A Diesel First: 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

The Grand Cherokee offers the first mid-size SUV diesel engine for the U.S. market

Jan. 01, 2007 By Katrina Ramser


The Laredo gets plenty of upgrades for 2007.
Photo ©DaimlerChrysler

Since its 1992 debut, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven itself to be an innovator and extremely popular choice where the mid-size sport utility segment is concerned. With its signature seven-slot grille and revamped high belt line, the Grand Cherokee is a polished yet comfortable SUV with top-rated off-road capabilities.

In 1993 it became first in the mid-size SUV class to offer a V8 engine, and now it’s the first in its class to offer a diesel engine for the U.S. market. The new 3.0-liter common rail turbo diesel (CRD) engine offers up to 30 percent improvement in fuel economy, torque, and towing capacity. In regards to continued changes with what’s under the hood for 2007, the 4.7-liter single-overhead-cam (SOHC) V-8 engine is now a Fuel Flexible Vehicle, giving customers the ability to use ethanol (E85) fuel.

You’ll find a plethora of upgrades and improvements for the 2007 model when it comes to the interior and exterior. The 4-door, 5-passanger Jeep Grand Cherokee adds side-curtain air bags with a roll-detection system as a standard safety feature and remote start.

There are five new colors consumers can choose from: Red Rock Crystal, Light Graystone, Steel Blue Metallic, Green Metallic, Mineral Gray Metallic. Also, Goodyear Fortera tires replace the Wrangler SRA and HP tires.

Under the Hood

The Grand Cherokee has a new 3.0-liter diesel engine.
Photo ©DaimlerChrysler

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has four engines: the new 215-horsepower 3.0-liter common rail turbo diesel with 376 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm; the also new 235-horsepower 4.7-liter SOHC V8 Fuel Flexible Vehicle with 305 ft-lb of torque at 3,600 rpm; the 210-horsepower 3.7-liter SOHC V6 with 235 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm; and finally, the 330-horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 375 ft-lb of torque at 4,000 rpm. Only the SRT8 trim has a 420-horsepower 6.1-liter HEMI V8 with 420 ft-lb of torque.

You get an estimated 19-mpg city and 23-mpg highway driving with the 3.0-liter diesel engine, an optional choice on the Laredo and Limited 4x4 models and the Overland 4x2. The 4.7-liter SOHC V8 Fuel Flexible Vehicle gets 15-mpg city and 20-mpg highway driving.

There are three four-wheel drive (4WD) systems. The Quandra-Trac ® I is a full-time 4WD with a single-speed transfer case. The Quandra-Trac ® II has a two-speed transfer case, offering electronic shift for low range off-road situations or neutral for towing. The Quandra-Drive ® II has a full-time transfer case including Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD), which is a system that senses traction issues and automatically applies differentials to control slippage.

It’s the Little Things That Matter

The ride inside a Grand Cherokee delivers comfortable, precise seating

The Jeep Grand Cherokee isn’t about offering unlimited trim options, just strictly superior ones. The Laredo and Limited are the main headliners, but Jeep also offers the Grand Cherokee in an Overland trim and the STR8.

New for 2007 trims are revised rear taillights, a finish on the upper instrument panel, color-keyed interior cup holders, active turn signals featuring a 3-Blink Lane Change, and standard side curtain air bags. Standard on all trims are air conditioning, power windows, power doors, and power seats.

When it comes to Laredo trim interior upgrades, this vehicle gets all the attention. It starts with an appearance upgrade, a molded-in-color black body molding. There are new body color door handles. The center console bezel has changed from black to match other interior bezels. You’ll get chrome accent HVAC knobs and chrome rings on the instrument gauges. The standard engine for the Laredo is the 3.7-liter SOHC V6. The Quandra-Trac II or Quandra-Drive II is available as an optional package, as is the 3.0-liter diesel or fuel-efficient 4.7-liter V8 engine. Fog lamps are optional. The Laredo also has an optional Popular Equipment Group – heated seats, a remote start and adjustable pedals; an optional Sun and Sound Group, which is basically an AM/FM/six-disc CD and power sunroof; and finally, an optional Premium Sound Group with Boston Acoustics and SIRIUS radio.

New for the Limited trim is a cut-and-sew padded vinyl center armrest. While the Laredo features a body-color grille, the Limited has chrome-plated grille accents. The Limited comes with 17-inch machined-face aluminum wheels, roof rack rails, power adjustable pedals with memory, and the Boston Acoustics sound system. The standard engine on the Limited is the 4.7-liter V8 and the Quandra-Trac II. The 5.7-liter HEMI or the 3.0-liter along with the Quandra-Drive II are optional choices for the Limited.

Both the Laredo and Limited have an optional ParkView ® Rear Back-up Camera, but only the Laredo comes with the ParkSense ® Rear Back-up System. In terms of storage for both trims, the rear cargo areas have a reversible load-floor panel carpeted on one side and plastic on the other. The plastic side includes a large shallow tray for additional utility.

The 5.7-liter HEMI is standard on the Overland trim and the 3.0-liter is optional on the 4x2. The Overland comes standard with brushed aluminum stainless steel front sill guards, the trailer tow group, a DVD-based navigation radio with ParkView, and 17-inch chrome-clad wheels.

The Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is really a vehicle deserving its own review. The SRT8 runs on the 6.1-liter HEMI V8. This engine is only available for the SRT8. Fuel economy for the SRT8 is 12-mpg city and 15-mpg highway driving. The Chrysler Group reports it to be quicker than Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the BMW X5.

Fierce Competitor

Red Rock Crystal is a new color for the 2007 Grand Cherokee

The ride inside a Grand Cherokee delivers comfortable, precise seating. It’s a sound drive with tons of power, but some iffy reports where reliability is concerned. The standard 3.7-liter SOHC V6 does offer better fuel economy, but it obviously isn’t the most powerful engine of the batch. The best configuration looks to be the Laredo with the fuel-efficient 4.7-liter SOHC V8 or the new 3.0-liter diesel upgrade. Base price for the Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 with the 4.7-liter SOHC V8 is $37,320. Just take note the 4.7-liter engine is not yet available in Maine, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and California.

But the Grand Cherokee outshines any defamation, and frankly, most of the competition. You’ve got the best of both worlds in a Jeep Grand Cherokee: off-road capability and on-road refinement. You know it, the automobile industry knows it, and Jeep knows it. You’ll have many reasons to feel proud driving around in a Grand Cherokee.

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