Refined Jeep Grand Cherokee retains rugged off-road capability
In the past, appearance alone accounted for a dim view of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The design was extremely basic and possessed little personality. Toss in the fact that the Cherokee was under-performing in many areas and it's no wonder it resided on many least favorite lists.
Well, that has all changed, starting with a redesign three years ago. The sleeker-looking 2014 Cherokee with its very cool black exterior is cool, not just in appearance, but many other areas as well. And the Cherokee still can be rugged and can definitely perform well in snow country.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Performance: 3.6-liter, V6, 290 horsepower; 5.7-liter, V8, 360 horsepower; 6.4-liter, V8, 470
- Mileage estimate: 13-25 mpg
- Estimated price: $29,195 to $63,995
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/100,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/100,000; roadside assistance 5 years/100,000
When it arrived on the scene nearly two decades ago, there was plenty of interest in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Sales people were making a nice living off this rugged sport utility vehicle throughout much of the mid-to-late 1990s when sales were exceeding 300,000 per year.
However, when gas mileage became more of an issue and crossover SUVs came into vogue, sales of the less-refined Grand Cherokee dipped. Jeep was slow to make significant changes until 2011 when a major redesign made a dramatic refinement statement that Jeep hopes will send sales heading upward again.
The changes shouldn't alarm loyal Grand Cherokee owners. One of its core traits remains - off-road features.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee provides generous ground clearance (11.3 inches maximum) with its optional adjustable air suspension. And another available upgrade is the sophisticated four-wheel drive system. The Grand Cherokee has climbing power and a drive-mode selector that makes it more efficient in taking on specific types of terrain.
For car buyers who care very little about off-road capability, the Grand Cherokee should be appealing as well. It features a roomy interior, a performance-laden engine, and the ride is much improved, with handling similar to crossover SUVs.
The Grand Cherokee base model is offered at a reasonable $29,195 sticker price. Don't be fooled into thinking that this same bargain price also applies to the other three main trim models, which rise significantly.
The standard powertrain for three of the trim models is an efficient 3.6-liter, V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The rear-wheel drive Grand Cherokee accelerates from 0-60 in approximately 7.9 seconds, which is slower than most rivals. Gas mileage has been improved to 17-23 mpg.
There are other performance options to consider, include a 5.7-liter, V8 that has 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, and the turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that garners 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
The 2014 lineup also includes a high-performance Grand Cherokee that may intrigue some car shoppers. But beware of the high price - the SRT8 that goes for more than $60,000. And what are you getting for that major hike? A powerful SUV that features a 6.4-liter, V8 that elicits 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, plus a sizable list of luxury features.
The SRT8 can tow up to 7,400 pounds, but note that its gas mileage (12-18 mpg) is less than traditional Cherokees. The poor gas mileage isn't surprising because the SRT8 goes 0-60 mph in a very quick 5.1 seconds.
Previous Grand Cherokees were devoid of a sophisticated interior and hard plastic was more the rule than the exception. The new models feature softer material and a more appealing look, including wood trim on all but the base model. The Grand Cherokee also provides comfortable seating for both front and back seat folks, and lots of convenient storage areas.
There are several negatives that should be noted. The Grand Cherokee has no third row, so the maximum seating is five people. The cargo space is fairly limiting, but the split back seats do fold nearly flat to greatly increase the cargo capacity. The optional navigational system has a tiny screen and is very unintuitive.
There are plenty of reasons to give the new Jeep Grand Cherokee a look, comparing it to two primary competitors - Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner. The base model Cherokee comes at a great price and the other trim models feature that rugged off-road experience that can't be found these days in many SUVs.
Placer County News HeadlinesPlacer County Water Outlook ImprovedDrought Watch: AUBURN -- Wet weather in February and early March hasn't ended the drought but it has given the Placer County Water Agency more time to determine if water delivery restrictions
Remedy Rx Grand Opening - Community Health FairRoseville, CA - Remedy Rx Pharmacy is proud to announce that they will be celebrating the debut of their new independent pharmacy with a two-day grand opening event on March 21st and 22nd.
Why We Dumped AT&T for T-MobileAT&T Dumped for T-Mobile: It's never hard to find dissatisfied customers when it comes to any of the major cell phone service providers. An Internet search quickly uncovers...
Ford Escape: A Refined Compact SUVA year ago, Ford did the logical thing - redesigning the popular Escape, something that hadn't been done since 2008. The result: a much improved sport utility vehicle.
TahoeSkiWorld.com Covers Lake Tahoe Ski SceneJeffrey Weidel has recently introduced a new website TahoeSkiWorld.com that provides stories, photos, videos and social media coverage of Lake Tahoe's 15 diverse ski resorts.
Proposed Auburn Costco Terms Under ReviewAuburn, CA -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors will review key financial terms Tuesday for a prospective ground lease agreement with Costco Wholesale Corp. that include a company contribution to help
Indigenous Peoples Days in Rocklin March 19-22Rocklin, CA--Sierra College's Native American Club, the New Legacy Committee, the Sierra College Press and Heyday Books will cosponsor a four-day event: Indigenous Peoples Days during its Yomen Weda or Spring Equinox Festival
Beth Gaines Announces Re-Election BidROSEVILLE- Small business owner and State Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) announced her bid for re-election to California's Sixth Assembly District.
Roseville Company Partners in $39 Million Apartment CommunityBased in Roseville, USA Properties Fund Inc. debuted the Mayfair Court - a 93-unit apartment community at 65 McCreery Avenue in San Jose on March 6.
Placer County Water Agency Meets Stewardship CommitmentsManaging California's complex water storage and delivery system is a never-ending balancing act between supply, demand, and environmental considerations, especially during a severe water shortage.
Safeway and Albertsons Announce Merger AgreementSafeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) and Albertsons announced today a definitive agreement under which AB Acquisition LLC ("AB Acquisition") will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway
Roseville Crime Report Digest (3-6-14)The Roseville Police Department crime report digest March 6, 2014.