Over the years, the Jeep Grand Cherokee multiplied its personalities and quickly realized that a highly capable luxuriously appointed SUV is something buyers want and are more than willing to pay for. Thing is, nearly all car manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon and a few of them have figured out the diesel weapon of mass torque and little consumption.
I love this truck. I have nothing but good things to say about the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel, but when I worked out the retail price my jaw dropped to the floor. The Grand Cherokee is smooth, handsome, powerful, and good on gas but the fact is that its main competitors are from luxury brands and retail for the same coin. How do you justify it?
What is a Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel?
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s flagship vehicle. It took top honours in the Jeep game in 1993 where it quickly helped the brand make some money and increase its appeal.
The Grand Cherokee is one of the most popular midsize SUVs on our market and likely one of the best suited for both on- and off-road duty.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel Price and Specs
The 2014 edition of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Laredo has a starting price of $39,995. There are four other trims before you reach the top SRT8 version, which commands $62,995.
Those that interest us in this review are the Overland ($55,595) and the Summit ($62,745). I drove a 290-horsepower 3.6L V6 Summit last fall and thoroughly enjoyed it. This time around, I was given the key-fob to an EcoDiesel Summit, shod with the Italian-built turbocharged 3.0L V6 diesel good for 240 horsepower and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque. The other powerplant is none other than the 5.7L HEMI V8, which puts out 360 horsepower and 390 torques. All run with an 8-speed autobox, and varying levels of AWD superiority.
The jaw comment comes from the following. Take Summit retail price, add $4,995 for the EcoDiesel engine and $225 for the Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearlcoat and the total is $67,965. An Overland EcoDiesel (or the least expensive GC diesel) is $62,740 or about $7,500 more than a base VW Touareg TDI. The bleeding starts right here….
Consider the following prices for basic diesel-powered versions of these vehicles: Mercedes ML 350 BlueTEC $61,400; Audi Q7 TDI $63,200; BMW X5 xDrive35d $64,400; Porsche Cayenne Diesel $65,500.
Food for thought.
|It took top honours in the Jeep game in 1993 where it quickly helped the brand make some money and increase its appeal. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)|
Driving the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel
Despite the price being an obstacle equal to a 300-mile long Wall that runs the length of the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is damn good.
Unlike the Touareg TDI I reviewed recently, the Jeep’s fuel-burner is fairly loud at idle and under load. I truly love the sound, and as such think this is a highlight. However, for most it might be a little much.
Otherwise, I can find no fault with the way the powertrain produces and dispenses its impressive gusto. Just beyond tick-over, the 3.0L’s torque punches hard and comes on at full force at only 2,000 rpm. Shortly thereafter, at around 3,500 rom, max hp is delivered, together providing an addictive push that begs to be repeated at every opportunity.
The 8-speed automatic transmission is masterful at keeping up with all 420 Jones. Throttle response from a dead stop displays a tad of lag, but in an instant when the water-cooled variable-geometry turbocharger is full on, hang on. When in Sport mode, everything gets better.
Negotiating highway traffic is almost fun with all that torque. Obviously, the EcoDiesel is not only about crushing, twisting power. When cruising through town or on the highway, it is conceivable to consume as little as 8L/100 km. My snow-laden, weeklong test returned an average of just over 10L/100km. I can deal with that.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a fine riding SUV that puts the emphasis on comfort and isolation from the road. The Touareg is far more apt at handling and stability; however, traversing broken urban roads is better coped via the Jeep. The standard Quadra-Lift air suspension system is well versed at managing the Grand Cherokee’s ways. Same goes for the Select-Terrain (with Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings) that goes along with the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system.
|Just beyond tick-over, the 3.0L’s torque punches hard and comes on at full force at only 2,000 rpm. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)|
Inside and Out of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s is all truck, and in Summit trim brings chrome and large 20” wheels. Its handsome good looks start with the legendary seven-slat grille and work their way ‘round back.
My EcoDiesel-powered 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit’s cabin is identical to that of the 3.6L Summit from last fall. It is fully loaded and is well crafted with classy materials and proper fit and finish throughout the cabin.
Nice touches include: chunky heated tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated and cooled fairly comfortable front seats, and well presented and complete instrument cluster. The trunk is capacious as it should be in a midsize SUV.
|It is fully loaded and is well crafted with classy materials and proper fit and finish throughout the cabin. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)|
Comparing the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel
Unlike the Volkswagen Touareg, this Grand Cherokee is priced way out of its normal segment. Although the big Jeep is a significantly good product, the EcoDiesel option from the Overland trim on up is difficult to accept. The US can specify this engine with the Limited, which would bring down the base price by $7k. If Chrysler wants to sell more EcoDiesels, that’s the way to go…