2001 Grand Cherokee New Car Test Drive
Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the forerunners to the current SUV craze, and it's been around long enough 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 win a host of industry accolades. Decent around-town comfort combined with dirt-track-worthy underpinnings have helped it maintain its place in the hearts of loyal customers.
Two trim levels are available, Laredo and Limited. Retail prices: Laredo 2WD ($27,300); Laredo 4WD ($29,270); Limited 2WD ($32,665) Limited 4WD ($35,095).
Both trim levels offer a long list of standard features, including air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, power windows, doors and mirrors, and cruise control. For 2001, Laredo gets an appearance package that includes leather seats, fog lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels. Limited adds automatic climate control, heated mirrors, 10-way power seats with mirror memory, and an Infinity 180-watt AM/FM/cassette stereo system with CD.
Two engines are offered. Standard equipment is Jeep's 4.0-liter inline-6, which was re-engineered for 1999. It's quieter, cleaner and more powerful, producing 195 horsepower. Optional is a 235-horsepower 4.7-liter overhead-cam V8 that was introduced last year. Both engines come standard with a four-speed automatic, while a new five-speed automatic is optional with the V8. The five-speed carries a second overdrive ratio for better highway fuel economy.
Grand Cherokees 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 three different systems are available, all of them capable.