2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Review

You know, diesel engines aren’t just for big rigs anymore – we’re seeing them in all kinds of vehicles these days.  And although this isn’t the first time Jeep has offered one in its Grand Cherokee, this one is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission making it even more fuel efficient and it’s cleaner than ever before, making it 50-state compliant.

The last time I drove a Grand Cherokee diesel it too was a 3.0-liter V6 but instead of being sourced from an Italian company owned by Fiat it was built by Mercedes-Benz.  It was too dirty to be sold in the 8 green states, was mated to a 5-speed auto producing 376 pound feet of torque and delivered 22mpg highway.

This time around, if you choose a Grand Cherokee trim at least as high as Limited, you can choose the diesel as a $4,500 option instead of the gas V6 and V8 engines.  In reality, the price is even higher considering, for example, on this Overland trim if you go diesel you have no choice but to also select the $1,800 Advanced Technology Group, bundling adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist and blind spot with rear cross path detection.

Power, efficiency and emissions have all improved since then allowing those in any state to opt for the ECODiesel.  It uses urea injection to clean up the exhaust and when pitted against the HEMI V8, it can save you over $1,000 per year according to the EPA.  There’s no clear towing advantage over the HEMI but this engine’s mighty torque output combined with its 28mpg highway rating make it a winner when heading to the cabin.  When you call for more power in the lower gears, you’ll get it.

This 2014 Grand Cherokee receives a thorough freshening this year, most of which I’ve already had the chance to appreciate when I test-drove the SRT model.  The new bi-xenon headlamps with their signature LED treatment highlight the refined exterior design which looks fantastic.  Plus the addition of the 8-speed automatic with sport mode allows the Grand Cherokee to luxuriously glide about its business.

This 3.0-liter engine produces 240 horsepower, 420 pound feet of torque can tow over 7,000 pounds and can travel over 700 miles between fill-ups.  And though it doesn’t really bother me, if you’re looking for a diesel engine that’s really quiet, this one isn’t it.

This one lets you know what’s under the hood with a bit more clatter than I’ve heard from competing engines so if you’re sensitive to such things you’ll want to check that out.  Otherwise, this Overland 4X4 will please even the most discriminating luxury SUV driver with its rock solid foundation, sophisticatedly sumptuous ride and a cabin so perfectly crafted that it should be the benchmark for quality, comfort and tech integration.  The Overland is jammed with all of the goodies AND is easy to use…a rare combo.  Plus this UConnect system is not only the best looking but also the best period, chock full of useful features that actually work as intended.

This Jeep isn’t trail-rated but with Selec-Terrain and an adjustable air suspension, I’d feel extremely confident in most situations.  Of course, you can add an off-road group to get it to that status.  As is this one stickers for $53,485 and though diesel fuel is no bargain at the pump, for some the peripheral advantages of having this engine will be worth it.

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