Austin, TX -- The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been a great vehicle which is why it’s received more industry awards than any other SUV. However, best prepare yourselves for a whole new Grand Cherokee and, if your name happens to be Mercedes, Land Rover or BMW, then I’d be thinking about circling the wagons because this American is going hunting for a few European scalps!
Plenty of choice
The new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee now comes in five trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, the surprisingly well-appointed new Summit edition and, of course, the SRT high-performance version. Each receives a much more premium look for 2014. The upper grille is shorter, and when combined with slimmer headlamps, this helps to create a wider and more ground-hugging stance to the vehicle. Bi-xenon HID headlamps and stylish LED lights come standard on the Overland, Summit and SRT (optional on the Limited) and produce a very distinctive and premium appearance. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee truly is a stunningly attractive vehicle, particularly at dusk!
For 2014, there’s a choice of three engine options: the proven 3.6L Pentastar V6 (290hp), the faithful 5.7L Hemi V8 (360hp) and my favourite, the all-new 3.0L direct-injection turbo-diesel V6 (EcoDiesel). This quieter-than-expected oil burner, borrowed from Jeep’s European partner, may only produce 240 hp, but with a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque on tap (30 more than the 5.7L V8), it’s a true powerhouse and is immense fun to drive.
Transmission choice; well there’s just one which, rather fortunately, is a superb all-new ZF-sourced 8-speed unit. This certainly does more than its fair share in providing best-in-class fuel economy (estimated 7.1L/100 km highway with the diesel), and is perhaps the best transmission I’ve ever experienced in an SUV as it’s consistently smooth in operation and appears to always place the vehicle in the right gear ratio.
Plenty of luxury
All 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee models see improved luxury features, yet take a peek at the top-of-the-line Summit model and you’ll quickly discover why Jeep is naming the likes of Mercedes & BMW as its competition. With luxuries such as Natura Plus leather-faced seating; suede-like headliner; open-pore wood accents; 8.4” touchscreen; 820-Watt Harman Kardon entertainment system; 20” premium alloys; Park Assist; Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning; plus much more, I’d say that they’re well-armed to take a potshot at the high-end European manufacturers.
In fact, after experiencing the new Grand Cherokee off-road, and the SRT on the race track, I’ve personally added Land Rover/Range Rover to the list -- and remember you’re hearing this from a fairly faithful ex-Land Rover technician!
Yes, I’m that impressed with the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. In fact, I’m predicting this to become the best-selling model of all time! After all, whether you’re seeking great fuel-economy or ultra-high performance, Jeep has a Grand Cherokee almost purpose-built for you!
Canadian pricing starts at $39,995 for the Laredo, moving up to $46,995 for the V6 Limited (the V8 is available for an extra $2,150). The well-appointed Overland comes standard with the V8 at $57,145 (a price reduction of $2,150 is available if you choose the V6), and the top of the line Summit V8 is $62,145 (the V6 is also available with a price reduction).
The turbo diesel option is available on both the Overland and Summit models but it does carry, in my opinion, a fairly substantial price tag ($4,995). Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen this down around the $3-3.5k mark to encourage more diesel sales. Perhaps it should have been made available on the lower range models. After all, diesel is not necessarily a premium choice, and I feel that many would have chosen the well-priced Laredo if it was offered with the fuel-efficient diesel option.
On the other hand, with the new Summit model being so desirable, perhaps this is one of those occasions where it might pay to step up and tick all of the boxes. After all, when you compare the totally loaded diesel-powered Summit at $67,140 to a similar spec Mercedes ML or BMW X5, the Jeep becomes a deal and a half (probably around $15k or so less).
Perhaps the wise choice would be to reach for the Summit (so to speak) and simply spread out your purchase payments and plan to keep the vehicle for an extra year or so. After all, the diesel powerplants are known for their longevity and history dictates that there’s always a lineup for a good used diesel when it comes time to move on.
Yes, in my opinion, Jeep’s onto a real winner with the new 2014 Grand Cherokee. The vehicles should start arriving in dealerships over the next month or so, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them flying off the lot!
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