Mediocre fuel economy for a diesel, subpar braking distances, tight backseat, small cargo area.
If you're shopping for a diesel SUV, the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD is one of only four available and it's the cheapest of the bunch. But price is only one of many important considerations when shopping the diesel SUV market, as we learned after a week behind the wheel of the Jeep.
Anyone buying this vehicle to save money on fuel might need to reconsider their assumptions. Due to the volatility of diesel prices (they can even rise above those of premium gas), the meager improvement in fuel economy provided by the $1,655-Quick Order Package 22H's 215-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine could take 15 years to pay for itself when compared to the standard 4.7-liter gas V8. Furthermore, while this Jeep stickers at $41,055, the diesel will not be to everyone's liking; at idle, you feel like you're in a bus stuck in city traffic.
Still, this version of the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee does come with an extra-big 22-gallon fuel tank which, along with near-20 mpg fuel economy, means a cruising range of about 400 miles. Toss in Jeep's off-road pedigree and a surprisingly comfortable highway ride and this Cherokee will hit the mark for a limited number of buyers.
This V6 CRD (common-rail diesel) engine provides 215 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque that's fully available at a superlow 1,600 rpm. In testing, we found this was enough to launch our four-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee Limited from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly fleet 7.8 seconds. Midrange passing maneuvers were a breeze until about 65 mph, when the acceleration began to wane. The EPA estimates mileage at 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, and we averaged 19.3 mpg over about 900 miles of driving. For those interested in towing, the diesel with its 7,400-pound towing capacity (about that of a gasoline V8) might be just the thing for pulling a horse trailer or camper.
The five-speed automatic was reluctant to downshift, and occasionally hard shifts were noticed while driving around town. A suspicious noise was heard between shifts in some cases, and once it was quite loud. But mostly it shifted smoothly and effectively managed the increased torque of the diesel engine.
The full-time four-wheel-drive option comes with a low-range transfer case that even allows the driver to select Neutral. This means it can be towed behind an RV without being put on a trailer. Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, hill start assist, hill descent control, as well as stability control and traction control are welcome safety features to manage off-road and bad-weather driving. In government-conducted crash tests, this Jeep earned five stars in all categories except for rollover, where it scored four stars. The Grand Cherokee comes standard with front and side curtain airbags.
While the antilock four-wheel disc brakes felt capable around town, the numbers at the test track told another story. With 120-to-130-foot stopping distances from 60 mph becoming common in this age of crossover vehicles, this Jeep took 140 feet to come to a complete stop. Furthermore, the front end dove dramatically during extreme braking. Repeated stops didn't lead to longer distances thanks to the ventilated front discs (solid discs in the rear). The Grand Cherokee Limited comes with 17-inch (P245/65R17 1055) Goodyear Fortera H/L all-terrain tires.
For around-town driving, this 4,691-pound (as tested) SUV seemed agile and comfortable. In tighter corners, the solid rear axle with leaf springs and stabilizer bars felt soft and led to swaying, although this design is preferable for off-roading. The steering feel was light and uncommunicative, which was probably designed to reduce steering shock while on extremely rocky back roads.
The diesel is loud at idle and louder at acceleration before smoothing out and being virtually unnoticeable at highway speeds. The cabin is well-insulated thanks to the extra insulation packed in as part of the Quick Options 22H Package along with a stronger battery. Road noise at 70 mph was muted, while wind noise was noticeable both to driver and passengers.
The front power seats with memory settings (for mirrors and radio, too) were comfortable and, thanks to a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and power-adjustable pedals, it was easy to find the right driving position. Some people might want a more aggressive lumbar control, though. The rear seats are a different story altogether. Limited front visibility might make children feel imprisoned back there, and the legroom is definitely tight. Cupholders in the rear pulled out awkwardly from under the seats and a plastic piece fell off our test vehicle. Interior materials had a nice grain texture but were slightly on the hard side.
Access to the rear cargo area is via either flip-up glass or the flip-down tailgate. Unlike on some competing vehicles, the liftgate is not automatic, and it feels heavy when you pull it down. There is plenty of room in the cargo area, with loops for tying down bundles. While the cargo space looks roomy, it doesn't measure up — cargo capacity is low for this class, with just 35 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 69 with the seats folded. A panel lifts up to reveal more storage space for flat items.
In recent years, the SUV and CUV (crossover vehicles) classes have become extremely competitive as the buying habits of Americans shift and allegiances change. To some degree, the Jeep is caught in a time warp and will rely on its roots to keep former owners loyal. However, there might not be enough sizzle here to attract new buyers given the stylish, new competition such as the Nissan Armada, the refined Honda Pilot or the popular Buick Enclave. None of these competitors have the diesel option, however, and none of them may be as serious about off-roading as the Jeep. Ultimately, there is nothing that exactly matches the Jeep.
Design/Fit and Finish
The exterior design of the Jeep offers a timeless appeal, and the green metallic color of our test vehicle suited it nicely. Inside, the dark khaki and light gray stone colors were tasteful and practical, but the interior design bordered on plain when compared to the styling of many other brands. In particular, the gauges seemed dated, yet somehow matched the diesel engine. The dual-zone automatic climate controls were simple and easy to use and allowed fine-tuning of interior temperatures. We didn't like the overabundance of plastic chrome borders on the center console and shifter because they caught the sunlight and reflected it into the driver's eyes.
The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited comes standard with Sirius Satellite Radio (a one-year subscription is included) and the MyGIG multimedia entertainment system. Audio controls are conveniently mounted on the steering wheel and the sound quality was impressive. The Limited model now comes with a rear camera as standard equipment, and, while the display was a bit blurry on our test car, this is an important safety feature for families with small children.
Who should consider this vehicle
While "doing the math" won't encourage the economically minded buyer to choose this diesel setup, we're betting that the mystique and off-road superiority might just carry the day for the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD. Those heading into the wilds or towing a trailer might pony up the extra money for the diesel engine, even though it will take years to pay for itself.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation
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Save up to $288.4 on one of 50 used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokees for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $6028 as of Mar 20, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 58 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 2 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee trim styles:
The used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo is priced around $9320 with average odometer reading of 111113 miles.
The used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited is priced around $9250 with average odometer reading of 103411 miles.
The used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 is priced around $26490 with average odometer reading of 75124 miles.
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What options are available on the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Available Jeep Grand Cherokee 2008 Submodel Types: SUV, SRT, SRT8, SRT-8
Available Jeep Grand Cherokee 2008 Trims: Summit, Altitude, Trailhawk, Sterling Edition, High Altitude, Laredo, SRT, Limited, SRT8, Limited 75th Anniversary, 75th Anniversary, SRT-8, Overland, Special Edition, Sport
Exterior Colors: Bright White Clear Coat, Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat, Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat, True Blue Pearl Coat, Velvet Red Pearl Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat, Maximum Steel Metallic Clear Coat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Rhino Clear Coat, Ivory 3 Coat, Walnut Brown Metallic Clear Coat, Cashmere Pearl Coat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearlcoat, Black Forest Green Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat, True Blue Pearlcoat, Maximum Steel Metallic Clearcoat, Redline 2 Pearl Coat, White Gold Clearcoat , Black Clearcoat, Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Midnight Blue Pearlcoat, Blackberry Pearlcoat, Bright White Clearcoat, Graphite Metallic Clearcoat, Luxury Brown Pearl Coat, Natural Green Pearlcoat, Dark Charcoal Pearlcoat, Dark Khaki Pearlcoat, Steel Blue Pearl Coat, Black Forest Green Pearlcoat, Deep Beryl Green Pearlcoat, Light Graystone Pearlcoat, Light Khaki Metallic Clearcoat, Steel Blue Pearlcoat, Deep Auburn Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Tinted Pearlcoat, Jeep Green Metallic Clearcoat, Sangria Metallic Clear Coat, Stone White Clearcoat, Modern Blue Pearlcoat, Red Rock Crystal Pearlcoat, Steel Blue Metallic Clearcoat, Mineral Gray Metallic Clearcoat, Onyx Green Pearlcoat, Winter Chill Pearlcoat, Woodland Brown SG, Black, Dark Garnet Red Pearl Coat, Deep Lava Red Metallic, Deep Slate Pearlcoat, Emerald Green Pearl Metallic, Light Pewter Metallic Clearcoat, Olive Green Metallic Clearcoat, Onyx Green Pearl Coat, Patriot Blue Pearl Coat, Taupe Frost Clearcoat Metallic
Interior Colors: Black premium leather, Black leather, Black cloth, Black/Light Frost Beige premium leather, Black/Light Frost Beige leather, Black leather/sueded microfiber, Black alcantara, Brown/Light Frost premium leather, Medium Slate Gray cloth, Black/Light Frost Beige cloth, Dark Sienna Brown/Black leather, Dark Graystone/Medium Graystone cloth, Black/Ruby Red leather, Brown premium leather, Dark Slate Gray cloth, Medium Slate Gray, Dark Slate Gray, Dark Graystone/Medium Graystone premium leather, Dark Frost Beige/Light Frost Beige leather, Brown leather, New Saddle/Black leather, Black/Light Grey leather, Indigo Blue/Brown premium leather, Black/Ruby Red leather/sueded microfiber, Black leather/suede, Dark Khaki/Light Graystone, Dark Slate Gray/Light Graystone premium leather, New Saddle/Black Interior leather, Taupe, Khaki cloth, Khaki, New Saddle/Black premium leather, Black/Sepia leather/sueded microfiber, Agate, Dark Khaki/Light Graystone leather, Dark Frost Beige/Light Frost Beige premium leather, Sandstone, Dark/Light Slate Gray, Black/Dark Olive premium leather, Black/Sepia premium leather, Dark Khaki/Light Graystone premium leather, Medium Slate Gray leather/suede
Popular Features: Post-collision safety system, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Keyless Entry/Start, Mobile Internet, Automatic Emergency Braking, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Cooled Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Lane Departure Warning, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, AWD/4WD, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Sunroof/Moonroof, Heated seats, Remote Start, Upgraded Stereo, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Leather Seats, Back-up camera, Parking sensors, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Navigation, USB Inputs, Towing Hitch, Upgraded Engine, Upgraded Headlights, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Rear Entertainment System
The used 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in the following submodels: SRT-8, SUV. Available styles include Laredo 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), and Laredo 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Grand Cherokee models are available with a 0-liter gas engine or a 0-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2008 Grand Cherokee comes with four wheel drive or rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic.