If there’s such a thing as a Swiss Army Knife of SUVs, the title would have to go to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Perhaps more than any other SUV on the market today, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, in its many permutations, can manage to be just about all things to just about all people.
While the current model carries on the Grand Cherokee’s legacy of good looks, (relative) luxury and infinite practicality for those needing to haul passengers and cargo out where the buses don’t run, the big news for 2014 is the addition of a Fiat-sourced turbodiesel engine option.
All returning Grand Cherokee versions benefit from improved fuel economy (even the high-output SRT model), but none delivers the kind of impressive numbers served up by the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, which is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
How impressive? Try as much as 30 miles per gallon on the highway and 22 mpg in the city with rear-drive models, with four-wheel-drive versions delivering 28 mpg highway and 21 mpg city. While the EPA hasn’t published combined numbers yet, we suspect rear-drive versions will get a combined rating of 24 or 25 mpg, with four-wheel-drive models achieving roughly a combined 23 mpg. The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will serve up plenty of power for towing, as well, as it’s rated to pull up to 7,400 pounds.
If you’d rather stick to gasoline, the Pentastar V-6 Grand Cherokee is also available with the eight-speed automatic transmission, returning a respectable 25 mpg on the highway, up from 23 mpg highway last year.
Though unlikely for a green audience, if you should need more power, the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 returns in the lineup as well, though it delivers just 21 mpg highway. Even the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is back in the lineup, but it’s a thirsty beast, returning just 15 mpg combined (13 city, 19 highway) while delivering limited off-road capabilities.
Opting for the available air suspension on standard (non-SRT) Grand Cherokee models will get you a new Eco mode, which drops ride height at speed to reduce drag, while new electrohydraulic steering (not available on V-8 models) further helps to squeeze the most from a gallon of fuel.
If your driving regularly involves dirt roads, inclement weather or even no roads at all, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers up a truly dizzying array of available all-wheel drive systems. The Quadra-Trac I and Quadra-Trac II all-wheel drive systems carry over, as does the available Quadra-Drive II setup. The pneumatic suspension, known as Quadra-Lift, pays dividends both on-road and off, but thankfully Jeep’s Selec-Terrain management system takes the guesswork out of off-road driving. Simply set the dial to the icon most closely resembling your current road and weather conditions, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s electronics will optimize traction accordingly.
Inside, fit and finish is improved over previous models, and even the choice of materials seems to lean more in the luxury direction as you opt for better-equipped trims. The Jeep Grand Cherokee may lack safety amenities found on rival vehicles (such as the inflatable rear seat belts used in the Ford Explorer, or the front-center airbags found on certain GM models), but its go-anywhere capabilities simply aren’t matched by most rival SUVs. If you truly need an SUV that will get you there and back again, in the company of four of your closest friends, few can keep up with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now that Jeep is offering a fuel-efficient turbodiesel engine option, the Grand Cherokee will make sense to even more consumers.
For more details, see the full review of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee on our sister site, The Car Connection.