Refreshing a model is usually limited to cosmetic tweaks and maybe a few items thrown in as standard. As for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with its new front and rear styling, exterior lighting and interior updating, a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 option was added. The differences between the current Grand Cherokee and the 2014 may not be readily apparent, but the 2014’s contemporary look makes the current model appear dated. More important, however, are the mechanics underneath.
Marketed under the EcoDiesel name, VM Motori Cento in Ferrara, Italy builds the engines from a compacted graphite iron block, with aluminum 15.5:1 compression twin-cam heads. The 60-degree V-6 includes common-rail injection, downstream emissions treatment via urea, and fast-heating ceramic glow plugs. As with the 2014 Grand Cherokee’s gas engines, the EcoDiesel is backed by a ZF eight-speed automatic.
240 HP and 420 lb-ft. of torque gives the Grand Cherokee ED a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs. with RWD, and 7,200 lbs. with 4WD, equal to the 5.7-liter V-8. At idle, the ED is no louder than the V-8, even from the outside. Though it peaks at 2000 rpm and 4800 is the redline, all that torque provides instant response in traffic. The RWD EcoDiesel is rated at 22 mpg city/30 highway, with 4WD models at 21 mpg city/28 highway. The range is estimated at than 730 miles.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee is much the same: a plush ride, quiet cabin, a good amount of body roll, a stiff chassis, and a refined appearance. For anyone trading in a V-8, the transition is seamless. As nice as the Pentastar V-6 is, the diesel and the V-8 have far more grunt off the line. For most, choosing between the two may be a flip of the coin, although the increased range and fewer fill-ups of the ED might be the tipping point, especially for those who live in inclement weather
Being fuel conscious isn’t cheap. The EcoDiesel adds $4500 to the Limited’s, Overland’s, or RWD Summit’s cost. Getting the diesel in the AWD Summit is an extra $5000, a cost/value equation familiar to diesel fans. Jeep’s made many improvements to the Grand Cherokee, but the real story is the EcoDiesel. The 8-speed has transformed all its drive-trains, with the standout being the diesel. It makes the V-8 nearly obsolete in terms of torque, and with 20% better highway mileage and only a $2300 premium over the V-6, it makes that look less appealing too. What remains to be seen is how many current Grand Cherokee owners will trade theirs for a new Grand Cherokee ED.