I’ve always thought of Jeep owners as rugged individuals destined for picturesque locations only found by traveling miles of dirt roads, fording rivers and traversing rocky hillsides. Maybe it’s in light of Jeep’s popularity in the off-road market, or maybe it’s just those clever commercials.
At first glance, however, the 2000 Grand Cherokee doesn’t fit that image. Sure, the profile is a bit more muscular than competitors such as the Lexus RX300, but it’s nothing compared to the hard right angles of its siblings, the Cherokee and Wrangler. But, despite its demure looks, owners of the Jeep Grand Cherokee can experience both off-road adventure and sybaritic luxury, thanks to a recent renovation that brings the Grand Cherokee even closer to the top-drawer utes.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was redesigned for the 1999 model year; the 2000 models have minimal changes. As with previous years, the Grand Cherokee is available in Laredo and Limited versions, with a 195-horsepower, 4.0-liter, in-line six-cylinder engine coming standard in both models. Both two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions are offered on the six-cylinder, which has 12 overhead valves and a sequential, multi-port electronic fuel injection system. Standard towing capacity is 2000 lb and goes up to 5000 lb with the optional towing package.
The optional 235-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 engine is now available in the two-wheel drive version, beginning with this model year. The 4.7-liter features a single overhead cam with 16 valves and electronic fuel injection. Although the standard towing capacity is 2000 lb, an optional heavy-duty towing package makes the Grand Cherokee capable of towing up to 6500 lb with the 4.7-liter engine.
Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, although the transmission for the V-8 engine has dual second gear. During acceleration, the higher ratio second gear is used to provide better launching capabilities, while the lower ratio is activated when kicking down from third to second gear to provide greater power over a broader range. Initial acceleration is also improved with a 3.00:1 ratio for first gear.