The all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee packs a mighty punch with a number of performance features: two new transfer cases, all-new suspension, all-new 5-speed automatic transmission, three new fulltime 4WD systems, and two new engines (3.7-liter SOHC V6 and a HEMI 5.7-liter V8). A rack and pinion steering (a Jeep first) replaces the former re-circulating ball steering system. Compared to the 2004 model, the new Grand Cherokee increased the overall torsion and bending stiffness by 60 percent. Grand Cherokee (available in Laredo and Limited versions) is longer, wider and has a greater wheelbase than the previous model year. On the safety side, the SUV offers optional side curtain airbags.

Interior-wise, the Grand Cherokee can be appointed with various new-for-2005 features, including rear seat DVD entertainment, a Boston Acoustics 6 speaker system, color navigation with AM/FM stereo and 6-disc CD/MP3 player, as well as 8-way driver and 4-way power passenger seats with manual lumbar. A new four-gauge cluster with LED illumination is a welcome change. In contrast, a hard plastic driver’s side door stowage pocket intrudes a bit too much into the driver’s leg. When powered by the 3.7-liter V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, the SUV reveals per gallon fuel economy of 17 city and 21 highway. MSRP of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD Laredo is $28,100.