Just a few years following its triumphant return to glory in the U.S. marketplace, the Jeep Grand Cherokee goes under the knife once again in an effort to maintain a competitive standing among segment standouts like the Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Pathfinder, and Volkswagen Touareg. Given that its framework is shared in large part with the latest Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Grand Cherokee looks and feels remarkably upscale for a mainstream SUV. And unlike many of its domesticated challengers, Jeep engineers managed to improve the on-road manners of the 4th-generation Grand Cherokee without sacrificing off-road capability. At the top of the Grand Cherokee ladder is the equally-new Grand Cherokee SRT, which delivers a level of performance rivaling that of the road-burning BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne GTS for thousands less.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you are on the prowl for an American-made 5-passenger SUV with high-style and genuine off-road chops, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a solid choice. Thanks to an alluring new array of in-vehicle electronics, the Grand Cherokee is also one of the most technologically advanced entrants in the category.
You May Not Like This Car If...
All-terrain bragging rights aside, most of today's SUVs never venture off the pavement. That's why staunch urbanites might prefer the low cabin noise and superior ride comfort offered by the Volkswagen Touareg. Additionally, families in need of a 7-8 passenger carryall should look to the Nissan Pathfinder or Honda Pilot.
Noteworthy revisions for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee include a new fuel-efficient EcoDiesel engine, a standard 8-speed automatic transmission for every powertrain, freshened exterior styling, and next-generation infotainment. Also new to the roster is a premium Summit model grade, refreshed interior colors, and a Forward Collision Warning system that alerts the driver to potential collisions.
Driving the Grand Cherokee
The highway ride – where we predict the 2014 Grand Cherokee will spend the bulk of its service – is surprisingly resilient and far more composed than its rugged demeanor...
... suggests. The electric-assisted steering is light during low-speed maneuvers, yet weights up appropriately at speed. While there, however, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's large, square mirrors and boxy shape create noticeable wind noise. When the asphalt ends, the 2014 Grand Cherokee impresses with its ample ground clearance, abundance of traction, and innovative off-road tech. As for power, all three engine choices are highly-competitive in terms of performance and fuel efficiency. But despite our affection for diesel technology, the new EcoDiesel's $4,500 premium combined with pricey urea exhaust fluid refills every 10,000 miles makes it a tough pill to swallow. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 470-horsepower 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT proves that utility and eye-popping performance can indeed go hand in hand. And while a rather stiff ride limits its appeal as a daily-driver, most drivers will find the SRT's compelling driving dynamics worth the sacrifice in ride comfort.
UCONNECT ACCESS Arguably the most intuitive infotainment system available, UConnect Access offers cutting-edge connected car technology in a format that doesn't require an engineering degree to operate. Via the 8.4-inch touch panel or voice-recognition, users of all skill levels can access innovative features like UConnect mobile apps (Bing Local Search, Pandora and more), 3D navigation maps, and hands-free text messages (not compatible with iPhone).
QUADRA-LIFT AIR SUSPENSION Complementing the Grand Cherokee's trio of 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems, the optional Quadra-Lift air suspension provides Jeep owners with five selectable vehicle height settings. When fully raised, the system creates a lofty 10.6 inches of ground clearance, which bests even the Wrangler Rubicon. The system can also be lowered, improving aerodynamics as well as facilitating ingress and egress.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Details
Contemporary and functional, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee's cabin is a well-finished space with accommodations for up to five adult-sized passengers. Soft-touch surfaces are plentiful, accented by tasteful wood trims. The optional UConnect system is easy to operate, though we appreciate the fact that Jeep provides an accompanying collection of redundant physical controls for technophobes. Regarding storage, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can swallow 68.7 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded, while offering 35.1 cubes with the seats upright (both figures are on par with the Ford Edge and VW Touareg, but considerably less than Toyota's 4Runner).
The 2014 Grand Cherokee projects modernism and sophistication while at the same time conveying Jeep's distinguished off-road theme. The signature 7-slot grille, front bumper cover, and headlights have been reshaped for a more cohesive look. Higher-end Grand Cherokee models feature extra helpings of chrome along with new front and rear LED light pipes. Although its traditional SUV profile affords a high seating position for a more comprehensive view of the road, the step-in height remains relatively low, making it convenient for the vertically-challenged. Conversely, the liftgate can be a bit difficult to reach when fully extended. Thus, if you're of short stature, we recommend opting for the power-operated liftgate.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in four trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit. Entry-level Laredo models feature dual-zone climate control, a digital instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 6-speaker audio system with a 5-inch touch screen. The volume-leading Limited grade adds larger 18-inch wheels, leather and heated front seats, while a panoramic moonroof, UConnect Access infotainment, and xenon headlights come as standard issue on Overland models. At $49,000, the Grand Cherokee Summit is crammed with virtually every high-end feature on the menu. Standard safety features for all models includes six airbags, a raft of stability control systems, and UConnect emergency assistance with a complimentary trial subscription.
Quadra-Lift air suspension coupled with the top-spec Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel-drive system are essential for any hardcore off-road enthusiast. Family-minded buyers looking to keep their backseat youngsters occupied will appreciate the Blu-ray entertainment center. As a bonus, the system is compatible with most gaming consoles. Because visibility with the standard halogen headlights is middling at best, drivers who frequently travel at night should consider the optional xenon setup. Finally, in a true sign of the times, a CD player has been relegated to the options list for 2014.
Under the Hood
Engine choices include a standard 3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter Hemi V8, and a new 3.0-liter diesel V6. The sole engine offering in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a monstrous 6.4-liter V8 that pushes a whopping 470-horsepower to all four wheels through a rear-biased 4WD system. For non-SRT models, rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with three 4-wheel-drive systems optional. Every 2014 Grand Cherokee, including the SRT variant, is fitted with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. As a result, the complete lineup of 2014 Grand Cherokee models sees modest improvements in acceleration and fuel economy. Furthermore, V6 towing capacity has been increased from 5,000 to 6,200 pounds.
Base prices for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee range from just shy of $30,000 to roughly $52,000. The Grand Cherokee SRT begins right around $64,000 and tops out near $68,000. Adding a Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, or Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel-drive system will cost you an extra $2,000, $2,500, or $3,500, respectively. The less-capable Ford Edge opens around $28,500, with the Toyota 4Runner coming in closer to $32,000. The Volkswagen Touareg carries a starting price of nearly $45,000, but includes a more extensive set of standard features and luxury-car ride quality. Most 7-passenger SUVs like the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer share a similar base price with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Before buying, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page to see what others in your area are paying for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. When it comes time to sell, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to hold slightly above-average resale values, higher than the Nissan Pathfinder and VW Touareg, but falling well short of the Toyota 4Runner.
Cons: "Reliability? So I have read. Not with mine so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited after doing exhaustive comparisons with both domestic and imports. I have been a Japanese and German car owner for a couple of decades and never thought I would go back to a domestic. I do a lot of business travel and have driven a lot of SUVs. I was not even going to consider the Jeep until I rented one and drove it for a couple of weeks. After that I always looked for one on the National Car lot. When I went to buy, I just could not find a better value for what was offered. I sold a 12 year old Acura MDX (a great SUV) and replaced it with the Jeep. So far, the Jeep has been great. V6 power is adequate, but not exceptional, interior is super, exterior is stylish. My only issues are: 1) a buzz in the dash when driving at low revs in lower gears, the finicky electronic shifter, that I can never seem to work correctly, lots of panels, and nooks and crannies in the exterior that I continue to get road salt and sand out of when I wash it even into July, a bit high to step into, no dealer loaners when it is serviced (I keep forgetting this is not an Audi). It has been great in the snow and on the highway. So far (admittedly I have low miles on it) it has been a great vehicle and ran me over $10K less than buying another Acura MDX. In fact, this Grand Cherokee cost me exactly what my 2002 MDX cost me way back then. Better SUV with many more features over 10 years later for the same price....I will take it. I will check back in 10K miles or so."
"Bought this car second hand and it is my second GC. I love the car and mostly everything about it. Pros: The looks--I get compliments all the time. It drives very smooth and makes me feel confident on the road. The Alpine stereo is amazing. The design, fit and finish, details and materials are all nice. I opted for the Altitude trim which gives the truck a very distinct look and a good collection of options. I haven't had time to fully test the 4x4 but I am confident it will be top-notch. Fuel economy is what you would expect for a large and heavy Jeep. (18-24)
Cons: Wanted the 5.7 but chickened out for the V6. I just took the Jeep cross country while towing a 4,000 lbs Uhaul. The Jeep did OK but if you are towing anything on the regular, I would opt for the Hemi. The 5 speed transmission is irritating at times when gunning for a pass or getting off the line-- very much geared for fuel economy and not low end power. I would also recommend getting a newer model with the 8-speed. Finally, Chrysler dealerships (for service) in general do not treat customers very well I think, especially compared to other brand names that charge 40-60k for an SUV."
Pros: "Better seats, ride height and rear bench room"
Cons: "V6 Take off not as responsive as previous models."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I'm a jeep guy, been driving them for decades. In addition to three CJ's (still have the 86 I'm rebuilding), and two grand wagoneers, this will be my third Grand Cherokee with the Laredo package. I favor the Grands for everyday, on-road with some trail use, primarily for my wife and kids and safe travel in snowy conditions. I would never take these out 'muddin'.
My first was a 98, a solid little wagon with thickly padded seats and a very responsive in-line six. Small and light for it's size, it was great off-road. I put 130k on it without issue, (gave it my Son).
I then purchased a 2005, I was not crazy about the V6, but it was quick and responsive. Nor was I crazy about the Diamler SKU that made parts/labor much more expensive. Lots of cheap plastic components that broke and were expensive to replace/repair. The rear bench lacked room/padding and was useless for long trips, (it's not fun taking the minivan on vacation). I blew a head gasket at 110k, drove it to 129k and traded the 2005 in for a post-leased 2012 with 48k miles in practically new condition.
With the 2012, I was quickly impressed with the heavily padded seats (like my '98) and the much improved rear bench (to the kids approval). There were many improvements/organization under the hood, (and moving the battery inside the cabin to reduce corrosion was a plus).
I also liked the improved ride height, it's more like a truck. The improved interior head room is also noticeable and nice over the 2005.
My only gripe is that the V6, from a take-off, is not as responsive as the previous two models, (giving it lower marks in my book). Otherwise, the ride is much improved, (more car like than truck like with previous models).
The Nav/Entertainment panel is confusing to my wife,(read the manual, hun).
Overall, I'm confident that Jeep has done much to raise the bar in terms of comfort,(as expected of the Grands) to provide another vehicle that will, (hopefully like the '98 and '05) outlive it's payments and be a joy to keep for many years to come."