Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Trail Warrior

Jun. 10, 2014 By Josh Burns, Photos courtesy of Chrysler

Thereís no doubt that diesel-powered motor in Jeep draws a certain amount of attention, and at present the 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel found in the Grand Cherokee is what the off-road crowd is abuzz about. Current or past diesel owners recognize the great qualities of a diesel powerplant, and non-diesel owners are mesmerized by the idea of great low-end torque for the trails and improved fuel economy when traveling to the trails.

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The Trail Warrior is powered by the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel motor that produces 420 ft.-lb. of torque.

Although fans are still clamoring for a diesel-powered Wrangler to make the Jeep lineup one of these days, itís the updated Grand Cherokee that was first fitted with the new EcoDiesel motor for 2014. Mopar and Jeep used the EcoDiesel-powered Grand Cherokee as its platform for its Trail Warrior concept vehicle. The basic premise of this rig is to improve upon the capability of what Jeep proudly reminds us is the most-awarded sport-utility vehicle (SUV) ever without adding a great number of parts. What the Mopar and Jeep teams have done is outfitted the Trail Warrior a handful of select Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar accessories to make it even more appealing to the off-roader.

The black-and-tan theme is carried throughout the interior.
The Trail Warrior Grand Cherokee relies on factory Quadra-Lift air suspension, with the main change to the vehicle being the addition of larger 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires are fitted on prototype 20-inch cast aluminum wheels to provide the vehicle with additional ground clearance. If the going gets rough, JPP tow hooks are provided while rock rails help protect the side of the vehicle from rocks and ledges. Speaking of trails, when it comes to slow-speed crawls, the Grand Cherokee features a 44:1 crawl ratio.

A prototype Mopar storage rack is fitted on the Trail Warrior.

The Trail Warrior features a two-tone Mojave Sand exterior paired with Satin Black on the grille, hood, lower front fascia, door handles, mirror caps, wheel flares and badging. Inside, the black-and-tan theme is continued, with black accents on the A/C bezels, steering wheel, instrument panel and other areas. The Mopar/Jeep team also outfitted the Trail Warrior with all-weather floor mats, door sills, an upgraded pedal kit and a cargo tray for the rear. Speaking of storage, a prototype Mopar roof basket (that is mounted to the stock cargo rails) is fitted to the roof of the Jeep for storing extra gear.

The Trail Warrior features a 44:1 crawl ratio.

When it came time to hit the trails, we were happy to get behind the wheel of the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee. Although we had driven the EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee quite a bit on the road and off when the company launched the vehicle last year in Texas (, we wanted to re-familiarize ourselves with the off-road feel of the vehicle.

Although no aftermarket lift was installed on the Trail Warrior, the additional rubber thanks to the larger 33-inch BFGs paired with the Quadra-Lift air suspension gives the Grand Cherokee ample ground clearance for moderate obstacles. The Grand Cherokee isnít meant to be a serious trail machine in general, as those enthusiasts would flock toward the Wrangler anyway, but it is a Jeep, and off-road capability is important Ė even if itís simply moderate exploration off the pavement. The great thing about the Trail Warrior is it provides some added clearance over the stock Grand Cherokee so thereís added peace of mind the front bumper wonít make contact with moderate obstacles.

The 33-inch BFG tires are really the only trail-minded addition to the Trail Warrior.

The diesel motor really shines in low-speed situations climbing over ledges and obstacles. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel offers up 420 lb.-ft. of torque that is more than whatís needed for any obstacles the Trail Warrior would take on. When on road, non-diesel owners would have to first get acquainted with the lack of immediate throttle response, but once accustomed to the power delivery of the turbo-diesel motor most drivers would come to love it. On road, this motor might take the average driver a little time to get used to; off road, the EcoDiesel V6 is a great motor for any rig.

Overall, we like the Trail Warrior setup the Mopar and Jeep teams created. Itís certainly not the most over-the-top Grand Cherokee, but it is functional and was made more off-road savvy without adding an abundance of parts. In some ways, that might have been the point of the Trail Warrior in showing it doesnít need much to be a great trail rig. At this point, weíre still excited to get behind any Jeep with a diesel in it, and the Trail Warrior provided good fun factor with no concern of bashing up the roughly $50,000 Grand Cherokee on the trails.

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