KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The Grand Cherokee is legendary for its rugged off-road capability, sensible size and car-like ride and interior. While most SUVs have grown to near-gargantuan proportions, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee remains true to the general size of the original 1992 model. Engine choices, however, have grown larger and include a fuel-efficient V6, a new 4.7-liter V8, a powerful HEMI V8 and a torque-happy turbodiesel, a first for the Grand Cherokee line. Jeep also offers a choice of three four-wheel-drive systems, which range from a basic shift-on-the-fly high/low transfer case to a permanently engaged system capable of sending power to whichever wheel has traction.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the idea of owning a rugged SUV that offers a luxurious interior, lots of power and doesn't fill your entire garage, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee should be at the top of your shopping list. The Grand Cherokee is the only SUV in its class to offer a diesel engine option.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Jeep Grand Cherokee does not offer a third-row seat and interior space is nowhere near the levels of larger SUVs such as the Chevrolet Suburban, Nissan Armada or even the Dodge Durango.
What's New for 2008
The 4.7-liter V8 engine receives a major overhaul resulting in improved horsepower and fuel economy. HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights are a new option, as is SIRIUS Backseat TV. Jeep has Hill Descent Control, which is made standard on 4x4 models with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II, while Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control are also made available.
The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee retains the off-road capability of its forefathers, and rates high in the areas of ride comfort, steering and handling. However, on the ones we drove, at least, the brake pedals felt somewhat soft and seemed to need to travel quite a distance before attaining the desired affect. Seating comfort is supreme, with excellent neck protection provided by the forward-leaning headrest.
On the road, the V6 feels as though it has its work cut out for it; we prefer the new 4.7-liter V8 or, better yet, the 3.0-liter diesel, which is surprisingly quick. The 5.7-liter HEMI turns the Grand Cherokee into a drag racer. Off-road, we were amazed by the grip that the Quadra-Drive II displayed. When so equipped, the Grand Cherokee seemed oblivious to deep mud, extremely steep slopes and wildly uneven terrain.
Six-Disc MP3 CD Changer
The six-disc MP3/CD changer can hold up to 600 songs.
The Grand Cherokee's Quadra-Drive II is the best off-road system ever to wear the Jeep Trail Rated badge.
Jeep has done an outstanding job with the Grand Cherokee's interior. Quality materials abound and the layout, execution and attention to detail are all first-rate. The 2008 Grand Cherokee can accommodate four adults in comfort---five in a pinch. In comparison to previous-generation Grand Cherokees, there is a noticeable improvement in rear-seat legroom as well as ease of entry and exit, thanks to the longer rear doors.
Last year's makeover gave the Grand Cherokee's handsome lines the straight-edge treatment, leaving the trademark Jeep grille and tail in place. Large flared wheel arches and aggressively styled wheels project the kind of rugged, off-road look Jeep loyalists demand. Styling for the base Laredo is simple and clean, while models such as the Limited and Overland have more ornate treatments, including body-colored cladding, fancier wheels and more bright-work.
Notable Standard Equipment
The Grand Cherokee Laredo comes with a 3.7-liter V6 engine, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), five-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, overhead and floor consoles, keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with CD, split-folding rear seat, eight-way power driver's seat, rear spoiler, tilt wheel, side-curtain airbags, stability control, a rear wiper/washer and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Limited trim adds a 4.7-liter V8, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear cargo cover, fog lights, memory for power driver's seat and mirrors, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability, leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls. Overland models feature a 5.7-liter HEMI V8.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options include three different four-wheel-drive systems: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II. Also on the list is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, a 3.0-liter Common Rail Diesel engine, rearview back-up camera, a DVD navigation system, heated front seats, UConnect communications system, Rear Park Assist, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, auto-leveling HID headlights, locking rear axle and a power glass moonroof.
Under the Hood
Though it helps make the big Jeep more affordable, the V6 engine has a tough time moving the Grand Cherokee's weight, especially when loaded and trying to pass at highway speeds. Despite their thirst for gas, the Grand Cherokee's V8 engines are much better suited to moving the big Jeep through traffic and underbrush. Those who seek better fuel economy without power loss should consider the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, which can run on diesel or B20 biodiesel.
210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 (2WD), 15/19 (4WD)
3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
215 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
376 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 (2WD), 17/22 (4WD)
305 horsepower @ 5650 rpm
334 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 9/13 (E85, 2WD), 9/12 (E85, 4WD), 14/19 (gasoline 2WD, 4WD)
5.7-liter V8 HEMI
330 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
375 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
A two-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee Laredo has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $29,000, while the four-wheel-drive version sells for about $2,000 more. A four-wheel-drive Limited starts around $40,000, while the 3.0-liter diesel adds another $1,700 to the bottom line. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price paid for the Grand Cherokee in your area, so be sure to arm yourself with this figure before you begin negotiating. The Grand Cherokee is projected to retain average resale values over five years, with the V6 model losing more of its value than the V8. The Grand Cherokee's projected residual values are on par with the V6 Nissan Pathfinder and the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, but well below the Toyota 4Runner.