But it was the Grand Cherokee -- the vehicle most affected by the Chrysler-Jeep marriage -- that now accounted for fully half of all Jeeps sold. Its blend of safety and power, refinement and ruggedness, continued to earn accolades from the public and press.
Car and Driver tested six top compact sport-utilities for its March 1994 issue, on highways and the drag strip, in mud bogs and deep snow, and on rock-strewn trails. A V-8 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited emerged on the top. Reflecting the "gentrified" nature of these 4x4 wagons, sticker prices averaged $36,320. Finishing in order behind the Jeep (31,332 as tested) were the Toyota Land Cruiser, Range Rover Country, Mitsubishi Montero Sr, Isuzu Trooper LS, and Ford Explorer Limited.
A colorful Rio Grande Edition was offered on the 1995 Jeep Wrangler.
Despite intrusive engine noise and "occasionally wandery steering" C/D said Jeep Grand Cherokee "continues to be the only sportute that makes us forget we're driving a truck" and "it outperformed every other vehicle in the group by a comfortable margin." Off-road, Quadra-Trac's ability to keep the Jeep going was limited only by the capabilities of its all-season tires. "This sort of versatility is unexpected in a vehicle marketed as a kind of high performance station wagon," said the editors.
Here's how the field ranked in standing-start acceleration:
|Vehicle|| 0-60 mph |
(seconds @ mph)
|Jeep||8.0||16.3 @ 84 |
|Mitsubishi||9.7||17.5 @ 87|
|Range Rover||10.4||17.9 @ 77|
|Toyota||10.7||17.9 @ 76|
|Isuzu||10.0||18.1 @ 75|
|Ford||11.0||18.3 @ 75|
In braking, Grand Cherokee's four-wheel ABS hauled it down from 70 mph in 180 feet -- shorter than all but the Land Cruiser's 178 feet. On the skidpad, the Jeep registered a lateral force of 0.75g, best in the field. It also ran quickest through the "emergency lane-change maneuver," whipping though cones at 58.7 mph.
A driver's air bag went into the 1995 Jeep Cherokee. For 1996 Jeep Cherokee, its four-cylinder engine lost five horsepower and could no longer team with an automatic transmission.
All Jeep Grand Cherokees got four-wheel disc brakes in 1995, but five-speed manual shift was dropped. New options included fold-out child safety seats and a flip-up lift-gate window. A new Orvis package had Moss Green paint with red and yellow accents.
A restyled grille on the 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee dipped into the bumper, which could hold integrated fog lights. Dual air bags were newly standard, and the steering wheel held cruise-control switches. Command-Trac part-time four-wheel drive was dropped, and the Limited gained such equipment as memory seat/mirror/radio settings, variable-assist power steering, and optional heated front seats.
A Rio Grande Edition -- wearing Bright Mango paint -- debuted on the base Wrangler S for 1995. The Renegade package was dropped. Jeep Wrangler sat out the 1996 season, but engineers and stylists had been busy for several years whipping up a new version of Jeep's smallest sport-utility, ready to emerge as an early 1997 model.
Read the next page for a detailed look at the 1997 TJ Jeep Wrangler.
For more information on Jeeps, see:
- History of Jeep
- Consumer Guide New Jeep Prices and Reviews
- Consumer Guide Used Jeep Prices and Reviews