NEW FOR 2009:

– New 5.7-litre Hemi Eagle engine with variable valve timing
– Interior upgrades on Laredo, Limited, Overland and SRT8
– Diesel North Edition available on Laredo; Special Limited available on diesel Limited
– Laredo adds vinyl centre armrest cover, leather-wrapped park brake handle, interior chrome door handles, and wheel-mounted audio controls
– Laredo "E" package limited to 3.7-litre engine; Sirius satellite radio offered as stand-alone option; Sound Group and Rear Backup Group no longer optional
– Full-size spare tire deleted as standard on Laredo and packaged with trailer tow groups and Quadra-Trac II all-wheel drive system; full-size spare standard on Limited and Overland
– New SRT High Performance Audio and Navigation option
– iPod interface added to MyGIG entertainment system with navigation
– Exterior colours: Modern Blue, Olive Green and Brilliant Black added; Steel Blue, Mineral Grey and Black discontinued

For 2009, the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s available 5.7-litre V8 is replaced with the new 5.7-litre Eagle engine, which adds variable valve timing, along with the company’s Multi-Displacement System (MDS) for more power with improved fuel economy.

All models also received interior refinements, including leather-wrapped door bolsters and front door armrests on the Limited, Overland and SRT8; a leather-wrapped instrument cluster brow on the Limited and Overland; and a leather-wrapped centre console armrest to the Limited. A new SRT High Performance Audio and Navigation package adds a 200-watt subwoofer, 276-watt amplifier, eleven speakers, MyGIG with navigation, rear park assist, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror and UConnect hands-free connectivity.

The Grand Cherokee is available with a choice of five engines: a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel with five-speed automatic; 3.7-litre V6 with five-speed automatic; and 4.7-litre flexible-fuel, 5.7-litre and 6.1-litre V8 engines, all with five-speed automatic transmissions. 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 to the diesel with the North Edition package; the Limited uses the 3.7-litre and can be optioned to the diesel, 4.7-litre or 5.7-litre; the Overland uses the 5.7-litre and can be optioned to the diesel; and the SRT8 comes strictly with the 6.1-litre.

Features on the Laredo include 17-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, reversible cargo area floor panel, cargo cover, overhead console, power locks with keyless entry, Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, floor mats, heated mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, roof rails and crossbars, eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, cruise control, tire pressure monitor warning system, power windows with one-touch driver’s down, variable intermittent speed-sensitive wipers, and fixed intermittent rear washer/wiper.

The Limited adds dual-zone climate control, SmartBeam automatic high-beam control, auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors, security alarm, rear park assist, rear backup camera, garage door opener, power-adjustable pedals, driver’s side memory, 115-volt power outlet, MyGIG entertainment system with Boston Acoustics premium sound system, Sirius satellite radio, rear-seat folding armrest, heated front and second-row leather-faced seats, four-way power passenger seat, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power sunroof, tire pressure monitoring display, and rain-sensing wipers.

The Overland adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, high-intensity discharge headlamps, navigation system, chrome roof rails, wood and leather-wrapped wheel, UConnect hands-free connectivity, and Class IV trailer tow package.

The SRT8 builds on the Laredo features and adds 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, performance brakes with Brembo calipers, garage door opener, automatic headlamps, heated body-colour mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, six-CD/MP3 stereo, Sirius satellite radio, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats, performance-tuned suspension, carbon fibre leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, and security alarm.

More comfortable than the Wrangler but with go-anywhere capability, the Grand Cherokee spans a wide range from rugged outdoorsy truck to go-fast performance vehicle. The turbodiesel is exceptionally well-suited to this model, with stump-pulling performance, quiet operation and good fuel range. The new 5.7-litre Eagle engine is now updated for more power, but with improved fuel mileage.

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