Heritage of the Grand Cherokee

2023 Jeep Cherokee Parked in Driveway


In April 1992, Jeep made history with the introduction of a sports utility vehicle that offered a luxurious interior and off-road capabilities in a family-friendly package. The 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee set the standard for what Vallejo and Fairfield drivers expect from an SUV. But the Jeep Grand Cherokee didn’t pop up from nowhere. What’s the heritage of the Grand Cherokee? Learn more about this perennial favorite with Hanlees Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napa, then shop for a new Jeep Grand Cherokee of your own.



History of the Grand Cherokee

What made the first Jeep Grand Cherokee so revolutionary when it hit Petaluma streets in 1992? For starters, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the first SUVs to use unibody construction instead of body-on-frame construction. SUVs at that time had a reputation for riding more like the trucks whose frames they were built on, and this unibody construction gave the Grand Cherokee a smoother, more sedan-like ride that would appeal to drivers beyond the sporting segment.

In hindsight, this was the turning point for SUVs becoming the preferred family vehicle choice. Here’s more about the heritage of the Grand Cherokee that led to these developments:


Designers were given the job of designing an innovative SUV to be a larger, more sophisticated take on the well-established Jeep Cherokee. They rolled out the concept in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the Jeep Concept 1.

Changes in corporate ownership of Jeep, and CEO Lee Iaccoa’s focus on the popularity of the minivan delayed Jeep Grand Cherokee production until the early 1990s to compete with the Ford Explorer. Models were built in Detroit at the purpose-built Jefferson North Assembly plant.


This part of the history of the Grand Cherokee sees the SUV making a name for itself on the market with high-end features both for the cabin and under the hood. By 1997 the Jeep Grand Cherokee had earned the honor of being the world’s fastest SUV with a 245-hp engine.


The 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was a complete overhaul of the previous generation. The spare tire disappeared from the back end and was placed under the cargo area floor, while a lighter V8 engine brought more efficient power. The new Quadra-Drive system innovated the way 4×4 power was distributed, establishing the heritage of the Grand Cherokee among off-road legends.


Further improvements were made to the 4×4 system, and in 2007 the Grand Cherokee made its debut in European markets. By the end of the decade, the Jeep Grand Cherokee could be equipped with a HEMI® V8 engine that could generate up to 357 hp.


Four-wheel independent suspension gave this generation of the Grand Cherokee better on-road handling. A turbocharged diesel engine option appeared, and in 2021, brought the new UConnect 5 infotainment system to drivers. The body also expanded to an available two rows of seating with the introduction of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The next year, the Grand Cherokee got electrified with the addition of the plug-in hybrid Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.

Be a Part of the History of the Grand Cherokee at Hanlees Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napa!

The hallowed heritage of the Grand Cherokee includes years of awards for safety, value, and overall quality. So why not be a part of that history with Hanlees Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Napa and the purchase of your own Jeep Grand Cherokee? Apply for financing with us to get started.


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