CarBuzzard and its Buzzards have rather exhaustively dissected the Grand Cherokee, from a 2008 Limited Diesel to a ’13 Overland Summit. With that, we won’t roll out the entire spec sheet on our ’14 Grand Cherokee Summit 4X4 EcoDiesel; instead, we’ll hit only the high points. The first high – of course – is a window sticker taking roughly $57K of your after-tax dollars. And if there’s an explanation of why Fiat Chrysler’s Michigan subsidiary continues to prop up Fiat, it will be found in that Jeep MSRP. In the absence of Buzzard’s crack analytical team (MIA since the Chicago Auto Show), I’ll guess that a $57K Grand Cherokee delivers to Chrysler at least $15K in profit.
But we’re not here to quibble on what America’s Top 2% will do with their money. We would, however, hope they’d use it wisely. And while almost $60K is a lot to spend on any SUV, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Summit – to its everlasting credit – delivers a lot of Jeep. With a base price of $52K the Summit comes comprehensively equipped, and affords the owner as much luxury and upscale appointment as you’ll see on anything this side of a Range Rover showroom.
Heated seats are featured on both first and second rows, while front seats also offer ventilation. Your SiriusXM is even more serious when broadcast through 19 speakers (including subwoofer), and can be easily controlled via Jeep’s 8.4-inch touch screen display. Everything ‘heeped’ onto this Jeep seems tasteful, a feature-and-luxury laden environment the Ram Longhorn team might use as a reference.
Notably, that comprehensive list of standard equipment doesn’t include the diesel, which is the centerpiece of this particular tale. In the guise of Preferred Package 22R, a buyer receives the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6, Quadra-Drive II 4WD, an electronic limited slip rear diff, heavy duty ABS brakes and selective catalytic reduction (aka Urea).
As noted, this isn’t the first time we’ve looked at Jeep’s diesel. In the ’08 iteration, however, Jeep was part of the DaimlerChrysler family, and received M-B’s diesel V6. Today Chrysler is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and gets instead a 3.0 liter V6 produced by VM Motori, a well-regarded Fiat subsidiary. Of course, everything behind the hood as changed, also – this is the 4th gen of Jeep’s almost-iconic GC.
The VM V6 delivers 240 horsepower at 3,800 rpm, and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque at but 2,000 rpm. Of course, it’s power and torque needed to propel something like 5,400 pounds; with that mass, horsepower and torque are your best friend. And for us this new diesel felt fairly friendly. Off the line it didn’t seem labored, but could occasionally sound that way. On the highway, however, you’d think you were at the wheel of an 18-wheeler; the big Jeep just rolled and rolled. Notably, with the diesel and 4X4 drivetrain Jeep estimates 21 City/28 Highway and 24 Combined. That combined figure is just what we enjoyed in a combination of in-town and freeway driving. And with almost 25 gallons of capacity, the gauge took forever on its run to empty.
We’d absolutely love a diesel 4X4 in Laredo trim. With a modest number of options and the oil-burning V6 you could be in for under $40K. As it is, Jeep doesn’t offer diesel in the Laredo, but it does provide a reasonable level of efficiency with its 3.6 liter gas V6, no diesel clatter and a comfortably equipped spec for about $35K. At $57K the Summit offers a lot to like. At roughly $35K for a Laredo 4X4 there’s also a lot to like, and suggests a clear title (perhaps) two years earlier. And once a Jeep is paid off…well, that’s when the Jeepin’ really begins.