2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
By Gary Witzenburg
On Sale: Spring 2013
Expected Pricing: $29,000-$45,000
The new Chrysler LLC's first all-new vehicle following the old Chrysler's government-managed bankruptcy and acquisition by Italy's Fiat was the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. And it was very, very good. It rode on an all-new architecture shared with former owner Mercedes-Benz's M-Class SUV, was powered by an all-new world-class V6, and looked handsomely modern inside and out. For those reasons and more, the 2011 Grand Cherokee was a pleasant surprise to everyone, has sold very well and has contributed substantially to Chrysler's newfound image and profitability.
Now here comes this mildly facelifted, interior upgraded and much-improved 2014 Grand Cherokee. It's not another all-new generation, but it is much more than a typical mid-lifecycle refresh.
This new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee goes on sale this spring.
Among its major attributes will be an available new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine, which Chrysler says will deliver a best-in-class 30 mpg, a driving range of more than 700 miles and best-in-class towing capability of 7,400 pounds, and a new standard 8-speed automatic transmission that will enhance fuel economy across all powertrains and improves 4x4 capability with a lower crawl ratio.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee will also offer more comfort, quietness and luxury than ever with available Natura leather, open-pore wood trim and an array of advanced technology features including an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, a seven-inch configurable multiview cluster display, Uconnect connectability and cloud-based voice texting.
The new 24-valve, dual-overhead cam 3.0-liter diesel V6, which puts out 240 horses and a muscular 420 pound-feet of torque, is expected to be EPA-rated at 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway in 4x2 models and 20 mpg city, 28 highway in 4x4s. The standard 290-hp variable-valve timing (VVT), flex-fuel 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 should be good for 17 mpg city and 25 highway, while the optional 360-horse 5.7-liter V8 with VVT and Chrysler's Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology should deliver 15 mpg city and 21 highway on 4x2 models and 14 city, 21 highway on 4x4s, a 5-percent improvement over 2013 models.
Three 4x4 systems will be offered on the 2014 Grand Cherokee. Lightest in weight and most fuel-efficient will be the single-speed Quadra-Trac I, which delivers automatic full-time four-wheel drive without switches or levers. Quadra-Trac II, with a two-speed transfer case that uses input from a variety of sensors to sense tire slip and take quick corrective action, can send up to 100 percent of available torque to the axle with the most traction.
The top-of-the-line Quadra-Drive II will use a rear Electronic Limited-slip Differential (ELSD) to deliver maximum tractive capability. It instantly detects slip and distributes torque to tires with the most traction, and it can even anticipate slip and adjust to proactively limit or eliminate slip.
Selec-Terrain, which comes with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II, offers five settings, Auto, Sand, Mud, Snow and Rock, to optimize traction under a range of driving conditions.
The available (with 4x4) Quadra-Lift system will use air springs at each corner to automatically (and/or manually) adjust to five different ride heights: Normal (8.7-inch ground clearance); Off-road 1 (10 in.); Off-road 2 (11.3 in.); Park Mode (7.1 in. for easier ingress/egress); and Aero Mode (8.1 in. for optimal performance and fuel economy). Beyond the efficiency contribution of the new transmission's eight (vs. the previous five) gear ratios, a new Eco Mode optimizes its shift schedule and the V8's Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation and lowers the air suspension to Aero ride height above 52 mph.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be offered in Laredo, Limited, Overland, luxury Summit and 470-hp, 6.4-liter HEMI V-8-powered SRT models. Among its 60-some standard and optional safety and security features will be Front Park Assist, Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control.