KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 3/5/2013
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.
What's New for 2014
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.
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.
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.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…