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To say the Jeep brand has a lot of history is something of an understatement. After all, the founding Jeep vehicle was designed to be an all-terrain vehicle that could endure the rigors of World War II. Over the years, the civilian population began to take an interest in a hardy vehicle that could go anywhere and do anything, and Jeep became a household brand name. Following along in that legacy is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. With such a reliable history surrounding it, you can rest assured that when you buy a used Jeep Grand Cherokee, you are buying from a brand that has proven its worth time and time again.
In 1993, the world was about to experience a major shift in how the public thought about family automobiles. The release of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was a big deal for the public. The Cherokee was already performing well in the American market, so the addition of a larger, more luxurious version made perfect sense. Soon, however, it seemed like every household had -- or needed-- a Grand Cherokee and the SUV boom was in full swing. Farewell, minivans, and hello to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The first Grand Cherokees provided a smooth ride on the roadways, along with a larger, more executive-style interior, but make no mistake; they were prepared to head off-road as requested. In fact, the first Grand Cherokee literally crashed onto the auto scene by smashing through the glass of the Detroit Convention Center at the 1992 North American International Auto Show, in a pointed demonstration of how the vehicle could balance its wild side and its mild ride.
In the first decade, only three trims were offered: Base, Laredo, and Limited. In comparison, the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, or Trackhawk base trims, along with five Limited Editions, including the Altitude, Upland, High Altitude, Limited X, or North Edition.
Much of the Grand Cherokee’s popularity is based on Jeep’s ability to create a vehicle that includes sophisticated good looks and luxury appointments but still retains the off-road ferocity that has given Jeep its reputation. By pairing features like Quadra-Coil suspension, champagne leather seats, and HEMI V8 engines, it was clear that Jeep found a way to appeal to all of the instinct of the suburban driver, with power, excitement, and plenty of comfortable features.
The Trailhawk model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup has always stood firmly in both the luxury and rugged camps. This level of comfort and utility is nothing new, of course. Even in 2017, when the Trailhawk made its highly anticipated re-entry to the Grand Cherokee lineup, Jeep made sure drivers were well-equipped with available options such as a dual-pane sunroof and Blu-ray entertainment with a 19 speaker Harman/Kardon system. Lest drivers should feel too pampered, the signature red tow hooks, skid plates, and adventure tires serve as reminders that this is an off-road vehicle.
Since their reintroduction, all Trailhawk models include standard all-wheel drive, courtesy of the Quadra Drive II 4x4 system. This intelligently engineered off-road system transfers torque to the place it’s needed most - even to just a single wheel if needed. That’s combined with Jeep’s customized Selec-Terrain system, Quadra-Lift air suspension, and a full set of skid plates, ready to climb or make the descent.
The 2020 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk stands on 18-inch off-road aluminum wheels, with all season, all terrain tires, and features red front tow hooks, demonstrating that it is ready to be the life of the party. On the other hand, the heated and ventilated black-and-red suede and leather seats with lumbar support and premium Alpine sound system also invite you to relax and enjoy the ride.
Under the hood since 2017 is a beloved 3.6L V6 engine. This engine produces up to 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, giving Trailhawk models the ability to tow up to 6,200 pounds. But the fun doesn’t stop there.
Inside, the Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen is already fitted with navigation and off-road articulation details, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for later year models. Bluetooth streaming and voice control are included, along with a power sunroof, Mopar slush mats, and a heated steering wheel.
Driver assistance and safety features have been some of the most historically prominent features for the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, dating back to the reissue in 2017. Some of the most prominent-- and helpful-- safety and driver assistance features include blind spot and cross-path detection, rear back-up camera with rear parking assistance, trailer-sway damping, and hill start assist.
The first Grand Cherokee was offered in just three trims and with a single engine option. The 2020 Grand Cherokee is offered in a total of 12 different trims and Limited Editions, which includes four different engines. The standard engine for most Grand Cherokee models is a highly capable 3.6L V6 engine.
Introduced in 2011 to replace an underwhelming 3.8L version, this now-classic and preferred engine provides 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6L engine has a fuel economy of 19 MPG city and 26 MPG highway for two-wheel drive models and a similar 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway for four-wheel drive models. Note that some older versions of this engine may have a lower fuel economy due to some of the engineering tweaks that it has experienced with each new model year.
Those looking for a little more pep can choose a major upgrade into a 5.7L V8 engine, which has been a famous upgrade for higher trims and more adventuresome offroaders since its debut in the early 2000s. Since the fourth generation introduction in 2011, this engine has been one of the preferred upgrades for Grand Cherokee drivers. Current versions of this engine provide 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Available as four-wheel drive only, this engine rates 14 MPG city and 22 MPG highway.
Drivers who choose the SRT trim are automatically granted an impressive 475 horsepower, 470 lb-ft torque 6.4L V8 engine, which made its debut in 2012. These figures may seem mind-blowing until compared to the engine on the more recent Trackhawk models. At the top of the line since 2017, the Trackhawk is equipped with a 707 horsepower, 645 lb-ft torque 6.2L supercharged V8 that has the Jeep community in an uproar that can hardly be heard over the revving of the engine causing it.
Diesel drivers can find a 3.0-liter diesel V6 on Grand Cherokee models produced between 2011 and 2018. Offered as an option on most trims, this engine provides 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel drive models range from 22 MPG city to 30 MPG highway, while four-wheel drive models drop back a bit to 21 MPG city and 28 MPG highway.