Pricey but worth it
by Josh Burns
The 2011 Grand Cherokee received over 30 awards and has earned the title of “most awarded SUV ever.” Marking a new era of products for the Chrysler corporation, Jeep
did not rest on its laurels, instead rolling out an updated version of its luxury SUV for 2014 with interior and exterior refinements as well as major drivetrain updates including a new transmission and ‘EcoDiesel’ powerplant. As a result it’s now an even more appealing luxury SUV that’s still fully off-road capable.
NOW WITH 8-SPEEDS
One of the biggest changes across the board for the 2014 Grand Cherokee is a new eight-speed transmission. The news trans will be used in each engine offering including the Pentastar V6, V8 and EcoDiesel V6. The fully electronic transmission is designed to increase performance while also improving fuel economy, offering more than 730 miles of range on one tank with the diesel engine.
The eight-speed features 40 individual shift maps to account for a wide variety of factors for on- and off-road operation. Off-roaders will be pleased to hear that when the Grand Cherokee is equipped with the two-speed transfer case the new trans increases the crawl ratio up to 44.1:1 for improved 4x4 capability in slow-speed operation.
DIESEL TORQUE, DIESEL FUEL ECONOMY
While the Pentastar V6 and optional V8 engine will return for 2014, the biggest news is centered on the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Of the four trim packages (Lardeo, Limited, Overland, Summit), the EcoDiesel is available as an option on all but the base $28,795 Laredo.
The 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam engine produces 240 horsepower, but the number that really shows its abilities is the 420 lb-ft of torque it produces, which Jeep notes is a 62 percent increase in torque compared to the V6. This provides the 3.0-liter V6 diesel a best-in-class towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.
As mentioned previously, the EcoDiesel engine can cover over 730 miles on a single tank, due to the 22 MPG city and 30 MPG highway rating on the 4x2 model (21/28 mpg on the 4x4). Jeep notes the fuel economy is an improvement of 43 percent compared to competitive gasoline-powered V8 SUVs in the segment. That includes Jeep’s own V8 which is rated at a best of 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
Those in cold-weather climates will appreciate Jeep’s use of low-voltage ceramic glow plugs, which are designed to aid in cold-weather starting.