2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Reviews

2002 Grand Cherokee New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Jeep's Grand Cherokee was one of the forerunners to the current SUV craze, and it's been around long enough--a decade now--that you might think of it as old news. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It got a complete redesign in 1999 that brought a roomier, more comfortable cabin and smoother engines, which helped it maintain healthy sales. 

For 2002 a new top-line Overland model has been introduced, with a standard combination of formerly optional equipment that includes suede leather seat inserts and the full complement of hard-core off-road pieces such as skid plates, raised suspension and limited-slip axles. 

The Grand Cherokee successfully rides on the thin ice of appealing to four-wheel-drive fashion while actually offering true off-road capability. This is the hard-core off-roader of the class, but it's trimmed to keep up with the boulevard-cruising pavement SUVs. 

Lineup

Four models are available: Laredo ($25,500); Sport ($25,425); Limited ($30,345); Overland ($34,905). 

Laredo comes with the standard 195-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine, and a popular variety of power amenities. 

Sport foregoes some amenities for the standard 235-horsepower V8 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. 

Limited gets loaded with luxury amenities and starts with the base six-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic. 

Overland is loaded with luxury equipment, the strongest engine, and the most hard-core off-road features as standard, and comes only as a four-wheel-drive model. 

As indicated, three engines are available: the 4.0-liter inline-6; the 4.7-liter V8 rated at 235 horsepower; and the high-output 4.7-liter V8 rated at 260 horsepower. 

All Grand Cherokees except the Overland come standard with rear-wheel drive, but that seems like buying a Louisville Slugger just to hit rocks. Four-wheel drive is the soul of the Grand Cherokee and the two full-time systems are available on the Laredo, Sport and Limited models for about $2000 additional. 

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