We were never huge fans of the Jeep Liberty CRD (for Common Rail Diesel); as noted in our July 2006 issue, we find its Italian-sourced four-cylinder to be "noisy and rough, with nonlinear power delivery." We do, however, find it hard to argue with gobs of torque and fuel economy in the mid-twenties. Expectations are markedly higher for the 2007 Grand Cherokee CRD. It features a smoother, quieter, and --this is important-- Mercedes-sourced 3.0-liter turbo-diesel rated at 215 hp and a tow truck-like 376 lb-ft of torque. Jeep claims the engine will return 19 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway, figures that represent up to a 30 percent increase over those of gasoline-powered Grand Cherokees.
Customers can to specify the oil-burner with any trim level, excepting, of course, the SRT8. Jeep has sold over 11,000 diesel-powered Liberty models, and we expect the roomier Grand Cherokee to easily surpass that mark.