2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 Review By John Heilig


2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
	4x4 (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4



...the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been redesigned into a slightly rounder, more aerodynamic package, but fear not Jeep lovers, it’s still one of the best SUVs on the market.

THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig

SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE HEMI

ENGINE:5.7-liter HEMI V8
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE:360 hp @ 5,150 rpm/390 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY:EPA 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway; My Test Drive: 12.7 mpg
WHEELBASE:114.8 in.
OVERALL LENGTH:189.8 in.
HEIGHT:69.3 in.
OVERALL WIDTH:84.8
CURB WEIGHT:5,135 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY:24.6 gal.
CARRYING CAPACITY:36.3/68.3 cu. ft. (behind second row/second row folded)
TIRES:P265/50R20
STICKER PRICE:$55,185 (includes $995 destination, $3,195 in options)

The Bottom Line: The Grand Cherokee redesign is rounder and more aerodynamic. However its heart is all Jeep. This is the vehicle the Range Rover would be if it was made right.

There are some purists who complain about the more aerodynamic 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Sure, the classic 7-element grille is still there, but some people want the Grand Cherokee to have a flat erect grille like the Wrangler.

Well, it doesn’t.

The Grand Cherokee is rounder and more aerodynamic and, in my mind, looks a hell of a lot better than the Wrangler. And with a design that is naturally a four-door and a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 under the hood, the GC is a heck of an SUV.

But what’s even more important are the features on the GC. For example, as I backed out of my driveway, the GC beeped, pretty loudly. About 100 feet away a car was approaching. Talk about good rear cross path detection. In this instance, there was little risk of an encounter with the approaching car, but in a later incident in a parking lot, I didn’t see the approaching car.

Outside rearview mirrors dip when you shift into reverse. I felt they may have dipped too much, but at the end of my week of driving, I was becoming accustomed to them.

During our test drive, which was on mostly local roads, we found the Grand Cherokee to be smooth riding. The HEMI V8 ($3,195 option) helped a lot because there were no power issues. The suspension – front is a short/long arm, rear multi-link – helps a lot. And still the capabilities of the Grand Cherokee are still there.

The 8-speed automatic transmission has settings for snow, sand, mud and rock, as well as automatic. Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to fully test these settings. We did try the paddle shifting on my favorite hillclimb route. In manual mode, the 8-speed is “only” a 6-speed.

I found using the floor-mounted shifter to be a problem. You push a button to get into gear, but I had trouble finding reverse. That’s important to me when I back into my driveway. I eventually learned, but I was never comfortable in more urgent shifts.

The GC has good handling in “sports car” mode. It handles winding roads well. It’s very good in suburban traffic around town and on short highway runs. That’s probably why our test economy is so poor, we didn’t take it out on any really long runs. Like Ford and some GM products, there’s a capless fuel filler to make life more convenient.

The front seats offer good side support. Since we spent a long day standing one day, the lumbar support proved to be very helpful. Rear seat legroom is good. The rear seats fold flat to increase cargo capacity, and the headrests fold to make folding the seats easier.

One advantage of a “standard” SUV is cargo capacity. The GC has a healthy 36.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seat backs up and is almost double that with the folded. There’s a power tailgate to make loading and unloading easier. There’s a full-size spare and a nice flashlight as an accessory in the rear compartment.

My wife and I both enjoyed the audio, which had all the usual choices. The USB connection is behind a pop-up door at the base of the center stack. Our tester had no navigation system.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee has been redesigned into a slightly rounder, more aerodynamic package, but fear not Jeep lovers, it’s still one of the best SUVs on the market.

2013 The Auto Page

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