• Apr 8, 2011
Jeep Cherokee Overland – Click above for high-res image gallery

On Thursday, Jeep unveiled a Mopar-modified Cherokee Overland. The safari-ready ute is actually a European market Jeep Liberty, right down to its 2.8-liter turbo diesel four-cylinder engine. The vehicle is only here for promotional purposes, but wouldn't it be nice to have a diesel option for Jeep buyers on this side of The Pond?

The Detroit Free Press reports that Jeep President and CEO Michael Manley couldn't agree more, but he'll need to provide a rock-solid business case to move forward with oil burners in the States. The Jeep CEO said diesels could enter the U.S. market in two or three years if that business case is made, adding "diesel applications in the larger vehicles probably make more sense then they do in the smaller ones, purely because of the cost of the powertrains and the treatments that are required."

Chrysler's off-road brand already features diesel powertrains in Europe, and 80 percent of all Jeeps sold there are of the oil-burning variety. Those engines are becoming cleaner all the time as well, and the newest Euro diesels could soon also meet emissions standards in the U.S. and Canada.

We're all for diesel-powered Jeeps, especially since the diesels tend to have similar fuel economy to a hybrid SUV, but with additional capability. And, hey... a Grand Cherokee with a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy doesn't sound like a bad thing, either.



Photos copyright ©2011 Chris Shunk / AOL

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I expect the Liberty to have the Pentastar V6 soon (maybe next MY?). Who would honestly pay $5,000-$7,000 extra for a diesel version when Pentastar is standard? (my price estimates off Big 3 HD pickup build costs)

      The diesel would have to get 26mpg just to make up for the 11% price premium for US diesel over unleaded. Then there is added cost of the diesel. If it costs $5,000 more to buy the diesel, you would need to get ridiculous 37mpg highway to break even over the lifetime of the vehicle (assume 100,000 highway miles is lifetime, and 23mpg for pentastar, gas $3.69, diesel $4.17). If it was a $2,000 upgrade it would need to achieve 30mpg to break even over its lifetime. Even that is pretty high mpg for this brick.

      Diesels have not caught on in the USA because unleaded is so cheap and gas engines theselves are cheap. I get it that some people would pay more for all that extra torque...but are there enough of those people to make a business case? You might get away with it if there is another high volume vehicle using it, but what is that vehicle?

      That said, this is still the hottest Liberty I have seen. I'll just take mine with a Pentastar, and if I beg Jeep to do anything it will be to add a 6MT.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Couple of points here -

        1) To be fair, the 30+ mpg was on cross country trips where 90% of the trip was on flat highway, in the middle of summertime. That is pretty much an optimal scenario and almost any vehicle should get well above its rated mileage in that situation. I do *not* get that kind of mileage when doing the 200 mile trip to Eugene, although even then I pull a pretty solid 28mpg, but the terrain between Seattle and there is not so flat.

        2) I keep my Jeep factory. There is a ton of misinformation on Jeep enthusiast websites about this vehicle and what is 'required' to get maximum economy out of them. The best claims I have seen give them around 24mpg with all mods. The mods do not pay for themselves given that thats maybe 1-2mpg better than what you would get without them. Furthermore, the mods can have other negative effects on reliability and usually require disabling EGR and other pollution controls. I think actual mileage depends quite a bit on how you normally drive it and what the local conditions are like.

        3) The $1800 paid for itself within two years when staying on the factory service schedule. Jeep/Chrysler service is not cheap, averaging around $300 per visit. My service schedule is half of what Jeep has scheduled for the gas powered version of my vehicle, and that alone accounted for a major difference. Secondly, the mileage savings, even with higher diesel prices, were considerable over real world reported mileage for the gas version. When added together, I have saved an average of almost $100/month compared to the gas Liberty from 06. I've driven it for five years now, which means that the savings have multiplied, at this point even a $5000 diesel option would be nearly covered, although in this case the option was only $1800. I am not saying diesel always pays for itself, but this model was paticularly well priced showing that it can be done.

        4) The resale value has been excellent, it was worth more than I owed throughout the life of my vehicle so far. Currently it goes for around $15k for one similarly equipped as mine, for the gasoline version I can find similiar ones for under $10k. Essentially if I sold at this point I would make a profit that more than pays for the up front cost of the diesel.

        Economically this vehicle made sense within two years, and since then the economics have only gotten better. Yes, the longer I drive it the better the deal I got, however even if I'd only driven it for two years it was worth every penny for the diesel option. I have a lot of difficulty believing, given my experience, that the economics cannot be made to make sense for other vehicle models. When I modeled out my gf's Jetta TDI, the break even point vs a Prius was aboutr 5 years, by year 10 it was no contest once everything was factored in(such as maintinence schedules). Certainly not every diesel option makes sense, but in other cases, yes it makes a lot of sense.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ReflexVE

        Thanks for sharing and it is great to hear from someone with actual product experience. It sounds like car and driver were perfectly matched in this case, and I am impressed that you have observed mileage in 31-33mpg range. I hope your good reliability continues and if you can spread that $1800 over another five years and 90K you may just defeat my elaborate calculations!

        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm with you. Toledo Jeep used to have a car show on Father's Day weekend, and they'd park some diesel units for the general public to check out. We've have an '08 Wrangler Unlimited. Lease is up in November, and we'll be looking for a replacement. I'd love a diesel, and realize the cost of fuel is higher. But if Sergio thinks American drivers will pay a big premium for a diesel, he's wrong. Sadly, that's probably what it's going to take to get the vehicles launched. If they see that drivers will pay a significant premium (above and beyond the additional cost of the motor) for a diesel, we'll get it. But odds are that we won't....
        • 3 Years Ago
        The diesel option on my 2006 Liberty CRD cost $1800 extra. Between that, the increased mileage compared to the gas version, and the service intervals being half as frequent the engine paid for itself in under two years. Granted I did a lot of driving. Over the life of the vehicle so far it has averaged a solid 24mpg in mixed driving, and on the cross country trips(Seattle to Detroit several times) it has done 31-33mpg in nearly all highway driving.

        I've got about 90k miles on it now. Aside from one recently replaced hose, it has been problem free, low cost to maintain, and a joy to drive. Anyone who takes it for a spin absolutely loves it the powerful accelleration and ability to turn on a dime.

        If it were 3" longer so I could sleep in the back on trips completely stretched out it would not be an exaggeration to state that it was the perfect vehicle for me. As it stands, its the closest I've found.

        No, not all diesels are worth the premium. But then neither are all hybrids. That does not mean that none of them are. My girlfriend's Jetta TDI will pay for itself faster than a comparably equipped Prius would have and is also a hell of a lot more fun to drive. Its about finding the right deals and the right configurations. And thats true for all cars, regardless of the power plant.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd love to see a 30 mpg GC with a nice torquey diesel. Go for it, Jeep.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I had a Liberty diesel CRD, 2005, and they left out the u in CRD. 80 days out of service in 18 months. Electrical problems(had to turn radio off to lock doors), Two transmissions, and engine management problems that caused me to turn in at 18 months on a 24 month lease. At the end I could not keep on road for a week without something going wrong. The diesel when running got 23 mpg and was a joy to drive, but most of the time I could not drive it as it was at the dealership. Jeep needs to do a lot of quality control before they bring in that 2.8 Diesel again. I will say the tire cover held up well and I have it on a Tracker. Great idea poor exicution!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry Jeep... No one actually believes you until a diesel is sitting out on the showroom floor.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've looked into Liberty CRDs a couple times. It's the only Liberty I'd buy as well. What I'd really like to see is a small diesel pick-up, whether its a Wrangler pick-up or a Ford Ranger Diesel. It'll soon be time to replace my Frontier, and I'd really like to get an oil-burner.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Would like to toss in my vote for diesel availability also.

      Does anyone know who is currently supplying the diesel powerplants for the Euro-market Jeeps?
        • 3 Years Ago
        VM Motori. Used to be owned in large part by Penske, now part of the Fiat empire. 50% of it, anyway. They must have a bigger plan for jeeps in motion already.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Two vehicles that really need a diesel are the Jeep Wrangler and the Suburban/Yukon XL 2500. If they made them, I would buy one of each.

      I'm not just saying that either....I've had money saved up for a new diesel Suburban since they moved to the GMT-800 platform, but instead I'm still stuck with my GMT-400 diesel. I also almost bought a diesel Liberty too, but I was waiting for the Wrangler to get that engine....which also never happened.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, that's a Liberty that I'd buy! Ok, maybe I wouldn't buy it, but it sure beats the pants off of the Liberty available today in the U.S.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Not bad... I'd have painted the center wheel disc black, while leaving the wheel rim painted white. But the steel wheels in general are very purposeful looking.

        Needs an A-pillar snorkel intake, and some skid-plate, nerf-bar action, too. Just a 'lil-bit, not full rock-crawler mode.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Only in America, where politicians (and Big Oil) think a 6.4L Hemi is cleaner than a little 4 cylinder diesel.

        A slight puff of diesel smoke and some NoX is big no-no, but 12 mpg and crapload of CO2 emissions from a big V8 is perfectly acceptable.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Jeep...please, don't even think twice. Placing a diesel in their smaller SUVs should yield 30 mpg at least, and their Grand Cherokee should get close to 25 average. As mentioned in the article, there will be no loss in capability.

      Make it happen Jeep!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is Chrysler so afraid of putting a diesel in the Wrangler?

      I used to think is was about profit margins, since it was in the higher priced Liberty and Grand Cherokee, much like the spectacular failure of putting a hybrid system in the most expensive SUVs (Aspen/Durango).

      Perhaps the revamped and Fiat supported Chrysler will now see diesels (and/or hybrids) as a way to build interest in the brand and not just exist to fleece rich buyers?
      • 3 Years Ago
      JUST DO IT ALREADY!!!! WHAT IS THE BIG FEAR OF BRINGING DIESELS HERE. COME ON CAR COMPANIES STOP THE TEASING AND START THE SALES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Jeep brings over diesels within 3 years, then my next purchase will be a Jeep.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Here's a current Liberty owner (2004) who will plunk down cold hard cash for a Grand Cherokee with a diesel if it's available when the wife's car gets replaced.
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