About the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited With a Hemi Engine

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited was completely re-designed and re-engineered for 2005, and it included three engine types: a V-6 and two V-8s, including the stupendous 5.7L Hemi V-8 with MDS (multi-displacement system). Although the Jeep brand has always been legendary, at this time it still had limited cachet in North America. Nevertheless, this new model represented great value for the dollar and offered first-rate executive-type transport, in four-wheel or two-wheel (rear) drive. It retailed at $32,675 and included a three-year or 36,000-mile warranty.

01
of 04

At First Glance

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Hemi
photo by Colin Hefferon

While all-new from the ground up, the 2005 Grand Cherokee initially seemed to lack a bit of the luster of some of the off-shore brands. But upon further inspection, it conceded nothing to them in the way of build quality and all-round capability. 

To bring this new Grand Cherokee more into sync with current design trends, DaimlerChrysler designers moved up the beltline and reduced the glass-to-body ratio. The corners and sides were also squared off. All of which gave the vehicle a more solid, more substantial appearance compared with its predecessor. Yet it was still instantly recognizable from every angle as a Grand Cherokee, a model first launched in 1993.

Certain signature features of the Grand Cherokee, like the seven-slot grille and the trapezoidal wheel openings, were carried over into the new vehicle. The hood, air dam, and side mirrors evince hours of development time in the wind tunnel. The heavy cladding used on the previous model was replaced with a more slab-like bodyside shape. Apparently, this new shape would better protect the sides of the vehicle from road debris tossed up by the big tires.

 

02
of 04

In the Driver's Seat

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Hemi
photo by Colin Hefferon

The interior was also completely re-thought for 2005, with an emphasis on occupant comfort and convenience. It was a huge improvement over the previous generation. New European-style seats – (extra firm and ergonomic) –were developed specifically for the Grand Cherokee and designed to ensure comfort on long distance drives.

Luxury clues abounded. Everything from the finish and interior textures and colors down to the sound of the switches all contributed to the perception of quality.

A lot of thought was put into ease of use, too. A new four-gauge instrument cluster with LED lighting and black gauges surrounded by chrome accent rings and red pointers were designed to be easy to read, even in difficult lighting conditions. The rear seats easily folded down flat for increased cargo capacity.

Yet, there were a few hitches: Only the glass on the rear hatch opened with the remote. This could be handy once you got used to it, but most users were frustrated by continually popping the glass when what they wanted was to unlock the lift gate. 

The 2005 Grand Cherokee also came with family essentials like a rear seat DVD entertainment unit, new 276W Boston Acoustics sound system with six-disc CD/MP3, and dual-zone HVAC.

Strangely enough, though, safety essentials like side air bags and full-length side curtain air bags were extra-cost options.

03
of 04

On the Road

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Hemi
photo by Colin Hefferon

One of the Limited models came with Quadra-Drive II 4WD, a sophisticated system that automatically transfers power to the wheel(s) with the best traction. This system features electronically controlled front and rear differential locks, which eliminates many of the on-road drawbacks normally associated with a 4x4 and electronic stability control. Although a competent 235hp, 4.7L V-8 came standard, the optional 5.7L Hemi V-8 with MDS proved to be the most impressive of the engines. Multi-displacement system technology was designed to shut off four of the cylinders in situations when they are not needed. If you're shuffling along in heavy traffic, for example, or cruising on the thruway, you don't need the power from all eight cylinders. So the system shuts off four of them. But the instant you press harder on the gas, the engine computer activates the other four cylinders. Before you can say "Cadillac 4-6-8," you've got all the power you'll ever need.

The Hemi's all-around performance is of course astounding, and it was no exception here—you could go 0-60 in under 7 seconds, and quarter-mile times were in the 15-second range. At the time, this blew the doors off all but a few sport sedans. Problem is, it was mighty tempting to drive with a heavy foot, which could drop the EPA mileage estimates (17 city, 22 highway) into the toilet.

04
of 04

Journey's End

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Hemi
photo by Colin Hefferon

The 2005 was a vast improvement over the previous model, which could get pretty squirrelly at speeds over 70 mph, especially when there was a hint of crosswind. The new model handled like a dream, thanks to a fundamental re-think of both the front and rear suspension architecture and components. The ride was firm but never harsh, due in large part to the significantly increased wheel travel, which also improved the already exemplary off-road capability.