Mmm, diesel torque. It starts early and keeps going. The Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD’s 3.0-liter turbo diesel certainly lets you know it’s an oil burner with some of that familiar clatter. But it’s unobtrusive by diesel light truck standards. There’s only a whiff of diesel exhaust, too, contributing to what is a very palatable drive for this kind of engine. All this gives you 376 lb.-ft. of torque. Acceleration is pretty decent, but the transmission is just OK. Jeep does equip the Grand Cherokee with front and rear locking differentials for ambitious off-road use.
There’s no mistaking that you’re in a truck from a ride and handling standpoint, it’s still a comfortable ride. The suspension’s on-road manners are soft and vague, as is typical of a 4WD vehicle. Some mushiness on the highway is forgivable for something that’s suited to more hostile terrain.
Where the Grand Cherokee comes up short isn’t in the drivability, it’s the interior. Even without the optional common rail turbo diesel, this is a $39,000 truck with the interior befitting something closer to $29,000. Sure, all the controls are logical and well marked, but they feel cheap. The overall interior appearance is cheap. As it is, this is a $42,000 truck that has one real advantage: the diesel engine, and it’s a very good one. But that alone isn’t enough to make the Grand Cherokee CRD a remarkable vehicle.
By Bob Beamesderfer
Photo Credit: Jeep