The Grand Cherokee achieved best-seller status in the Jeep lineup last year, and it's poised to go from strength to strength for 2014. Chrysler is betting that a number of improvements in key areas will keep the momentum going, and they have reason to be confident. The changes aren't radical, but they hit all the right places, and taken together are a major boon to this veteran's appeal.
The restyled front end keeps its Jeep identity while incorporating a slimmed-down grille that's positioned higher on the body, and sedan-like headlamps reminiscent of the Chrysler 300. That theme continues to the taillights, which feature LEDs and are set in a re-sculpted tailgate with a larger integrated spoiler. The bottom rear fascia design is specific to each the Cherokee's many trim levels. The interior always had a ruggedly luxurious character—that's even more true now with higher-quality materials, improved electronics, and a new steering wheel and gauges.
As welcome as the freshening is, it's what's under the hood that's getting all the attention. The Grand Cherokee now offers turbocharged diesel power in the form of the all-new 3-liter EcoDiesel V6. Horsepower is decent at 240, but it's the torque—all 420 pound-feet of it—that enables the diesel to tow up to 7,4000 pounds, the same as models equipped with the famed Hemi V8. All that grunt and it offers fuel efficiency, too: 30 mpg on the highway and a range of 730 miles. For comparison, the carryover gasoline V6 and V8 are rated at 25 and 21 mpg respectively, not bad all things considered, but no match for the rookie diesel engine.
The EcoDiesel features clean-burn technology that keeps CO2 emissions in check, and noise levels are pleasingly low, even when standing next to an idling example. The only difference in drivability is when starting the engine—the diesel might take a few extra seconds to turn over in cold weather, a normal trait. All engines are hooked to a new eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
The Grand Cherokee continues its climb into luxury SUV territory. It has always been a competent performer with an upscale demeanor, and now boasts levels of engineering and refinement that you simply don't find elsewhere in its price class.
The Laredo, with its sub-$30,000 sticker and unvarnished character, makes a strong case for traditional Jeep virtues. Chrome is used sparingly on the freshened body, and its 17-inch wheels are of the natural aluminum variety, not painted or polished. Most popular interior conveniences are standard, but you won't find leather seats or high-end finishes. It's a quality environment, to be sure, just not luxurious. The revamped instrument cluster monitors multiple drivetrain functions and features customizable graphics and settings. Jeep's colorful Uconnect 5.0 infotainment touch display is standard.
Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 makes a stout 290 horsepower and benefits from a new eight-speed transmission and fuel-saving technology this year. Equipped with the optional Tow Group, the Laredo can tow 6,200 pounds, or 7,200 when powered by the available Ecodiesel V6 or 5.7-liter V8.
Aimed at mass-market appeal, the Limited rides on 18-inch polished aluminum wheels and adds chrome to the door handles, sideview mirror caps, and lower grille surround. The rear of the Grand Cherokee benefits from a power lightgate and backup camera, while Capri heated leather seats spruce up the interior. It's a smart package of upgrades that gentrifies the Jeep without nudging the price too far skyward.
The Overland gets a boosts from 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with mineral gray painted pockets, while standard bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights crank up the brightness level. Passengers sit in Nappa leather seats edged with welting. The premium hides extend to the dashboard, door panels, and front center armrest. The Overland's almost lavish interior treatment shows that Jeep is serious about scalping some sales from the luxury brands.
Jeep considers the high-performance SRT a separate model, and there's certainly plenty of exclusive equipment to justify that classification. For starters, the SRT gets a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 470 horsepower, 110 more ponies than the 5.7-liter available on other Grand Cherokees. Steering, suspension and brake components are all performance-spec to the degree normally seen only on supercars. Button-activated launch control optimizes the drivetrain and suspension for blistering takeoffs.
The SRT's 8.4-inch in-dash touchscreen gives you hard performance numbers like lateral acceleration (g-force), lap times, and 0 to 60 figures. A black-out treatment on the grille, headlamp bezels, and lower fascias provides a more sober outward appearance. The SRT also gets its own three-spoke steering wheel and leather-and-suede performance seats.
The $63,900 base price at first seems staggering for a Jeep—then downright cheap compared to similar-performing German SUVs.
Appropriately named, the Summit tops off the premium fittings found throughout the line. Its 20-inch aluminum wheels have a specific design and satin polish. Exclusive Natura Plus leather runs through the interior, complete with Summit badging stitched in. The headlining is made of a material that looks and feels remarkably like suede. New open-pore wood trim is ruggedly authentic—a more appropriate choice than the smooth and glossy planks found in most luxury SUVs.
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|Build & Price|
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee$25,899 | 32,240 mi
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee$29,995 | 30,487 mi
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee$31,995 | 18,772 mi
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee$21,894 | 43,537 mi
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee$22,985 | 52,392 mi
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee$26,985 | 58,392 mi
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee$27,495 | 6,313 mi
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee$27,528 | 56,855 mi
2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee$15,695 | 84,982 mi
2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee$17,950 | 55,516 mi
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee$14,900 | 83,407 mi
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee$15,800 | 83,106 mi
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee$16,995 | 93,770 mi
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee$11,985 | 103,154 mi
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee$11,985 | 87,444 mi
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee$13,345 | 124,357 mi
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee$14,495 | 57,467 mi
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee$11,724 | 99,220 mi
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee$11,999 | 96,589 mi
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee$12,985 | 110,335 mi
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee$17,885 | 43,089 mi
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee$22,994 | 80,840 mi
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee$9,985 | 77,360 mi
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee$9,995 | 112,967 mi
2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee$5,995 | 129,907 mi
2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee$7,777 | 110,846 mi
2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee$8,899 | 73,288 mi
2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee$5,995 | 124,865 mi
Generous standard features, poor fuel economy from only available engine
A step up in size, available hybrid, starting to feel old-fashion
Efficient and family-oriented, no V8 option
Rugged construction and styling, outclassed by more modern competitors