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EcoDiesel Jeep: Grand Cherokee Debuts 3.0-Liter Clean Diesel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard   
Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00


At $57,000, the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee Summit handles with an attitude of invincibility.

It may seem ludicrous to soundproof the wheel wells of a 2014 Grand Cherokee Summit, but the refinement, oddly, compliments the ruggedness of this very adaptable SUV.

This generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is an overachiever. It is the family wagon and the family trail boss. And at $57,000, the diesel-powered Summit handles with an attitude of invincibility. It was armed with advanced on-road technologies and sophisticated traction controls for offroad domination -- all in a cabin of durable luxury and comfort features.

New this year is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, which is the best bear among the three available powertrains. The 290-horsepower Pentastar V-6 is the economical choice (17/24 mpg with 4WD), but it's underpowered. The 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 was the desirable power package, with 390 foot-pounds of torque, but it's thirsty at 14/20 mpg on midgrade fuel. Available on the Limited, Overland and Summit models, the 240-horsepower diesel has power -- 420 foot-pounds torque -- and efficiency, 21/28 mpg city/highway. The EPA gives it 24 mpg combined and I was averaging 22.1 to 22.4 mpg.

That seemed fair for 5,379 pounds of trailrated Jeep, but it's possible to get more, close to 30 mpg average, Jeep insists. With the 24.6-gallon tank, there's an easy 550- to 700-mile cruising radius. The power is sent to all wheels by an eight-speed transmission, which always seemed to choose the right gear for the accelerator-pedal angle or the vehicle angle. It also holds gears when needed to take advantage of engine braking. And there is that desirable diesel song of a big rig. Acceleration isn't quick, but as soon as the turbo gets spinning this rig pulls like a locomotive. Peak torque occurs nearly off the line at 2,000 rpm. Tow capacity is 7,200 pounds with fourwheel drive and 7,400 pounds twowheel drive.

The engine was developed and built in Italy by VM Motori, a subsidiary of Chrysler/Fiat. It is the second generation of the 3.0-liter diesel that has been on sale in Europe for a few years. If that is a concern, consider that Jeep has a five-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The engine uses a shot of urea to treat exhaust emissions and the 8.5-gallon tank is normally refilled during the routine 10,000- mile maintenance. There is a monitor in the touchscreen that displays the level of "diesel exhaust fluid" in the tank. Those who do a lot of towing could run out of DEF before the 10-K maintenance, but there's a filler in the fuel door to add more if needed. Fluid costs about $5 a gallon at auto parts stores, Jeep says. The diesel package adds an 800-amp battery, Quadra-drive 4WD, limited slip rear differential and heavyduty four-wheel disc brakes -- all of which are just as useful onroad as off.

The cabin is so well soundproofed that windows must be opened to hear and smell nature when off road. And even then the driver has a heated steering wheel and occupants are on heated and cooled front seats and heated back seats.

There is ground clearance of 8.6 to 11.1 inches with the air suspension and the 37.1-foot turning circle beats a midsize sedan. The fourwheel- drive system will choose the best traction mode or the driver can specify sand, snow and winter. Chrysler's Uconnect system for audio controls, including Bluetooth phone connectivity and texting, is about the easiest system to use. Sightlines are open and there are nearly 40 inches of front headroom and comfortable back seat legroom of 38.6 inches. The cargo area is broad and flat with the ever-helpful power liftgate. It is a waste of heavy metal to not use this level of Jeep engineering for which it was intended, but this Summit diesel is impressively posh in its commanding ways.

•Body style: midsize, 4-door, 5-passenger SUV in 2- or 4-WD

•Engine: 240-horsepower, DOHC, common-rail 3.0-liter, V-6 diesel; 420 foot-pounds torque at 2,000 rpm

•Transmission: 8-speed automatic with sport mode and manual shifting •Fuel economy: 21/28 mpg city/hwy.

•Tow capacity: 7,200 pounds

•Fuel tank: 24.6 gallons

•Cargo space: 36.3 to 68.3 cubic feet Mark Maynard is online at mark. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook. com/MaynardsGarage>

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Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 22:56
 




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