I don’t know about others, but to me, the Jeep Grand Cherokee II or Cherokee WJ was the most American and iconic Grand Cherokee to grace our corner of Europe. Is it possible I found one of my favorite cars?

The first Cherokee, that one was a work of art dedicated to all who lived above 1500 feet. But then again, we Europeans seem to want something more luxurious and comfortable but also American looking and possibly good where the tarmac ends. I’m just saying, you’ve got your Jeep. Automatically the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ had to meet all these criteria and it had to host a huge graffiti on the door. And something with “ranger” and “freedom” painted on it. There’s no way you can call yourself a Jeep and not be more competent at off-roading than Robert De Niro is competent at making babies.


And here comes the Jeep Grand Cherokee II or Grand Cherokee WJ to appeal to our sensitive side. We have automatic climate control. We got leather seats. We got infotainment. We have comfort. We have CDs and we’ve ditched the cassettes. We even have engines worth buying, adapted for Europe. Just kidding, they’re just engines bought under license from european manufacturers.

What wealso  have here is a failure in communication… we have an old-fashioned SUV that has gone under our radar. OK, it’s not as anonymous as the Rexton because the Grand Cherokee WG has a huge off-road and wildilfe community, but it wasn’t the success named BMW X5 either. And it’s easy to see why because the Grand Cherokee is still very much off-road focused and not very tarmac gifted. You have to be Placebo and have special needs in order to own a Grand Cherokee and drive it exclusively on the tarmac. It’s a worse idea than getting another round when you already feel like you’re about to puke. It’s a worse idea than Piers Morgan playing the Pidgeon Lady in Home Alone. It’s worse than letting Robert De Niro within three miles of your woman. When you hear Robert De Niro, hide all the girls and women in your area. It’s the only way to save them.


Jeep Grand Cherokee WG Engines


  • 4.0 AMC 242 l-6 of 190 and 198 horsepower  – This AMC-sourced engine sings its retirement under the hood of the Cherokee WJ and does so with dignity. Yes, it only looks muscular but in reality, it lacks the grunt, but at least it has reliability on its side. Legend has it that it’s one of the most reliable engines ever built. This would be reffered to as an classic american engine, a “gas-guzzler”.
  • 4.7 V8 PowerTech with 235 and 265 horsepower – We’re making the switch from the XXX bottle to the to cheap wine and from the AMC engine to the Powertech engine. We’ve discussed this engine in other Jeep articles and the verdict was that as long as you don’t put too much pressure on it, it’s ok. If you put it to work instead it will get hotter than the atmosphere at an corporate X-Mas party for people who can’t wait to vent all their frustrations at the office, and that’s because the cooling system of the engine is poorly designed.



  • 2.7 OM612 l-5 CRDi of 163 horsepower  – Much like how the folks over at Ssangyong did with their Rexton, this engine is none other than Graham Norton‘s…no, wait…Mercedes’ 2.7 5-cylinder diesel engine is famous for what it could do on the Mercedes ML or E Class or Sprinter or just about anything. Literally the stuff of legends. This 2.7 diesel is part of the most reliable family of engines ever made by Mercedes so you can’t go wrong buying one.
  • 3.1 531 l-5 of 140 horsepower – Probably the worst engine in terms of reliability on the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ, this is the same VM Motori carried over from the previous Grand Cherokee, only that now it has 5 cylinders instead of 4. I won’t go into details, because it’s just not worth it.



Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Common Issues

  • One of the recurring issues with the Grand Cherokee WJ is the automatic climate control. One issue is that the blades break and the second is that the cables melt. Alternatively, you can just use the windows.
  • Special mention for the rear bearings on V8 models as they are worth a look on the more used models.
  • Moving on to the car’s heating system, namely the heated seats which also needs to be checked if it works, for the wealthy who can afford it. Yet another comfort feature for the Grand Cherokee that wants to slowly transition from woodwork to mall crawling. 
  • Oil leaks all over the engine, transmission, and transfer cases. Basically, the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ is like a student who’s had a few too many on the night the session officially ends. It leaks a lot of fluid, through a lot of places.


Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Verdict

The Jeep Grand Cherokee II wanted to be all things to all men. It wanted. However the Grand Cherokee WJ probably offers the balance between off-road and on-road that only a handful of SUVs have managed to achieve. Sure, I don’t recommend this boat on wheels for too much for tarmac work, but the leather seat heating and automatic climate control also recommend it for those who want to look like off-road enthusiasts but aren’t. For everyone else, there are lift kits and 33″ tires.


What engines do I recommend? I can’t recommend anything other than the legendary 190hp 4.0 l-6 for petrol, just as in the diesel category there is only the 163hp 2.7 CRDi.