Jeep Flagship Welcomes Diesel Power, Eight-speed Automatic
Why the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Matters: It’s not often that even an all-new vehicle represents a breakthrough for the U.S. auto industry, but the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee—which premiered this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit—could truly live up to that kind of hyperbole. After all, it will be the first next-gen vehicle from one of the domestic brands to offer a diesel engine in the U.S., with Jeep claiming the new Grand Cherokee will hit 30 mpg on the highway—that’s an increase of 7 mpg (+30 percent) over the high-water point for the 2013 model.
It’s also worth noting that Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep brand, made much of the fact that the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to be a global best-seller, helping Jeep (and the Chrysler Group) continue to expand its international presence.
“With the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, we have taken the industry’s most highly acclaimed SUV and elevated it to an even higher level,” added Manley. “Jeep has proudly separated Grand Cherokee even further from its competitors by enhancing its unique elegance, efficiency, capability and technological features. Consumers will clearly find the new Jeep Grand Cherokee to be even more of a pleasure to drive—on any and all roads, on the most demanding trails, and in all weather conditions."
What’s new for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee:
- 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that makes 240 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque; Pentastar V6 and HEMI V8 engines also remain available
- Eight-speed automatic transmission, with revised paddle shifters designed to enhance capabilities both on the road and on the trail
- Eco Mode drive system, which remaps transmission performance and adjusts ride height for enhanced fuel economy; in V8-powered Grand Cherokees, Eco Mode also activates the vehicle’s cylinder-deactivation feature
- Highly distinctive front and rear LED lights
- Updated center-stack with improved controls and, depending on model, a 5- or 8.4-inch Uconnect screen
- New gauge cluster, featuring a customer-reconfigurable 7-inch display screen
- Fresh, modern styling with more premium cues and a new iteration of Jeep’s iconic seven-slot grille
- More safety and security features than any other vehicle in its class
- 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit model, the most luxurious Grand Cherokee ever
New 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Styling and Design
Among the most important style changes for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee isn’t a specific new design cue, but a new approach to the lineup in which each model will showcase appearance enhancements that distinguish it from the rest of the family. That being said, there are a wide range of new design cues, especially up front, where a shorter version of Jeep’s hallmark grille sets a cleaner, more sophisticated tone for the whole vehicle. The lower front fascia of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee also takes on a more sporting appearance, but while it gives the vehicle a lowered look, off-road aficionados will be happy to discover ground clearance has not been compromised—and the Grand Cherokee remains capable of delivering trail-rated performance.
As you’d probably guess, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee now sports its own intricate front-lighting treatments, with LED signature lighting and a distinctive headlamp shape.
The cabin gets a full makeover as well, and is now “clearly one of the most technically advanced, well-crafted interiors in the industry,” according to Jeep.
Again, each trim level will receive its own exclusive interior design theme, with real wood trim, gold-hued brushed-metal accents and premium soft-touch materials throughout; at the top of the range, the new Grand Cherokee Summit, for example, wears supple Natura-Plus leather along with open-pore wood highlights, and features real wood pieces in its steering wheel.
The Grand Cherokee’s thin film transistor (TFT) information display, integrated within the gauge cluster, then complements the overall interior appearance of the vehicle with a high-tech ambiance—providing visual clues as to the many advanced-technology features beneath the skin in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
New 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: What’s Under the Hood
Drivers will be able to choose from three different powerplants to motivate the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, as follows:
- As previously mentioned, the new choice is a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, capable of a best-in-class highway fuel-economy mark (30 mpg), a best-in-class single-tank driving range (730 miles), best-in-class emissions performance and a best-in-class tow rating (7,400 lbs.); output here is 240 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.
- The standard engine is the Chrysler Group’s award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, tuned to deliver 290 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and it provides the longest driving range of any gas-powered SUV in its class, fuel-efficiency grades of up to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, and a maximum tow rating that has increased 24 percent to 6,200 lbs.
- Jeep engineers even managed to squeeze an extra 5 percent more fuel-efficiency out of the powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that serves up 360 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque in the Grand Cherokee. The new tale of the tape: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway.
And just to be clear, all engines in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are mated to that new eight-speed automatic, which now is enhanced by a Selec-Speed Control system for both hill-descent and hill-ascent control.
New 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Features and Technology
Ticking off all the boxes on the spec sheet will net customers a deep list of features and technologies for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, including three all-wheel-drive setups, the Quadra-Lift five-position air suspension, and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, which can adjust 12 vehicle systems to fine tune the vehicle’s performance for five different road surfaces—including no road surface at all.
The brand also tallies some 63 safety and security features for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with the full roster including:
- Forward collision warning with crash mitigation
- Electronic stability control
- Electronic roll mitigation
- Trailer-sway control
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection
- Uconnect Access, to automatically connect vehicle occupants with 911 operators in certain crash scenarios
That upgraded Uconnect system—recently named AOL Autos’ Technology of the Year Award—is available to allow the driver to handle connectivity and infotainment choices with natural voice commands, assisted by an 8.4-inch touchscreen, and the package is capped off with an available Harman Kardon surround-sound system that boasts 825 watts of power, a 12-channel amplifier and 19 speakers (including three sub-woofers).
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: What Autobytel Thinks
The design changes to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee represent more of an incremental upgrade than a wholesale changeover, but they’re very effective, and the exterior in particular has a more contemporary look that should keep attracting new customers. Of course, the real difference-maker is that diesel engine. Sliding that powerplant into the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee should be just the thing needed to get more mainstream drivers to consider clean, high-efficiency diesel vehicles in this country, as well as boost the SUV’s appeal to global drivers who already are comfortable with diesel power.
And remember, for those keeping track, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is built in the U.S., in Detroit’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant.