I purchased my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Columbia Edition on December 31st, 2004. Needless to say I got a great deal because of the end of the year. I purchased the vehicle as what the dealership calls "brand new" with 43 miles on it. From the day I traded in my Honda S2000, yea i know big difference in vehicle types, I have done nothing but regret my decision to trade for a Jeep.
The Columbia Edition is actually a Laredo. But it has many improvements and add ons in comparison to a normal Laredo. The skirt of the car on a normal Laredo is plastic or whatever that material is, but on the Columbia Edition it is actually the same as the Limited; normal fiberglass. The coloration is different from the rest of the car. The main color of my jeep is back and the skirt color is dark grey metallic. The Columbia Edition also comes equipt with a larger engine. A 4.7L V8 to be exact. This day in age most people view that as a bad thing, with gas prices be what they are. But, there is no mandated type of gasoline that this vehicle requires, so you can put the 87 or 89 unleaded in the tank. The larger engine is nicer when towing boats and other items and very useful when passing on the highway. But if you don't have a true use for a larger engine, there really is no reason why you would want to incure the expense of gas just to have the bigger engine.
The interior changes from a normal Laredo to the Columbia Edition are the embroidery on the front two seats that say "Columbia Edition", this is also put on the outside of the car below the "Jeep" emblem near the front doors. In a normal Laredo you have a choice of cloth or leather, a Columbia Edition is only offered in cloth. Other differences from a Columbia Edition and normal Laredo on the interior is the standard navigation system. This is available as an option on any Jeep but is installed by the factory on the Columbia Edition. The navigation unit iself is not a whole lot to brag about. The screen is small; probably about 2X4. It requires you to purchase a new Navigation CD annually if you want the most updated and current maps at the cost of $175. I personally just continue to use the one I originally got. Again, an option on all Jeeps that is installed on the Columbia Edition is a 10 disk CD player that is located in the trunk. That is it for the special features of the Columbia Edition, other than the fact that you are given $400 dollars worth of Columbia gear upon purchase of the vehicle.
The positives I found from my almost two years of driving this car are few and far between. I do believe that the car does drive well, it does not have as much lean or sway as some other SUV's i've driven do...but there always is the "death wobble" that Jeep's are famous for. The power seats in the front are great, they allow you to get into any position and the telescopic stearing wheel make this car driveable for anyone. There is also plenty of space for the front two passengers, the back seat isn't comfortable for more than 2 adults, though it can seat 3 safely. There are plenty of cup holders and outlets needed for phone charging and cirgarette lighters, there is without a doubt plenty of storage space in the front with a large center consoul and a medium sized glove compartment. The trunk can hold a fair amount of items, but lacks a bit if compared to the industry standard. From my undestand all Jeeps are set up to be able to have a tow hitch, but for all jeeps, atleast laredos it is an added extra. If you are thinking of purchasing a Jeep simply tell the salesman you will buy a Jeep if they throw in a tow hitch for free, thats what we did and they didn't even try to tell us no. Other plus' about the Jeep Grand Cherokee include the overall look of the vehicle, atleast in my opinion, pre-tinted rear and passenger windows. I also suggest getting your car "Simonized" which is a service offered by many jeep dealerships that protects your carpet and/or cloth seats. The warranty of this programs includes their responsibility to replace your cloth if any stain actually stains or clean any stain that you cannot clean with your basic home cleaning supplies.
Now for my beefs with the Jeep. I'll go ahead and say the gas mileage, city or highway is terrible, the onboard computer says it's at 14.8mpg but that is balogne. I have kind of done the work in my head and get the gas mileage to be at about 13mpg. It costs about $55 bucks to fill this badboy up, for about 20 gallons. Another major problem, which i guess is apparent with all SUV's, but is really over apparent with the Jeep is the body roll when making a quick or sharp turn. I honestly have felt very unsafe making passes on one lane roads that require you to dart back in your lane. The body rolls extremely hard and can confuse a driver into thinking they need to re-correct causing an accident. I personally know several people that own any form of a Grand Cherokee that have had rollover accidents. Antoehr big problem I find with the Grand Cherokee is the road noise. Driving down the highway I notice tons of road noise mainly coming from the front windshield and driver side window. Twice i've taken my car into the dealership to have the window stripping and front window redone and the road noise has not changed. I was told by the mechanic that most Jeeps make the same form of noise. Then comes the low idle of the engine. When sitting at a light, numerous times, my engine's idle has dropped below 1000 and stalled. I have increased the idle RPM myself and no matter what its set at it will still stall. I've mentioned this to the mechanic and i've been told nothing can be done. Then comes the problem with the brakes. I have less than 15,000 miles on my vehicle and i've had to pay out over $800 to have the rotors and brakes fixed. I've been told the problem was the "rotors warped due to heavy break and incorrect driving". I'm sorry but there isn't a soul on this earth that could cause rotors to warp after 15,000 miles because they ride the brakes; which I don't do. As the warrant state, brakes are not covered so this is something I must pay for out of my own pocket. Other small problems include un-uniform temperatures in the car when cooling or heating the car, limited passenger space in the back seat, limited storage space in the back, cost of replacing navigation cd's, and the unwillingness of the Jeep dealership and company to help with problems I should not have to pay for.
The problem exhibited with the brakes was shown when attempting to brake heavily at high speeds or break quickly at any speed; the car shuddered very very hard. Anyone that has had problems with their rotors knows what im talking about. But, for those of you who have not had those problems; whenever I attempted to brake hard it felt like i was driving through those warning strips on the side of the road, you know the ones that make a lot of noise...that are suppose to wake you up if you fall asleep and are driving off of the road. One word; scary.
In conclusion I believe that if you are in the market for an SUV you should look somewhere else. I think that there are other SUV's on the market that provide a better product for the same price or better.
Amount Paid (US$):
2004Model and Options:
4.7L V8, Navigation, 10 disk cd changer, Automatic