Buy/Drive/Burn: Midsize Luxury SUVs From the Year 2000

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

The year is 2000, and a whole bunch of people have just recovered from an unnecessary panic over how computers worldwide would tackle the date change from ’99 to ’00. Crisis averted, and with Nokia candy bar phone in pocket, they headed to dealerships to buy midsize luxury SUVs with their newfound Dot Com cash.

Which millennium-mobile gets the Buy?

By the way, refresh on the OG rules of the game if you’ve forgotten.

Reasonably close in size and with fairly high levels of equipment, all three of our contenders are four-wheel or all-wheel drive. They’re also very close in price — between $34,635 and $36,100.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

A second generation of the super successful Grand Cherokee bowed for the 1999 model year. The least expensive option today is also the one in the highest trim specification. $34,635 nets a Limited four-wheel drive model in 4.0-liter inline-six specification. 195 horsepower shift through the four-speed automatic, and net careful drivers 16 mpg city and 21 on the highway — the best economy in our trio. Most everything is powered, leather-covered, and heated, and there’s space for five passengers.

Mercedes-Benz ML320

On sale since 1998, the Mercedes ML got its big debut as staff transport in the second Jurassic Park film (not a good movie, if you never saw it). Unlike the high-zoot Grand Cherokee, the ML within budget is at the bottom of the trim hierarchy. That’s why, rather than a 500 badge on the back, we have a 320 signifying the 3.2-liter V6 under the rounded hood. A five-speed automatic manages 215 horsepower, and estimated fuel economy stands at 16/20. Some of the power equipment on the Jeep is not powered in the Mercedes, in order to keep the MSRP down to an affordable $35,300. There is an optional third-row seat, however, which ups passenger capacity to seven.

Land Rover Discovery II 4WD

Our final contender was also new for 1999, as the (same looking) Discovery II replaced the original Discovery, a model in production in England since 1989. Larger in dimensions and more modern than its predecessor, Discovery’s models are differentiated by whether cloth or leather covers its seating surfaces. The $36,100 price is highest of the three contenders today, and provides leather seating for seven. Like the original, the Discovery II maintains two folding jump seats in the way back. All American Discoveries are powered by the traditional 4.0-liter Rover V8. It’s good for 188 horsepower, and the four-speed automatic manages 13 city and 17 highway.

Three different approaches to the midsize luxury SUV for the year 2000. Which gets a Buy, and which a Burn?

[Images: Mercedes-Benz, FCA, Jaguar Land Rover]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Marko Marko on Jul 13, 2018

    Buy Jeep Drive Land Rover Burn Benz (same reasons as everyone else)

  • Instant_Karma Instant_Karma on Jul 13, 2018

    Burn them all, but after I pull the Disco's engine in case I ever want to do the Rover V8 swap to my 71 MGBGT.

  • Kosmo Love it. Can I get one with something other than Subaru's flat four?
  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.