Video – 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Photos and Info

Feb. 24, 2013 By Josh Burns, Photos by Josh Burns and Courtesy of Jeep, Video Edit by Chris Blanchette and Adam Wood
 

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will return again on the Grand Cherokee after first being introduced on the 2011 model. The engine features variable-valve timing to improve fuel efficiency and provides 290 horsepower and 260-lb.-ft. of torque. Now paired with the new eight-speed transmission, the Pentastar V-6 can tow up to 6,200 pounds, which is a 24 percent increase versus the previous version. The V-6 features a 17 city/25 highway fuel rating on 4x2 models and a 17/24 mpg rating on 4x4 models, providing more than 600 miles of driving range, which Jeep claims is best in class for a gas-powered SUV.

The 5.7-liter V-8 also benefits across the board with the new transmission. When paired with the company’s variable-valve timing (VVT) and cylinder deactivation technology, the V-8 increases fuel economy by 10 percent. Producing 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (and a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds), the V-8 is rated at 14 mpg city and 22 mpg on the highway for 4x2 models, while the 4x4 version gets 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

Eco Mode is another new addition to the 2014 GC. Jeep explains this new system optimizes the transmission’s shift schedule for improved fuel economy. The Eco Mode works in conjunction with the vehicle’s air suspension system to lower the ride height for ideal aerodynamics when at speeds between 52 and 56 mph or above 56 mph. The system is automatically engaged when the vehicle is started but can be turned off with a switch of the button on the new center stack “if more spirited performance is desired,” says Jeep.

More 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Pictures

When it comes to off-road capability, Jeep hasn’t forgotten its roots with the 2014 Grand Cherokee. Three 4x4 systems are available for the GC, including Quadra-Trac 1 (full-time four-wheel drive, single-speed transfer case), Quadra-Trac II (two-speed transfer case with ability to transfer torque to the axle with the most traction), and Quadra-Drive II (two-speed transfer case equipped with rear Electronic Limited-Slip Differential, or ELSD). Both the Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II are equipped with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, which allows the driver to choose different on- or off-road settings depending upon the terrain.

The system electronically controls 12 different powertrain, braking and suspension systems (including throttle control, transmission shifting, transfer case, Hill-descent Control and Selec-Speed Control) to improve driving performance depending upon the terrain. The options for terrain selection in Sand (more sensitive response to wheel spin), Mud (also checks for wheel spin), Auto (adapts to conditions automatically), Snow (adjust to snow-covered roads) and Rock (raises height to maximum clearance of 11.3 inches, more low-speed control). One adjustment to the system on the ’14 model is Sport Mode, previously found on the Selec-Terrain controller, is now operated via the shift lever for improved on-road performance.

Introduced on the previous Grand Cherokee model is Hill Descent Control, allowing the driver to focus on steering while the Jeep controls the throttle and braking when descending hills in 4WD Low. New for 2014 and part of the Selec-Speed Control is Hill-Ascent Control, which will control the speed of the Grand Cherokee when climbing hills with the ability to adjust speed with the paddle shifters. 
 

Driving Impression
Jeep invited us out to Austin, Texas, to test out the 2014 Grand Cherokees both on and off-road. We had a few hours driving through some desolate country roads en route to our off-road testing, which provided a chance to get a feel for its on-road handling and prowess and feel how the different engines respond with the new transmission.

A marked improvement from the pervious five-speed transmission, the new eight-speed trans on the ’14 Grand Cherokee feels great. When pulling away from a stop sign the acceleration feels less labored and it never felt like it was hunting for a gear that didn’t exist – something, at times, for which the five-speed was guilty. The electronic trans also offers the option of manual shifting on the paddle controls, which increased the fun factor a little while driving on tight and twisty roads. So the new eight-speed trans feels better and improves fuel economy? We’re sold.

When we reached our off-road destination at a ranch outside of the city, we had each engine package at our disposal. We were actually happy to see that our off-road test vehicles had the lower fascia on the front bumper removed, something Jeep engineers designed to provide improved clearance for crawling up rocky sections without worry of damaging the painted front bumper. The new transmission shined even more once we were off pavement, as the Jeeps equipped with the two-speed MP 3022 transfer case now boast a crawl ratio of 44.1:1 – which the company notes is a 46 percent improvement over the 30.2:1 ratio on the previous 3.6-liter V-6. The 2014 really crawls up or down obstacles with relative ease.

For those wanting to take some of the headache of obstacles off-road, the Selec-Speed Control offers the returning feature of Hill-Descent Control, where the throttle and shifting is controlled and the driver can focus on steering. The new aspect of this system is Hill-Ascent Control, basically offering the same option of controlling speed and throttle input when climbing. Both systems work well, and the addition of being able to adjust the speed with the paddle shifters is an improvement. Sure, some off-roaders will scoff at the idea (it may take the fun out of it for some), but it does work well and might be the safest way for your novice friend to get behind the wheel without concern your Jeep will return with a big dent.

The Selec-Terrain system provides different mapping and input for a variety of conditions (Sand, Mud, Auto, Snow and Rock). For instance, in Rock mode the mapping is designed for more precise low-speed control, and the Quadra-Lift suspension lifts to its maximum height of 11.3 inches of trail clearance – best-in-class clearance, Jeep notes. For specific figures, the ’14 GC features a 35.8-degree approach angle, a 29.6-degree departure angle and a 23.5-degree breakover angle.

Although our trail was more on the moderate side of obstacles, it did prove that for a luxury SUV, this Grand Cherokee really does provide Jeep capability. A light rain was falling during our testing, making the rocks a little more slick. The independent multi-link suspension confidently worked the Jeep around the steep slopes, drop-offs and rocky sections on the course. Although the tires equipped are more street than off-road, we worked our way through the different terrains on the course with no trouble. The Electronic Limited Slip that’s available on the V-8 and EcoDiesel packages (which we tested) is ideal for those planning on spending time on the trails.

Both the V-8 and EcoDiesel engines performed great on the trail. The EcoDiesel gets the nod in the torque department compared to the V-8 on paper (420 lb.-ft. vs. 390 lb.-ft.), and we have to say it does feel like there’s a little more on the bottom end in the EcoDiesel. Both have plenty of torque and power for muscling up a slope or punching it onto the highway, but new diesel engine feels … honestly, it may simply just feel a little cooler.

We also had the chance to test an SRT version of the 2014 Grand Cherokee at the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas, during the press launch. It's not a vehicle for the off-road crowd, but it was a unique experience powering a Jeep down a racetrack at speeds in excess of 120 mph, thanks to the 470-horsepower 6.4-liter HEMI V-8. For something more adventurous off the track, it's a luxury sports wagon - it's just not made for the dirt and hence won't fit the bill for off-roaders.

How it Stacks Up
Overall, we’re happy to see that updates to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee aren’t simply cosmetic. While the vehicle is a realistic threat to higher-end import luxury SUVs, it still has enough off-road savvy that makes it worthy of its Jeep badge. It can take the family out to dinner, tow the a camper and toys to the camping spot, and if you want to get it dirty on the trail it won’t disappoint. Most luxury SUVs will spend 95 percent of their life on the street. With the 2014 Grand Cherokee, hitting the dirt is still part of its DNA. It is, of course, a Jeep.

Jeep is also offering an SRT version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee that will be available in April 2013.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee will be in dealerships in March of 2013. The EcoDiesel option was explained as being available in quarter two, meaning sometime between April and June. The SRT version will be available in April. For more information, visit http://www.jeep.com/.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Pricing*
Laredo 4x2     -  $28,795
Laredo 4x4     -  $30,795
Limited 4x2    -  $35795
Limited 4x4    -  $37,795
Overland 4x2   -  $42,995
Overland 4x4   -  $45,995
Summit 4x2     -  $47,995
Summit 4x4     -  $50,995
SRT Version    -  $62,995

*Pricing does not include $995 destination charge

EcoDiesel engine is available on Limited, Overland and Summit models for $4,500 ($5,000 on Summit 4x4)

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