2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel: Around The Block

Patrick M Hoey

This is the latest in our new series of short-take reviews on cars and trucks, in which we concentrate on a powertrain or trim level not previously covered. –Ed.

From the plush interior to its rugged off-road capability, there’s a lot going on with the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but the addition of a new diesel engine is the spotlight feature.

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is the first oil-burner in a Jeep since 2008, and it allows this efficient SUV to achieve up to 30 mpg on the highway (the four-wheel-drive version is rated at 28 mpg highway). It’s no weakling, offering 240 hp at 3600 rpm, 420 lb-ft of torque at just 2000 rpm and up to 7400 pounds towing capacity.

“It’s hard to imagine opting for the Hemi V-8 because this diesel feels like just the right amount of power to me,” says associate web editor Joey Capparella. “The transmission mates very well to the diesel V-6, keeping the engine in the meaty part of the torque band and making the Grand Cherokee feel sprightly.”

Sourced from Fiat division VM Motori Cento, the EcoDiesel also is used in the 2014 Ram 1500. We also liked that truck’s power and solid fuel economy. But few Americans are diesel fans, or even aware of the benefits. Aside from the light burble-gurgle of the engine, not much feels different than a gasoline six-cylinder. There’s no offensive sounds or smells. You will notice the satisfying fuel economy and highway range, and the torque served up quickly and powerfully low in the band.

The downside is that the engine is a $4500-option on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the price of diesel fuel lately is noticeably higher than regular gas. The EcoDiesel engine was one of many eye-popping options contributing to a $57,190 bottom-line, including the top-of-the-range Summit trim level. Arriving in the middle of a brutal winter, the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel was a dream car on icy, snowy, and dark roads. The four-wheel drive and ground clearance went a long way toward soothing our jangled nerves as we commuted through endless waves of polar vortices.

“It’s solid and substantial for all situations,” deputy editor Joe DeMatio says. “It looks great for a night out, and it will get you there safely.”

Speaking of looks, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was lightly made over for the 2014 model. Updates include Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic transmission, a new infotainment system and the diesel option. After a few weeks in our fleet, the Jeep earned our highest compliment: if we had to actually own a car—and not blithely glide in and out of press vehicles—the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel would be near the top of our shopping list.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

Price as tested: $57,190 (including destination)
Engine: 3.0L turbodiesel V-6
Power: 240 hp
Torque: 420 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Four-wheel
Cargo Volume: 68.3 cubic feet
Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg (city/highway)
My wife and I traded in our 2011 Grand Cherokee with the Hemi that was getting 14-15mpg in our daily commute for a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited Eco-Diesel 4x4.   This time we decided to try a lease and pocket almost all the $11,000 in equity we had in the 2011 to use in investments.  MSRP of the 2014 was $49500 and we got $5000 off that.  Our trade in tax credit eliminated the tax on the lease.  Jeep has pretty good lease rates at the moment at .45% money factor and 54% residual on a 36mo/15k a year lease.   Lease payments ended up at $429/mo which is pretty decent.  
Thus far we love it.  The Diesel and 8 speed are so much more responsive than the old 5 speed and Hemi.  In two tanks we are averaging over 25mpg in mixed 50/50 driving which the Hemi could only dream of.  My wife loves the updated uConnect, it works so much better than the MMI interface in my Audi which refuses to work with my two last Android phones.   Most the rest of the car is similar to the old one, with just a few thoughtful tweaks.
Our 2011 had 50k miles on it and was problem free, hope this one is the same.
It would have been nice if you could have mentioned the prices of the lower trim levels the diesel is available in. Not everyone needs or wants the highest trim level. But that still is a lot of money for the diesel option!! It would take a long time to amortize the cost!!!
What kind of real world mileage are these Jeeps getting?  Are they truly doing 28 mpg on the highway? 
At $57k there is a lot of competition and you won't have to deal with Jeep's dodgy electronics.
Check out the forums to see all the issues people are having. Jeep forums are always a very busy place when it comes to talking about repairs.

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