2013 Detroit Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Jeep introduces a long-awaited diesel engine for the 2014 Grand Cherokee.
- Coupled with the new eight-speed automatic that all 2014 GCs get, diesel models are projected to deliver a highway rating of 30 mpg.
- A significant face-lift includes slimmed headlights, upgrades to interior materials and electronic features.
DETROIT — The flagship Grand Cherokee pushed past the iconic Wrangler to become Jeep's best-selling model last year and Chrysler's not going to waste the immense momentum the current-gen Grand Cherokee has built. A refreshed 2014 Grand Cherokee was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, packed with new features that shove the Grand Cherokee even farther up the desirability scale.
The most significant change comes under the hood, where the 2014 Grand Cherokee will offer the option of diesel power. Seems Chrysler's been talking about a diesel GC forever and finally the German competition's worst nightmare is reality: A 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel designed and built by Italy's VM Motori (half-owned by Fiat) generates a bludgeoning 420 pound-feet of torque and will yank 7,400 pounds of trailer.
The diesel out-torques the Porsche Cayenne Diesel (406 lb-ft) and matches the Cayenne oil-igniter's 240 horses. And Chrysler must be pretty sure about the engine's frugality. Although the 2014 Grand Cherokee diesel doesn't hit showrooms until March, the company already is citing a 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway fuel economy rating for rear-drivers and 20/28 mpg for all-wheel drive.
Backing the diesel is an all-new ZF Friedrichshafen (we love adding the Friedrichshafen)-made eight-speed automatic transmission that will be used for all 2014 Grand Cherokees — including the SRT8. Jeep engineers say the extra ratios will be good for 2 mpg on the highway for the 3.6-liter V6 and 1 mpg for the Hemi 5.7-liter V8.
If you think Jeeps are supposed to be about big, round headlights, a rude awakening awaits. Prominent features of the Grand Cherokee's styling revisions for 2014 include drastically slimmed headlight clusters; Overland and Summit get bi-xenon jobs outlined with the now-requisite LED running lamps. Nobody's messing with the signature seven-slot grille, but it has been revised to visually beef up and "raise" the grille.
Chrysler stylists busted out the LEDs for the rear, too, to augment the bigger taillamps. The tailgate is redesigned and the rear spoiler is lifted from the SRT, and nitpickers will note the new dual exhaust tips for the upper trims.
Inside, there's a revised center stack featuring a 5-inch or 8.4-inch command screen for the newly adopted Uconnect infotainment interface that includes voice texting (we didn't say it all is good).
There's a new three-spoke steering wheel and all 2014 GCs get paddle shifters, the better to work those three newfound transmission ratios. Plus, there is a passel of nice new trim options (Chrysler's getting religion on this trim stuff, doncha know) that include copper-color metal trim and other "destination"-oriented styles and colors, while the SRT gets an even better version of the nastiest-thick flat-bottomed steering wheel ever fitted in an SUV.
Speaking of the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT8, in addition to the eight-speed auto, it gets standard launch control, a rework for the Selec-Trac all-wheel drive to bake in more rear bias when using Track mode, and several new wheel choices after Jeep took heat about the wonky wheels on the current SRT8.
Edmunds says: The revisions for the 2014 Grand Cherokee lineup make a serious quasi-luxury SUV even more serious and more luxurious, while the new diesel and eight-speed automatic make an efficiency statement that can't hurt the GC's rep, either.