The Grand Cherokee's distinctive good looks are befitting of a premium SUV. The large, round headlamps, a departure from the WJ- and ZJ-series vehicles, were partly owing to the influence of Daimler-Benz, which had a controlling interest in Chrysler Corporation at the time of this vehicle's redesign. Subsequent editions of the Grand Cherokee have returned to the rectangular headlamp designs that were originally used, yet these round headlamps are extremely efficient and cast a powerful beam -- much more so than the WJ-edition lamps. Otherwise, this machine is standard-issue Jeep: wide, trapezoidal wheel arches, a long hood, short overhangs and a flexible hatchback design. This machine is as comfortable on a rocky ridge as it is in the mall parking lot, and it looks the part.
Visibility in the Grand Cherokee is excellent, and the high seating position gives a commanding view of the road.
The 4.7L V-8 with 545RFE electronically controlled 5 speed automatic is an adequate performer. It will happily tow a 5,000 pound trailer if properly equipped with the electronic trailer brake controller (not available from the factory). It will acquit itself well in freeway and two-lane road passing situations. It is not a stoplight warrior, though. With the average V-6 automobile now sporting 300HP, the 4.7L Grand Cherokee will be left in the dust on dry pavement. Add a little rain or snow and the situation is reversed. For all normal driving, the high-eight-second 0-60 performance is perfectly adequate, and would have been considered "fast" in the 1980s.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee is a machine designed for traction, and it has that in spades. This machine laughs at snow storms, shrugs off muddy dirt roads, and rolls through spots of uneven pavement without complaint. If you're in part of the country where the weather and traction are often difficult, this is the machine for you.
The factory Goodyear Forterra tires are in a word: excellent. This is the first vehicle I've owned where I've replaced the tires with the factory OE-spec model. They are all-season radials with a fairly aggressive tread, yet they are quiet. They will carry the Grand Cherokee through a foot of snow or drag your boat on the trailerup the launch ramp without a complaint, and they're not bad at soaking up bumps. If you happen to purchase a Grand Cherokee that someone has put different tires on, consider going back to the factory spec tires at your earliest opportunity. They are wonderful.