By on January 14, 2013

The big news to come out of Jeep today: DIESEL. And we aren’t talking about some HD truck diesel from a Ram pick-up. No, a proper fuel-sipping one, in the form of a 3.0L V6, will be available on the Grand Cherokee starting in the 2014 model year.

Whoa, I think I just experienced the weirdest deja vu…

Oh, right…remember when the Germans kinda sorta owned Jeep and they used one of their executives as a pitchman? He was old, had a moustache that would be a great supporting actor on Magnum P.I., and he tried to hock Jeeps to children?

YouTube Preview Image

Anyway, back to the new Grand Cherokee.

After receiving a bit of a refresh, some higher-end models will be offered with the new-fangled 8-speed automatic from ZF – the same transmission that allows the Ram 1500 to get better fuel economy than a Caravan. Will it be mated with the new diesel? We’re not sure. Maybe Sergio will tell us during the official reveal later in the week.

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42 Comments on “NAIAS 2013: LEAKED – Jeep Grand Cherokee Gets First Diesel Since Dr. Z Era...”


  • avatar
    jaje

    According to the PR it gets 21mpg City and 30mpg Hwy (versus the V8 that gets 15 mpg city and 21 mpg hwy). They note it gets 730 miles per tank. I can go a long way without using the restroom but not that far.

    In heavy vehicles diesel is the best engine especially when hauling / towing as they don’t need high RPMs to make maximum torque thus requiring less fuel and diesel has ~ 30% higher energy density than gasoline. I’ve got the ’07 diesel WK and love it. The only big draw back is it has only a 5 speed transmission and highway mpg is only mid 20′s (I have the 4wd). If it came with a 6 or 7 speed then rpms could be even lower giving even better mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Fenian

      How has the long term reliability of your JGC been? I know the CRD engine had a few recalls/TSBs, but after those, has it held up pretty well?

      Something about a CRD Liberty has a certain allure for me and they have depreciated into my price range.

      Edit: I didn’t realize the GC and the Liberty used different diesel engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Numbers_Matching

        @Fenian on JGC CRD:
        no recalls, and I’m not sure about TSBs, but after 75K miles so far mine has been solid. The only issues early on were an intake seal (replaced under warranty) and a crankshaft position sensor (that might have been a TSB – changed at the dealer during an oil change). Other than that it’s a real torque monster with the right software mods…

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        There is one TSB about the intake charge tube as the seal (it is orange in color) at the turbo can leak and the CCV allows in some oil that can leak from it. The dealer can fix it for < $200 if you have the old one or $80 shipped and you can do it in < 15 minutes with simple hand tools and little mechanical acumen (i.e. it's easy). The other issue is the swirl motor which can be $2k replacement but a < $1 resistor can fix it as the swirl motor can by bypassed even if it doesn't work right. Spend $700 to get the ECU tune and it bumps up tq from 376 to 465 ft lbs and will help you run a mid 14 second 1/4 mile and get 1-2 mpg better mileage (the CRD pulses fuel in order to quiet the diesel sound of the engine).

        Liberty had the VM Motori motor which was ok but the CRD is a great engine that lasts a long time (I've got 94k on mine already).

    • 0 avatar
      markholli

      I’m glad to hear the CRD is pretty reliable. I have been watching eBay, Autotrader, cars.com and even Manheim for good 07-09 WK diesel 4x4s close to me. I hope to pull the trigger on one this year.

      How has it been in other (non-mechanical) areas? Electrics? Interior? Trim? Etc?

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        The rest of the car is pre Fiat Jeep so there’s some quality issues (steering wheel is pretty nasty looking with lots of wear) and some small electrical issues here and there (many of them solved by the original battery that went bad). The quality is much better than Jeeps from the 90′s where the entire interior would fall apart. A good site for lots of useful info on these before you buy is http://www.jeepforums.com

        If you can get a 2wd it gets even better mpg – that is unless you live in snow country or do want to actually go off road then the 4wd works great (I have quadra drive II).

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    More important to ask: was this engine designed for Euro-grade diesel, and will the high pressure fuel pumps survive on low-lubricity ULSD as sold here?

    As for the refresh, those headlights scream change for change’s sake. It looks like they went through a catalog and picked the first units that more or less fit the existing hole.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    @Fenian

    The diesel engine in the Liberty is a 4 cylinder diesel, which is obviously different from the V6 diesel in the GC. Most things I’ve read about the CRD Liberty have been mostly positive, but they can be somewhat difficult, and expensive to get parts for if you do need them.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    What a waste. They should have worked to get that motor in their 1/2 ton Ram and then they would have truly rocked the truck world. That without a doubt would be deserving of their truck of the year award.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I agree this needs to be put in the 1/2 Ram as well. It would put Ram on a different scale altogether compared to GM or Ford who still don’t get the need for regular folks to get efficient diesel engines for their normal pickups.

  • avatar
    Petra

    I always liked those “Dr. Z” commercials. If nothing else, they showed that Zetsche has a sense of humour, which is more than you can say for most executives.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    “After receiving a bit of a refresh, some higher-end models will be offered with the new-fangled 8-speed automatic from ZF – the same transmission that allows the Ram 1500 to get better fuel economy than a Caravan.”

    Wrong.

    All models and engines (3.0, 3.6, 5.7, and 6.4) will receive the 8 speed.

  • avatar
    jco

    this is pretty awesome news. i mean, I know the GC is a unibody vehicle now.. but diesel in SUVs makes sense. if they can manage to drop a diesel into a 4-door Wrangler, it would be a very solid option. locking axles, ground clearance, huge aftermarket support, and a diesel.

    there are no diesel-powered body-on-frame light trucks in this country and it continues to not make sense. i’d love something with a diesel that can tow up to around 7,500lb, seat 4 people, and not be a giant pickup truck. or a complicated unibody German luxury crossover. something with a real transfer case. this is something that can occupy car-sized parking spots, function as a commuting/passenger vehicle with decent mpg, and tow things. without being a really expensive German vehicle that scares people like me.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      The GC has always been a unibody rig, as was the regular Cherokee.

      In many ways, this is a complicated German luxury crossover, seeing how it shares a platform with the newest Mercedes SUVs and its new diesel engine comes by the way of the Germans, from Italy of all places.

      I’m sure this will have some kind hyper complicated DEF/DPF filter system that’ll be fabulously expensive to keep running, just as they are with full size trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        I have the Diesel Particular Filter in my ’07 and have not had a problem with it. However it it fails it’s a $1k fix – but I’m about to delete it and just go without as the engine runs very clean in the first place. Many modern diesel use a tank of urea that you fill up every 10k miles (dealers charge $50 but you can easily find it on the Web for $15 and do it yourself in < 5 minutes). However Mazda has a new diesel Mazda6 coming out that doesn't need it – they got the compression ratio down to high 14s / low 15s and are using an all aluminum block – first production diesel engine of its kind.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        I know, i guess my use of the word ‘now’ in that first sentence was superfluous. the diesel GC is a step in the right direction, but you’re right that isn’t a more simple truck.

      • 0 avatar
        Numbers_Matching

        ‘In many ways, this is a complicated German luxury crossover, seeing how it shares a platform with the newest Mercedes SUVs and its new diesel engine comes by the way of the Germans, from Italy of all places.’

        Isn’t the new JCG diesel engine sourced from Fiat? The platform (WK2)is loosely based on the current ML series.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      jco:
      there is no such thing as a simple diesel-powered vehicle any more. You would need to go back to mid-80′s to find a truly simple *agricultural* grade diesel powered vehicle.

      Modern diesels are much more complex (and expensive) than their gasoline counterparts..

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        the simple I’m referring to isn’t necessarily the powertrain but the vehicle itself. because even my 6 year old gasoline truck isn’t all that simple under the hood either.

        but thinking about it.. actual simple vehicles are kinda gone anyway, as they’re discussing in the post about the crank-window Versa hatchback today.

        what i’m more or less referring to is a body-on-frame truck with at least a solid rear axle, a suspension that can be upgraded, and other more durable truck-type qualities.

        think XTerra or 4Runner with a diesel. that’s essentially what I’m saying. because otherwise if you want diesel in an actual truck you’re spending over $40k for a heavy duty american pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        @Numbers_Matching

        The diesel engine in the GC is sourced by VM Motori, which used to be owned by Daimler Chrysler, then was sold to Penske, then to GM, and later to Fiat.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    A diesel SUV… who’d have thunk? Makes sense to me but it will be a hard sell in the US and I am unable to fully comprehend that. Times have changed though so good luck to Jeep :-)

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Too many people have too many memories in the US of the domestics botched diesels and of stinky, slow MB and VW diesels, as well as the odd Volvo, Peugeot,etc. The only thing that will change the minds of those people is driving a new diesel vehicle that isn’t a medium duty truck.

      How about a diesel Caravan/Town and Country? I also wonder why this isn’t slated for Ram use? Don’t want to threaten the Cummins powered truck sales (or their premium)?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I love that this motor is available. Honestly i think this new gc is a great truck.one i would sorta like to buy. Dont know cost/reliability etc, but i can dig this. Love diesels in non sporty cars.

    But the front end is a big step down. Currently the gc is incredibly classy. Looks solid but handsome. This new headlight grille combo cheapens the look substantially in my eyes.

    Why did they have to trade some looks for the diesel and 8 speed?!

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Great vehicle – I would love one of these. Not sure about the diesel only because modern diesels actually aren’t ultra reliable machines. With twin turbos and very high sophistication quite alot can go wrong..

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Reliability of a diesel? Well no spark plugs or coils to go wrong (only glow plugs which cost usually $20-$50 each and should last well over 50k miles). No meters of vacuum lines run throughout the engine bay which can leak causing myriad of problems (diesels don’t need them).

      The big drawback is finding diesel stations – which is easy if you have a smartphone and use gasbuddy app (ios and android) and select diesel and it will google map where you can find the closest station and sometimes the price.

      On the flip side, in order to get better mpg from their fleets many manufacturers today (Hyundia / Ford / GM / BMW / etc.) are providing smaller displacement gas engines with forced induction and direct injection – more things to go wrong.

      Last I checked the cost to make a diesel engine over its gas counterpart was < $1k versus ~ $3k for a gas hybrid system.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        I haven’t seen a engine with tons of vacuum lines since the emissions carb era, and the air injection era. After that the engines are dead simple, most don’t even have egr anymore.

        Most of what you see are wires to sensors which are all pretty simple to understand their purpose. Diesel’s all have these sensors now too.

        Then again i grew up on computers so they don’t scare me.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I found this very interesting breakdown of the VM Motori diesel motor; a must read for all of the gear-heads out there:

      http://www.dieselpowermag.com/tech/1208dp_banks_vm_motori_630t_v6_diesel_engine/

      It seems to be well constructed and designed for heavy duty military and commercial use. A diesel GC could be in my future if it proves reliable over the next few years.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I have a 06′ Liberty Limited. Use it for trips out of town and to tow our camper.

    Love the things, and it’s been great. Nothing else on the market right now like it, and being a Diesel technician myself, I keep it maintained with the intention to make it about at least to the 1/4million mark.

    Even with the GC. Well first, it’s expensive. But second, I don’t like the Independent rear suspension setup in it, and overall, I it just feels like too much of a giant hatchback from behind the wheel, and not like a proper truck.

    Jeep use to make big trucks in small packages. The Liberty CRD checked all of thoese boxes, even came with the Ram 5spd they put behind a Hemi (not available in the gas versions). One of the last great Jeeps they built. I’ll have to give the diesel version of the GC a try, but doubt it’ll make it that much better then the current version.

  • avatar
    dodobreeder

    We currently have a 1980 Wrangler which we bought new and keep for off-roading in the desert. But my wife and I have been giving some serious thought to buying a 2014 Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4 with the Pentastar and sell the old Wrangler. No Limited. No Overland. No Summit. No SRT-8. Just an everyday Laredo 4X4.

    Adding a Diesel V6 to the choices is appealing but aside from better fuel economy than the Pentastar, I’m not sure that it will be a deciding factor for me since Diesels represent Drama, as in special fuel, special high-maintenance and cleaning, Urea in California, and that typical diesel-stench so reminiscent of my Viet Nam days.

    I’ve never been one to care about the cost of gasoline or fuel mileage and certainly not in an off-road recreational vehicle. If I had, I would not be driving a 5.7L Tundra and my wife would not be driving a 2011 Lexus LS460 and a 2006 Mustang 4.6 GT (for grins).

    It remains to be seen if in America this option will be as popular as it appears to be in Europe. I don’t believe it will since Diesels don’t sell all that well in America. At least not to the masses.

  • avatar
    tedward

    So it’s official, the Grand Cherokee has become a direct Touareg competitor (I always held that it was before but now it’s blatant). Except, and props to Chrysler, they can be ordered with low range transfer cases and air ride suspension. Not sure if that’s because they enjoy lower costs building the GC in NAFTA, Chrysler has more opportunity to achieve volume on the components used in the GC, or if it’s just because VW has become more conscious in the US about it’s reliability stats.

    Either way, I find it interesting, especially in light of the, seemingly childish, war of words and incentives being waged right now between the two companies. That, by the way, is a pissing contest that should definitely be sufficient to motivate a few really interesting industry dirt articles.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    I have heard that the Ram 1500 will be getting the VM Motori 3.0L V6 in late 13/early 14.I also heard that GM might be going to go diesel (V8) in the 13/14 my 1500.For me,I desperately want a diesel JK,or the JK pickup that Jeep keeps teasing us with.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeease please please put this power plant in Wrangler with a proper off-road suspension and front and rear lockers. Something with lots of low-end, low-rpm grunt for all-day trail riding, capable of an overdrive-engaged, gas-sipping cruise home on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      ToxicSludge

      They are saying they will put it in the JK,I just hope it’s in my lifetime.WHEN it is finally offered (being positive here now),order it in the Rubicon that comes with front and rear E-lockers,elec-discos,and a 4:1 low crawl transfer case,Dana 44′s front and rear.Potent factory combo right there…

  • avatar
    AJ

    Jeep needs to really make the CRD successful with the WK2, or else it won’t ever happen again. If they can price it along with the Pentastar, they could do very well with it. They also need to make sure that the quality and the service is there to support and keep the love for the owners. And sure, make it available as well in the Wrangler and Ram. Spread the love.

    I may consider a WK2 this year myself. I’ve been leaning towards the Hemi, but I’ll certainly consider the CRD.

    • 0 avatar
      ToxicSludge

      I would say that the diesel option will be around 3k bux.I can almost guarantee that it won’t be the same price as the pentastar.The VM Motori diesel ain’t cheap.


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