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.
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.
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.Favorite Features
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.
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).Exterior
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.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4.800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (4x2), 17/24 mpg (4x4)
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg (4x2), 14/20 mpg (4x4)
3.0-liter diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2.000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (4x2), 21/28 (4x4) mpg
470-horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
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.