1 Mar 1996
Although previewed as a concept car in 1989 and released in America in 1993, Australians had to wait until early 1996 for the Grand Cherokee to arrive.
As its name suggested, the Grand Cherokee was larger, longer, roomier and more refined than its kid brother.
The 130kW 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine produced 301Nm of torque, and was only available with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Nevertheless it endowed the Grand Cherokee with spritely performance and acceptable fuel economy, thanks to a commendably good power-to-weight ratio.
Drive was directed to the rear wheels unless a loss of traction occurred, when the front wheels would be gradually engaged via a viscous coupling device called Quadra-Trac.
In the same circumstances in low range, a mechanical lock provided equal front/rear drive. Four-wheel coil spring suspension provided car-like comfort and reasonable dynamics, although low-geared steering hampered manoeuvrability.
Dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, climate control air-con, alloy wheels, power windows, mirrors and steering, and cruise control were standard in the base Laredo, while the plush Limited added leather trim, electric seats, and fake wood trim.
In 1999, 250 value-added Laredo TSi limited edition models were sold.
The second-generation, WJ Grand Cherokee arrived in mid-’99.