Explain Jeep Models to me

So I like my 2002 Grand Cherokee- a lot, but it needs transmission work (keeps throwing scary sounding “Torque Converter Clutch out of Range” check engine code)and a new oil pan and is starting to rust. I’m less found of the newer Grand Cherokees, which seem to be getting more like bloated overpriced minivans with each generations, but a Wrangler is still too hardcore for me (I like my sunroof and heated seats).

Are any of Jeep’s “Crossovers” any good? Do they have decent 4WD systems? (I have Quadra-Drive on my current vehicle). What’s the different between a “Cherokee”, “Renegade”, “Compass”, and “Patriot” as far as size, suspension (I like them hard) and off-road capability?

This looks like a good review and there are some informative comments too.

The difference is in drivetrain layout and size class. There are two “types” of Jeep, FWD-oriented crossovers based on a car-derived platform, and RWD-oriented SUVs on their own architecture.


  • Renegade: “B” segment (subcompact) derived from the Fiat Panda platform. FWD with available part/full time AWD.
  • Compass/Patriot: “C” segment (compact) derived from the Chrysler JS car platform. FWD with available 4WD. These are old vehicles and not really worth buying; they were substandard when Nickel-and-Daimler released them and neither Cerberus nor FCA have seen fit to update them apart from a mild interior re-fresh in 2009.
  • Cherokee: “C/D” segment (mid-full-size) derived from the Fiat “CUSW” platform also underpinning the Alfa Giulietta and the deceased Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200. FWD with available 4WD/AWD. Has a 9-speed automatic transmission from ZF which has had complaints about shift quality.


Grand Cherokee: Full-size SUV on a unibody architecture shared with the Dodge Durango. RWD, available full-time or part time 4WD.

Wranger: you know what this is. only body-on-frame Jeep left. 4WD only.

What surfaces are you using 4wd on ??
Are you towing anything ?

The whole Jeep line has had one of the very worst Repair Records in the huge Consumer Reports car owner survey, for several years running now. Enough that I would never consider anything from Jeep as ‘any good’.

Just Empty Every Pocket

I know you didn’t ask about it and I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but other than the Wrangler, only the Toyota 4runner would be worth considering if real off road ability is needed. The Toy probably has the luxury goodies you want too.

I’ve fantasized about buying a Jet Ski and doing some serious off-roading. In reality none of my two Jeeps have been more than a block off the road, although we get a lot of snow and rain here. Of note I’m grossly uncomfortable in my sisters Corolla, I like higher vehicles with more upright seats and higher ceilings.

Am I right in that the fault code means the transmission needs rebuilding. Other than a minor slip between 2nd and 3rd it actually runs fine.