2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Test Drive

?Jeep Grand Cherokee offers diesel power for 2014?

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Austin, Texas ? Since its introduction in 1992, Jeep?s Grand Cherokee has sold nearly 5 million units and ranks as the most awarded SUV ever, and it has gotten even better for the 2014 model year. Probably the most significant improvement is the long overdue addition of a new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine that serves up the best-in-class fuel economy of 30 mpg with a driving range of 730 miles. Add to that a new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a new world-class Summit model with heightened luxury elements and 70 advanced safety and security features, plus an array of user-friendly technology features such as: a new 8.4-inch touch-screen display; a 7-inch customer configurable multiview cluster display; Uconnect Access and Cloud-based voice texting, and the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes a definite winner in the SUV category equal in capability to any other SUV on the planet.

This latest iteration 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most luxurious ever produced and will come in four levels of trim: Laredo; Limited; Overland; and the new Summit. Each trim is available in either a 4×2 (rear wheel drive) or 4×4 configuration. A Laredo 4×2 starts at $28,795, while the starting price for a Summit 4×4 is $50,995. The addition for four-wheel drive costs $2,000 on Laredo and Limited trims and runs $3,000 more for Overland and Summit models ? the differential in cost is related to the 4×4 system. The Grand Cherokee Limited powered by the new3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is actually the lowest-priced full-size diesel in the SUV segment at $40,295.

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Powertrain choices include: the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel that makes 240 horses along with a whopping 420 pound feet of torque; a? 290 horsepower Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 with 260 pound feet of torque; or a? 5.7-liter V8 that generates 360 horsepower and 390 pound=d feet of torque. The 3.6-liter V6 is standard for all trim levels, while the 5.7-liter is an available option for all models. The EcoDiesel is only available as an option for Limited, Overland and Summit models. All engines mate to the new ZF 8-speed overdrive automatic with driver-interactive manual control via steering wheel paddle shifters and electronically-modulated torque converter clutch.

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There are three Jeep 4×4 systems: Quadra-Trac I; Quadra-Trac II; and Quadra-Drive II with rear electronic Limited Slip Differential. Other features that contribute to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee?s unprecedented 4×4 capability: the class-exclusive Quadra-Lift air suspension; a refined Jeep Selec-Terrain system with five terrain settings to cope with any road or weather condition; a new Selec-Speed Control for Hill ?descent Control and the new Hill-ascent Control; and a new crawl ratio of 44.1:1 ? a 46 percent improvement over previous models. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee also delivers a 35.8 degree approach angle, a 29.6 degree departure angle and a 23.5 degree breakover angle.

There are two different transfer cases: an optional single-speed, full-time AWD version; and an optional two-speed, electronically shifted available for all engine variants, with 4×4 Low (Lock), Neutral, and Full timer active 4×4.

Towing capacity is 7,400 pounds for V8 and EcoDiesel powered models, and 6,200 pounds for the V6.

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Visually appealing, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee displays an aggressive, yet refined exterior, with all trim levels benefiting from a more premium look. Up front, the traditional, classic seven-slot upper grille is shorter and the headlamps are thinner, with the lower fascia slightly elevated, with the fog lights raised and more pronounced within the fascia design, and the trapezoidal wheel arches are retained. HID headlamps display signature LED daytime running lights and turn indicators. Adaptive headlamps with washers are standard fare on Summit models. In the rear, the taillamps are larger with LED lighting and a larger rear spoiler is situated atop the re-sculpted tailgate. The lower rear fascias are model specific, with dual exhaust tips standard for Limited, Overland and Summit trims.

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Inside is a revised center stack with either: a new 5-inch or 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen; a new electronic T-handle shifter; a new three-spoke, leather -wrapped steering wheel with real wood sections on the upper two trim levels.

During the national press launch, I was afforded the opportunity to experience seat time in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×2 powered by the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel with base price of $47,995 and a final sticker of $53,490. as well as an Overland 4×4 model with the 3.6-liter V6 with a base sticker of $45,995 and final tally of $48,685. Later on my home turf, I piloted a Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Summit 4×4 with a Grand Canyon Jeep Brown interior, powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with Flex-fuel capability. It came with a base price of $50,995 and a final tally of $51,990. In case that seems exorbitant to some, there?s a host of safety features and equipment that enhance the driving experience adding to the driver?s peace of mind and security.

SUMMARY:? The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee in all of its trim levels ranks as the most refined Grand Cherokee yet produced. The available variations allow for the selection of a model to suit nearly everyone?s desires and requirements. This latest iteration Grand Cherokee is truly a premium SUV with loads of luxurious appointments. I was most impressed with the new EcoDiesel engine and new 8-speed automatic combination. Acceleration is great, the torque phenomenal, and the incredible range potential makes the EcoDiesel a no-brainer in my opinion.

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The Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4 is exceptionally comfortable and the handling characteristics border on sporty, yet smooth. The fact that one is driving a diesel-powered vehicle is not noticeable at all unless one is outside the vehicle with it at idle, or under heavy throttle off the line. The EcoDiesel is $4,500 more on Limited, Overland and Summit models (add another $500 for the Summit 4×4)

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

I was able to drive in virtually every possible scenario, from in-town to freeway, to winding back roads in Texas? Hill country. Journalists experienced the new Grand Cherokee?s off-road prowess at the working Inks Ranch outside Llano, Texas. There was rock crawling in the extreme. One exercise was to climb an incredibly steep Granite outcropping, which at first glance seemed impassable, then to turn around and descend the same steep grade with no driver intervention other than to steer ? no braking at all, with the vehicle?s Hill Descent Control taking complete charge. Needless to say, there were a few drivers with white knuckles, but everyone came through unscathed and better for the experience.

Bottom line, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is at home on any turf with its Selec-Terrain system able to pick and choose the appropriate setting for the task at hand. Yes, $50,000 plus is considerably more than pocket change, but these days, you get what you pay for, and with the Grand Cherokee Summit, you get a lot indeed.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×2?

Base Price: $47,995.
Price as Tested: $53,490.
Engine Type and Size: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel , DOHC, 24-valve 60-degree V-6 with common-rail, 2000 bar solenoid injectors.
Horsepower (bhp): 240 @ 3,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 420 @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission: ZF 8-speed overdrive automatic with paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Short- and long-arm independent (SLA), coil springs, gas-charged, twin-tube coil-over shock absorbers, upper- and lower-control arms (“A” arms), stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link rear suspension, coil spring, twin tube shocks (including load leveling for towing), aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber) plus a separate toe link.
Brakes: Power, single-rate, tandem diaphragm vacuum four-wheel disc (vented front) with three-channel ABS, ESC, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.
Tires: Goodyear Fortera 265/50 R20 mounted on 5-“Y”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 114.8 inches
Length Overall: 189.8 inches
Width: 84.8 inches with mirrors.
Height: 69.3 inches at roof rail.
Curb Weight: 5,149 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22-mpg city / 30-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.371
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

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