'05 Jeep Grand Cherokee Gets Optional Hemi V-8
Jeep recently introduced its all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee. This is only the second complete redesign of the model first introduced in 1993 by Chrysler. The last redesign was in the '99 model year, and since then, the luxury SUV category has been refined by competitors such as Lexus, Cadillac, and Hummer, which puts the Grand Cherokee at a severe disadvantage. Since the Grand Cherokee is the top truck of the Jeep brand, the company needed a new model to remain competitive.

In the '99 redesign, the signature vertical bars of the Jeep grille were angled, which softened the off-road tough image. Now, that softened image is reversed and the square-shouldered seven-slot Jeep front grille is back. On the Limited, the bars are chrome-plated; with the Laredo you get paint. The designers have also departed from the simple round headlights usually associated with Jeep, but still use arcs to form a modern upgrade that works well with the strong vertical element of the new front grille.

Also significant is the longer hood of the new Grand Cherokee. The choice gives the Jeep a more powerful presence that the company is hinting it'll back up with an optional 5.7L Hemi V-8.

In addition to the optional Hemi, we applaud the designers' choice to lose the plastic cladding. The look is now cleaner, with a crisp edge to the styling that conveys the vehicle's purpose and capability but with a sense of refinement; a blacksmith in a sport coat perhaps.

Regarding interior design, to its credit, Jeep decided not to include a third-row seat; that would reduce the capability of the Grand Cherokee, a move that would tarnish the rig's image with its core buyers. The company did, however, make every effort to increase the comfort and control of the driver and passengers as well as their enjoyment of the cockpit.

The new Jeep features a new 4x4 system, the Quadra-Drive II, and more European-influenced seat designs. We take that to mean firmer seats with more side support, an element we're looking forward to testing along with the Hemi.

'05 Jeep Liberty Renegade World Debut of First Diesel midsize SUV
For '05, the Jeep Liberty gets its exterior freshened and a refined interior, and is the first diesel in the U.S. and Canadian midsize SUV segment. The new engine will provide increased torque, power, and range.

The 2.8L common-rail diesel (CRD) engine is rated at an estimated 160 hp at 3,800 rpm and with 295 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm, which should provide excellent performance and towing capability. Diesel engines are becoming more attractive to today's light-truck buyer because they offer increased torque, towing, and range, while improving fuel economy an average of 25 percent and reducing CO2 emissions by an average of 20 percent. Jeep says the diesel engine will be available on both Sport and Limited models.

The Jeep Liberty Renegade features a new flatter hood, taller grille, off-road foglamps, taillamp guards, rock rails, and four skidplates, and is available with wide, aggressive 16-inch all-terrain tires. An overhead light bar and a GPS-DVD navigation radio are also available.