2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel
- Written by Wilson Calvert
What it is: The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's two-row seating SUV that is now available with the new EcoDiesel V6 engine. I've written about the Grand Cherokee twice before, with a regular gas engine, and with the fire-breathing 6.4-liter Hemi V8 in the Grand Cherokee SRT, but I'm honestly most excited about this one because of the new diesel engine. I've recently written about the Ram 1500 equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, but now it is in Jeep's wonderful Grand Cherokee. First, I want to point out that the Grand Cherokee is the best SUV for the money available in my eyes. I don't see anything beating it in terms of value, style, performance, capability and options. The EcoDiesel just adds more icing to the cake and gives consumers more choice. With the Grand Cherokee, you have three engine choices available (excluding the street racing rocketship that is the Cherokee SRT) which are the 3.6-liter V6, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, and now the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. I've sung the praises of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 far and wide, and I think it is the best choice for the majority of Grand Cherokee buyers. It has 290 horsepower, can tow 6,200 pounds depending on vehicle trim, and you still get 17 mpg city and 25 highway. If you want to upgrade to the Hemi V8 from the 3.6, it costs $3,195. If you want to upgrade to the EcoDiesel from the 3.6, it will run you $4,500. I'll make this very clear: the EcoDiesel is a no-brainer, and you should absolutely choose it over the Hemi V8 for only $1,305 more. The towing capabilities are the same at 7,400 pounds, a 1,200-pound improvement over the 3.6-liter V6, but the fuel economy is the giant factor. 15 city/21 highway for the Hemi and 21 city/30 highway for the EcoDiesel. A huge improvement as you can see. There really should be a giant asterisk on those though, as you need to drive about 60 mph on the freeway to get that figure. If you drive 70-75 mph on your commute or on one of the many highways that have limits that high, expect a hefty decrease. I was seeing as low as 23 or 24 mpg in the EcoDiesel on a highway commute doing 65-70. The fuel savings are still there for the EcoDiesel though, as the Hemi exhibits the same type of decrease. Price: $30,390 base price. Roughly $40,000 EcoDiesel base price. $57,190 as-tested with 4- wheel-drive and top-of-the line Summit trim. Upsides: One of the best SUVs on the road now with one of the best engines on the road. Downsides: No EcoDiesel available on base Laredo trim. Wrap-up: For 95 percent of Grand Cherokee buyers, you should get the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine. It has plenty of power, great gas mileage and saves a few thousand dollars on the sticker price. However, if you want more power and more towing capability, then you should absolutely get the EcoDiesel over the Hemi V8 as it will save you significantly on fuel over the life of the vehicle, and with the added range, many fewer stops at the gas pump.