The greatest distinction among the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD models, other than their powerplants, may be the type of four-wheel-drive system each comes with--three are available.
Quadra-Trac I is a road-oriented system that yields full-time four-wheel drive, with torque split 48/52-percent front/rear. Quadra-Trac II adds a two-speed transfer case with low range and has a feature called Throttle Anticipate, which works to anticipate slippage and selectively applies the brakes to maximize traction. The most off-road-oriented system is called Quadra-Drive II; it uses a full-time transfer case with electronic limited-slip differentials to detect tire slip and send engine torque to the wheels with traction. It employs an electronically coupled clutch pack, and the front and rear differentials can be varied at each axle to also help maximize traction.
The base Laredo model gets the V6 and Quadra-Trac I, though the 4.7L V8 and both other 4WD systems are optional. The Limited steps up to a standard 4.7L V8 and Quadra-Trac II system, plus useful off-road aids such as hill start assist and hill descent control system. The Overland gets the 5.7L V8 and Quadra-Drive II system, plus tow hooks and skid plates on 4WD models. The turbo-diesel engine is optional on Limited and Overland.
Engines on the Grand Cherokee range include a base 210-hp 3.7L V6, an economical and torquey 3.0L common-rail turbocharged diesel V6 that makes 215 hp and 376 ft-lb of torque, a 4.7L V8 making 302 hp and 329 ft-lb, and a revised 5.7L Hemi V8 with variable valve timing, which makes 357 hp and 389 ft-lb. At the top of the Grand Cherokee ladder is the 6.1L V8 found in the SRT8. It puts out 420 hp and 420 ft-lb of torque and gets the SRT8 to 60 mph in under five seconds. Both Hemi V8s employ Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System, which cuts off half the engine cylinders during certain periods to improve fuel efficiency.
All engines are mated to 5-speed automatic transmissions that feature electronic range select shift control for more control when off-roading or trailer-towing, or on curvy roads; the Grand Cherokee has a tow rating of up to 7,400 pounds.
Each of the Grand Cherokee models get different upholstery. Laredo models have standard cloth and optional leather, while Limited models get two-tone perforated leather, and the Overland model gets saddle perforated leather seats with accent piping. A new Leather Appearance Group adds leather trim on the doors, armrests, center console, shift knob and instrument binnacle in both Limited and Overland Grand Cherokees.
The SRT8 features its own unique leather and suede treatment. Additionally, it rides on 20-inch wheels and features large performance disc brakes, lowered, sport-tuned suspension, and special badging.
The Grand Cherokee is no slouch in the standard equipment department. Although the Overland features the best bits, such as HID headlamps, heated seats in the first and second row, the ParkSense parking aid, a navigation system, a roof rack, chrome 18-inch wheels and Sirius satellite radio. A wealth of options and packages are available, including a rear-seat entertainment system, the MyGig music storage system, and Sirius Backseat TV.