Jeep's Grand Cherokee gets a number of small changes for 2008 that serve to bring the model more upmarket.<p><p>The Grand Cherokee's available 4.7L V8 has been reengineered for 30 percent more power and ten percent more torque.<p><p>High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are newly available on some models, and headlamps across the model range have a new integrated design with park/turn lens. The front fascia and grille have also been redesigned, and the lineup of wheel designs has been revamped. Inside, the center console, cup holders, and armrests have been reconfigured, the instrument panel gets a new soft-touch material, and the instrument panel now has LED illumination and black gauges with white pointers.<p><p>Numerous changes have also been made to standard equipment. Heated first- and second-row seats are now standard on the Limited and Overland, and the availability of the MyGig system and rear DVD entertainment system has been expanded. Sirius Backseat TV is now optional on Limited and Overland models.
The greatest distinction between the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee models, other than engines, may be the type of four-wheel-drive system that they come with--three are available this year.
Quadra-Trac I is a road-oriented system that yields full-time four-wheel drive, with torque split 48/52-percent front/rear. Quadra-Trac II adds a two-speed transfer case with low range and has a feature called Throttle Anticipate, which works to anticipate slippage and selectively applies the brakes to maximize traction. The most off-road-oriented system is called Quadra-Drive II; it uses a full-time transfer case with electronic limited-slip differentials to detect tire slip and send engine torque to the wheels with traction. It employs an electronically coupled clutch pack, and the front and rear differentials can be varied at each axle to also help maximize traction.
All three models are available with either four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. The base Laredo model gets the V6 and Quadra-Trac I if so equipped, though the 4.7L V8 and both other 4WD systems are optional. The Limited steps up to a standard 4.7L V8 and Quadra-Trac II system, plus useful off-road aids such as hill start assist and hill descent control system. The Overland gets the 5.7L V8 and Quadra-Drive II system, plus tow hooks and skid plates on 4WD models. The turbo-diesel engine is optional on Limited and Overland.
Engines on the Grand Cherokee range from a base 210-horsepower, 3.7L V6, to an economical and torquey 3.0L common-rail turbocharged diesel V6 that makes 215 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, to a newly revised 4.7L V8 now making 302 horsepower and 329 lb-ft. At the top of the range is the 5.7L Hemi V8, making 330 horsepower and 375 lb-ft.
The 4.7L V8 makes 30 percent more power and ten percent more torque than last year's 4.7L, while at the same time boasting a five-percent increase in fuel economy. It's also flex-fuel capable, allowing a mix of ethanol and gasoline up to 85-percent ethanol (E85). The Hemi V8 includes Chrysler's multi-displacement system (MDS), which temporarily shuts down four of the cylinders to save fuel when the V8's power is not needed.
All four engines are mated to five-speed automatic transmissions that feature electronic range select shift control for more control when off-roading or trailer-towing, or on curvy roads; the Grand Cherokee has a tow rating of up to 7,400 pounds.
Grand Cherokees get a new short- and long-arm front suspension and five-link rear suspension geometry that's designed to provide good control on the road without compromising off-road articulation.
The interior has been refreshed, with improved materials for 2008, including a redesigned center console, revamped, LED-lit gauge cluster, and upgraded soft-touch instrument panel materials. Door panels have new armrests designed for comfort.
Each of the Grand Cherokee models get different upholstery. Laredo models have standard cloth and optional leather, while Limited models get two-tone perforated leather and the Overland model gets new saddle perforated leather seats with accent piping.
At the top of the range, the Overland model includes a long list of premium features such as HID headlamps, heated seats in the first and second row, the ParkSense parking aid, a navigation system, a roof rack, chrome 18-inch wheels, and Sirius satellite radio. A wealth of options and packages are available, including a rear-seat entertainment system, the MyGig music storage system, and the all-new Sirius Backseat TV.