Jeep WJ Grand Cherokee Model Updates 1999-2005

Welcome to’s archived model updates for Jeep’s WJ Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee from 1995-2005. Get in touch with us and let us know what you think!

Chrysler introduced the all-new 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee to a worldwide audience on June 16, 1998, at 1 PM at Cobo Center in Detroit. Production started at the Jefferson North assembly plant on Friday July 17th, with nearly 5,000 workers producing over 1,300 Grand Cherokees per day.

New features and options for 1999

  • New “WJ” series, exterior and interior completely redesigned
  • Air bags, next Generation driver and front-passenger
  • Braking improvements (approx. 25% larger rear swept area than predecessor, enhanced antilock system, reduced pedal pulsation, dual-piston sliding front calipers, improved fade resistance, quieter operation)
  • Engine, new 4.7L Power Tech V8 engine. SOHC, 16-valve, SMPI V-8 (235 horsepower, 295 lb.-ft. of torque)
  • Engine, 4.0-liter Power Tech OHV, 12-valve, SMPI I-6 engine upgraded (195 horsepower, 230 lb.-ft. of torque. New cylinder head, new exhaust manifolds, redesigned water pump and other improvements)
  • High-strength steel door beams
  • HVAC improvements, with new floor ducts, redesigned rear passenger and redesigned rear body/air exhausters (50% improvement in flow through capacity). New defroster system, faster and more uniform coverage. 5° cooler than previous systems. New quieter electric fan. Body sealing greatly improved
  • Infrared dual zone climate control (Limited models only)
  • NVH improvements (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) (stiffer uniframe body structure to reduce noise transmission into passenger compartment. Undesirable shake eliminated across the full spectrum of vibration frequencies at the mounting points of the seats, instrument panel and steering wheel. Fan noise eliminated by installing a hybrid cooling fan system (on models with V8 or trailer tow package). Redesigned weather-stripping and better body dimensional control. Hydroformed tubular control arms are five times stiffer than on previous models to reduce transmission of axle noise. Expandable beta-foam is used inside the lower structural pillars to reduce road noise. A variety of insulation, seals and other NVH materials used throughout)
  • Occupant protection (ribbed mouldings covering body pillars and foam cushions applied to roof rails)
  • Overhead console, new with up to 13 programmable features
  • Quad-Halogen head lamps (greater range and wider beam pattern, 28% reduction in glare to oncoming drivers, high beam output improved by over 92%)
  • Quadra-Drive 4-wheel drive system
  • Quadra-Coil suspension (refined front track bar, reduced bump impact harshness, stiffer control arms, new 3-link rear suspension, “lubed for life” componentry)
  • Sentry Key® theft-deterrent System
  • Smoother quieter more comfortable ride on and off road
  • Spare tire, relocated under rear load floor
  • Stereo (Infinity), new larger tweeters, front door speakers changed from 6.75″ round to 6×9″ oval, rear door speakers from 6.75″ round to 6.5″ round.
  • Steering improvements (all-new recirculating-ball design with better low-speed returnability, crisper response, improved driver control and reduced tire wear)
  • Transmission, new 45 RFE (Rear-wheel-drive Fully Electronic multispeed automatic transmission, provides a wide range of gear ratios for more precise shifts, alternate 2nd gear for smoother shifting and a reverse gear ratio that is equal to the 1st gear ration for easier trailer backing).
  • Wider interior cargo space

Units built calendar year 1999: 343,536

  • Center console release mechanism improved. Grip also improved on inside pen holder
  • Added Laredo cladding and fascia color: Dark Gray Metallic (Medium Driftwood Metallic continues)
  • Backlighting added to Homelink controls (running change in late 2000MY production)
  • Door handles (interior) upgraded from black to chrome (Laredo)
  • Engine, 4.7L V8 added as an option for the 2WD model
  • Tip-to-tip instrument pointer lighting (running change from late 1999 production).
  • Soft-touch painted instrument panel center bezel, power outlet door, outboard panel outlet knobs & bezels, door trim pull cups & switch bezels
  • Color-keyed outboard instrument panel vents
  • “Head lamps on” indicator in instrument cluster
  • Color-keyed sun visor extensions
  • Color-keyed speed control switch bezels on leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Color-keyed instrument panel top pad & upper door trim panels on Laredo
  • “Seat belt” indicator in cluster remains on until belt is fastened
  • Bright (chrome) nameplates on Limited & Laredo
  • New Royal softer leather seating material optional
  • Limited badge redesigned (black w/silver print)
  • Navigation System, Mopar (dealer installed option)
  • Roof rack guide holes added for rail lock
  • Selec-Trac® Transfer case available with 4.7-liter Power Tech V-8 Engine
  • Spartan Burl-pattern woodgrain moldings on instrument panel and door trim panels
  • Sun-Roof opening distance decreased
  • Sun visor extensions added
  • Redesigned instrument panel air outlets to improve air flow
  • Spare tire wing nut cheapenedNew colors:
  • Patriot Blue Pearl Coat, Silverstone Metallic Clear Coat and Shale Green Metallic (one or more of these colors may have appeared at the very end of the 1999 model year, notably Silverstone).Deleted colors:
  • Bright Platinum Metallic and Deep Slate Pearl CoatDeleted items:
  • Wheels, 16×7″ Silverblade aluminum with Camel accent

Units built calendar year 2000: 293,160

New features and options for 2001

  • Automatic transmission, new 545RFE five-speed with 4.7-liter engine provides a second overdrive ratio for increased highway fuel economy and reduced engine noise at highway speeds
  • Cargo net added to left-rear quarter trim panel
  • Cargo area upper trim D-rings, new for improved appearance
  • Child seat tether, added rear provision
  • Chrome color “Jeep” horn cover badge added as standard
  • Chrome exterior accents added to Limited model including grill throat
  • Cooling fan, industry-first hydraulically driven engine cooling fan on 4.7-liter engine for increased fuel economy and efficiency. Attached to radiator assembly and powered by power steering system for more efficient and quieter operation
  • Fuel cap, new quick-on tethered (1/4 turn)
  • Head restraint shaft bezels, new color-keyed
  • Interior, new brushed aluminum finish instrument panel bezels above glove box and left of steering column (replaces simulated wood finish trim) and brushed aluminum finish upper center stacks on Laredo
  • Interior, new color-keyed door switches and bezels, memory switch bezels, pull-cups, and bright cluster dials on Limited models
  • Laredo Special Appearance Group, new, includes 17×7.5 inch 7-spoke wheels, color-keyed cladding and fascias, body color license brow and liftgate handle, bodyside stripe, fog lamps and leather seats
  • Radio, new Alpine AM-FM-Cassette and CD player with CD changer controls (RBP) replaces AM/FM cassette with CD equalizer (RAZ) and AM/FM cassette with CD changer controls (RBN) radios
  • Seats, new Euro-style seats with gathered leather on Limited
  • Tires, new P235/65R17 – Goodyear Wrangler SR-A Outline White Letter All-Terrian and Michelin LTX BSW All-Season performance
  • Trailer brake connector, new aftermarket electric, under instrument panel, packaged with pigtail in trailer tow groups
  • Wheels, new 17×7.5 inch 5-spoke replace 16×7 inch on Limited modelNew exterior colors:
  • Steel Blue replaces Everglade.
  • Woodland Brown replaces Taupe FrostNew interior color:
  • Sandstone replaces Camel
  • Body-side pinstripe deleted on Limited
  • Radio (deleted 3-band equalizer)

New features and options for 2002

New Overland upscale model (August 2001)
New Laredo Sport model (November 2001)
New Special Edition model (introduced at NY Auto Show March 27, 2002)
Adjustable Pedals (available option on all models except Sport)
Air Bags, system upgraded with Multiple Threshold Sensors and Dual-Stage Inflators to meet more stringent impact requirements
Air conditioning performance and airflow improvements (new thermal expansion valve for 5%-10% improved cooling)
Assist handles (all models, passenger side interior roof handle deleted to make room for the side air bags. On both driver and passenger sides the A-pillar trim piece was shortened and restyled to house the new pull handles.
Electroluminescent gauges (standard on Limited and Overland. N/A on Laredo, Sport or Special Edition)
Engine, new High Output V8 (standard on Overland, optional on Limited. N/A on Laredo, Sport or Special Edition)
Rain Sense Wipers (standard on Overland, optional on Limited. N/A on Laredo, Sport or Special Edition)
Rock Rails, custom (standard on Overland, N/A other models. Can be ordered via parts and installed onto 1999-2004 Limiteds and 2002-2004 Special Editions)
Seats, new Suede/Leather (standard on Overland, N/A other models)
Seats, new fabric/appearance for Laredo
Seats, new optional Laredo leather seat appearance
Side curtain air bags (standard on Overland, optional on all other models. May be deleted for credit on Overland)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (optional on all models except Laredo Sport, can also be retrofitted to 1999-2001 models)
Tow hooks (chrome versions standard on Overland. On Laredo and Limited, black hooks are included with Skid Group package and also with Up Country option; Limited models previously featured chrome hooks, now changed to black)
Vari-Lok™ Rear Differential replaces Rear Trac-Lok® — Optional without Quadra-Drive®
Wheels, two new styles (for Overland and Limited)
Wheels, Silverblade standard on Laredo
Woodgrain (real redwood) finish upper steering wheel and trim accents (standard on Overland, N/A other models)
Oil pressure gauge no longer reads actual “pressure”, but rather is just a slide switch (On/Off). Running change from 2002-2003

Six new exterior colors, four replaced:
Dark Garnet Red Pearl Coat replaces Sienna Pearl Coat
Graphite Metallic replaces Champagne Pearl Metallic
Inferno Red Tinted Pearl Coat replaces Flame Red
Onyx Green Pearl Coat replaces Shale Green Metallic

Added February 2002: Bright Silver Metallic
Added March 2002: Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat (initially on Special Edition)

New Interior color:
Former interior color Agate replaced with Deep Slate Gray (darker)

Deleted items:
Antenna, thick black coating on antenna removed
Assist handle, passenger ceiling mount (redesigned and moved to “A” pillar)
Brake control wiring harness for trailer tow package
Cargo net (formerly included on selected models)
Center lower dash woodgrain finish (formerly standard on Limited, now plain black finish on Limited and Overland)
Chrome tow hooks on Limited (changed to black)
Cigarette lighter (included with selected 99-01 models)
Emblems, Infinity Gold, speaker covers
4×4 rear side badging deleted (formerly standard on all models, non-Quadradrive models feature one 4×4 badge on rear liftgate)
Hood lamp (formerly standard on Limited)
Operating Tips VHS videotape (formerly included with 99-01 models)
Roof crossrails and rubber protection strips (formerly standard on all models, now available only as an accessory)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (On low-end models; four tire monitoring instead of five, running change from 2nd half of model year 2002)
Tow hitch rubber cover (formerly standard on models with tow option)
Trailer brake wiring connector is now a Mopar option

Other changes/differences:
Cargo shade moved rearward 1-1/4″
EVAP canister and Leak Detection Pump moved from engine bay to left rear inside quarter panel. New model ORVR (onboard refueling vapory recovery) system (government requirement)
Radio harness connectors changed to new style and size

New features and options for 2003

Short-run model year, production started Monday July 22nd and ended Friday December 20th
Laredo, Limited and Overland models continue
Laredo Sport model discontinued
Special Edition model discontinued until MY 2004
Suspension – Reduced-pressure shocks for improvements in overall ride comfort
Brakes – Reduced brake pedal effort allowing shorter stopping distances during braking maneuvers, accomplished by increasing the master cylinder output pressure for a “lighter” brake pedal feel. New brake calipers for 2003 complement lighter brake pedal feel, providing smoother and more linear braking
Steering – Revised steering gear torsion bar, reducing steering effort both on- and off-center by a very noticeable 20-percent
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system for mounting the new generation of aftermarket infant child seats. With the LATCH system, child seats attach directly to the structure of the rear seat, making them easier to install.
Three “New” exterior colors (these were actually introduced 2nd half of the 2002 model year) – Bright Silver Metallic, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat and Light Pewter Metallic Clear Coat.
Bumper fascias and cladding on Laredo models go from current molded-in-color metallic to molded-in-color non metallic. Medium Driftwood Metallic will be replaced with Taupe while Gray Metallic will be replaced with Dark Gray.
Three colors discontinued – Black, Silverstone Metallic and Woodland Brown.
New Satin Silver 17″ Wheels for the Overland as standard; chrome wheels remain optional
New chrome 17″ Rogue wheels replace 2002 versions
High back cloth bucket seats for Laredo
Laredo center I/P bezels change from silver metallic to black
Rear head restraint design on the rear seatback goes from a flip/fold style to an adjustable up/down style with the head restraints being removable
Overland model can be ordered without Up Country suspension (order code SDA “Quadra Coil Suspension”. SDA is a no-credit $0.00 “delete” option for the U/C suspension)
Oil pressure gauge no longer reads actual “pressure”, but rather is just a ‘slide switch’ (On/Off). (Running change from 2002-2003)

Mopar Audio/Video/Communications:

New RB1 AM/FM/CD stereo with built-in Navigation system – DVD based NAV system with display screen featuring just one disc for all of U.S.A. and parts of Canada. Single slot CD player with CD changer controls (11-disc total capacity). Sirius Satellite Radio® capable. Built by Alpine. More info. ($1595 MSRP, available Nov. 6, 2002)
New hands-free cellular system – “Uconnect” exclusive voice-activated, hands-free in-vehicle communications system. Featuring state-of-the-art upgradable Blue Tooth wireless technology. Includes dash-mounted control pad, an external speaker and a Blue Tooth module (hidden). The system allows up to five cellular phones to work with an equipped vehicle and automatically mutes the vehicles radio during use. Requires a Blue-Tooth hands-free profile cellular phone. Also features an audio address book which enables customers to store 32 personal phone numbers; Call transfer, to transfer a call from the vehicle’s system to the mobile phone. Communicates in three languages – French, Spanish, English. Available now (October 2002) as a dealer installed option. More info. (Part # 82207853 $299.99 MSRP + install)
New AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-cd changer – Flush mount, includes CD changer controls (16-disc total capacity), RDS capable ($650 MSRP)
New AM/FM/CD Stereo w/cassette – Rear seat audio function – Dot matrix display, wireless headphone option, RDS capable
New Sirius Satellite Radio System (MSRP $299 + install, available November 25, 2002)

Deleted items:
Chrome exhaust tip removed from 4.7 HO models!
Roof rack cross rails available as a factory installed option, also added to Mopar accessory catalog ($85.00 MSRP)
Memory feature on passenger side mirror removed
Instant mpg feature removed from EVIC
Auto-dimming mirror removed from Laredo “F” package & Luxury Group
Rear floor mats now an option on entry level Laredo “E”
Cargo shade is now a Mopar accessory option for the Laredo, available in Dark Slate, Taupe and Sandstone ($85.00 MSRP)
Ashtray removed, replaced with cubby bin “for sunglasses or a cellular phone”
Rear seat headrests no longer collapsible, must be removed to fold down rear seats
Height-adjustable rear seatbelt anchors deleted
Both front and rear headrests now vinyl instead of leather
Rear outside corner vents now Black on Laredo models
No velcro anchor on rear seatbelts
Tire Pressure Monitor System (On low-end models; four tire monitoring instead of five, running change from 2nd half of model year 2002)
Upper steering wheel bezel rubber boot eliminated, now all plastic

New features and options for 2004

  • Early launch, production started January 2, 2003 (Overland 2/3/03)
  • Nearly identical in features and options to the 2003 model
  • New Freedom Edition model debuted in late March (Production started March 10th)
  • Laredo and Limited models started arriving in showrooms in early February, Overland in March
  • Front fascia refreshening with round fog lamps on all models. Three new “inset” style grille designs with vertical instead of angled “throats” and slight fascia changes.
  • I-6 engine continues as the base engine throughout 2004 model year
  • UConnecttm hands-free, voice-activated communications system, factory installed option built-in to rear-view mirror (late availability?)
  • New RB1 Navigation Radio, factory installed option (except Laredo 2WD). Includes Infinity Gold stereo system with remote 10-Disc CD changer. Also available as a Mopar accessory.
  • Park Distance Sensors – Help with maneuvering in and around parked cars and tight spaces. Four ultrasonic, color-keyed sensors are discreetly integrated into the rear bumper, activating an interior light/sound indicator when you put your vehicle in reverse. Dealer installed option, available April 2003.


  • 4 wheel drive versions only
  • One trim level only, basic “E” Package
  • 4.0L I-6 engine standard, V8 not available
  • New front bumper fascia and grille design
  • Selec-Trac 4WD transfer case standard
  • Optional Quadra-Trac I transfer case (high-range only, no “low” or “neutral”)
  • Optional Quadra-Trac II transfer case (on-demand 4WD system)
  • Optional fog lamps, new round style

Special Edition:

  • Step-up Laredo model
  • New front bumper fascia and grille design
  • Two trim packages: 2WD (standard, “X” package) and 4WD (“T” package)
  • Fog lamps, new round style
  • Body-color front and rear fascias and cladding (like the Limited)
  • Optional 4.7L V8 engine (4WD only)
  • Special Edition badge
  • Available power sunroof, adjustable pedals, Tire Pressure Monitor System, skid plate group

The Special Edition “T” Package includes the following:

  • Quadra-Trac II NV-247 on-demand 4WD system
  • Infinity Sound System with 10-disc changer
  • Seats, dual front power 6-way
  • HomeLink universal transceiver
  • Vehicle security system
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Cargo shade cover
  • Carpeted front & rear floor mats
  • Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
  • Optional Up Country Suspension

Freedom Edition:

  • Available in 2WD and 4WD versions
  • 4.7L HO V8 engine option
  • New front bumper fascia and grille design
  • Fog lamps, new round style
  • Chrome tow hooks
  • New custom Tubular side rails
  • Silver fascia accent
  • Heavy-duty suspension with gas shocks
  • Silver roof rails
  • Molded cargo tray
  • Outlined white letter P235/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A all-terrain tires
  • 17-inch Rogue graphite-painted cast aluminum wheels
  • MicroTech instrument panel accents
  • Selec-Trac® full-time four-wheel drive system is standard on 4WD models
  • Limited production edition, March 10th production start
  • Available exterior colors: Red, silver, blue, black and Graphite Metallic.


  • New front bumper fascia and grille design
  • Fog lamps, new round style


  • New front bumper fascia and grille design
  • Fog lamps, new round style
  • Newly designed two-tone leather-trimmed seats with larger seatback bolsters, more supportive seat cushions, new seat fabrics. Dark Slate Gray with Light Slate Gray leather inserts on the seatback and seat bottom
  • Padded center console lid
  • Chrome insert added to bodyside cladding
  • Chrome wheels now standard (real chrome, same as offered in 2001-2003)
  • Overland model continues to be available without the Up Country Suspension package (order code SDA, “Quadra Coil Suspension”. As with 2002 and 2003 models, no credit is given for this deletion)
  • Now offered in a 2WD version
  • Midnight Blue Pearl Coat exterior color added (a total of six exterior color options are offered for the Overland in 2004)

Exterior paint changes:

  • Midnight Blue Pearl Coat replaces Patriot Blue
  • Deep Lava Red Metallic Clear Coat replaces Dark Garnet Red


  • Tire jack moved from spare tire well to under left rear seat

Deleted items:

  • Tire Pressure Monitor System now 4-Tire for all models
  • Front door courtesy lights
  • No “dead pedal” pad, just plain carpet now


New features and options for 2005*


  • Complete redesign, with similarities to the WJ (new “WK” series)
  • JOB#1 production start-up July, 2004. WK sales introduction September 2004
  • HEMI engine option
  • IFS (Independant Front Suspension)
  • W5A580 5 speed automatic transmission (Mercedes-Benz developed)
  • Five-link Independent Rear Suspension with load-leveling and height control (?)
  • Standard WK version will be slightly smaller than the Commander concept, with a different front end, round headlights extending above the top of the fascia. Resembles the WJ more than it does the Commander concept.
  • 3.7L engine replaces the I6 for base models; 4.7L engine and 5.7L Hemi engine offered on other models. A new advanced version of the 5.7 Hemi engine may be used on the WK, having a feature called “Cylinder Deactivation”. The engine is designed to automatically shut down four of the eight cylinders during light-demand situations, such as highway driving, by electronically controlling the flow of oil to valve lifters. Production of Hemi engines with this new feature will begin in January of 2004
  • Dana deleted: New front axles will use aluminum die-cast components made by Atchison Casting Corp., who will supply the parts to Chrysler’s Detroit axle plant.
  • Newly designed side air bags (but why do they hang below the windows??)
  • Overhead console EVIC message center display moved to the newly designed instrument cluster
  • New interior seats with improved structure, thinner and more aggressive style, very “Jeep” like. Limited seats will be very different from those of the Laredo
  • Door-mounted front seat power switches (in “shape of seat” layout?)
  • Upgraded Premium audio system components, by Rockford Fosgate (MY2005 or 2006). WK may use 400-watt Infinity Intermezzo™ system initially (with Subwoofer).
  • “RB6” upgraded NAV system with larger screen, double-din size, center dash mounted. Built-in 6-disc CD changer with CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP-3 capability. Satellite radio ready. Will also operate optional rear seat DVD video system. The advanced radio system may also contain other integrated features as well as having the ability for future firmware upgrades. See NAV page for photo.
  • Antenna integrated in side window (?)
  • Electronics/communications enhancements and advancements (laptop/computer integration, multiplex wiring)
  • Expanded interior width for increased passenger room and larger cargo volume (80″ wide exterior dimensions?)
  • High-Intensity Discharge Headlamps
  • Telescoping steering wheel (?)
  • Power liftgate with obstacle detection system(?)
  • “Intelligent” door hinges that increase the number of door check positions (?)
  • Heated second-row seats (?)
  • Decontenting: Driver side grab handle removed, passenger side is smaller/cheaper

*Note: Features or changes denoted with “(?)” have not been confirmed (for U.S. models), meaning that the information may be preliminary or speculative (or perhaps even wishful thinking, along with some good guesses), and may be subject to change without notice or perhaps even without reason.(Initial 2005 model year information posted 06/08/2002)


New features and options for 2006*

  • WK shared platform, extended wheelbase luxury “XK” model (“Commander”)
  • Front sytle features large round headlight on each side of a vertical Jeep grille
  • 5.7 or 6.1 Hemi engine with cylinder deactivation feature
  • Three-row side curtain air bags
  • Heated first & second row seats (?)
  • Superior off-road capabilities
  • Advanced navigation and audio/ DVD video systems
  • Auto-tire pressure system (?)
  • Advanced safety features
  • Adjustable suspension

*Note: Features or changes denoted with “(?)” have not been confirmed (for U.S. models), meaning that the information may be preliminary or speculative (or perhaps even wishful thinking, along with some good guesses), and may be subject to change without notice or perhaps even without reason.