Grand Cherokee CRD: One smooth operator
Minor design revisions, major impact
On the design front, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee is only slightly modified from the previous version and will, to the average consumer, look identical.
The front grille is slightly longer and the headlamps are more round; HID headlamps with an automatic leveling feature are optional. The fog lamps have been lowered and the lower section of the new, two-piece front fascia can be removed prior to embarking on serious off-road adventures. The Jeep comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels; the version tested, a Limited model, sported 18-inch aluminum-and-chrome numbers.
On the inside, the Jeep boasts a more refined interior that looks clean and well-constructed. The tester featured a two-tone interior and a two-tone leather steering wheel with chrome accents. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes and houses controls for the sound system, an AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 unit with six speakers and one year's worth of Sirius satellite radio.
Other noteworthy standard features: heated seats, front and back, dual zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals and power front seats. The tester came with a pair of significant interior options packages: the rear-seat DVD entertainment system and the MyGIG infotainment system.
This latter feature encompassed the navigation system with touch-screen or voice activation controls and a 20GB hard drive. The hard drive can be used to store music or photos, uploaded via the auxiliary jack. The screen can also play movies as long as the vehicle is parked.
The drive experience
Aside from the aforementioned throttle lag issue, driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD is a very pleasant experience. The ample torque of the engine hustles the SUV along nicely without burning up excess amounts of fuel. The familiar knocking of the diesel was muted effectively by sound-deadening materials.
To top it off, the Jeep's road manners were surprisingly sophisticated considering its significant off-road capabilities. Other Jeeps in the fleet suffer from the "highway hop" - too much suspension rebound when driving over undulations in the road - but the Grand Cherokee does not. The power steering is a little light to the touch, but the SUV nevertheless felt stable under all conditions and relatively glued to the ground.
If this next stage in the life of Chrysler is to prove successful, it will be powered by vehicles such as the new Grand Cherokee. The accomplishment here should not be underestimated: This is a very desirable luxury SUV that covers all the bases. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD starts at $52,195; the version tested rolled in at $60,920.
Other Reviews Available For The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
Editor's Review Highlights
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Specifications
Similar to 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee