2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Introduction
With the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes a new sense of refinement—more than in any previous version of the storied model. We’re talking downright luxurious when it comes to the top of the line Grand Cherokee Summit model we tested for this review.
Refreshed for the 2014 model year, the Grand Cherokee now offers diesel power, an eight-speed automatic transmission, a broad array of the latest in-car tech features, and a quieter and more comfortable ride. In fact, those familiar with even the 2013 version of the Grand Cherokee will be pleasantly surprised at the sheer and utter sophistication exuded by this latest model of America’s favorite SUV.
In many ways the Grand Cherokee can be said to be the auto responsible for igniting what ultimately became the SUV boom of the latter part of the 1980s, which ran throughout the 1990s and well into the first decade of the 21st Century. Tracing its roots all the way back to a military vehicle created for the U.S. Armed Forces just prior to the start of World War II, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of America’s most storied models.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Models & Prices
For 2014, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in six states of trim; the $28,795 Laredo is the base model. The next rung up the JGC ladder is the $30,495 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo E. The $35,795 Grand Cherokee Limited is a cut above the Laredo E. Each of those trim lines can be had with four-wheel drive for an additional $2000.
Continuing the ascension, the next level of Grand Cherokee is the $42,995 Overland, which is topped only by the $47,995 Grand Cherokee Summit and the $62,995 Grand Cherokee SRT. A more sophisticated four-wheel drive system can be added to the Overland and the Summit for an additional $3000. The SRT is four-wheel drive only.
Laredo features include:
• Passive Entry & Keyless Go
• 17-inch painted aluminum wheels
• Steering wheel paddle shift control
• Seven-inch multi-view display w/ TFT display technology
- Five-inch Uconnect radio touchscreen
- Halogen projector headlamps w/ daytime running lamps
- LED taillamps
- Projector fog lamps
- Interior lighting in the front foot well and the center console bin
- Uconnect handsfree interface control system
- USB media hub
To all of the above, Laredo E adds:
• Power adjustable eight-way driver / manual passenger seat
• Power adjustable four-way driver’s lumbar adjustment
• Bright side roof rails
• SiriusXM satellite radio w/ one-year radio subscription
To all of the above, Limited adds:
- Capri leather trimmed seating
- Heated second row seating
- Eighteen-inch polished aluminum wheels
- Rear back up camerawith dynamic grid lines
- Rear park assist system
- Heated steering wheel
- A 506-watt, nine-speaker audio system
- Power liftgate
- Dual exhaust
- Bright door handles
- Protective strakes in the rear cargo compartment
- Door sill scuff pads with the Jeep logo
- Power adjustable, heated, multi-functioning chrome housed exterior mirrors
To all of the above, Overland adds:
- Bi-Xenon HID headlamps w/ signature LED daytime running lamps
- Nappa leather-trimmed ventilated front seats
- Leather-stitched instrument panel, door uppers, and center console armrest
- Twenty-inch polished wheels w/ mineral gray trim
- Dual pane sunroof
- Real wood/leather wrapped heated steering wheel
- Uconnect 8.4-inch navigation radio w/ touchscreen display
- Power folding exterior side view mirrors w/ puddle lamps
- Rain sensitive wipers
- Power tilt/telescoping steering wheel
- Overland-specifc grille
- Chrome tow hooks
- Body-color wheel lips, fascia, and sills w/ chrome insert
To all of the above, Summit adds:
- Natural plus leather-trimmed seats w/ edge welting
- Suede-like premium headliner
- Open-pore wood accents
- 825-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers
- Headlamps w/ adaptive forward lighting
- 20-inch full polished wheels w/ satin clear coat
- Headlamp washers
- Front park assist
- Blind Spot monitoring system
- Forward Collision Warning w/ Crash Mitigation
- Adaptive Cruise Control
To all of the above, Grand Cherokee SRT adds:
- 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI engine with fuel saver technology
- 20-inch five-spoke polished aluminum wheels
- SRT leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth
- Quadra-Trac active, on-demand four-wheel drive system
- Selec-Trac adaptive damping suspension
- Electronic limited-slip differential
- SRT performance brakes with Brembo six-piston front/four-piston rear calipers
- Dual heat extractors on hood
- Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
- Adaptive speed control
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Design
The basic look of this iteration of the Grand Cherokee debuted with the launch of the 2011 model. Since then it has evolved to radiate an ever more sophisticated appearance. Tightening up some of the key design elements did this. The grille was shortened, the headlights were slimmed, and the front fascia was elevated slightly. Additionally, the treatment of the foglights was reworked to give them more prominence.
That all of this was done, while still preserving the unmistakable “Jeep-ness” of the design is quite remarkable. Of course, some elements of the overall design are sacred and will never change. These include the seven-slot grille treatment (edged in chrome on the upper-level trim packages) and the trapezoidal wheel arches.
In addition to the larger Jeep badge now found on the tailgate of the Grand Cherokee, there’s a new rear spoiler and a revised tail light treatment—incorporating LEDs. Speaking of that tailgate, it’s been updated to provide better rearward visibility. Following a Grand Cherokee, if you’re in the know, you can tell which one you’re behind based on the rear fascia treatment—of course, the badging helps do that too.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
One of the things makes SUVs so popular with American families is the vehicles’ ability to carry so much cargo, thanks to folding rear seats and large tailgate openings.
When it comes to hauling, the SUV is hard to beat.
In the case of the Grand Cherokee, this includes people too. A family of four—or even five—can travel quite comfortably in the Grand Cherokee.
For 2014, the interior ambiance of the Jeep has been cranked up a notch or three. Sumptuous is a word nicely befitting the nature of the Jeep these days—particularly when you start talking about the Overland and Summit trim packages.
Our top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee Summit tester featured an exceptionally rich leather treatment. The warm colors, open pore wood trim, and well-crafted, nicely sculpted seating really made for an inviting environment. By the way, those seats were heated, cooled, and featured positioning memory too. Classy accent lighting gave the cockpit a warm glow at night, while the two-tone color scheme and the double stitched leather dash telegraphed a high quality image.
The word elegant has a very serious application here. You really feel like you’re going somewhere special when you’re riding in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit—whatever your destination may be.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Features & Controls
Looking at all the features available for the Grand Cherokee, you’d be tempted to think the control interface an ergonomic nightmare. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The product planners have done an exceptional job of ensuring things are logically laid out and easy to use.
The touch screen monitor is well within reach and quick to respond. The smaller of the two screens is user configurable, so the driver can have just the information needed for their particular circumstance. The three-spoke steering wheel in our tester was configured with wood and leather trim. Handy paddle shifters behind the wheel made taking control of the new eight-speed transmission as simple as flicking your fingers.
The ‘Command View” dual pane sunroof gave the interior an airy quality, while also providing insulation against both the sun and wind noise. But the pièce de résistance of our Summit Grand Cherokee’s features—without question—was the 825-watt Harman Kardon surround sound audio system.. The system is capable of delivering music with such lifelike quality, you’ll wonder how you ever rode around with a plain old stereo system once you’ve lived with it for while.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Engines/Fuel Economy
For the 2014 model year, three engines are available to choose from.
For the first time since 2008, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can be had with a diesel engine. The $4,500 240-horsepower turbocharged V6 displaces 3.0 liters and produces 420 ft-lbs of torque. When paired with a rear-drive powertrain the diesel is said to return 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway. With the 4x4 powertrain it does 21 in the city and 28 on the highway. The diesel Grand Cherokee will tow 7,400 pounds.
The 3.6-liter gasoline fired Pentastar V6 generates 290 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy for this one in the 4x2 configuration is 17-mpg city and 25 on the highway. The 4x4 version does 17 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. Towing capacity is 6,200 pounds.
Naturally, the highly vaunted 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is offered as well. Output is 360 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is 14-city and 22 highway for the 4x2 models, while the 4x4 models return 14 in the city and 20 on the highway. Towing capacity is 7,400 pounds.
A new eight-speed automatic transmission is an integral aspect of the powertrain regardless of the engine you choose. Additionally, the 2014 Grand Cherokee is fitted with an “Eco” mode capable of lowering the Jeep at speed on the highway to improve its fuel economy. The Eco mode also optimizes the transmission’s shift schedule and manages cylinder deactivation when fitted to Jeeps running the 5.7-liter V8.
Laredo models are available with the Pentastar V6 only. The SRT gets the 470-horsepower/465 ft-lb 6.4-liter V8 exclusively. All other trims get their choice of the engine range.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
Without question, this is the most car-like Jeep Grand Cherokee ever offered. Smooth riding and easy handling, the 2014 Grand Cherokee goes about its business with an uncanny air of assurance. Steering and braking responsiveness were far beyond anything expected of the typical American SUV. In fact, the Grand Cherokee felt kind of German in the way it went down the street. Of course, given its chassis is based on that of the Mercedes-Benz M Class this should come as no surprise.
Depending of course upon your engine choice, it’s a pretty fast ride too. Our Summit tester was equipped with the potent 5.7-liter V8, an engine so strong you could probably pull tree stumps out of the ground with it (when properly equipped).
Acceleration was strong, and yet the mellifluous tones emanating from the engine never became intrusive. The feeling is that of one continuous stream of thrust, ever broadening, widening and deepening as the Jeep just went faster and faster and faster.
Unfortunately, our testing schedule didn’t permit any off road trials; however the Grand Cherokee was equipped with the newly refined Selec-Terrain system’s settings to optimize the powertrain for sand, mud, snow, rocks or pavement.
When paired with the Jeep Quadra-lift air suspension Selec-Terrain can even raise and or lower the Jeep as needed for the condition selected. Further enhancing the Jeep’s off road capabilities was Selec-Speed Control, enabling the driver to pre-select ascent and descent speeds.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Safety Equipment
As is to be expected of a vehicle in this class, the roster of safety features is quite long and includes; antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill ascent control, hill descent control (which is optional on Laredo trimmed GCs) front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints.
The Grand Cherokee Advanced Technology Group, which is optional on the Limited but standard for Overland models and above includes forward collision warning, rear cross-path detection, and blind spot monitoring
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
When it comes to mainstream SUVs, there’s a new benchmark in town folks. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is easily the finest American SUV ever produced. In may ways it even rivals those extremely highly regarded Range Rovers.
Yeah, it’s a stretch to say the new Grand Cherokee challenges the British truck when it comes to cachet, but pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the Grand Cherokee is definitely right in there. Further, it will go anywhere a Range Rover goes—including the Country Club—with both style and aplomb.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Ruggedly handsome appearance
• Gorgeous interior treatment
• Strong tech suite
• Go anywhere capability
• More car than most people will ever need, but hey—we’re Americans—when has that ever been a bad thing?
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