2007 Grand Cherokee New Car Test Drive
Jeep promotes the Grand Cherokee as a full-size SUV, but that's only partly true. In its physical dimensions and towing capacity, Grand Cherokee is a mid-size, like the Ford Explorer or Chevrolet TrailBlazer. At the base level, it's priced like a mid-size. It isn't even Jeep's biggest SUV, as that honor now belongs to the Commander. Still, Jeep clearly sees Grand Cherokee as the flagship of its fleet, and that means that you won't find a Jeep, at least, that's more comfortable, sophisticated, or better appointed.
Outside, Grand Cherokee is edgy and angular, clean and contemporary, uncluttered by body cladding. Yet it is instantly recognizable as a Jeep. Inside, the atmosphere is light, comfortable, and enveloping, with lots of seat adjustment, excellent outward vision around relatively slim windshield post. All switches and controls are clearly are labeled and easy to find and use. In back is nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo space.
Anyone familiar with Grand Cherokees of just a few years ago will find that the chassis is now far more sophisticated, giving the current model much better handling than that of pre-2005 models. Today's Grand Cherokee leans less in corners while riding better on all surfaces. Its turning radius is tighter, too, good for crowded parking lots.
A wide range of modern engines is available. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is particularly good for towing or driving at higher elevations. The high-performance SRT8 model has a 420-horsepower 6.1-liter Hemi and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The smaller, 4.7-liter overhead-cam V8 works quite well, too, and is offered in most states with E85 flex-fuel capability, meaning it can run on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol. Even the standard overhead-cam V6 is quite competent. For 2007, the V6 is available with Jeep's most sophisticated Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system.
Also new for '07 is 3.0-liter common-rail turbo-diesel (CRD) V6, which can tow up to 7400 pounds (with proper equipment) and range 425 miles between fill-ups. It will be offered across the entire range (except SRT8), with either two or four-wheel drive.
Grand Cherokee had its last total redesign for 2005. For 2006, Jeep expanded the Grand Cherokee model range with the luxurious Overland and the high-performance SRT8. For 2007, Jeep has added a number of refinements. Most significantly, side-curtain air bags with roll detection are now standard on all models, and all models now offer the ParkView reversing camera and active turn signals. Standard tires are wider. Remote start is standard on Limited and Overland, and optional on Laredo and SRT8. In fact, the base-level Laredo has been significantly upgraded, with more standard trim and many more available options.
The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in four trim levels:
The Laredo ($27,665) comes with a 210-hp, 3.7-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. Cloth upholstery is standard. Air conditioning comes standard, along with one-touch power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, eight-way power driver's seat, AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input jack, driver information center, 60/40 split folding rear seat, an engine immobilizer, water-resistant storage compartment, tire pressure monitor and 17-inch wheels. Standard tires are now P245/65R17 Goodyear Fortera, replacing last year's 235mm Goodyear Wranglers. The 4.7-liter overhead-cam V8 and leather seats are available in option packages.
Laredo 4WD ($29,635) features Quadra-Trac I full-time four-wheel drive. Quadra-Trac II, which includes a Low range, is optional ($595) with the V6 and standard with the V8. Quadra-Drive II full-time active 4WD is now optional ($795) with either engine. Numerous options are available.
The Limited ($34,730) comes with the 4.7-liter V8 and leather upholstery. Also standard: automatic climate control; power sunroof; Boston Acoustics six-speaker, 276-watt AM/FM stereo with six-CD changer and MP3 capability; power adjustable pedals; power passenger seat; memory function for the seats, pedals, and mirrors; SmartBeam automatic headlamps; rain-sensing automatic wipers; electrochromic rearview mirror; HomeLink; a more sophisticated tire pressure monitor that displays the status of individual tires; adjustable roof-rack crossrails; and machined-face 17-inch aluminum wheels. Limited 4WD ($37,320) gets all that plus Quadra-Trac II, with Quadra-Drive II as an option. The Hemi is optional ($845) on both 2WD and 4WD Limiteds.
The Overland ($39,255) comes with the 5.7-liter Hemi, and adds a wood-and-leather steering wheel, real wood accents on the doors and console, two-tone leather and ultra-suede seats embroidered with the Overland logo, leather-covered console and armrest, side airbags, DVD-based navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, ParkSense rear park assist with ParkView reversing camera, a trailer-tow group, and chromed aluminum wheels. Platinum accents highlight the exterior, and the front sill guards are now brushed stainless. Overland 4WD ($42,690) adds Quadra-Drive II.
The 3.0-liter diesel engine is optional on Laredo, Limited, and Overland, with 2WD or 4WD, but was not available for earlier production models.
The SRT8 ($40,105) comes with a 6.1-liter Hemi rated 420 horsepower, a lowered suspension and its own electronic all-wheel-drive system. Distinctive bumper fascias and 20-inch wheels make SRT8 instantly identifiable. Inside are sport seats, special trim, and a level of standard features roughly analogous to the Limited's. Options can bring an SRT8 nearly up to the Overland level of comfort and convenience.
Options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,200); a sunroof package ($800); various trailer tow groups ($180-255); UConnect hands-free communication system ($275); ParkSense rear park assist ($255); and the more sophisticated ParkView, which incorporates a camera, packaged with GPS navigation ($1,890 with 4WD, $2190 with 2WD). A Skid Plate Group ($295) is also available, along with an engine block heater ($40).
Safety features that come on all Grand Cherokees include an electronic stability program (ESP) with roll mitigation, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, traction control, front air bags with four levels of deployment, and roll-detecting side curtain air bags.