A grey 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is shown from the front at an angle.

Things to Consider in a Used Jeep Grand Cherokee

Shopping for a used vehicle is always a delicate balance of weighing our needs and wants with our budget. Emotions are expressed, and compromises are made, but we ultimately must drive away feeling confident in our purchase and triumphant in our ability to navigate the often murky world of used car shopping. Even if you’ve already done the hard part, and decided on looking for a used Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale, there are still a lot of questions, options, and possibilities to consider.

You may think you’re content with whichever model has what you consider an acceptable balance of miles and price, but FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a sneaky emotion, and there is the chance you settled for a not-quite-perfect-for-you version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It is easy to get confused by all the changes and upgrades that occur between model years, and telling the difference between trims can be challenging when you’re comparing models across different years. How do you keep all the details organized while adhering to your budget?

Whether you are at the start or in the midst of your Jeep shopping process, it would do you well to consider three important factors that may help you narrow down your choices in used Grand Cherokees.

A red 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has a used Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale.

Factor 1: Age

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a staple of American roadways since 1993 and many of its debut models are still on the road today. Like most Jeep vehicles, the Grand Cherokee was purposefully designed to get dirty, be daring, and live to tell the tale.

On the other hand, it stands to reason that the newest models will have the latest and greatest technology. The upholstery and audio system may not be too important to you, but what about your Grand Cherokee’s overall engineering? For example, let’s compare the 2007 and the 2017 Grand Cherokees—two years chosen at random but far enough apart in age to demonstrate the many changes this SUV has undergone in recent years.

The 2007 model offered a few engine options ranging from a 3.7L V6 with 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque to a 6.1L HEMI V8 good for 420 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. A 3.0L common-rail diesel engine could be optioned into the Limited and Overland trims, producing 215 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque with an improved combined fuel economy of 19 MPG.

The 2017 model also included a choice between engines, but the base option is a 3.6L V6 providing 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The top-shelf version is a 6.4L V8 that zooms along with 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The 2017 diesel option is still a 3.0L V6, but after a decade this engine powered up to 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

An older Jeep might still have many miles left in it, but you must also consider factors and features that may have an impact on how well that particular model fits into your life.

Factor 2: Options

The overall principle behind the Grand Cherokee‘s design is a rough and tough off-roading exterior with a luxury SUV interior. Of course, this level of luxury depended on the trim level chosen. But what was considered top-of-the-line in 1993 is officially “vintage” today. The 2007 Limited model included a six-disc CD changer, but how many of us today own enough CDs to necessitate such a device?

Overall the 2007 Grand Cherokee offered plenty of standard gear that’s still helpful by today’s standards. Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive system, soft leather upholstery, well-padded seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control are beneficial regardless of the model year. But if you’re looking for features like heated seats, sunroof, and skid plates, those were add-ons back then.

In fact, the standard offerings on the more recent 2017 Grand Cherokee are glaringly different from today’s line-up. The base Laredo model includes manually-adjusted seats and a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while higher trims are outfitted with power-adjustable and heated seats and an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system. (Drivers ordering a brand new 2017 Grand Cherokee could also opt for a built-in CD player, so maybe those discs aren’t so historical after all!)

Factor 3: Safety

If you are a safety fanatic, this part might be a little disappointing. The driver assistance technology we enjoy today is a very recent development in the automotive industry. If you’re looking for features like blind spot awareness and forward collision mitigation, you’ll have to choose a model from 2019 or newer.

But if you’re looking for a vehicle that’s been engineered to the best potential of contemporary safety standards, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has traditionally delivered. The 2007 model earned four five-star ratings in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Frontal Crash Test Ratings. Standard safety equipment included side curtain airbags, a roll detection system, four-wheel antilock brakes, and stability control. A rear parking assist feature was offered on the top Overland trim.

While a rearview camera and parking sensors are standard on all 2017 Grand Cherokee models, other driver assistance technology—such as blind-spot monitoring, LaneSense lane-departure warning, and forward collision mitigation—were optional across the line-up. Still, standard safety equipment includes front- and side-impact, knee, and overhead airbags, as well as anti-whiplash headrests and antilock brakes. Specifically designed Crumple Zones in the front and rear of the vehicle were designed to take the brunt of any accidental impact.

Of all the recent advances in automotive technology, driver assistance and safety technology have been one of the most dramatic, so it is possible that the feature you desire most isn’t included in an older model. However, many models received outstanding crash scores and safety ratings, which may be as much assurance as you need. Besides, even as the disclaimers say, driver assistance technology is not a replacement for safe and responsible driving.

A red 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is shown from the rear at an angle.

Shopping for a Used Jeep Grand Cherokee

This may seem like a lot to keep in mind. After all, we barely touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to which trims were offered in each model year. For instance, if you are more of a performance hound, the sporty SRT8 Grand Cherokee would considerably refine your search.

When browsing through the used Jeep Grand Cherokees available in your area, keep a few things in mind besides your budget and the lowest possible mileage. Think about how the power and performance of each model will serve you, to help narrow down which model years fit your driving style. Take a look at the individual vehicles’ features to ensure they satisfy all your needs. (If you take a lot of phone calls from the road, for example, the lack of Bluetooth in older models might be a dealbreaker.) And if safety is your primary concern, you might want to look more intently at recent models—or at higher trims, in older models—to get the broadest range of features.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has long been beloved among those drivers infatuated with the spirit of wanderlust, allowing us to explore trails we might otherwise have skipped. With room for people, cargo, and especially adventure gear, a used Grand Cherokee will be a great investment for all the journeys you have yet to go on!