By on July 12, 2013

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

I got a call from my folks a year ago. It went something like this: “your mom wants a new Grand Cherokee for her birthday, what do you think?” I called up Chrysler and snagged a 2013 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit, the last major Mercedes/Chrysler vehicle to launch before Fiat took the reins. I came to the conclusion the American Range Rover was all kinds of crazy, had drivetrain deficiencies and she should wait until the 2014 refresh. That refresh has landed, so should mom buy one?

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Mom [not so] secretly wants a Range Rover, but living in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, the only dealers within 70 miles sell Detroit’s wares. Bang went the Range Rover Sport.

The 2011 GC was a shock to the Jeep faithful. Not because it is the Mercedes ML’s half-brother, which itself is quasi related to the Mercedes E-Class, which is quasi related to the Chrysler 300. (My incest is complicated isn’t it?) What shocked Rubicon runners was the combination of independent suspension and portly curb weight. If you haven’t gotten over that shock, stop reading now.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Exterior, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Exterior

2014 brings a trimline reshuffle to the GC. The Laredo X is replaced by a cheaper Laredo E, and the Summit ditches “Overland” to become a separate trim at the top of the range. There is more going on here than just trim renaming if you read between the lines. In 2013, the “Overland Summit” was a GC with all the luxury AND all the offroad bits. In 2014, the Summit is the realization that people don’t take their $52,000-$57,000 Jeep rock crawling any more than Range Rover owners joyride in the Sahara on weekends. As a result the 2014 Summit loses the skid plates and tow hooks found on lesser models and doesn’t have an option to add them from the factory.

For 2014 we get a de-chromed tailgate, new bumper covers, exhaust tips and a headlamp re-style. In addition to the removal of the large chrome strip below the tailgate glass, Jeep has gone up-market with more aggressive tail lamps and more differentiated trims. Laredo and Limited models get new bumper covers with round exhaust tips while premium trims get trendy trapezoids. Further cleaning up the Overland and Summit models, the hitch receiver and 4/7 pin trailer wiring connector are hidden behind a panel in the bumper. Speaking of towing, the factory towing setup is no longer available on base Laredo models. Want to haul? Step up to that Laredo E.

The GC’s grille has become less prominent and more integrated. Foglamps have shrunk to an almost cartoonishly small proportion, and the lower air intake gets a more aggressive shape. Overland and Summit models get LED daytime running lamps, headlamp washers and a design reminiscent of the refreshed Chrysler 300. While some of our Facebook users whined about the black strip under the lamp, it didn’t bother me.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Interior

The GC’s interior sees more evolution than expected. 2014 brings a new steering wheel with optional heating, a revised center console with the latest uConnect systems, upgraded wood trim and the same 7-inch LCD disco dash found in other Chryslers. The 7-inch LCD gauge cluster is flanked by a traditional tachometer, fuel and temperature gauge. The unit puts the Jeep well ahead of the competition and, interestingly, a notch below the full 11-inch LCD cluster used in Range Rovers.

Laredo and Limited shoppers get soft touch injection molded door and dash bits, while the premium trims get Chrysler’s latest fix for interior plastic problems: stitched leather. If you look at the photo above, everything above the wood trim is soft stitched leather and everything below is hard plastic. As long as you keep your hands above the meridian you’re in for a premium experience equal to the most expensive luxury cars in America. Drop below and you’re in Chevy-Cruze-land. That’s not unusual for a mass market vehicle however, and 2014 brings near flawless color matching (finally). Our summit tester took things up a notch by coating the hard plastic A-pillars, sun visors and headliner in Alcantara faux suede. The awkward gated shifter is gone, replaced by an Audi-esque joystick affair.  On the down side, the plastic center console trim scratches easily and felt a little cheap. Chrysler: make that center console out of wood and you’ll have a winner.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

As with most recent Chrysler products, the front seats have a pronounced “bump” in the center of the cushions making you feel like you’re sitting “on” the seat and not “in” the seat. Rear seat passengers will have little to complain about with reclining rear seat backs, air vents and the same soft-touch leather door treatment as the front. New for 2014 are two high-current USB power ports in the center console so your kids can charge their iWidget without cigarette adapters. Since the 7-seat Mercedes ML and Dodge Durango share the same DNA as the 5-seat Grand Cherokee, there is a surprising amount of rear legroom and cargo room for a 5-seat midsize SUV.

Infotainment

uConnect 2 is the first major update to Chrysler’s 8.4-inch touchscreen system that launched in 2011 and the first version of this system the GC has ever had. It couldn’t have arrived any sooner. If you have memories of sub-par infotainment from the Mercedes era, forget them, this is a whole new uConnect. Based on a QNX unix operating system, the system features well polished graphics, snappy screen changes and a large, bright display. For the second edition of uConnect, Chrysler smoothed out the few rough edges in the first generation of this system and added a boat-load of trendy tech features you may or may not care about.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Interior, uConnect 2, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

In addition to improved voice commands for USB/iDevice control, uConnect 2 offers smartphone integration allowing you to stream audio from Pandora, iHeart Radio or Slacker Radio. You can have text messages read to you and dictate replies (if your phone supports it) and search for restaurants and businesses via Yelp. In addition to all the smartphone-tied features, uConnect 2 integrates a CDMA modem on the Sprint network into the unit for over-the-air software updates and access to the new Chrysler “App Store” where you will be able to buy apps for your car. Since there’s a cell modem onboard, uConnect can be configured to act as a WiFi hot spot for your tablets and game devices as well. Keep in mind speeds are 3G, not Sprint’s WiMAX or LTE network.

Completing the information assault is SiriusXM’s assortment of satellite data services which include traffic, movie times, sports scores, fuel prices and weather reports. As with uConnect data services, there’s a fee associated after the first few months so keep that in mind. 2014 also brings uConnect Access which is Chrysler’s answer to GM’s OnStar providing 911 assistance, crash notification and vehicle health reports. Garmin’s navigation software is still available as a $500 add-on (standard on Summit) and it still looks like someone cut a hole in the screen and stuck a hand-held garmin unit in the dash. The interface is easy to use but notably less snazzy than the rest of the system’s graphics. If this bevy of techo-wizardry hasn’t convinced you Jeep is now in the 21st century, consider this: our tester didn’t have a CD player. If the bevy of USB ports has you confused, you can rock your Cat Stevens CD by paying $190 for a single-slot disc player jammed into the center armrest. Excluding the Garmin navigation system, uConnect 2 ties with BMW’s iDrive in my book for the best infotainment system. Add in the somewhat clunky nav software, and it’s still among the best.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Engine 3.6L V6, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

Under the hood it’s a new world for the big Jeep. The same 290HP/260lb-ft 3.6L V6 and 360HP/390lb-ft 5.7L V8 are carried over from last year but that’s where the similarities end. In addition to the two gas mills there is a new 3.0L diesel V6 made by VM Motori S.p.A of Italy. (VM Motori is half owned by Fiat and General Motors if you were wondering.) The 24-valve DOHC engine uses a cast iron block, aluminium heads and a single computer-controlled variable geometry turbo to crank out 240 ponies and 420lb-ft. (There’s also the 470HP SRT version, but that’s for a different review.) The V6 is the base engine on all models (SRT excepted of course) and it is the only engine offered in the Laredo and Laredo E for 2014. Limited, Overland and Summit buyers can drop $2,695 for the V8 and $4,500 for the “EcoDiesel” V6.

All four engines (yes, even the SRT) are mated to a ZF-designed 8-speed automatic. V6 models use the low torque variety made by Chrysler while V8 and diesel models use a heavy-duty 8HP70 made in a ZF factory. If you’re up to date on Euro inbreeding, you know this is the same transmission used by BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Rolls Royce. To say this is a step up from the vilified Mercedes 5-speed or the Chrysler 6 speed (the 65RFE featured some of the strangest ratio spacing ever) is putting it mildly. Fuel economy jumps 9% in the V6, 10% in the V8 and the diesel model claims 30MPG on the highway. No small feat in a 4,500-5,400lb SUV. Thanks to the heavy-duty cog-swapper, towing jumps from 5,000 to 6,700lbs for the V6 and the V8 and diesel hold steady at 7,400 lbs in RWD form and 7,200 lbs for the AWD model.

Our Summit had the optional Quadra-Trac II AWD system which uses a 2-speed transfer case to split power 50:50 for normal driving, features electronic locking, and provides an improved 44:1 low range for off-road use (up from 30:1 in 2013). Jeep’s variable height air-suspension dubbed “Quadra-Lift” is option on Limited and standard on Overland/Summit allowing you to air-lift your way from a parked 6.7 inches to 11.3 (0.6 more than last year.) Of course those numbers are only valid if you: A. remove the air dam properly before you go off-road, or B. slam into a rock and rip the air dam off while off-road.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drive

If you think a transmission doesn’t make much difference, drive the 2013 and 2014 Jeeps back-t0-back. Not only is the 2014 V6 model 2/10ths faster to 60 than last year’s V8, the on-road feel has been substantially approved. The old model felt like it was never able to find the right gear for anything, while the 8-speed seems psychic in comparison with the right gear ready and engaged before you knew you needed it. That’s a good thing, because a 5,000+ pound SUV with 260lb-ft and an 8-speed with a tall overdrive gear are a recipe for frequent shifts. Indeed on Highway 101, the transmission would routinely downshift to 7th to go up freeway overpasses. Quick shifts and a wide gear-ratio spread pay dividends when towing. I hooked up a 5,000lb trailer and the V6 Summit had no problems hauling it up and over a 2,200ft mountain pass.

In a sea of sharp-handling FWD crossovers, the GC is practically the only mid-size 5-seat SUV left that still drives like a truck. The soft suspension, over-boosted steering and tall ride have a positive effect on highway ride quality, but take a toll on handling. Despite wearing wide 265-width tires, the GC will only carve corners in the off-road-incapable SRT model. Still, that’s not this Jeep’s mission. Much like a Range Rover, the Summit’s raison d’être is to drive like a Barcalounger regardless of the road surface. Mission accomplished. Sort of.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Weight is something you can more easily ignore on-road than off-road. Why? Because the traction surface is predictable and grades are never going to approach the GC’s advertised approach/departure angles. Off road, I got the Summit stuck twice on a moderate trail I am very familiar with (my neighbor has a private 380 acre off-road park that is his “backyard”). The lighter Jeep Patriot had no troubles on the same course. Yes, tire choices have a huge impact, but keep in mind the Patriot had road rubber as well. The first problem was a log about 9″ in diameter. The GC climbed over it but couldn’t reverse off of it. The suspension clearance wasn’t an issue, it was weight and traction. Again, better rubber would have helped, but so would a lighter curb weight because the Patriot didn’t have the same issue on the same log. The second location the GC got stuck for a while was on a steep and “gravely” slope. Again, the lighter SUVs on the same trail had no issue. Yes, QuadraDrive II excels in situations where you have one or more wheels in the air, giving you a very smooth transition of power that can’t be matched by slip-and-grip systems. But seriously, how often do $57,000 SUVs encounter that on the school run?

I must now comment on QuadraLift. Yes, you can increase the suspension height to 11.3 inches, but most people I encountered had no idea what this does to the geometry. Allow me to explain. This GC has four-wheel independent suspension. That means each wheel’s suspension hinges at a point near(ish) the center line of the vehicle. At “normal” ride height, the suspension is in the middle of it’s travel. Lower it for parking mode and the wheels move “upwards” toward their bump-stops. Raise the ride height and the wheels move “downwards” in the wheel wells pushing the car up. When you’re in Off Road II mode at 11.3 inches, you’ve pushed the wheels as far down as they can go nearly hitting their lower maximum travel. This leads to some very peculiar off-road manners, some loud bangs as the suspension hits its lower stops in off-camber situations and a rough ride. Compare that to something like an FJ cruiser which has more suspension travel at similar ride heights and the FJ is going to be the more comfortable off-road companion. How much of a problem is this? Not much, most Grand Cherokee buyers think of their gravel driveway as “off-road.”

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The Grand Cherokee is deeply conflicted SUV if we look at it through the lens of modern crossover comparisons which have eschewed every reason the SUV was invented except for ride height. If however you’re a shopper that expects a 5-seat SUV to be able to tackle more than a gravel road or the occasional speed bump, tow 7,000lbs and accommodate a winch, you don’t have many options. In truth, the Grand Cherokee is one of the best handling “traditional SUVs” ever made, it’s just that the competition has moved toward on-road performance. Sound like a Range Rover to you? It should and Jeep knows it.

Although the Summit has become a tad pricier this year, it’s still $13,000 less than a Range Rover Sport.  Brand image is important, but the Jeep-Range Rover delta is strangely not as wide as the Dodge-Jaguar delta, especially for folks like my mom in the middle of the country. What about me on the left coast? I own a 2001 GMC Envoy (gasp) that has 140,000 miles on it. I’m that 1% that actually tows with their SUV. Frequently. A pickup truck doesn’t fit my lifestyle and I find my 14-foot box trailer more useful for farm/ranch/construction duty (I built my own home and everything arrived on-site in the trailer). When my GMT360 SUV grenades its fourth transmission, I’ll need a replacement. My options: The VW Touareg or the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The options may be narrow, but they have never looked better.

 

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • Best interior Chrysler has ever made. And they didn’t even use Corinthian Leather.
  • The V6 and 8-speed will make you forget the thirsty V8 exists.
  • Oil burners rejoice!
  • High tow ratings are incredibly rare today.

Quit it

  • Curb weight is a real problem for this Jeep both on and off road.
  • The V8 is still thirsty.
  • Some interior plastics are still too cheap for $57,000.

 

Chrysler provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.57 Seconds

0-60: 7.09 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.33 Seconds @ 77.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 19.8 MPG over 768 miles

 

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83 Comments on “Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit (Video)...”


  • avatar
    84Cressida

    “All luxury car makers use a ZF transmission unless they use a Mercedes one” Lexus doesn’t use either 8-speed transmissions, and thank god they don’t.

    I really hate that electronic gear shifter in these and the 300. Complete pain trying to get the gear you want if you’re shifting normally, especially going from drive to reverse.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Considering that shifter is virtually identical to the one in the A8, it would seem that it’s neither an Audi nor Chrysler who designed it, but ZF themselves. Which seems strange to me!

    That said, when Jalopnik reviewed the new Bentley Flying Spur, many readers were disappointed that it used the old Tiptronic-style shifter instead of this thing, as for the price you’d think you’d be getting the most up-to-date equipment.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “2014 Summit looses the skid plates”

    I’m assuming loose skid plates are better than none at all? :-)

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Great review and good news about the power trains. They had struck me as one of the weaker element in the otherwise very impressive GC.

    I appreciate the availability of a diesel engine in this segment without Teutonic maintenance costs. While I understand there are good reasons for diesel engines to cost more than gasoline engines, the price premium in this application seems a bit steep compared (hastily and unscientifically) to the price premium in the Passat for diesel.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    So, does this new price chasm mean that I can no longer buy 3 year-old JGC Laredos for like $10k and make a quick $4500 off them on a retail deal?

  • avatar
    SC5door

    “The Laredo X is replaced by a cheaper Latitude E”

    You mean Laredo E.

    “Optional foglamps have shrunk to an almost cartoonishly small proportion”

    Foglamps are standard.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Actually, the Laredo X got replaced by the “base” Limited. The Laredo “E” package always existed, and a more basic “A” package was launched.

  • avatar
    ajla

    You should test the ’14 Durango. It’s the real worker of this family.

    Same platform, same 8-speed transmissions, better payload, lower price, longer wheelbase (but still shorter overall than any of the BOF stuff). From the sound of things, it may not even be that much worse off-road.

  • avatar
    wmba

    15.33 seconds a 77.5mph in the quarter mile. Uh, no. Should be 88 or 90 mph or the laws of physics are broken.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      77.5 is what out 1Hz GPS unit clocked.

    • 0 avatar
      HeeeeyJake

      I’m thinking that the weight and lack of torque are what are keeping this thing from trap speeds like a “normal” V8 powerband vehicle would run, like closer to 90mph.

      Additionally, with multiple short gears keeping it as close to the 290ish HP peak as it can, i think it can gain enough ground early to eek out a 15.33 especially since traction is not an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      As pointed out already, it’s effectively impossible to post a 1/4 mile time of 15.3 sec with such a low trap speed, unless the brakes were used right before the 1/4 mile mark. For example, one would have to accelerate to 60 mph in approximately 4 sec, then up to 77 mph over the ensuing 11 sec to post a 15.3 sec 1/4 mile with a trap speed of 77 mph. No engine has such an exaggerated powerband, meaning that either the measured 1/4 mile time was too low, the trap speed was too low, or a combination of the two.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I agree, unless they let out.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    was it the 2013 GC that had the moose test problem? If so, did they address that with the 2014?

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      As it is a great off road vehicle I would expect it to roll over if you tried to dodge a moose at speed. I would not want it any other way.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There was no moose test problem. It was rigged to fail in that instance, and the roll over could not be reproduced by engineers under the same test conditions.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    A diesel!!! Like the Toureg. Nice!

  • avatar
    segfault

    “When my GMT360 SUV grenades its fourth transmission, I’ll need a replacement.”

    You sure will! Just buy another remanufactured transmission and slap it in there (again, still). Since yours is an early build GMT900, did it ever have the reprogramming done to limit power output in first gear? If memory serves, this was a common problem with the early GMT900s, and GM decided that limiting engine output in lower gears would help prevent the transmission from grenading.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Better buy than the Touareg, even at $57k. The plastics were a sticking point for me too when I test drove it. I ended up with a Platinum F-150 instead. It was cheaper than this with a lot more utility while still having all options.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This is a good point, the price point of the GC is much to high, you have to really want the vehicle as an image thing for it to make sense of buying it over a full size pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        If you prefer an interior cargo area to a pickup bed, why would you buy a pickup truck?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Every Grand Cherokee owner I’ve known in the past 20 years has been a woman. Back in the early days it was mothers of friends. Then it was women I knew socially. Now it is just neighbors who are women, but the common thread is that they were and are all women and that they picked their JGCs over cars. The Jeeps usually replaced cars, and they were often replaced by cars. The pickup/JGC comparison must only appeal to men, and I guess men all go for utility since I’ve yet to see one pick a JGC.

        • 0 avatar
          Spartan

          I think it may be a woman thing too, as my wife had me look at the JGC Overland Summit. It was a nice vehicle, no doubt. However, we have a 35 ft trailer and the JGC’s short wheelbase was a no-go.

          Even if the JGC had a longer wheelbase, at $57k fully loaded, it makes no sense. My Platinum F-150 with every single option was just a hair over $50k MSRP and can do so much more and still return decent mileage for such a large beast. My only gripe is that I can’t fit it in my garage.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          My wife really likes them after driving her boss’ wife’s JGC. Point corroborated.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The 2012 Overland Summit V6 4X4 we bought has been an excellent vehicle, on par with our 2008 Japan-built Highlander Limited 4X4, which we still keep around for our 16-year old grand daughter to tear around it.

    The 2014 Grand Cherokee is a further improvement over the already-excellent 2011/2012/2013 model. Highly recommend it!

  • avatar
    Sine00

    The only thing missing in your reviews is a full-on 0-60 video run.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Alex, Curios when you tried going over tree were you in 4 lo? That would be sad if it couldn’t make it over it in 4 Lo. QT2 is much slower to engage 4wd in reverse, I’ve had to use 4Lo to get out of some tricky snow packed reverse situations after being parked. You mentioned that yours had Quadra Trac II. Quadra Drive 2 would have been better. Though I looked it up and QD2 only locks the rear now. Previous generations use to lock front and back. Sad that the GC is getting so soft. True there is a 4dr Wranger for the “hard core” people but as I get older I want something that won’t beat me up so much. The GC use to fit the bill perfectly. Would now find myself looking at 4dr pickup truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      Any reason you are leaving the Toyota 4Runner off your list of competitors or alternatives for towing capacity? Is it because it is BOF or just too crude compared to Grand Cherokee and Touareg?

      Ooops sorry, didn’t mean to reply to the above post but to comment on Alex’s test

  • avatar
    AstorC

    Excellent review as always. I like the offroad portion of the test drive and how you took out the infotainment review.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Obviously the only thing jeep has capable of offroad anymore is the wrangler, so I’m guessing the rest of the jeep lineups is becoming a luxury SUV division?
    Seems the low price available to everyone image is out the window along with the offroad image.

    Did you test the V8 or just the V6, luxury car owners aren’t exactly one to care about fuel economy so the v8 fits fine an will probably receive a large number of sales.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Grand Cherokee is quite capable off-road. We often deliver meals-on-wheels in the dead of winter in the mountains, with snow above our axles and it has no problem going where “no one has gone before”, road or no road (albeit slowly).

      Our Fire Chief uses a 2012 Laredo V6 4X4 with Quadra-Drive I (no lo-range) and has never gotten stuck, even in the most unlikely places in the mountains where no vehicles have gone before.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Not fair to even try and compare this to a Range Rover which is several classes higher up these days

    • 0 avatar
      Dubbed

      What, not fair to the Range Rover. Both brands have an offroading pedigree. The only brands with that being a fundamental component in their mass market appeal.

      The only things the Range Rover Sport have over the Jeep are a higher price, brand cashee, and an interior made with more expensive plastics, leathers, and wood.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I don’t know about you guys, but when I see a Land Rover product, I think “expensive junk”, and “buyer cares more and vanity than value”, instead of “wow baller status!!!1!”.

        Maybe it’s just my experience in the field talking.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    My compliments for a very well done review. I cannot think of a single thing you didn’t cover. Also enjoyed the ride on the trail.

  • avatar
    Good ole dayz

    Very conflicted concerning this vehicle:

    1) Love diesels, but (no fault of Jeep) these are burdened with urea injection (annoying) and particulate traps (from all manufacturers VERY problem prone from what I’ve heard). In turn, all this makes for additional complexity to become even more problematic after the warranty expires (and Jeeps’ warranties aren’t all that long to begin with, which says a lot about what THEY know concerning its long-term quality).

    2) Speaking of post-warranty expiration, this vehicle was designed and components spec’d and sourced during the prior regime. Perhaps FIAT is working to improve quality (initial and long-term reliability and durability) — or perhaps not — we won’t know for several years. So Jeep quality is likely still subaverage, this on top of the lesser quality that comes from the UAW manufacturers overall.

    3) Speaking of the UAW, I would really, really like to avoid sanctioning the taxpayer bailout (which will never be paid back) and rewarding one of the major culprits (UAW) and so would really, really like to avoid purchasing a vehicle from any of the UAW manufacturers (GM, Ford, Chrysler).

    4) The Toyota 4Runner doesn’t offer a diesel (and if it did would presumably also be ruined by urea/DPF, thanks to Obama’s EPA). And even if it did, the recent update has really hit it with the ugly stick … so much so that even Toyota’s far superior to Jeep quality may not be enough.

    5) Now that the Pathfinder is just a CUV, this leaves the Xterra, which again offers no diesel and is a little spartan for my tastes.

    Too bad that Toyota didn’t offer a pre-2007 non-urea, non-DPF diesel in this market. THAT would be the ticket!

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I have a ’10 4Runner with 36k miles. I’ve *averaged* 22.0mpg over that time. The throttle is tuned for fuel economy – what I’d call lazy – but it moves great when you put the hammer down. Now that it is a secondary vehicle, only brought out when I have an offroading trip, home depot run, or my wife has plans with the Prius, it would be impossible for me to justify a diesel. The wheelbase isn’t really long enough that I’d feel comfortable towing more than the 5k lbs as rated and I simply don’t put 20k miles on it a year for fuel costs to be a substantial part of my budget. Your concerns about modern diesel maintenance are well founded, IMO.

      If I had to replace my ’10 today, I’d wait for a ’14, I think, because you can finally get a trail edition with a white exterior and an all black interior (previously, it was basically shades of gray with a black/gray interior). It corrects the little things that I want different on my ’10. Plus, I think the new face will look quite evil with a white body, gobi rack, and plain black wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Great to see Jeep kick the 4runner and FJ Loser so hard to the curb.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          How so? Jeep (especially the GC) doesn’t meet my reliability criteria for a vehicle I plan to own at least 10 years. They are average to worse than average in long term reliability. True delta and CR back this up. Once they have proven that it won’t become a Heep after 6 or 7 years, they’d be back under consideration.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinker

      As I recall, the EPA was instituted about 1971, so how is it Obama’s EPA? And considering I’d like to continue breathing marginally clean air, along with my children, grand children, and yes, great-grandchildren, I won’t fling poo at the EPA.

      • 0 avatar
        Good ole dayz

        The EPA (along with OSHA) was established under Republican Richard Nixon.

        Reasonable, rational and effective environmental regulations are just fine.

        Obama’s EPA is run by zealots “battling” the much-hyped and discredited / fraudulent “climate change” and working diligently to execute the U.N.’s “Agenda 21″ (a/k/a “sustainability”) effort, which essentially is global collectivism / wealth redistribution masquerading as a “green agenda.”

        Google “Agenda 21″ and read up on it. The ultimate goals include “nudging” human beings into densely clustered multi-family housing, essentially eliminating suburbs, and private automobiles (forcing us into expensive and inconvenient mass transit).

        Obama’s EPA has under its belt unlawful use of private email accounts in order to coordinate with radical left environmental groups (such as the Sierra Club) to avoid FOIA disclosures; the “war on coal” and (soon) “cap and tax” by regulation intended, as stated by Obama himself in an unguarded moment, to make “utility costs necessarily skyrocket.”

        • 0 avatar
          The Heisenberg Cartel

          Climate change is a fraud? I believe science would like to have a word with you.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Science would tell us that climate change is cyclical. It’s been going on for billions of years at a glacial pace.

            In another 10,000 years or so our climate will start to cool again.

            Most recent climate change happened around 65 million years ago and was allegedly induced by an asteroid impacting the Yucatan peninsula.

            Killed all the dinosaurs, science says.

            Obama and the far left liberal Democrat green weenies want to bring us back to the agrarian age.

            Our natural resources made America what it is. Let’s keep things in perspective.

            If we don’t use all our natural resources ourselves, China, India and the rest of the world will pay us dearly for it, and gleefully burn it as a cheap source of energy.

            Fortunately, uranium, oil, gas and coal will be with us for at least the next 200 years.

            Solar and wind aren’t cutting it because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Heisenberg
            Pseudoscience =/= legitimate science

            Your agenda is obvious, coming to a car enthusiast website and making such a statement shows your true intent.

          • 0 avatar
            Good ole dayz

            Would you be referring to the “science” that manipulated data and came up with the fictional / fraudulent “hockey stick” graph, or the affiliated scaremongering of Al Gore that made him a multi- multi-millionaire with several heavy carbon footprint mansions?

        • 0 avatar
          Truckducken

          While we can debate the merits of Agenda 21 ’til the cows come home, there is no debate that W’s EPA was no friend of diesel either. I am pretty sure that urea and filters were launched prior to January of ’09. This crusade may have been due to the bogus bogeyman of particulate emissions or due to an agenda promoting max fuel consumption by all, but either way it’s been a tough time for diesel fans for far longer than you care to admit. Let’s agree it is high time for regulators to stop favoring gasoline over diesel in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Good ole dayz

            >>Let’s agree it is high time for regulators to stop favoring gasoline over diesel in the US.

            Agreed. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            It isn’t preference so much that the emission levels they’ve set are easier to meet with gas than diesel.

            As an asthmatic cyclist (lol), I’m OK with fewer diesels on the road. There are a decent number of studies out there where there is a statistically significant increase in lung cancer rates to those exposed to diesel exhaust versus gasoline exhaust. I can’t find it now, but one particular study was lung cancer rates of cyclists in Europe (37% of cars are diesels) versus cyclists in the US (~1% of cars are diesels). The European rate was significantly higher. And yes, I know with an agenda, you can make stats look however you like by filter datapoints and such, but comparatively speaking, a gas engine is much cleaner burning that diesel.

            Anyway, with the introduction of direct injection, 6/7/8 speed gearboxes, and the price premium of diesel engines and diesel fuel, I don’t think diesel makes the same case it once did in non-commercial/non-industrial vehicles when you just look at it from a fuel economy perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      I would wait until Toyota reveals what the SR5 and Limited models of the 2014 4Runner look like. Hopefully they’re more toned-down than the garish Trail model.

      • 0 avatar
        Good ole dayz

        Let’s hope!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        SR5 and Trail will look almost identical. According to the press releases, the only exterior difference will be the lower bumper on the front and rear. The Trail has that silver faux skid plate that the SR5 won’t have. We don’t know if the faux skid plate is an add-on to the SR5 bumper or if the SR5 has a smaller body color or black add-on. (The ’10 Trail and 4cyl SR5 had a similar scenario where the body was largely the same but the TE had a small bumper cover addition to the nose.)

        The Limited, on the other hand, gets bespoke bumper covers that are completely different. The gill slits under the headlights are gone. The foglights move further upward, splitting the distance between the lowest point of the bumper and the headlight. There is a chrome surround on each foglight that integrates into a large, chrome “brace” that spans the front bumper. The smaller bar under the Toyota badge in the upper grille is chrome clad. There is a single picture of it on t4r.org in the 5th gen forum that was snapped by a member who was out riding dirt bikes when Toyota was shooting glamor shots. I think the ’14 Limited looks atrocious. I don’t particularly love the “fancy body kit” on my ’10 SR5, with the chrome bits around the rockers and front/rear bumpers, but it is nice enough looking with a set of knobby tires. I much prefer the ’10-’13 TE look to the Limited/SR5, but my wife demanded white, and they didn’t make a white TE at the time. The ’14 Limited is a train wreck, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          The 4Runner has been a train wreck since the 5th generation came around. The prior generations were all good looking 4Runners, especially the 3rd gens. The 4th gens were still nice too, but I don’t know what Toyota was thinking when they styled the 5th gen. Plus, the 5th gen was so decontented compared to the 4th gen that it was bordering on ridiculous. At least the mid-cycle refresh of the 5th gen gives it a bit on an aggressive look. It’s still not good-looking, but I think it has gotten a bit better. But all in all, the 4Runner is nowhere near as good looking as the Grand Cherokee, even the facelifted version.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.” The 5th gen brought back a lot of the 3rd gen look while making the interior feel a lot bigger. I love the 3rd gen, but the interior is just too small for what I wanted and finding a used one without 150k miles was difficult.

            As far as decontented, I’ll take the extra 30hp, extra 250lb payload, extra 5 cu. ft in the cargo area, extra 12 cu. ft max luggage, bluetooth audio & phone, and 2mpg highway over LED taillights and projector headlights*, multi-mode, and in-glass antenna. As far as product planning, I think they generally made pretty good decisions to keep price in check.

            *Fun fact, Consumer Reports, which hates the current 4Runner, rated the old school reflector headlights as “better than average” where many projector headlights are only rated average. Designing a good light determines how well it works rather than projector, reflector, HID, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Having just traveled across the middle of farm country (Iowa and Nebraska), I saw more than my fair share of morons with the huge stacks sticking out of the beds of their shockingly new-ish Ford, Dodge/Ram and GM diesels, “rolling coal” every time they got into the throttle. These idiots seem to revel in making clouds of black smoke, claiming that it means they are making more power, when instead it simply means they are wasting fuel and polluting our air.

      I for one would like to see this stop – I don’t want clouds of black smoke and paticulates blasted into the air I need to breathe, especially when we have solutions to these issues that can work and are getting better with each new generation of controls and components. People like this are precisely why diesel engines have not increased in popularity in this country since they continue to promote the perception that diesels are dirty and stinky.

      Face it folks, diesel particulate filters, NOx adsorption catalysts and SCR/Urea systems are not going away – in fact they will become more prevalent as Europe transitions into Euro 6 regulations. As they become more prevalent the cost will come down and the quality/reliability will go up, so the sky is not falling.

      In spite of all the irrational fear, SCR systems actually improve the fuel economy of diesels since it no longer becomes necessary to control NOx in the combustion chamber (i.e. with lower temperature, less efficient combustion) and it can be handled downstream in the SCR catalyst. Urea is a cheap commodity-priced fluid that can be had for well under $3 per gallon at truck stops everywhere. As SCR systems become more commonplace, I would expect urea to get even cheaper.

      Furthermore, I’d like to see the companies that sell components and systems to remove the emission control devices and modify combustion to “improve” performance on modern diesels under the auspices of “off-road use only” put out of business permanently. Either we want to breathe or we don’t as a society and these companies are undermining the regulations we all collectively as a nation agreed to.

      If I’m not mistaken, it is a $10,000 fine for modifying the emissions controls on a modern vehicle – gas or diesel. Fining the owners of these heavily modified trucks that pour black smoke into the air could actually help solve our budget woes if they would just start enforcing the regulations.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        You want to fine people for Doing what they want with what they own?
        So you don’t mind if someone fines you for not having a perfect yard without weeds and without patches?

        If I own something I will do what I want with it.
        Furthermore anyone with access to a CNC machine can make exactly what the aftermarket diesel manufacturers sell, and thanks to people who believe they have the right to dictate how others live I agree the emissions crap isn’t going away, therefore it is the responsibility of the purchaser to remove emissions equipment. There is no reason to have so much emissions equipment that it affects performance fuel mileage and cost as much as we have now.

        There’s also not a single person that owns a diesel that doesn’t know what the grey smoke consists of, they have switches to turn it on and off, very simple.

        Don’t want to breath it then get out of the city that has a lack of airflow to begin with, diminishing returns that cost thousands are getting all to common.

        Diesels are becoming more common thanks to the power output and fuel mileage, has nothing to do with how clean or dirty they are, if anything the new trucks with switches to throw excess fuel on, will entice an entire generation to love diesels, not turn them away.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          The bottom line is that it is illegal to remove emissions equipment from a motor vehicle and those who do so are subject to a $10,000 fine. Ownership of the vehicle is irrelvant because what you are doing affects other people – your “right” to hot-rod your diesel truck to blow black smoke doesn’t usurp my right to breathe. That is the law – if you don’t like it, then find some politicians who agree with you to repeal it. In the meantime, I’d like to see them enforce it.

          There is no valid reason to modify a current production diesel engine – they offer plenty of performance and thanks to the widespread adoption of SCR/urea systems, the fuel economy is improving and approaching the levels of pre-emissions diesels.

          This is the same attitude that was prevalent in the 1970′s when catalytic converters and other emissions equipment became commonplace on gasoline engines. Now we have engines that offer better performace and efficiency than any engine from the 1960′s and they do it with multiple catalytic converters, EGR valves and evaporative emissions equipment galore. It was only a matter of time for diesels to get the same treatment and it is for the benefit of us all. If you choose to live in a society, you need to abide by it’s rules and laws, and as stated before, it is illegal to modify the emissions control systems on both gasoline and diesel engines. Don’t like it? Buy an island and form your own society – it’s that simple.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            1970s emission equipment WAS terrible. It took a long time to get where we are today.

            By the same token some of the emission equipment on newer diesels are terrible. You pretty much can’t own a 6.0L or 6.4L PowerStroke without modifying it.

            Rather than take such a hardline black/white approach, I’d acknowledge there is a difference between “I want giant smoke stacks” and “I want my engine to work”.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have to say I very much disagree with the line of thinking presented here, not so much the factual statements. Society is frequently wrong as evidenced by history and to simply point and say “we must abide by the rules rules passed by technocrats” shows a lack of critical thinking, not to mention it makes you sound like a boorish parent. So much evil has been committed in the name of the “greater good”, if you disagree with something state your logic and try not to automatically lump the rest of us in with your thinking. I for one could care less and would welcome a removal of such equipment after X years of regular use.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have to say I very much disagree with the line of thinking presented here, not so much the factual statements. Society is frequently wrong as evidenced by history and to simply point and say “we must abide by the rules rules passed by technocrats” shows a lack of critical thinking, not to mention it makes you sound like a boorish parent. So much evil has been committed in the name of the “greater good”, if you disagree with something state your logic and try not to automatically lump the rest of us in with your thinking. I for one could care less and would welcome a removal of such equipment after X years of regular use.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            The laws were passed because society decided that they wanted to be able to breathe and have clean water available…I’m not sure how that can be viewed as wrong. I don’t even have children but I care about preserving this planet for the people that have to live here after I’m gone. Also, I don’t attribute any “evil” to devices meant to reduce pollutants from automobile engines – the goal is a noble one, even if the execution has been found lacking in years past.

            Government (or “technocrats”) didn’t dictate the specific emissions controls devices, they simply identified the elements in exhaust gas that were harming the environment than needed to be controlled in order to improve air and water quality. How to control those elements was left to the technical experts at the automobile manufacturers who were presented with a set of standards they had to meet, similar to safety standards. I don’t think anyone can argue that the implementation of emissions or safety standards have done anything other than result in some of the best vehicles available for sale in our history. Emissions standards have driven levels of precision in engine design and manufacturing that not only resulted in reduced emissions to control via aftertreatment (i.e. catalysts) but improved durability for the consumer as well.

            I’ll concede that the ’70s were a bad time from the standpoint of how well this stuff worked (or didn’t work). But the real enabler that allowed emissions controls to really become effective was the widespread adoption of fuel injection and engine control computers – technology that wasn’t economically feasible or terribly reliable in the 1970′s. In other words, some of the emissions controls, while sound in concept, weren’t quite ready for prime time. As an example, EGR systems were one of the technologies that caused a lot of headache and performance reduction in the 1970′s. Today, EGR is used to improve fuel economy as well as reduce emissions and we have some of the highest horsepower engines society has ever seen.

            The nature of the way the learning curve accelerates means we won’t have to suffer through the exploration of diesel exhaust emissions equipment the way we did with gasoline contols years ago. Instead of nearly 2 decades of problematic vehicles, they’ve managed to whittle it down to a smaller span of time. I’m not hearing about any widespread issues with the current in-house Ford 6.7L or the current GM Duramax engines or their emissions equipment. I also don’t hear much about issues with the VW diesels, moreso the rest of the car…but I digress.

            The big problem that faces diesels is an externality that can severly affect performance and emissions equipment – fuel quality. Diesel engines of today are much more sensitive to variations in fuel quality than current gasoline engines which have laregly become indifferent to fuel issues. Some of this can be mitigated by owner diligence – choosing high volume fuel stations with proper filtration on their pumps, and also by being diligent about changing the vehicle mounted fuel filter(s) on schedule or sooner if needed.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    We have a 2003 Murano with low-speed 4WD. It’s rolled 120,000 miles plus with very few problems. We are looking to replace it. Not eagerly, just sometime. Jeep JCG or Jeep Cherokee (when it arrives) seem possible choices, along with Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, and as yet revealed new Murano, German choices look too expensive, too maintenance intensive. Rest of crossover/soft sub pack including Ford, Toyota, and Honda. Meh.

    There’s some obvious good choice we’re missing. And it would be….?

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Jeep really screwed the pooch with this facelift. They made a beautiful design (the original 2011 model) into a “meh” SUV. Perhaps the biggest blunder is the cheap-looking black plastic filler plates under the headlights. That looks like something you’d expect to see on a $20K Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This looks like a nice car, it really does, but $57000 for a Jeep? In the late 80s that would get you a Ferrari.
    I don’t know who Chrysler is kidding with the price.

    It seems like in 2012/2013/2014 cars became 30% more expensive than they were in 2009/2010.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I don’t know who Chrysler is kidding with the price.”

      They’re not having any problem selling any of them, from the lowest priced Laredo RWD V6 all the way up to the $70K+ SRT8 Monster, and they’re doing it at 3% to 5% over and above MSRP in many areas.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “This looks like a nice car, it really does, but $57000 for a Jeep? In the late 80s that would get you a Ferrari.”

        You could also buy a decent home in many areas for 57k in the 80′s, what’s your point?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I too find $57K for a Jeep a bit outlandish.

      Used market is up at least 30% in that period, new market could be as well.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I agree! But that’s what they’re selling for, and more!

        When I bought that 2012 Overland Summit for my wife, it sticker-ed for $49K+. That was at a time when they had just been introduced in 2011 and weren’t as popular as they are now, so I got a pretty good discount off.

        Whatever they discounted off MSRP in REAL money, they got back when I bought accessories (side-steps, skid plates, tow hitch, luggage, cargo tote, etc) and had them drop-shipped to my address in New Mexico.

        You can’t get deals like that any more. My poker-playing buddy routinely sells even basic Laredo 4X4s for 3% OVER MSRP, and the Summits and SRT8s go for 5% over MSRP, and sometimes even more.

        I kid you not. But that is this region. Maybe on the East Coast they still discount them, but I doubt it.

  • avatar
    Johannes Dutch

    The brand new Maserati Ghibli has the same 3.0 V6 diesel engine as this Jeep GC and the 2014 Ram 1500. Maserati tuned the VM Motori engine a bit and it got 275 hp. Nice allround oilburner !

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Alex, outstanding job as usual. Very thorough and thoughtful. Timely, too, as my wife and I have put this car on our shopping list for our next vehicle purchase, which will be this fall.

    One question: In the video, the center console lights are blinking on-off like a spastic string of Christmas lights. Is that just an optical illusion from the filming process? Or a mode that the computer goes into when it’s asking you for input?

    If the dash is like that often, on purpose, I think it might drive me nuts.

  • avatar
    That guy

    I have an ’11 Grand Cherokee and I think it’s the best vehicle I’ve ever bought. It can tow my trailers as well as my old Ram did, but it’s a much more comfortable and manageable package.

    The ’14 was the perfect update (aside from the questionable front end styling). The 8spd is a major improvement over both the WA580 and 545RFE, the Uconnect system thoroughly outclasses the old system, and the LED taillights bring it into the current decade. If I wasn’t anxious to get mine paid off, I’d consider trading it in for a new one.


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