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Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4 EcoDiesel

Kamil Kaluski February 26, 2014 Featured, Jeep Reviews, Reviews 34 Comments

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit front 34

Everyone at Redusernab loves diesels, we’d even put one into a Corvette. When Jeep announced that they will put a diesel into the current Grand Cherokee, a vehicle I like enough to consider buying for myself, I almost had an aneurism. Imagine this great off-road capable SUV with super torque-y engine and the fuel economy of midsize sedan, win-win, right?

I finally got to spend a few days with this compression-ignited Jeep and I can tell you that Chrysler nailed it! It’s quiet, refined, powerful, and gets great gas mileage. The loaded Summit models seen in these pictures will stand up to any of its competition in terms of features and off-road ability. Yes, Jeep got it right.

Well, almost right…

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit engine

The biggest problem with the diesel-equipped Grand Cherokee is that starts at over $46,000 in the Limited trim (the diesel engine is not available on the entry-level Laredo). The diesel engine option alone is $4500, but a $3000 Luxury Group II package is mandatory. Basically, you can have your oil-burning Grand Cherokee in any way you want it, as long as it’s loaded. The vehicle pictured here is top-of-the line (except for SRT8) Summit 4×4 which, with the diesel engine, has a MSRP of $57,190, and that is a lot of money.

Whether it’s the $46,000 Limited or $57,000 Summit, approximately fifty grand buys many other off-road capable luxury SUVs, such as the updated for 2014 Land Rover LR4 (now with supercharged V6) or a Lexus GX 460, not to mention a plethora of soft-roaders or lower priced off-road capable SUVs such as the Toyota 4Runner. Comparing diesels-to-diesels, the other diesel alternatives start at the below listed prices, and can easily be equipped with $10,000 of options:

  • Audi Q5 TDI (4-cyl 6-cyl) at 46,500
  • Audi Q7 TDI (6-cyl) at $52,900
  • BMW X3 xDrive28d (4-cyl) at $43,750
  • BMW X5 xDrive35d (6-cyl) at $56,600
  • Mercedes  GLK250 BlueTEC (4-cyl) at $38,980
  • Mercedes  ML350 BlueTEC (6-cyl) at 51,790
  • Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC (6-cyl) at $63,000
  • Porsche Cayenne Diesel (6-cyl) at $56,600
  • Volkswagen Touareg TDI (6-cyl) at $51,650

In the six-cylinder diesel game, the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is winning the price wars. The bigger question is, however, if the diesel alternatives are worth the price over their gasoline-powered versions, and it is not a fair comparison. Much like many compare the price of hybrid vehicles to gasoline, the mathematical results do not always yield the whole answer. Anyone thinking of buying any diesel, or any hybrid, should drive each of the vehicles and then make a subjective decision.

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit details

When trying to figure out an objective, often mathematical, decision on the diesel options, please consider the fact it will likely have a higher resale value, too. Below chart shows the price premium for the diesel engine over the base V6 powertrain, the optional V8, and relative comparisons.

ENGINE 3.6 liter DOHC 24-valve V6 5.7 liter OHC 16-valve V8  3.0 liter DOHC 24-valve V6 diesel 
COST Standard (+$3695 On Limited, Overland, Summit) (+$7500 Limited, +$6495 Overland, +$5000 Summit)
HORSEPOWER 290hp at 6400rpm 360hp at 5150rpm 240hp at 3600rpm
TORQUE 260lb-ft at 4800rpm 390lb-ft at 4250rpm 420lb-ft at 2000rpm
EPA CITY/HWY 17/24 (4WD) 14/20 (4WD) 21/28 (4WD)
MAX TOW CAPACITY 6200lbs 7400lbs 7400lbs

What the numbers don’t tell is the fact that all of these engines are really good:

  • The V6 won’t win many drag races but is more than adequate for 90% of applications and is good on gas too, and there is no price premium for it.
  • The V8 could actually win some drag races, it turns the Jeep into a little hot rod, is fun, and you’ll want to drive it fast, but you’ll be watching that gas needle move down quickly.

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit dash

In daily driving the diesel is smooth off line and highway passing power is plentiful; just tip the pedal and the Jeep responds with a strong, drama-free, pull. With the transmission in sport mode, it is fun to drive, but it’s not jumpy like the V8. While louder than the gasoline engines, the diesel specific low frequency noise is most audible inside of garages, while outside the vehicle. Otherwise, neither passengers nor most pedestrians will know what’s propelling your Jeep unless they notice the small badge in the back.

The diesel gets a benefit of 700-mile range out a tank of gas (24.6 gal). The weight gains are minimal, with approximately 150 pounds heavier than V8, and 400 pounds over the V6 model, bringing the total weight to around 5300 pounds for a 4WD model.

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit details 2

On the highway, driven sensibly, 30mpg should be achievable. In mixed city and highway driving I was getting mid-twenties out of a gallon. When put it into sport mode and hooned it, the average fuel consumption dropped to 19mpg, which is really good for any SUV of this size. Yes, some cross-overs claim similar numbers but that is with four-cylinder engines and 2WD. In the real world, in mixed driving, expect low 20s from most SUVs and teens from anything with a V8 engine.

Everything else is the same as on a conventional Grand Cherokee. On the good side are nicely finished interior, good space, and features. On the bad side are poor visibility and electronic shifter. I also don’t like the fact that I have to go through the touch screen to turn on the heated/ventilated seats and/or heated steering wheel, but those are rather minor complaints.

Chrysler, specifically Jeep, threw everything they could at the Jeep to make it class leader, and with great success in terms sales and various automotive awards. The diesel engine is not for everyone, mostly due to its cost, but everyone should be glad that it is an option. There is no doubt in my mind that the diesel option would be chosen by significantly more people than the V8 version if it was equally priced. Those who opt for it will love it, as I sure did.

2014 jeep grand chrokee eco diesel summit rear 34

  [Images copyright 2014 Redusernab/Kamil Kaluski]

  • Maymar

    I actually don't love diesels (if I wanted to listen to something monotone and droning, I'd record myself talking), but it makes sense in this application. I mean, rationally, I'd prefer the gas six unless I absolutely needed the extra towing capacity, but I understand the diesel's appeal here.

  • Some day Land Rover will figure this out and give us a diesel in North America and then it's GAME ON.

    • Oh, I drove the Disco/LR4 in Europe with the new-ish twin-turbo V6 and 8-spd. Glorious, just glorious.
      I suggested the JLR people that they should sell it here. Got no response of course, but I have no doubt that they're watching the market.
      That said, Land Rover sell each and every vehicle they can make, so I'm not sure if they care.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    I am a fan of diesels, when they're done right, and the most-recent generation of them are.

    They're quiet, miserly with fuel, and with torque being their strong suit, they're PERFECT for 99.9% of driving in the US.

    I thought about a diesel sport-touring motorcycle when I long-distance rallied back in the 90s. The Iron Butt folks, for those who know about it. I wanted 700 miles per tank, 'cause hammering in Nevada on a 700+ lb Honda ST1100 will have your MPGs in the low-20's.


    If diesel fuel were just a little cheaper, it would obviously have my vote for a non-SRT GC. The torque makes it plenty quick for hot-rodding around town (it comes off the line surprisingly well), the fuel economy is impressive, and diesels crawl better off road. But the 5.7 is lighter, is even more fun to hot rod, and it would take years of fill ups to make up the initial cost difference in fuel savings, especially considering the higher cost of diesel fuel. Until diesel is no longer the highest cost fuel, I'd probably go with the Hemi.

  • stickmanonymous

    Where is that utterly miserable looking locale in the first picture?

    I'm not an American, so I'm pretty hopeless at guessing licence plate designs.

    • Jesse B

      It's a press car, so the plate may not indicate the locale.

      My guess is Boston though.

    • It's a construction area outside of Boston. It's the most off-road I found near my house.
      It was also in a middle of a snow storm.
      The rest of the city is much nicer.

      • stickmanonymous

        I have hopes of visiting Boston one day. That city has much loveliness, I'm sure.

        Maybe that's the East German part of Boston on your photograph.

        • Top tip: visit in the summer.

          • Fuck that, visit in spring or fall… it's too hot in the summer.

  • JayP2112

    It must make sense to someone to package the economy diesel with the high end lux group but not to me.

    If they offered a base 4 door Wrangler with the diesel, I'd be very interested. I mean steel wheels, skinny tires and rubber interior.

    Build it!

    • It will never happen. The money made in option packages further off-sets the cost of the engine.
      Looked for a wrecked one and swap it into a Wrangler… no one else ever will think to do that. 🙂

    • Scoutdude

      The diesel isn't the economy option the fuel costs are very similar to the faster V6, since the average price premium for diesel in most areas of the country is very similar to the increase in MPG.

      • JayP2112

        In the end, I'd expect the diesel to last longer than the gas engines.

        • Scoutdude

          I wouldn't, though we are talking Chrysler engines so maybe. Plus the reality is that someone purchasing a $50K+ vehicle isn't likely to keep it must past 100K anyway.

  • Importamation

    I have a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4, gasoline V6, with optional single pane sunroof, optional top of the line touch screen system like on this vehicle, and tow package. $40,000 out the door including tax/tag/title, 0% for 36 months. In two months and 5000 miles I have averaged 23 mpg and on a 200 mile interstate trip I do about once a week, I get 28 moving with traffic. Between the higher cost per gallon and modestly higher economy, I couldn't see any economic sense in the diesel though I know there are other reasons to choose one. The gas V6 will pull my camper and boat just fine. This article does explain why every diesel I saw in the ten dealer websites I clicked through was $60,000…..most were Summits.

    • Thanks.
      Yea, like I said, all three engines are great, and I too would have chosen the V6.
      The one I wanted was a $45,000 Limited with the Luxury Group 2 package. I was looking at lease rates and they wanted $500/mon, which I wasn't willing to pay.

  • One could look at the resale values on the older diesel Liberties and GCs versus their Otto-cycle siblings to see if they really hold residual better. I tried, but there are like 8 of the 3.0L CRD GCs on autotrader right now.

    Were I spending the money, I'd bring my hypothetical boat to the test drive. At least in terms of bigger trucks, the diesels tend to get better loaded/towing MPG (and lose fewer) than gas. My FIL's Cummins Dodge gets like 18 empty and 16 with a 8k lb trailer on the hitch.

  • Sjalabais

    Obviously, you don't get the most popular Volvo XC90, the D5. At the moment, , starting at . For a comparison in spirit, here's the data:


    Engine name D5244T18
    5 cylindre turbodiesel
    Cylindre diameter 81 mm
    Cylindre height 93,15 mm
    Maximum power 147 kW
    Horsepower 200 hp
    @rpm: 3900 rpm
    Torque 420 Nm
    @rpm: 1900 – 2800 rpm

    MPG (Mixed) 8,2 l/100km
    …(City) 10,5 l/100km
    …(Overland) 6,8 l/100km
    0-100km/h 10,3 s
    CO2-emissions 215 g/km
    Fuel tank capacity 68 l
    Trunk capacity 530 l
    Trailer weight 2250 kg
    Weight 2188 kg
    Max roof load weight 100 kg

    Height 1784 mm
    Length 4807 mm
    Width 1936 mm
    Width w/ mirrors 2112 mm
    Distance bw wheels 2857 mm
    Wheel distance front 1634 mm
    Wheel distance rear 1624 mm
    Turning radius (wall-to-wall) 12,5 m
    Roof height front 1019 mm
    Roof height rear 1004 mm
    Width front seats, shoulder height 1480 mm
    Width back seats, shoulder height 1459 mm
    Leg space front 1041 mm
    Leg space rear 879 mm
    Width front seats, hip height 1408 mm
    Width back seats, hip height 1374 mm

    Pollution certification Euro 5 (2011)

    • $150,000 American dollars?!?

      • Sjalabais

        Welcome to taxation heaven! New car tax in Norway is based on weight, pollution and then some. A big diesel doesn't do too well within these parameters. Even the tiny Mitsubishi Jeff reviewed recently starts at 20k dollars, though. Maybe the cheapest car of all. That same taxation explains why the Tesla S has been Norway's most popular car for several months: EVs are not taxed, the S is a cheap family sedan over here.

        • Damn…

          • Sjalabais

            Took a mobile photo of this ad shortly after Jeff posted this, but didn't have the time to follow it up then:

            ; width="600">

            Mitsubishi Mirage / Space Star with the 1.0 engine starts at 19,795$ in Norway.

  • gredi

    Fact check: Audi does not offer a 4cyl diesel Q5 in the US market. Other than that typo, excellent article.

    • You're right, it's a 3.0 V6.

  • If fifty grand is "winning the price war," nobody's fighting very hard.

  • One thing that many people fail to figure into the diesel vs. gas equation is the higher cost of diesel fuel. According to the AAA website, today's national average for 89 octane gasoline is $3.436. Diesel is $4.002

    So let's figure the comparative fuel cost of someone who does half city, half highway driving:
    3.6L Gas: (17+24)/2 = 20.5 MPG average
    $3.436/20.5 = 16.76¢ per mile.

    3.0L Diesel: (21+28)/2 = 24.5 MPG average
    $4.002/24.5 = 16.33¢ per mile.

    The difference is 0.43 cent/mile. No, that's not $0.43, but rather less than half a penny per mile.
    So if fuel costs don't change, you'll theoretically make back the cost of that $4500 engine in just over a million miles.

  • Whoa, you made a chart?!

    This post is 'effin fancy!

    • I'll have graphs next time!

  • BobWellington

    I don't really see the point of the diesel in this application, but I guess it's nice to have the option. If diesel were a good bit cheaper than gas it might make sense.

  • RyanM

    Pardon me for being pedantic, but I couldn't help but notice a typo: the 5.7 Hemi V8 is OHV (overhead valve) not OHC as listed in the table in the article.

    • I knew it was OHV. I was thinking OHV. I wrote OHC.

      I blame my editor for not picking that up. Thanks.

  • Winny

    For most of us diesel is more of a state of mind than an actual need, I'm going for a Summit eco diesel because I like the cool sound the engine makes and I do tend to idle a lot waiting for our son etc in the winter. Add on the great app that allows you to remotely start the engine and you have a great cold weather alternative to BMW and Mercedes.

    I agree if you are looking at the cost of fuel to justify the purchase than forget about it, the V-6 is a great engine and unless you have some serious towing to do it's more that powerful enough for the way most of us drove, I certainly broke enough laws on my test drive with it! If you have the cash, go ahead and buy a used diesel, the good thing about the GC's are some folks buy them and just can't afford them and loaded low mileage used options are starting to appear out there…

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