An excellent vehicle, but suffers from a few introductory-year troubles
Air conditioner condensate water leaked into the passenger side footwell. The previous owner had already fixed this once according to the TSB, but I think the air con box is cracked somewhere. I repaired this myself - caught it before any carpet or wiring damage occurred.
Key ignition switch broke... I was a bit rough with it; in '94 Chrysler redesigned this part. About $80.
Serpentine belt pulley separated from crankshaft.. painful/unacceptable.. $300.
Rear axle seal leaking - fair wear & tear, $100 (occurred while towing ~4000lbs+).
One brake rotor total failure (cracked) at 120,000 (I think it was an original rotor, resurfaced many times). Excusable.
Ignition coil went at 115,000.
1993 is not a good year for the Grand Cherokee, since that was when it was introduced - the V8 is especially unreliable. However, I have only had 2 relatively minor problems that were unacceptable failures (pulley and ignition switch), and a later year would probably not have these troubles.
The I6 4.0 engine is extremely reliable, long-lasting and adequately powerful. The exhaust manifold cracks eventually on *all* these engines - sometimes it's just a bit more noisy, other times you can fail emissions on it - welding it will cost about 100 bucks.
I also have the best (most reliable) transfer case - SelecTrac which allows 2WD, 4WDFullTime, 4WDPartTime & 4LO. The QuadraTrac is more refined, but the CV joints and the viscous coupling are notorious for going bad. SelecTrac is highly recommended; off-road performance is fantastic. The 4.0 is OK for towing, but be sure to fit a transmission cooler.
Interior comfort is great, rear cargo space acceptable (considering the short rear overhang, essential for good off-road performance). With very minor work the sound system can be made great (good speaker size & location), and control ergonomics are better than the GM/Fords I've seen, as is the quality of the interior materials/plastics.
Ride is smooth, transmission is still OK. Handling is superb for a truck of this size. The steering is a bit overpowered as it is on all American cars, but this makes it easier to park. Brakes are acceptable, but not great (rear drums). The Ltd has rear discs (much better), and in '95 they started putting rear discs on all models.
Overall, I can thoroughly recommend the Jeep G.C., but NOT the 1993. Get a 1995 or 1998; these are the best years of the older body styles. Get a Warranty if you can (I couldn't, bought privately), expect a few minor problems and make sure you are a person that understands (and respects) cars.
Don't buy a JGC, even from new, for a housewife that expects absolute 100% reliability. Otherwise, I say this vehicle is the best on/off road performance compromise for the price, and is a great, flexible vehicle.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th January, 2002