Should You Take the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Off-Road?

The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a regular off-road master, especially when equipped with the 4.7-liter V8 engine upgrade.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
You don’t have to take your 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee off-road every day, but it would be a true shame to own one and never experience its stunning off-road capability—especially if you can find one with a 4.7-liter V8 engine swapped in for the base V6.
In the second year of its completely redesigned second generation, the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee had a fresh look and plenty of customizable options. With optional Wrangler all-terrain tires, nimble maneuverability, small, light body, and a minimum ground clearance of 8.3 inches,
Motor Trend
called the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee “the sportiest sport/ute of all.” It’s particularly powerful when it’s built with the V8 engine and 4x4 system, which together offer plenty of power and traction.
Interested in buying yourself an old Grand Cherokee for bombing around off-road trails? We here at
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But no need to keep spinning our tires! Here’s our off-road review of the classic 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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Can the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee go off-road?

Not only can a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee go off-road, it essentially demands to be taken there! If you’re looking for a classic trail-riding mainstay made by the company that essentially defined the sport-ute family of SUVs, look no further than the 2000 Grand Cherokee.
There are tons of these still going strong after more than two decades, and if you can get your hands on one, you’ll be setting yourself up for some serious off-roading fun. Here are some things that make the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee such a solid off-road vehicle.

Ground clearance

The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee is just over 15 feet long and a bit shorter than 6 feet tall, making its minimum ground clearance of 8.3 inches more than enough to get it over some of the most challenging obstacles any SUV could face.
If that’s not enough, the “Up Country” equipment package for the 2000 Grand Cherokee could raise this SUV 1 inch higher, giving it an even more impressive maximum ground clearance of 9.3 inches out of the factory.


Good low-end torque is an important part of off-roading—it means your vehicle has the power to push through tough terrain, even at low speeds. The 2000 Grand Cherokee’s 6-cylinder 4.0-liter engine already offered a more-than-healthy 230 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm, meaning that even a base model Grand Cherokee Laredo is more than capable of crawling up steep hills and through thick mud.
But it’s really the
Grand Cherokee Limited
’s standard V8 engine that steals the show in the torque department. This engine can produce an insane amount of traction, maxing out at 295 pound-feet at 3,200 rpm


Great torque won’t do much good without traction—and to get that, you’ll need a good set of all-terrain tires. Most of the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokees that you’ll find on the used market nowadays will likely not have their original factory tires in good condition, but the Up Country package was equipped with 245/70SR16 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires
You can do lots of experimenting with Jeeps and their tires, and so it’s always good to have two or three sets available for various conditions like ice and snow or loose, sandy, or rocky terrain.


We’ve discussed the engine options for the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few times already, particularly referring to the upscale V8 engine that was optional for the Laredo and standard on the all-the-fixins Limited trim.
The standard 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine for the Laredo can produce 195 horsepower at 4,600 rpm, while the option V8 generates 235 horsepower at 4,800 rpm, a significant upgrade that only sacrifices about 1 mile per gallon of fuel efficiency.
Drivetrains are further customizable for both trims, with either engine being offered with a RWD or 4WD system. The RWD delivers serious oomph if that’s your style, but the 4x4 drivetrain will likely be the preferred choice for off-roaders. 2003 Motor Trend raved about the 4x4’s ability to keep control, even with one or two wheels off the ground.


Jeep is known for their vehicles’ legendary abilities to go up and down incredibly steep hills, and the 2000 Grand Cherokee carries this torch with aplomb.
A vehicle’s ability to tackle hills is evaluated in part by its approach and departure angles, defined as follows:
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee has an impressive approach angle of 37 degrees and an equally impressive departure angle of 29 degrees.

Off-road rating: Trail Boss

And with that, we’ve come to the end of our off-road evaluation of the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, meaning we’re ready to place it somewhere on
’s very own industry-defining DIRT rating scale!
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee of course gets a T rating for being one of the ultimate trail bosses of its generation and class. And with an average used price of about $4,000, even a V8 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited is an easily-affordable trail-riding beast, just begging to go muddin’!
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The best off-road alternatives to the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee

If you’re interested in looking at other options, here are some top competitors that you can consider for on-and-off-roading purposes instead of the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Best affordable alternative
2005 Nissan Frontier 4x4
Even more affordable than the older Grand Cherokee, and cheaper to maintain.
Best eco-friendly alternative
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
Equipped with a state-of-the-art fuel-sipping engine that offers a vast improvement on gas mileages of old SUVs
Best alternative for serious off-roading
2005 Dodge Dakota w/4WD
Consider a great off-road truck from a few years later!
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Regardless of your ute of choice, if you plan on taking your vehicle off-road and onto challenging trails, you’re going to need more than just basic liability insurance to cover potential damages suffered on the track.
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