I didn’t look at what model Jeep I was getting this week, so when I started my new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee tester and drove it for the first time, I could tell something was different about it. I usually tune the satellite radio to channel 53 and listen to tunes as I drive. So I couldn’t hear the engine over the music, but it seemed to have more torque than I remembered in the last Jeep Grand Cherokee I drove.
I turned the radio off and could detect a different noise coming from under the hood. It hit me, and I said to myself, “this is a diesel!” When I got out after my drive home, I looked on the back and sure enough, there was the diesel badge on the rear liftgate.
This week we’re testing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland ECODiesel 4X4 ($46,195).
What’s new for 2014?
Outside, 2014 Grand Cherokee gets some mild exterior styling changes and the interior gets some new color schemes. The big news for 2014, is that all Grand Cherokee models come with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing the outdated 5-speed. And this tester comes with the new available ECODiesel V6 engine option ($4,500) that provides good performance and fuel economy.
Stepping inside this Grand Cherokee Overland, we see real wood on the steering wheel, wood trim throughout the cabin and leather seating with piping. This tester comes standard with all the comforts of a luxury-class automobile. It features heated and cooled front seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel and dual zone climate with A/C auto temperature. It’s a comfortable place to spend time. It almost seems too nice for an off-road capable vehicle.
What sets this Jeep Grand Cherokee apart?
This 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4 comes with the optional 3.0-liter ECODiesel powerplant. The fuel-efficient diesel comes with 240 horsepower and a massive 420 lb. ft of torque. Torque is what makes this Grand Cherokee a good choice for those living at altitude or pulling a trailer full of snow machines or dirt bikes. And the ECODiesel is fuel-efficient and gets an EPA rated 21/28 city/highway. The diesel’s EPA city rating matches the Cherokee’s V8 highway rating.
Other big news for 2014 is the addition of the new 8-speed 8HP70 automatic transmission that comes mated to the diesel. The addition of three more gears also helps in the fuel-mileage area and it also increases the available performance in the 3.0-liter oil burner. Other features include a Quadra-Lift air suspension that smooths out the ride on uneven pavement and dirt trails.
On the road with the ECODiesel
The first thing we noticed after getting onto the highway was the available power as we headed up I-70 into the mountains. The Grand Cherokee with seating for 5 is a big vehicle weighing in at 5374 lbs. But the diesel makes this 4X4 feel much smaller than it actually is. For those who need towing grunt, the diesel is a fuel-efficient way to get it. This tester has a towing capacity of 7200 lbs making it ideal for weekend sporting enthusiasts.
The new 8-speed gearbox works like advertised. At full throttle, acceleration is notably improved. Coupled to the diesel, we punched the gas at 75 mph in top gear and it just goes without any hesitation. Three more gears make it easier for the diesel engine to work at the most efficient speeds. At a slower pace, when more power is needed, downshifts are quicker and less jarring, and at highway speeds it just cruises along. Gear changes are quick and seamless and most drivers won’t even feel the additional shifts.
Handy savings calculator
At highway speeds, The ECODiesel is barely noisier than many gasoline engines, and the efficient powerplant doesn’t smoke and your nose can’t detect any familiar diesel smell. Jeep offers a handy savings calculator to determine if the additional $4,500 will be worth it for you to spend depending on the type of driving you do. You enter the type of driving and commute, and it helps determine your fuel savings compared to a gasoline engine.
This 2014 Grand Cherokee Overland features the more capable Selec-Terrain four-wheel-drive system. Selec-Terrain electronically coordinates powertrain, braking and suspension systems, including throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, traction control, and electronic stability control. This translates to anyone being able to take this SUV off-road and be able to handle any number of terrain challenges. We navigated a difficult off-road course near Evergreen and the computer handled it all effortlessly.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland V6 ECODiesel 4X4 is as comfortable as any SUV in this class. The cabin is luxurious and is a place you’ll want to spend lots of time. The V6 ECODiesel engine option is definitely worth looking at if you are a sports enthusiast and plan on using an SUV for weekend adventures in the mountains or towing a small trailer loaded with sports equipment. And when equipped with the Selec-Terrain four-wheel-drive system, it offers the off-road capability to take you anywhere you want to go. Jeep has definitely upgraded the Grand Cherokee with the new ECODiesel and 8-speed automatic gearbox.