NEW FOR 2008:

– New, more powerful 4.7-litre V8
– Refreshed interior and exterior design
– Standard tilt/telescopic wheel
– Available heated second-row seats, 115-volt power outlet, eight-inch DVD video screen, touch-screen radio, trailer sway control, hill start/hill descent control, and high-intensity discharge headlamps with auto levelling
– Standard EVIC controls on steering wheel

For 2008, the Jeep Grand Cherokee receives a mild facelift, with redesigned headlamps, grille, fascia and wheels, and new instrument panel, seats, steering wheel and door trim panels. The flexible-fuel V8 engine upgrades from a new powerplant installed in 2007, increasing horsepower from 235 to 305 hp, and torque from 305 lb-ft to 334 lb-ft. The same engine also debuts in the 2008 Commander, a seven-passenger model based on the Grand Cherokee.

The Grand Cherokee is available with five engines: a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, 3.7-litre V6, 4.7-litre V8, 5.7-litre Hemi V8, and in the SRT8 model, a 6.1-litre Hemi V8. Three four-wheel drive systems are available: Quadra-Trac I, a single-speed transfer case that splits the torque 48/52 front to rear; Quadra-Trac II, with a two-speed active transfer case; and Quadra-Drive II, a full-time transfer case with electronic limited-slip differentials that transfer torque to the wheels with traction if wheel slip is detected. The SRT8 uses electronic active four-wheel drive.

Trim lines are the Laredo, Limited, Overland and SRT8. The Laredo uses the 3.7-litre V6 and can be optioned to the 4.7-litre or diesel engine; the Limited uses the 4.7-litre V8 and can be optioned to the 5.7-litre or diesel engine; the Overland uses the 5.7-litre V8 and can be optioned to the diesel engine; and the SRT8 is available strictly with the 6.1-litre V8.

Features on the Laredo include 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, reversible cargo floor panel, vehicle information centre, deep-tinted rear glass, locking glovebox, heated mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo, power locks with keyless entry, roof rack side rails with adjustable crossbars, 60/40 folding rear seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, engine immobilizer, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering column, speed-sensitive variable intermittent wipers, and rear washer/wiper.

The Limited adds dual-zone climate control, driver’s memory system, headlamp control system, fog lamps, auto-dimming mirrors, ParkSense rear parking assist with backup camera, power-adjustable pedals, MyGIG entertainment system, heated leather-faced seats, rear foldaway centre armrest, four-way power passenger seat, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, rain-sensing wipers and power sunroof.

The Overland adds 18-inch wheels, skid plates for the transfer case, fuel tank and front suspension, tow hooks, high-intensity discharge headlights, MyGIG entertainment system, chrome roof rack side rails, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, UConnect hands-free communication system, and trailer tow group.

The SRT adds 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, manual air conditioning, performance brakes, body-coloured grille, six-disc CD/MP3 stereo, performance suspension, and carbon fibre and leather-wrapped wheel.

The venerable Grand Cherokee spans a wide range, from rugged outdoorsy truck to go-fast performance vehicle. The turbodiesel works extremely well in this truck, with stump-pulling performance, quiet operation and good fuel range. The updated 4.7-litre V8 puts it more in line with its rivals for power, replacing an engine that wasn’t quite strong enough to match its competitors head-on.

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