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.