2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee: New York Auto Show1
New Look, More Features, and New Engine Improve Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, introduced in its current form for the 2005 model year, gets a new look and updated features for 2008. The new face was formally introduced at the New York Auto Show and goes on sale in fall 2007. Here are the basics.
If you didn’t like the Grand Cherokee’s look before this change, you aren’t likely to notice or care much about the new nose. If you did like the Grand Cherokee already, you may appreciate the subtly revised look. If you’re looking for some new family-friendly features, you’re likely to appreciate the new SIRIUS Backseat TV and MyGig options. Choosing to do little more on the outside than tweak an already good-looking SUV, Jeep focused on adding features and upgrading the 4.7L V8. While these changes aren’t likely to light a big fire under the Grand Cherokee’s sales line, they can make the vehicle more satisfying for those choosing the new features.
SIRIUS Backseat TV, MyGig Among Feature Upgrades
Recently, the Chrysler Group and SIRIUS announced the first in-car OEM satellite radio with SIRIUS Backseat TV (click here for our coverage), and the 2008 Grand Cherokee is among the models that will offer the feature. Grand Cherokee also offers the MyGig music, picture, and navigation (including real-time traffic navigation) hard-drive system that launched with the Sebring sedan last year. Features that carry over include rear parking sensors and backup camera, SmartBeam headlights (automatically adjusts between high and low beams), rain-sensing windshield wipers, and iPod connectivity.
Enhanced Driving Aids, and New 4.7L V8
Grand Cherokee adds to its list of electronic driving aids with Hill Descent Control (standard on 4×4 models, helps control downhill speed in forward or reverse gears), Hill Start Assist (helps provide smoother launches on grades, as you move from brake to gas pedals), and Trailer Sway Control. These systems have been offered on SUVs ranging from the Toyota RAV4 to Land Rover Range Rover; while new to Grand Cherokee, they aren’t new to SUVs and have been added one by one to the Chrysler Group’s arsenal. The Chrysler Group added Trailer Sway Control with the 2007 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango; Hill Descent Control came first on the 2007 Jeep Patriot; Hill Start Assist first on the 2007 Dodge Ram 1500.
Grand Cherokee’s engine range was already extensive, ranging from a 3.7L V6 to 4.7L V8 to 5.7L V8 to 6.1L SRT8, and supplemented by the new-for-2007 3.0L V6 diesel. With the 2008 change, these carryover with the exception of the 4.7L. The 4.7L has been updated, with a power increase from 235HP to 291HP. Despite the power increase, Jeep claims better fuel economy from the updated engine, which now uses two spark plugs per cylinder, has increased compression ratio, a new combustion system, and improved cylinder-head port flow. The 4.7L is still an E85-capable vehicle as well.
Design Changes are Subtle
A lengthened grille and slightly revised headlights are the most notable changes, which add elegance to the look but are also easy to miss. Off-roaders will appreciate the new two-piece front fascia, which allows the lower portion to be taken off before going on-trail. The headlights have been revised, losing the squared-off lower and becoming more circular. The optional auto-leveling HID headlight gets an integrated part/turn light. Much of the rear carries over, with Limited models expected to get more body-color and chrome accents than the Sport models. Inside, there are more soft-touch materials and revised styling. There’s a new steering wheel (tilt and telescope now standard), new floor console, new door panels, and a revised instrument cluster. Elements giving the expensive Overland models luxury touches include a wood rim for the steering wheel and saddle-perforated leather seats with accent piping.