New York Preview: 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

Click on the photo for a high-res gallery of the 2008 Grand Cherokee

This week at the New York Auto Show, Jeep will be unveiling the updated 2008 Grand Cherokee that for the first time will get a diesel engine option. On the outside there are some detail design changes, which you have to look really close to see. The important changes are under the hood, where a new more powerful and efficient flex-fuel, twin spark-plug version of the 4.7L V-8 can be exchanged with a Mercedes 3.0L common rail diesel V-6. It looks like at least for this year, the Grand Cherokee won't be getting the BlueTec system on the diesel, so it will likely only be available in 45 states. We'll have the full scoop on the diesel Grand Cherokee on Wednesday from New York. The Jeep press release is after the jump.

[Source: Jeep]

All-new Engine, Refreshed Interior and Exterior and More Premium Amenities for 2008 Jeep® Grand Cherokee

• All-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine delivers increased horsepower and torque, improved fuel economy
• Refreshed exterior and interior design stays true to its authentic Jeep® character with signature seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel openings and attention to rich details and craftsmanship
Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with all-new SIRIUS Backseat TV™
• Even more innovative, premium amenities are available, including MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System, HID auto-leveling headlamps and heated first- and second-row seats

New York City, April 4, 2007 – The Jeep® brand unveiled today the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee that features an all-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine that delivers a 24 percent increase in horsepower, a 6 percent increase in torque and improved fuel economy compared with the engine it replaces. The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee also offers a refreshed interior and exterior design and a host of innovative premium amenities, including one not found on other full-size sport-utility vehicles (SUV) on the road today -- SIRIUS Backseat TV™. The vehicle will arrive at Jeep dealerships starting this fall.

"With a choice of five engines, three four-wheel-drive systems and more premium amenities than ever before, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee sets the benchmark for full-size SUVs just as it did when it debuted in 1992," said John Plecha, Director -- Jeep Brand Marketing and Global Communications. "Now available with SIRIUS Backseat TV, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee just made road trips or short trips with kids even more enjoyable."

Only Full-Size SUV with Five Engine Offerings
The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the only vehicle with a choice of five engine offerings:
• Award-winning 3.0-liter common rail diesel V-6 engine – Now available on Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and Overland
• 3.7-liter V-6 engine – Standard on Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
• All-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine – Standard on Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
• 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI® engine – Available on Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, standard on Overland
• 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine – Standard on Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

All-new for 2008 is the 4.7-liter V-8 engine that offers better fuel economy, power and torque than the previous 4.7-liter engine, while at the same time delivering improvements in refinement.

The new 4.7-liter V-8 incorporates two spark plugs per cylinder (the only Chrysler Group engine to do so, other than the 5.7-liter HEMI), increased compression ratio, improved cylinder-head port flow and a new combustion system. The result is 291 horsepower (217kW), a 24 percent increase, and 322 lb.-ft. of torque (437 N•m), a 6 percent increase over the previous 4.7-liter V-8 engine. And, like the engine it replaces, the new 4.7-liter V-8 engine is flex-fuel capable, which gives customers the ability to use up to an 85 percent concentration of ethanol (E85) to fuel their vehicles.

Improvements in the new 4.7-liter V-8 result from significant revisions to the induction system, a lightweight piston/rod assembly and reduced accessory drive noise through lower accessory drive speed. Engine smoothness at idle is enhanced with a new cam design, two spark plugs per cylinder and a valve-lash adjuster system. The new 4.7-liter V-8 also is equipped with electronic throttle control.

First to Offer All-new SIRIUS Backseat TV
The Chrysler Group will be the first and only auto manufacturer to offer SIRIUS Backseat TV in its 2008 model year vehicle lineup, including the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

SIRIUS Backseat TV features three channels of respected children's TV featuring many of the most well-known kids' programming, including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Rear-seat passengers will be able to watch shows such as Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants," Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" and Cartoon Network's "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends."

SIRIUS Backseat TV operates via an in-vehicle satellite video receiver and two small roof-mounted antennas. Programming is displayed on the vehicle's second-row (except minivan: second- and/or third-row) video screen, and channel name, program title and rating will be broadcast and displayed on the screen. For added flexibility, rear-seat passengers can enjoy SIRIUS Backseat TV while front-seat occupants listen to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The system can be operated from either the rear-seat entertainment unit or the radio head unit. In addition, when the vehicle is in park, programming can be displayed on the MyGIG screen for front-seat viewing.

Innovative Premium Amenities
Along with SIRIUS Backseat TV, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes a variety of premium amenities that are new for 2008, including the new MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System that has a built-in navigation, audio, entertainment and communication system. MyGIG enables customers to use touch-screen or voice commands to control all of the features, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored. There's space reserved on the hard drive for approximately 1,600 songs; that's over 100 hours of music. There also is a voice-memo recorder feature. MyGIG supports real-time traffic information, available through SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and can provide an alternate drive route based on current traffic.

Also new on the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee are high-intensity discharge (HID) auto-leveling headlamps. HID auto-leveling headlamps provide approximately three times the light output of conventional reflector lamps for improved nighttime illumination. The auto-leveling feature automatically adjusts the headlamps to the vehicle pitch depending on the load and number of passengers in the vehicle. This feature also benefits oncoming traffic as the system prevents drivers from being distracted by glare from the headlamps. The auto-leveling feature is only available with HID headlamps.

ParkView™ Rear Back-up Camera (with or without navigation), ParkSense® Rear Back-up System, SmartBeam® headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, iPod connectivity and 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels also are part of the vehicle's available features and options.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee also features three new safety and security technologies for 2008: Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control.

Hill Descent Control (HDC) is standard on Grand Cherokee 4x4 models. Operational in the "4WD Low" position, HDC provides downhill assistance at a controlled rate of speed. By means of electronic brake control, HDC supplements the gear reduction and engine braking that a traditional mechanical low-range transfer case provides. For ease of operation, Grand Cherokee's HDC is activated and deactivated automatically, after the HDC button is engaged, as the system senses changes in topography. The system works whether the vehicle is in forward or reverse.

The available Hill Start Assist (HSA) allows the driver time to transition from brake to throttle to achieve a smooth launch on a grade. The system will hold brake pressure for two seconds upon the driver's release of the brake pedal. The ABS system decreases wheel pressure in response to increasing throttle to provide a smooth launch.

Trailer Sway Control is optional on all Grand Cherokee models. This system reduces trailer sway and provides improved trailer stability and increased towing safety.

Refreshed Exterior and Interior
With its upright and substantial posture, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's design offers an athletic and contemporary appearance. The grille has been lengthened, and the headlamps are more circular for a more dominant and expressive front view. A new HID headlamp, optional on Limited and standard on Overland, includes an internal optic lens for the park/turn function. Fog lamps also have also been lowered for enhanced performance. Off-road enthusiasts will be pleased with the new two-piece front fascia, allowing for the entire lower piece to be removed before hitting the off-road trails.

On the inside, the vehicle's two-tone instrument panel features a new level of refinement with bright accents, a soft-touch surface and updated styling. A new tilt and telescoping steering column is standard, with a new steering wheel that includes bright accent bezels, which house the electronic vehicle information center's switches. The Limited model's steering wheel adds two-tone leather and bright chrome accent rings, and the Overland features a real wood rim for added luxury. Also new is the updated line of instrument clusters that feature new brighter LED illumination, with the Limited and Overland models receiving a modern and elegant treatment where, when the vehicle is started, the dark-tinted lens fades to reveal chrome-ringed black gauges that are surrounded by a bright silver accent field. The new floor console has improved cup holders and a new leather-wrapped and chrome-accented parking brake handle. The door panels have new armrests for improved ergonomics and comfort. New for the Overland model are the new saddle perforated leather seats that feature accent piping for an even more upscale look.

Jeep Brand
The Jeep brand has seven models in the 2007 model year, the most available to retail consumers at one time in its 65-year-plus history.

The expansion of the Jeep brand has taken place in just two years. At the start of 2004, the brand's trio of tough, capable, rugged SUVs included the venerable Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty (Cherokee outside North America) and the icon of the brand, the Jeep Wrangler.

In 2005, the Jeep Commander was introduced. In 2006, the redesigned Jeep Wrangler was unveiled. Also debuting in 2006 were three more all-new Jeep vehicles: Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass and the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

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