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|
|Cargo Volume:||68.3 cubic feet|
|Fuel Economy||21/28 mpg (city/highway)|