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The 2005-2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV details and buyer guide

2008-2010 Grand Cherokee / 2005-07 Review / 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

jeep grand cherokee SUV side viewThe 2005-2007 “WK” Jeep Grand Cherokee had more power, off-road capability, and comfort and convenience features, with a choice of four engines: the Hemi, 4.7 V8, 3.7 V6, and (for a time) a Mercedes diesel. The 3.7 came with a Mercedes five-speed, the V8s with a Chrysler five-speed automatic with dual second gears. The Hemi brought an additional 60 hp and 40 lb-ft of torque over the 4.7 High Output V8 with no gas mileage penalty; the V6 brought an extra 15 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque.

New for 2005 were an active suspension and electronic differentials, and an independent front suspension for better on-road handling and feel. New gadgets, from DVD to navigation to automatically-lowering headlights, round out the package, and a new interior increases the sense of luxury. The Grand Cherokee got the Federal government's highest safety rating. For 2007, a diesel was added (see below); for 2008, the 4.7 got a major power boost, features were added, interior and exterior styling was tweaked, and other minor changes were made.

Diesel engine option (2007)

mercedes dieselThe base price started at $38,475, including destination, for the Limited 4x2; it was available with both rear and four wheel drive, on Limited and Overland. The Bosch-developed Mercedes engine produced 215 hp (160 kW) @ 3,800 rpm and 376 lb.-ft. torque (510 N•m) @ 1,600-2,800 rpm and got an estimated fuel economy of 20 miles city and 25 miles highway for 4x2 models and 20 miles city and 24 miles highway for 4x4 models. Towing capacity was a full 7,400 pounds, and driving range of about 450 miles led the class. The engine was designed to be quiet. We have a review of the Grand Cherokee diesel now.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD was fueled with B5 (5 percent) biodiesel at the assembly plant to help increase the awareness of biodiesel.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8

The most unlikely SRT used the 6.1 liter Hemi (with 420 horsepower) and four wheel drive to outperform competitors costing twice as much; it was fast even by SRT standards, with 0-60 in under five seconds, and was the second fastest SRT (falling behind the Viper). The SRT engineers developed a new four wheel drive system by combining two different transfer cases, using the light front half of one case with the tough rear half of a different case, for a tough but relatively light unit. The SRT-8 also used a special torque converter, upgraded output shaft, heavy-duty driveshaft, and Dana 44 rear differential. Ride and handling were enhanced with improvements including SRT tuned dampers, unique sway bars, and specially tailored suspension bushing and spring rates. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) was specially calibrated for the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

The braking system of the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee included Brembo four-piston calipers clamping 360 x 32 mm vented rotors in front, and 350 x 26 mm rotors in the rear. A new front fascia reduced lift and drag, and incorporated ducts to direct air to cool the brakes. Side sill extensions created downforce, while a new rear fascia featured an aggressive center cutout for 4-inch dual exhaust tips. It was available in silver, black, and red, with a dark gray interior.

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers guide

Grand Cherokee engines

2004 - 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engines

Engine City Highway Horsepower Torque
4.0 I-6 (2004) 16 21 195 230
3.7 V-6 (2005) 16 21 210 235
4.7 (2004) 15 20 235 295
4.7 (2005) 14 20 230 290
4.7 H.O. (2004) 15 20 265 330
5.7 (2005) 14 21 325 370

The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine replaced the 4.7 liter High-Output V8, providing best-in-class power along with better gas mileage, thanks to the multi-displacement system which shut off half the cylinders when they were not needed. The speed of the system (switching in .04 seconds) made its operation imperceptible, while raising gas mileage by up to 20% - and that was in addition to the increase coming from the Hemi's more efficient design. 90% of peak torque was available from 2,400 to 5,100 rpm. Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system tailored throttle response to pedal movement based on operating conditions, and maintained more consistent vehicle speed on rolling grades when cruise control was active than the former mechanical throttle control system. In the Grand Cherokee, the Hemi was tuned to 325 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque - more torque and less horsepower than in Ram trucks and LX cars.

As expected, the 3.7-liter single-cam V-6 replaced the 1970s-vintage 4.0 straight-six. The 3.7 delivered more peak power and torque than the 4.0, albeit at higher engine speeds, and was lighter, smaller, and quieter. The 3.7 produced 210 hp (157 kW) at 5,200 rpm and 235 lb-ft (319 Nm) at 4,000 rpm. It had a revised cam profile and new valve lash adjusters to increase smoothness at idle, and a thick-wall composite manifold and revised air box and resonator to reduce noise.

The 4.7-liter V-8 was updated as well, with dual knock sensors and improved engine calibration for both fuel economy and power output. Noise and vibration were reduced through the use of composite valve covers, structural improvements to the air box and resonator, and improved dampening of the heat shields. The engine produced 230 hp (172 kW) @ 4700 rpm and 290 lb-ft (393 Nm) of torque @ 3700.

4.7 liter PowerTech engine

2005 Grand Cherokee automatic transmissions

A five-speed Mercedes automatic transmission (W5A580) was used with the 3.7-liter V-6. It featured partial engagement in third, fourth, and fifth gears to improve shift feel, economy, and transmission cooling. Like the 545RFE and all other modern Chrysler automatics, the shift schedule adapted to the driver's style, road situations, and other factors.

jeep grand cherokee SUV side view

The 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission continued to be used with V8s, with refinements for higher-quality shifts and increased to the Grand Cherokee's towing capacity, including:

  • a redesigned solenoid to provide quieter operation when shifting from "park" into "drive."
  • a turbine damper reduced noise and vibration related to torque converter application.

The 545RFE continued to offer dual second-gear ratios to provide a balance of performance and fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions, the transmission selected the more appropriate second gear. A secondary overdrive ratio increased highway fuel economy and reduced engine noise at high speeds.

The 545RE had three planetary gear sets and one overrunning clutch, with Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver-interactive control ("AutoStick"?), and an electronically controlled torque converter clutch.

Both transmissions featured Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver interactive shift control for the first time on Grand Cherokee. The shifter provided fully-automated shifting when in the "drive" position, or the driver could manually select each gear by simply moving the shifter left and right from the "drive" position. This gave the driver control to precisely match any on-road or off-road driving requirement.

A new stamped steel transfer case skid plate mounted to the transmission cross member and fuel tank skidplate to provide off-road protection to the transfer case.

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Ratios
Gear 3.7
4.7 and Hemi
1 3.59 3.00
2 primary 2.14 1.67
2 alternate 1.50
3 1.41 1.00
4 1.00 .075
5 0.83 0.67
Reverse 3.16 3.00
Final Drive 3.07:1 3.73:1
Overall Top
Gear Ratio
2.55 with 3.07 axle
2.95 with 3.55 axle
2.50 with 3.73 axle

Suspension and steering

The company switched to an independent front suspension for better steering control, and reduced “head toss.” Front suspension wheel travel was increased 13 percent over the 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee. The new five-link rear suspension geometry, including a track bar, also had better lateral stiffness.

A former Jeep/Truck engineer wrote, “The Grand Cherokee went away from the link-coil front suspension partly for smoother on road manners, and to cater to the pressure from the auto writers. However, a big reason was to be able to stuff the entire powertrain and suspension up into the body [at the assembly plant] in a fraction of a minute, which they couldn't do when the ZJ (original Grand Cherokee) started out (as the XJ Cherokee replacement, to be built on the XJ line). The XJ, ZJ, and WJ were laboriously assembled with the links, springs and axles coming up from below; the engine, transmission, and transfer case were swung in on a hook from above, as you would do at home (including the banging and cursing). The WK update was a boon to manufacturing efficiency.”

The DHS uses the steering angle sensor, center of gravity lateral accelerometer and upper lateral accelerometer to determine when the stabilizer bar is necessary. Actuators pressurize the bar links when the bar is required. While traveling straight on-road, the actuators float and the bar can travel to the limits of the links. DHS delivers a high level of driver confidence by significantly reducing body roll in tight turns, resulting in sportier handling and maneuvering, while providing a smoother ride when traveling straight ahead.

The Dynamic Handling System (DHS) was standard with the Hemi engine -- Chrysler's first use of a hydraulic-controlled active stabilizer system. DHS significantly reduced body roll, resulting in sportier handling when turning or maneuvering, while providing a smoother ride when traveling straight ahead. Traditionally, a stiff stabilizer bar improved handling, but diminished ride quality. The Jeep DHS overcame this by effectively decoupling the front and rear stabilizer bars except when they were needed to improve cornering performance.

Also offered for the first time, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) aided the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe driving maneuvers on any type of surface. Using signals from sensors throughout the vehicle, the system determined the appropriate brake and throttle adjustments for directional stability of the vehicle.

Grand Cherokee's new rack-and-pinion steering system imparted a more precise steering feel translated to the driver through fewer linkages than a recirculating ball steering system. Even with the 2.5-inch increase in track, Grand Cherokee's nimbleness and tight turning diameter were maintained with the new steering system.


interior - 2005 jeep grand cherokee

At a time when fad diets and an obsession with being svelte were trendy, it was somewhat ironic that oversized sport-utility vehicles (SUV) were in fashion at all. This made the functionally efficient capability and timeless design of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee a breath of fresh air - or, at least, it would if the thing weren't so durn heavy that its gas mileage was no better than that of the Chevy Tahoe.

2005 Grand Cherokee seatsThe signature seven-slot grille had a painted body color look on Loredo, and was plated with chrome on the Limited. High-performance halogen headlamps employed a rounded traditional Jeep appearance. The hood, air dam and exterior mirrors were developed in the Chrysler Group's wind tunnel in Auburn Hills, Michigan, to minimize wind noise and maximize aerodynamics.

The shape of the body had been designed to protect the sides of the vehicle from potential road debris thrown off the tires. The heavy and expensive cladding used on the previous model was replaced with a more efficient body-side shape and moldings that were incorporated into the design. Badges were now injection-molded and chrome-plated to communicate a richness and sense of precision.

A new and inviting interior awaited occupants with a rich two-tone instrument panel treatment, new door trims and upscale interior finishes. The seats were crafted with contours that were precise, firm and ergonomic. They were designed for long-distance comfort with trim styles different for each model: Laredo featured cloth and optional leather while Limited seats were two-tone leather with perforated leather seat inserts.

The elegant instrument panel design offered a high degree of precision. Gaps were reduced and parting lines minimized. The instrument panel featured a dark upper color and lighter lower color. Multiple storage bins were added for additional storage.

"A successful effort was made to limit the amount of joints and pieces in the interior," said Clyde Ney, Chrysler Group Jeep Design Manager and the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee's interior designer. "Quality isn't just the workings of the interior but the perception the customer feels when they are within the vehicle. The touch points -- elegance, the sound the switches make, the fit and finish, the textures and lighter colors -- are all vital to a quality experience because that's where the occupants literally live while traveling."

interior - 2005 jeep grand cherokee

A new precise four-gauge instrument cluster with LED illumination featured black gauges surrounded by chrome accent rings and red pointers for easy-to-read legibility in all lighting conditions.

The new gated automatic transmission shifter had a chrome bezel. On models with a two-speed transfer case, the traditional manual case lever was replaced with an electric "T-handle" lever that interacted better with the transfer case. A momentary pull rearward on the lever selected between 4-Low and 4-Hi, and returned to its original position. There was a parcel bin for cell phones and other such items to the right of the shifter.

In the cargo area, versatility and storage reign. A new reversible load door panel was carpeted on one side and offered easy-to-clean plastic on the other. The plastic side included a large shallow tray for additional utility.

Jeep cargo bay - 2005 Grand Cherokee - review

Jeep Grand Cherokee suspension for 2005 - buyers guide

Engineers were challenged with the task of designing a Jeep suspension that performed better off-road, matched or surpassed existing durability and vastly improved vehicle handling and ride comfort on-road. The solution: Combine the five-link rear suspension architecture with an all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee short-and-long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension (IFS).

height=254"We designed the all-new front suspension for improved off-road performance and robustness," said Eric Ridenour, Executive Vice President -- Product Development. "Simultaneously, we achieved a vast improvement in handling and ride comfort. The five-link rear suspension was tuned for superb handling and balance in a package that will be just as fun and enjoyable to drive every day on the pavement as it is off-pavement."

"Jeep is the only company that holds its engineers to such high standards for off-road capability and durability -- AK3 and Jeep Trail Rated® -- and can still deliver world-class SUV ride and handling performance," said Craig Love, Chrysler Group Vice President Activity Vehicles.

Nodular iron, single-piece lower control arms featured an L-shaped geometry designed to provide higher ground clearance at the wheels than most IFS systems. Forged upper control arms provided strength and durability. Tall aluminum steering knuckles provided optimal steering and suspension geometry for excellent on-road handling and maneuverability. Coil-over shocks delivered high-performance control.

Front suspension travel was increased by almost 10 percent (more than one inch) compared to the 2004 Grand Cherokee, further improving the 2005 Grand Cherokee's off-road capability.

The advantages of this front suspension included much improved handling, reduced head toss on and off road for a more comfortable ride, a savings of 100 pounds of unsprung mass, more precise steering, and a lower center of gravity.

The 2005 Grand Cherokee rear suspension built on the success of previous generation Jeep multi-link systems. Four tubular control arms combined with a tubular track bar for total rear-axle control. The shock absorbers were positioned more vertically than in past models for greater body control and reduced head toss.

The spring rates and shock dampening were tuned to complement the front suspension for a highly balanced chassis.

Grand Cherokee's new rack and pinion steering system imparted a more precise steering feel translated to the driver through fewer linkages than a recirculating ball steering system.

4x4 systems reviewed

Three full-time four-wheel-drive systems were available:

Quadra-Trac® I

A single-speed transfer case provided convenient full-time four-wheel drive with no transfer case lever to shift or driver interaction required.

Quadra-Trac® II

QuadraTrac II had the new NV245 transfer case for full-time active four-wheel drive, with electronic shift with a true low-range gear and neutral for towing Grand Cherokee behind another vehicle.

Quadra-Drive® II

Quadra-Drive® II had Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD) for the ultimate in off-road capability, replacing the Vari-Lock progressive axles for quicker response to changing conditions and greater torque capacity.

Quadra-Trac I

The NV140 transfer case split torque 48/52 percent (front/rear) for nearly even distribution of engine power. The single-speed transfer case was designed to rigorous Jeep durability standards while offering smooth and quiet operation. The use of Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) with the NV140 transfer case made the 4 x 4 system extremely competent in a variety of situations.

Offering a single-speed transfer case attracted a new group of buyers to the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup and builds on the capable, entry-level, two-wheel drive versions, which accounted for approximately 25 percent of Jeep vehicle sales. There were no switches or levers.

Quadra-Trac II

The Quadra-Trac II 4 x 4 system for 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee gave the customer the benefit of the NV245 active transfer case and BTCS.

The transfer case was the same one used in the Quadra-Drive II system. It took input from a variety of sensors to determine tire slip at the earliest possible moment and take corrective action. The system also used Throttle Anticipate -- sensing quick movement in throttle from a stop -- and it took steps to maximize traction before tire slippage even occured.

Torque was transferred to the individual wheels as needed by the BTCS to maintain traction in changing road conditions. When the system senses tire slipped, it modulated brake pressure to the slipping wheel, which directed torque to the tires with the best traction.

Quadra-Trac II featured an electronic shift mechanism for ease-of-use. The transfer case also included a neutral position for trouble-free towing behind another vehicle.

Quadra-Drive II

The Quadra-Drive II Jeep 4 x 4 system offered customers the ultimate in off-road capability. It combined the NV245 full-time transfer case with Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD) for best-in-class tractive performance. The system instantly detected tire slip and smoothly distributed engine torque to the tires with traction. In some cases, the vehicle even anticipated low traction and adjusted to proactively limit or eliminate slip.

The heart of the system was the NV245 active transfer case. This transfer case included a center differential coupled with an electronically controlled clutch pack, varying it from a completely open state to completely locked, and infinite possibilities in between. The 4-Low gear ratio was 2.72:1.

Quadra-Drive II featured an electronic shift mechanism with a unique engagement lever. The lever was conveniently located on the shift console. Pulling the lever up engaged 4-Low. The lever returned to a resting position after activation. The transfer case also included a neutral position for trouble-free towing vehicles, such as behind a motor home.

A key component in the Quadra-Drive II system was the ELSD -- an industry first application -- and the new benchmark for automatic traction differentials. The ELSD used electronically controlled clutch packs to automatically and instantly vary from slip to lock at each axle. This maximized traction when needed without any of the on-road drawbacks normally associated with such a robust 4 x 4 system.

All components of the system worked together, continually monitoring needs, to provide smooth and automatic application of the components for best-in-class tractive performance while improving the day-to-day on-road driving experience. For example, the ELSD released the clutch packs in the front axle during turns to allow differentiation and prevent crow hop.

4.7 chrysler v8

Other amenities

Other 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee amenities (some of which were optional) included:

  • SmartBeam® headlamps that automatically dim with oncoming traffic
  • The obligatory rear seat DVD entertainment system
  • UConnect® hands-free communication
  • Satellite radio
  • Navigation system
  • Automatic windshield wipers
  • Adjustable pedals
  • Dual zone heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Front and side air bags with protection from A to C pillars
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Rear park assist
  • Occupant classification system.

Common Jeep Grand Cherokee problems

On early Grand Cherokees, built before March 20, 2005, the radio antenna may accidentally ground itself, hurting the radio signals. This can be fixed by a dealer relatively quickly. 

Other early Grand Cherokees (built before May 1, 2005) may have had problems with the door glass sticking, moaning, binding, or tracking poorly; there were various adjustments and repairs listed in a Jeep service bulletin to fix this (TSB 23-023-05). A dealer should be able to do it rather quickly. It seemed to be a matter of bad adjustment at the factory rather than bad parts or design flaws.

On vehicles with the Mercedes five-speed automatic (W5A580), watch out for water contamination - the transmission was apparently extremely sensitive to fluid quality and would shudder badly when the torque converter clutch was applied with even a 0.5% water dose. The temporary fix was to flush the fluid thoroughly (Chrysler recommended a triple flush) and put in a new filter; the long-term fix was to apply RTV (form-a-gasket) to the base of the transmission fill tube to avoid future contimination, assuming that was where water got in. If the fill tube was incorrectly installed - that was, if the seal was not perfectly flush with the transmission housing, usually above it - then that must be fixed first, so it was completely flush. This should probably be done by a trusted dealer, if you have one; but it may take up to two hours. The warranty should cover it according to TSB 21-011-05.

Finally, a squeak coming from the outside door handle may be caused by a plastic clip that attached the latch rod to the door handle; a dealer can regrease it using special grease. This was resolved after April 11, 2005 on domestic models and May 15 on international models. 

If you choose to do your own door repairs, note that the door trim panel retainers must be replaced every time the door is removed; use part 06507686AA.


The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee was produced at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, starting in the third quarter of 2004. Assembly for markets outside North America began in the first quarter of 2005 at the Magna Steyr assembly plant in Graz, Austria.

2007 changes to the Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • 3.0-liter Common Rail Diesel (CRD) engine with Dana 44 axle in 2WD models (not available in ME, NY, VT, CT, CA) with particulate filter standard!
  • New colors
  • Narrow molded-in-color black body molding for Laredo (Laredo appearance upgrade); body color door handles on all Laredos
  • Revised rear taillights
  • Brushed aluminum stainless steel front sill guards on Overland
  • Improved finish on upper instrument panel
  • Color keyed interior color cup holders
  • Laredo: Center console bezel changed from black to match other interior bezels; chrome accent HVAC knobs; cut and sew padded vinyl center arm rest; chrome rings on instrument gauges; ParkSense® Rear Back-up System; fog lights optional; various package changes
  • 4.7-liter SOHC V-8 Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) (not available in ME, NY, VT, CT, CA)
  • Remote start
  • Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) standard on 3.7-liter engine
  • Standard tires: P245/65R17 Goodyear Fortera replaces Wrangler SRA and HP
  • ParkView Rear Back-up Camera—Available Laredo and Limited
  • Active turn signals—“3-Blink Lane Change”
  • Standard side curtain air bags
  • SRT-8 gets a rear camera (obstacle-avoidance aid) and remote start

2008 & 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee changes

Grand Cherokee and Commander were moderately redesigned for 2008, with a new two-piece front fascia (the bottom part was removable); a longer grille and new circular headlamps (HID optional on Limited, standard on Overland); lower fog lamps; and new wheels. The interior got a new instrument panel, clusters, bezels, and door trim panels; a new tilt/telescoping steering wheel with vehicle information controls; integrated second row headrests and heated second row seats; new radios including MyGIG; Sirius back-seat TV; an 8-inch DVD screen; a glove-box iPod interface for the UConnect system; an AC power outlet; a rear backup camera wihtout the navigation system; standard Sirius Satellite Radio on Laredo, Limited, and OVerland; hill descent control and hill start assist; trailer sway control; and a much more powerful 4.7 liter V8 engine. The Commander also got a new two-row, five-passenger sport model.

Grand Cherokee and Commander got the new VCT Hemi, boasting 357 horses and 389 lb-ft of torque with better mileage. The Grand Cherokee instrument panel was upgraded to inlcude tire pressure monitoring and fuel saver notification; the rear DVD went a 9 inch screen; and an iPod interface became available with the nav system. A new leather group was made optional on Limited and Overland.

Jeep Grand Cherokee at Allpar

ZJ, WJ (Pure Jeep)WK (Joint Development)WK2 (Current)

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