Retrospective via Automotive Traveler: The Jeep Grand Cherokee

With this week’s press introduction of the new Grand Cherokee, Automotive Traveler looks back on the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s first three generations. Automotive Traveler’s Editor in Chief, Rich Truesdell, details the Grand Cherokee history, from its beginnings at AMC right up through today, with all the intrigue that went along with Renault, AMC, Chrysler, Daimler, and so on. Read more after the jump….

In Richard’s words:

The Jeep Grand Cherokee literally burst on the scene when it crashed through the front window of Detroit’s Cobo Hall, kicking off the 1992 North American International Automobile Show. While it was initially positioned as Jeep’s competitor to the similarly sized Ford Explorer, it was at heart a new class of vehicle. The Explorer was a scaled-down body-on-frame truck, but the Grand Cherokee (as well as the slightly smaller Cherokee) used a unibody platform, making it what we today call a crossover. And where the Explorer had limited off-road capability, the Grand Cherokee (like its Jeep predecessors) had exceptional off-pavement abilities, when properly equipped with one of its advanced four-wheel-drive systems. Lee Iacocca and Bob Lutz are often credited with the Grand Cherokee’s introduction. Yet the development of this landmark SUV actually had many more contributors. The groundbreaking first-generation Grand Cherokee traces its genesis all the way back to 1983, when American Motors started planning for the next version of the then-new 1984 Jeep Cherokee, the first compact, four-door SUV.

Read more at Automotive Traveler.


  1. We still have "Whitey," our snow white '98 5.9 Limited. That thing is ridiculous, my sister is still afraid to drive it and she's 30. 350lbs*ft available basically from idle made it a handful on snow and ice, but who doesn't love a little tail sliding around every turn.

  2. Fun fact: the styling of the ZJ Grand Cherokee was supervised by Bob Nixon, the AMC designer who created the Gremlin.

  3. I know there are those who are passionate about these but for me, XJ all the way. Although my driveway is bursting at the seams, I still wish I hadn't parted with mine.

  4. I remember hearing that the ZJ was a major factor in Chrysler's purchase of AMC. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Eagle or Alliance.

    1. Actually, the Eagle remained in production for about a year after the merger, while all other non-Jeep manufacturing was ceased immediately. It was a pretty strong seller, pity about the misappropriation of its name for rebranding badge-engineered Japanese cars.

  5. Cool !!! Thanks a lot for the article, it was really informative and exactly what I was searching for. I’m hopeful that you will add similar stuff soon.

  6. This domain seems to get a great deal of visitors. How do you promote it? It gives a nice unique twist on things. I guess having something useful or substantial to post about is the most important thing.

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