Best & Worst Jeep Grand Cherokee Years

We've done extensive research to show you the best Jeep Grand Cherokee models and which models that you should absolutely avoid.

Preview: Today, we’re examining the Jeep Grand Cherokee in detail, presenting a thorough review of its best and worst years.

Proof: Backed by years of experience and thorough research, we’ve compiled this authoritative guide to aid potential buyers, owners, and enthusiasts.

Preview: We’ll explore each generation’s unique features, shining a light on the peaks and troughs of this iconic SUV’s journey.

Related:Best & Worst Jeep Wrangler YearsBest & Worst Jeep Cherokee Years

Table of ContentsShow

Jeep Grand Cherokee Generations

GenerationYears
Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ, 1st generation)1993-1998
Jeep Grand Cherokee (WJ, 2nd generation)1999-2004
Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK, 3rd generation)2005-2010
Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2, 4th generation)2011-2020
Jeep Grand Cherokee (WL, 5th generation)2021-Present

We’ve included this generational table to offer an overview of the Grand Cherokee’s evolution. Understanding the commonalities within each generation helps make sense of the SUV’s long-standing appeal.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation1996, 199819971993, 1994, 1995
2nd generation2002, 20042000, 20031999, 2001
3rd generation2009, 201020082005, 2006, 2007
4th generation2017, 20202014, 2015, 2018, 20192011, 2012, 2013, 2016
5th generation202320222021

We considered multiple variables while compiling these ratings. Owner-reported reliability, annual maintenance costs, safety ratings, and numerous reliability and owner satisfaction scores from well-known review platforms (like Edmunds & Consumer Reports) all contributed.

NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints also played a significant role. More recalls indicate reliability issues, hence a lower score.

Here’s a graph with all the scores:

Jeep Grand Cherokee Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Best & Worst Years For Jeep Grand Cherokee 1st Generation (1993-1998)

Jeep Grand Cherokee 1st generation 1993 model
The 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Introduced in 1993, the first generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee set the stage for a blend of off-road ruggedness and suburban comfort, defining the brand’s unique approach to SUV design.

The Best Years: 1993, 1994, and 1995

The first three years of this generation saw the Grand Cherokee cement its place in the SUV market.

Boasting a robust 4.0-liter straight-six engine and an innovative Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system, the models from 1993 to 1995 were highly acclaimed for their durability and off-road prowess.

The Neutral Year: 1996

While the 1996 model still provided substantial value with its off-road abilities and impressive build quality, minor electrical issues prevented it from reaching the heights of the early years.

The Worst Years: 1997 and 1998

Despite its early success, the first generation faced significant challenges in 1997 and 1998, particularly with transmission reliability.

The above average recalls during these years caused concern among potential buyers and owners.

Best & Worst Years For Jeep Grand Cherokee 2nd Generation (1999-2004)

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2nd generation 1999 model
The 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The second generation of the Grand Cherokee introduced enhancements in power, comfort, and style, establishing a new standard for the SUV class.

The Best Years: 2002, 2003, and 2004

These years saw the Grand Cherokee at its best, with the 4.7-liter V8 engine and an upgraded Quadra-Drive system receiving wide acclaim. High customer satisfaction scores highlighted the Grand Cherokee’s progress, as it excelled in power, handling, and passenger comfort.

The Neutral Year: 2001

Although the 2001 model faced some criticisms, particularly regarding its brake systems, it managed to maintain Jeep’s trademark durability and off-road capabilities, proving itself a worthy contender in the SUV market.

The Worst Years: 1999 and 2000

Regrettably, the beginning of the new century was unfavorable to the Grand Cherokee, as the 1999 and 2000 models struggled with increased recall rates and transmission issues.

These issues highlighted the challenges associated with the introduction of new technologies and systems.

Best & Worst Years For Jeep Grand Cherokee 3rd Generation (2005-2010)

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3rd generation 2005 model
The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The third generation of the Grand Cherokee introduced advanced technology and luxury features while maintaining the vehicle’s off-road credentials.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010

From 2007 to 2010, the Grand Cherokee continued to impress. These models, equipped with advanced interiors, refined 4WD systems, and the newly introduced UConnect infotainment systems, marked a high point in the Grand Cherokee’s evolution.

Owners particularly praised the power offered by the HEMI V8 engines and the overall reliability of these years.

The Worst Years: 2005 and 2006

Regrettably, the early years of the 3rd generation struggled with transmission and electrical issues.

These models demonstrated that even with the most innovative designs, there can be stumbling blocks along the path to progress.

Best & Worst Years For Jeep Grand Cherokee 4th Generation (2011-2020)

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4th generation 2011 model
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The fourth generation saw the Grand Cherokee break into the luxury SUV segment, boasting improved fuel efficiency, advanced safety features, and a new level of refinement.

The Best Years: 2017, 2019, and 2020

The models from 2017, 2019, and 2020 represented the Grand Cherokee at its finest, with high-end aesthetics, cutting-edge driver-assistance systems, and EcoDiesel engines.

These years reflected the maturation of the Grand Cherokee as it asserted itself in the luxury SUV market.

The Neutral Years: 2013 and 2016

While the 2013 and 2016 models provided a reliable SUV experience, minor issues with the new nine-speed automatic transmission prevented them from reaching the highs of the generation’s best years.

The Worst Years: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018

Unfortunately, the early and mid-years of the 4th generation faced frequent issues with the new transmission and infotainment systems.

Despite the Grand Cherokee’s aspirations, these models underlined the pitfalls of rapid technological development in the automotive industry.

Best & Worst Years For Jeep Grand Cherokee 5th Generation (2021-Present)

Jeep Grand Cherokee 5th generation 2021 model
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

In its current generation, the Grand Cherokee is pushing the boundaries of SUV design, offering advanced technology, luxury features, and hybrid powertrains.

The Best Year: 2023

The 2023 model has shown early promise, with high reliability ratings and praise for its hybrid powertrain.

This model exemplifies Jeep’s dedication to harmonizing its storied heritage with the expectations of a greener future.

The Neutral Year: 2022

The 2022 model, while facing minor criticism over software glitches, maintains the Grand Cherokee’s commitment to luxury, power, and off-road mastery.

The Worst Year: 2021

Unfortunately, the debut year of the 5th generation faced challenges with its infotainment system and drivetrain.

Despite being a stepping stone in the Grand Cherokee’s evolution, it’s clear that even industry leaders can encounter setbacks in the pursuit of innovation.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Average Resale Values

Comparing the average resale price of each model is also a good indicator of supply and demand. Here’s a graph showing the average resale price of each Jeep Grand Cherokee model since its inception.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Average List Price

Conclusion

As we conclude this extensive review of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s generations and annual models, we want to ask you the following:

Which model year of the Grand Cherokee do you believe truly encapsulates Jeep’s commitment to power, luxury, and off-road capability? And which year do you feel could have done better in upholding the legacy of this iconic SUV?

Please share your insights and experiences in the comments below.

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.