Joe Oldham, Scott's father and fellow journalist, dubbed the new Grand Cherokee "the quickest and fastest sport utility vehicle you can buy [and] unquestionably the best Jeep ever built." On the downside, he advised that "the rear suspension doesn't always want to do the same thing you want to do and it gives a little jiggle under you to let you know that you're pushing a bit too hard."
Consumer Reports was satisfied with the Jeep Grand Cherokee's handling skills both on- and off-road, but found it "unrefined" overall. "Side-to-side rocking spoils the Grand Cherokee's ride," they declared. "The drivetrain whines constantly, and the engine growls harshly when it's revving."
Although the "previous Grand Cherokee lumbered toward truckiness," AutoWeek suggested, this one's "tempered personality makes it a real-world runner." AW's 0-60 mph acceleration test produced a figure just under 7.5 seconds.
Jeep engineers had made "deliberate compromises in on-road comfort to keep off-road prowess at a high level," Car and Driver declared. "The Rubicon raider is smoother and more refined on the paved road, but it's still sure-footed on the trail."
Sales figures for calendar-year 1999 demonstrated Grand Cherokee's prowess on show-room floors. A total of 300,031 went to customers, up 31 percent from 1998.
As for the other two Jeep products, rotary controls replaced the Jeep Wrangler climate system's sliding levers. Wranglers came in new colors for the body, interior, and both top styles. Meanwhile, minor appearance changes marked the Cherokees. New options included heated seats for Classics with the Limited package. A Sentry Key theft-deterrent system for the Sport and Classic could disable the ignition if an improper key was used.
Consumer Guide concluded that though crude even for a no-frills SUV, the 1999 Jeep Wrangler nonetheless exuded more personality and better off-road capability than nearly anything on the market. On the other hand, CG editors dubbed Cherokee the "blue light special" of midsize SUVs, noting its aging design and behind-the-times interior space, ride, and refinement.
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum opened in October 1999 in Auburn Hills, Michigan, home to DaimlerChrysler's U.S. headquarters. Several Jeep products from throughout the years were put on display, but none so prominently as Willys MB placed in a diorama depicting the advance of American GIs through war-torn Europe sometime after the D-Day invasion.
On the next page, learn about Jeep in the twenty-first century with details on the 2000-2001 Jeep.
For more information on Jeeps, see:
- History of Jeep
- Consumer Guide New Jeep Prices and Reviews
- Consumer Guide Used Jeep Prices and Reviews