—not an awkward prop rod—and the neat under-hood area has easily reached fluid filler areas.
The Grand Cherokee has become one of many SUVs seeking attention in a declining market that has seen fuel prices rise a lot. However, this Jeep should be able to hold its own in a more competitive environment.