2014 Grand Cherokee New Car Test Drive
2014 marks a mid-life refreshment for Grand Cherokee. All 2014 Grand Cherokee models come with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous 5-speed. And a new EcoDiesel V6 engine is available that provides good performance and fuel economy. Inside, the 2014 Grand Cherokee gets updated electronics. To mark these changes, the 2014 Grand Cherokee gets mild exterior styling changes and the interior gets some new color schemes.
In most cases the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is more expensive than last year, but it also offers more equipment (in some other Chrysler products the 8-speed automatic is a $1,000 option). Every model except the SRT is offered with rear-wheel drive or all- or-four wheel drive. The rear-drives account for a small fraction of sales, but they get better fuel economy and claims of 30 mpg Highway is worth a small fortune to Jeep.
This is a sport-utility for a family of five. They will fit better than four big adults, yet the Grand Cherokee offers competitive cabin and cargo dimensions. Trim varies from cloth upholstery and faux wood to piped, perforated leather with real open-pore wood and suede-like headliner. Upgraded electrical systems mean additional infotainment choices and more owner configurability.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee five-passenger sport-utility drives well on the pavement and off it.
Four-wheel drive, low-range gearing, and a full-size spare tire required for genuine off-road activities are optional. A variety of drive systems and two suspension arrangements are available.
Chrysler's 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard and more than sufficient for anything but heavy towing. For towing, they offer the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and, at a higher price point, the new EcoDiesel. With 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the EcoDiesel's effortless nature is ideal for a big-wheeled heavy box like this. The diesel's EPA City rating matches the V8's Highway rating; and EPA ratings for diesels tend to the pessimistic side, counter to ratings for gasoline and hybrid vehicles.
The restyle applied to the 2014 Grand Cherokee gives it a cleaner, more integrated look, while sophistication increases with price. You can trace some development of the Grand Cherokee back far enough that it paralleled the Mercedes-Benz M-Class but with the new electronics it will feel familiar to drivers of other Chrysler product (and the diesel engine is now from VM, part of Chrysler's Fiat links). If there's a safety feature you want that isn't standard you can often get it as an option.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee competes against a spectrum of vehicles including four-wheel drives such as the Land Rover LR4, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser, any number of compact-to-mid-size crossovers and niche models, and to a lesser extent with the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition. If you want a seven-seat Grand Cherokee the closest thing is the Dodge Durango, but that does not yet offer the diesel or an SRT version.
Although SRT is now a standalone brand within Chrysler we include the Grand Cherokee SRT here because it still says Jeep on it and can be purchased at any Jeep dealership. This steroidal performance wagon competes with the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5M and X6M, Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, and might get some Audi SQ5 or Cadillac CTS-V wagon shoppers. It's the fastest, most expensive, thirstiest Grand Cherokee, and the last one you want to use in the same sentence with off-road; in an SRT off-road means you missed the braking zone on a racetrack.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in five versions, all but one with a choice of rear-wheel drive or all- or four-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive (AWD) or 4WD adds $2,000-$3,000.
Grand Cherokee Laredo ($28,795) comes with a 3.6-liter gas V6, 8-speed automatic with paddle shifts, cloth seating, fold-flat front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, fog lamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels, auto headlamps, power heated mirrors, rear wash/wipe, laminated front door glass, floor mats, tilt/telescope leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, illuminated visor mirrors, body-color trim (four colors), trip computer and 12-volt auxiliary outlets. The only option is all-wheel drive and an E group. Laredo's E package adds six more colors to the palette, roof rails, XM radio, power driver seat, and a slew of options that includes four packages: Comfort and Convenience, Trailer Towing, and All-Weather and Off-Road Adventure 1 that both include 4WD.
Grand Cherokee Limited ($35,795) upgrades further with leather upholstery, more chrome exterior trim, dual exhaust outlets, four heated seats, power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, 115-volt outlet and rear USB ports, driver memory system, Selec-Terrain for 4WDs, and a security system. Limited options include the diesel and V8 engines, either of which is required for Quadra-Drive II 4WD or air suspension. Other extras include a front moonroof, a panoramic moonroof with rear-seat DVD entertainment, power liftgate and tilt/telescope steering wheel, ventilated front seats, bi-xenon smartbeam headlamps, 20-inch wheels, 506-watt 9-speaker stereo, 8.4-inch Uconnect with XM TrafficLink, navigation, cargo cover, adaptive cruise control with collision warning, blind-spot monitors, rear camera and park sensors, cross-path detection, and towing package.
Grand Cherokee Overland ($42,995) comes with air suspension (on 4WD only), real wood trim and leather seating with piping, ventilated front seats, wood and leather power tilt/telescope heated steering wheel with memory, power liftgate, cargo cover and net, navigation with voice-recognition and XM travel-traffic information, 20-inch aluminum wheels, body-colored fascias with chrome trim, LED running lights, dual-pane moonroof, bi-xenon smartbeam headlamps, power-folding mirrors, chrome tow hooks, 20-inch wheels, full-size spare tire, one unique interior color scheme and 506-watt stereo. Options include the V8 and diesel, tow and off-road packages, adaptive cruise control/forward collision package, and rear-seat entertainment.
Grand Cherokee Summit ($47,995) offers one unique paint selection, chrome mesh grille, headlamps washers, polished aluminum wheels, 19-speaker 825-watt Harman Kardon sound system, embroidered leather upholstery, Dinamica headliner, and everything is standard except for rear-seat entertainment, V8 or diesel engine and 4WD.
Grand Cherokee SRT ($62,995) is all-wheel drive and comes with a 470-hp 6.4-liter V8, 8-speed automatic, unique steering, suspension and Brembo brakes, Bilstein adaptive damping, 295/45ZR20 tires on forged aluminum wheels, SRT specific seats and heated steering wheel, unique spoilers and bumpers, vented hood, black chrome exhausts, and a one-day track driving SRT experience (highly recommended). SRT features split the line between Overland and Summit, and options consist of three-season performance tires, full-size spare, carbon painted or black chrome split-spoke wheels, a panoramic moonroof, Sepia cabin color, rear DVD, remote CD changer, UConnect Access via Mobile,19-speaker 825-watt Harman Kardon sound system, three-season Pirelli P Zero tires, tow package, and engine block heater.
Safety equipment on all Grand Cherokee models includes electronic stability control with roll mitigation, ABS with brake traction control system, trailer sway control, hill start assist, frontal airbags, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, active head restraints, and tire pressure monitor. Safety options include hill descent control, hill ascent control, rear camera, park sensors, active cruise control with collision warning, blind-spot monitors and rear cross path detection. Note: All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP), which may change without notice at any time. Prices do not include destination charge.