The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee may not be long for this world, as Chrysler looks set to introduce a diesel variant next January, for the 2014 model year.

Sources within Chrysler say that the 3.0-liter turbo diesel already available in Jeeps overseas will hit the U.S. market next year.

With a five-speed automatic transmission, the diesel is capable of 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, a large improvement on the gasoline model's 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

Automotive News suggests a new eight-speed automatic transmission will also arrive around the same time, though it's unclear whether this will be paired with the new diesel unit. Even if the transmission is only used on the gasoline variants, gas mileage improvements should be significant.

In five-speed auto guise, the diesel engine produces 241 horsepower and 406 pounds-feet of torque, so pulling power shouldn't be an issue.

The news comes on the back of strong Grand Cherokee sales, currently 38 percent up on last year at 62,611 units by May.

Will Chrysler's move encourage other automakers to follow suit? If it does, economy-minded SUV buyers might benefit from delaying a potential purchase until early next year.


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