This is a good vehicle if you know what you are getting in to
Our company has owned a total of 5 Grand Cherokee units. Two of them were very bad, two very good and one right up the middle. I have experienced most of the ailments that are posted on this board at one time or another. Right now my personal '99 Laredo is in the shop with the usual brake problems (second time in 8000 miles), and with an inoperable driver window. This time I will do the brakes right with aftermarket components.
The reason I write is to tell you that I love my Jeep. I live at over 10,000 feet in the Colorado high country and it is a great snow car. I also drive some 60,000 miles a year, all on mountainous roads.
I believe that I have figured out how to cope with the reliability issues that I know are coming when I buy one of these units, and wanted to express this to future owners. This is simple enough, and I am sure that many of you do the same thing that I do. I believe that to happily own a Grand Cherokee requires that you have a tolerance for some repair time and expense, and that you are halfway handy diagnosing mechanical issues. You also need to be somewhat handy with a wrench or have a decent local mechanic.
Here's the deal; Resale is TERRIBLE on these units. We became painfully aware of this on our first two new units and took it in the shorts when we sold them. Instead of being too upset, we have decided to never buy a new one again. We shop these very hard and can get a decent used unit, 25K to 40K miles for half the sticker price, and one to two years old. Laredo units save over Limited editions, and you can even get the leather (which was the main thing I wanted in the Limited) in what I think is called the "F" package *could have this named incorrectly*. If you want to save even more, $1500 to $2000 go to the straight 6, though I have only owned the V-8's.
So, that is it. We do this and then drive the wheels off of them. We just sold a '99 with 168,000 miles for $7500. We only paid $17,500 to begin with when it had 23,000 miles. This seems to make financial sense for us. I believe that when a Grand Cherokee is in good mechanical shape, it is one of the better snow cars that perform quite well off road (ours have been tested EXTENSIVELY off road, probably why we have had some of the mechanical failures).
Don't expect the dealer to replace everything for free, stay on top of maintenance, let the poor beast loose on a dirt road every now and then, talk to it very nicely and don't pay too much to begin with.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th October, 2004