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The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been in production since 1993, and it is now in its fourth generation. While many Jeep lovers are drawn to the wily agility of the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee has an audience that likes to have fun with a side of comfort on the roadways. If you can only afford one vehicle that can serve dual duty for both daily commutes and weekend adventures, this may be the answer. Even better, heading to your used Jeep Grand Cherokee dealer is a great way to save money on the price of a new SUV so you can have adventure on a budget.
The predecessor of the Grand Cherokee was the Grand Wagoneer, a dearly beloved darling of the Jeep family, which has been sorely missed by those who loved the expansive windows, the interior luxury, and the surprising ruggedness of that family SUV. Even though Jeep retired the Grand Wagoneer, it led to the Grand Cherokee - a still-rugged SUV with a more comfortable ride. Immediately, the Grand Cherokee shouldered its way into the luxury class with its reinforced unibody construction that made riding for hours far more comfortable than the truck-based Grand Wagoneer had ever been while not sacrificing strength or reliability.
Known fondly as the ZJ model, the first-generation Grand Cherokee built its reputation on a powerful engine that at one time boasted the fastest speed of any SUV. This was combined with interior features like leather upholstery, heated mirrors, digital displays, and keyless entry. The second-generation Grand Cherokee added driving modes to improve off-road driving beyond its 4x4 capability and combined that with the Quadra-Trac system to control rear differentials in combination with the transfer case. This generation saw a full redesign of both interior and exterior elements, much of which was in response to the Jeep brand's changing ownership.
The third generation saw minimal changes to its appearance, but the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee was a ground-up design. Not only was the exterior totally refreshed, but a new four-wheel independent suspension further smoothed out the experience of driving on roads. Powerful engines continued to prevail under the hoods of Grand Cherokees in any trim, and once again, the Grand Cherokee proved itself to be one of the fastest SUVs on the road with the legendary Trackhawk. The Grand Cherokee boasts a solid standing as one of the most awarded SUVs of all time for such categories as safety, luxury, off-road capability, and value.
With all this talk of luxury, you may be wondering which trim level of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most luxurious. Well, it's actually not the most expensive trim for current models - those focus on performance rather than luxury. The most luxurious trim is the Summit. The fourth-generation of the Summit trim will include such features as active noise cancellation, leather upholstery, Uconnect emergency services, and connectivity, a panoramic sunroof, and heated and ventilated seats. The Summit is made for those who want off-road experiences but also need a vehicle that comfortably rides on roads.
You can expect the seats to be powered and comfortable, to have the full nine yards of features available across all the trims, and to still be able to handle more challenging terrain than most other SUVs. If you shop for a used Grand Cherokee, you may want to find one that includes the available four-wheel drive so you can experience the full range of opportunity that this vehicle can afford. If you're lucky, you might discover one with a rear-seat entertainment option that plays Blu-ray disks, and with the premium Harman Kardon audio system, the sound will be spectacular. For the ultimate in street performance, look no further than the SRT and Trackhawk trims, while off-road adventurers will want to seek out the Trail Rated Trailhawk trim.
For those seeking to use their Grand Cherokee for long drives, you can rest easy knowing this vehicle will not be the loud, jouncing ride of a Wrangler. Jeep understood its audience when it offered the Grand Cherokee as a luxury SUV that still offers performance and speed. This is a rare breed of SUV, even today with so many other brands offering SUVs that claim to be off-road ready. Though it could be argued that Jeep's focus has been to be an off-road adventure brand, the Grand Wagoneer was the forerunner to the Grand Cherokee and is still sought out by enthusiasts who loved the combination of luxury and performance capabilities.
Buying a used Grand Cherokee will be no different, even if you go back ten years. The most recent generation goes back to 2011, and when it was redesigned, it incorporated independent front suspension for a more comfortable ride on paved roads. It always had the unibody construction, which meant it would ride more smoothly than the truck-based SUVs that come close to sharing the same type of off-road performance as a Jeep. If you plan to drive for long commutes regularly, you may want to find a used Grand Cherokee with a V6 engine for the best fuel economy. Another good option is finding one with a diesel engine for even lower fuel consumption.