It has been three years since Jeep dramatically updated its Grand Cherokee, delivering a refined flagship with style and substance constructed on a chassis shared in large part with the Mercedes-Benz M-class. Jeep would be the first to admit that, in the past, it would slide out a new model and then ignore it for five years. No longer. The iconic brand has reloaded the Grand Cherokee for 2014 with a new engine, transmission, and other features.
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One sect of Jeepers naturally will focus on the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, which we have reviewed in a separate story. Those less interested in the brand’s core values and more into automotive oddballs will gravitate toward the 470-hp SRT model. But those are far from volume plays—the dual beating hearts of the lineup are the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi models covered here.
All Eight Up with Gears
The most significant drivetrain news is the adoption of a ZF-engineered eight-speed automatic for all Grand Cherokees; last year’s V-6 played with five forward ratios, the Hemi with six. Paddle shifters have sprouted behind every steering wheel. Also new is an Eco button that alters the gearbox shift schedule and throttle sensitivity for optimal fuel economy. On V-8 models, Eco also effects cylinder deactivation. Finally, if you have the optional air suspension, it will automatically lower the vehicle to “Aero” ride height when traveling at higher speeds. Four trim levels are available—Laredo, Limited, Overland, and the rechristened Summit—with all-wheel drive a $2000 option on Laredo and Limited models and a $3000 option on the Overland and Summit. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by JOHN LAMM