Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4 Diesel

Thursday October 16th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

By David Colman

Hypes: Solid Power Team, Efficient Use of Space
Gripes: Vague Steering Feel, Ergonomic Cabin Issues

The big news at Jeep this year is availability of a diesel engine for the Grand Cherokee model. Although this Eco Diesel option is not inexpensive, at $5,000, it will pay back dividends in mileage and cruising range unavailable with either of Grand Cherokee’s other gas engine offerings (3.6 liter V6 and 5.7 liter V8). If you opt for the diesel, your 24.6 gallon fuel tank will take you more than 700 miles between visits to the pump island. In addition, you will be able to tow a 7400 pound trailer thanks to the diesel’s 420 pound feet of torque. That prodigious torque output makes the Grand Cherokee diesel your best bet for towing duties. By comparison, the 5.7 liter V8 makes 390 pound feet of torque.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

Also new for 2014 is the appropriately named Summit model, a range topper which outranks the Overland as the most luxurious Grand Cherokee of all. If you haven’t examined a Jeep interior in a while, you will be smitten with the attention to detail inside this cabin. Our test Jeep, done up in Jeep Brown, is meant to emulate the colors of the Grand Canyon. To me it looked more like an advertisement for See’s Chocolates. Vast swatches of glove soft “Natura-Plus” mocha leather cover the seating surfaces and complement the matching open pore wood of the dash and center console. Even the steering wheel rim features real wood top and bottom segments. The suede-like headliner and A-pillars beg you to touch them. The instrument panel can be configured with a variety of displays thanks to thin film transistor (TFT) technology. The huge double paned panoramic sunroof blasts the interior with enough daylight and fresh air to dispel any trace of back seat claustrophobia. Though it’s hard to find demerits inside the Summit Jeep, flat, hard front seats cry for softer cushions and additional side support.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

Also new for 2014 is an 8 speed automatic transmission which offers torque multiplication in gears 1 through 5, direct drive (1:1) in gear 6, and overdrive ratios in speeds 7 and 8. The transmission up shifts and downshifts seamlessly. For 2014, all Grand Cherokees include paddle shifts for gear changes. The gear selection controller sits atop the center console, activated by a stubby T-handle lever with detents set so close together that it’s easy to get Neutral or Park when seeking Reverse.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

Although you might mistake this Jeep’s many luxury indulgences for a soft underbelly, that is hardly the case. In fact, the Summit is well equipped to conquer any unpaved road you care to tackle. This Jeep is Trail Rated, an honor bestowed only on vehicles which meet strict guidelines for ground clearance, maneuverability, traction, articulation and water fording. In the case of the Grand Cherokee, you can count on its sophisticated full time 4 Wheel Drive Quadra Trac II system to guarantee traction and maneuverability in the outback. As far as ride height is concerned, the Summit provides a Quadra Lift air suspension system that affords 8.7 inches of ground clearance in normal daily driving. You can elevate it 1.3 inches by selecting the Off Road 1 setting, or 2.6 inches for Off Road 2. With 11.3 inches of ground clearance in this rock avoidance mode, you can clear most any obstacle, or dare to ford stream beds. If you choose Aero Mode, or Sport setting, the Jeep drops 0.6 inch to a ride height of 8.1 inches for less wind resistance and better fuel economy.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

The Summit edition of the Grand Cherokee is a styling exercise that ticks all the right boxes for clean design. First you’ll notice new LED head and tail lights, and new charcoal rocker panels which match dark gray lower valences front and rear. The rear under tray houses exhaust tips, the front sports newly integrated fog lights. Bi-Xenon headlights swivel from side to side for improved back road illumination as you turn the steering wheel. Model specific polished aluminum alloy rims measure 8 x 20 inches and plant hefty contact patches on the road thanks to Goodyear Fortera HL tires measuring 265/50R20.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 Diesel

The Summit diesel weighs 5,149 pounds, so you won’t be whipping it through S curves like a sport SUV. You’ll also become quickly cognizant of its heft when you make your first U-turn, an undertaking that uses up 37 feet of road and forces you to swing the steering wheel through 3.7 turns from lock to lock. But once you’ve seated four or five adults inside this luxurious cabin, and headed off road to do some serious trail blazing, you’ll marvel at just how much power, range and competence $59,000 will buy when you select this Detroit-built bargain of a Jeep.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4 Diesel

  • Engine: 3.0 liter V-6 Diesel, turbocharged, common rail direct injection
  • Horsepower: 240hp
  • Torque: 420lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 27 MPG City/ 28 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $50,875
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4 Diesel

Friday August 1st, 2014 at 2:88 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 Diesel

By David Colman

Hypes: Intuitive UCONNECT Interface, Stellar Diesel Cruising Range
Gripes: Doors Need Slamming for Closure

Jeep’s latest iteration of the Grand Cherokee line offers remarkable flexibility of use. It’s a tough truck, a comfy limo, and an economy ride, all rolled into one very handsome product. The truck part of the equation will take you just about anywhere on or off road, especially if you order your Jeep with the optional, “Trail Rated” $2,495 “Off Road Adventure II” package. In well appointed Limited trim, this spacious Jeep behaves more like a plush and expensive foreign bred sedan than a domestic sports utility. All the seats are heated, with 8-way adjustability for the front pair. The cabin is plush and quiet, and the new 8.4 inch dash-mounted touch screen offers more climate control and entertainment options than Microsoft’s house of tomorrow. When you order your Jeep with the new-for-2014 V-6 turbocharged diesel ($4,500 extra), your Cherokee will effortlessly yank a 7,400 pound trailer while still managing 24 MPG in overall fuel consumption. Pulling that kind of load with ease is what 420 lb.-ft. of torque will do from a standing start. Jeep’s new 8-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the Cherokee line this year, and its paddle shifted multiplicity of gears immensely enhances the low-revving performance of the new diesel.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 Diesel

Of course, if you’re looking to Jeep for a faster Grand Cherokee, a couple of contenders will put you into the BMW M5 and Porsche Cayenne GTS class. Along those lines, you can up horsepower by selecting either the optional 5.7 liter V-8 (360 hp) or the dragon slayer SRT8 version which generates 470 hp from its 6.4 liter motor. The price for such extra grunt is substantial, with the 5.7 liter V8 barely capable of 20 MPG and the 6.4 liter SRT motor good for about 15 MPG. From a practical standpoint, then, you can’t beat this new diesel, which makes just 240 hp, but produces enough torque to rival the SRT Hemi for towing purposes.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 Diesel

Jeep performed a mild, yet highly successful restyling of the Grand Cherokee’s front fascia for 2014. The results look better than Botox. Below the carryover traditional seven slot grill, an aluminum framed lower intake scowls menacingly. Newly condensed Bi-Xenon headlamps impart a squint to the Jeep’s face that distinguishes it from any other SUV on the road today. If you opt for the sublimely luxurious, $3,000 optional “Luxury Group II,” those slit lamps are automatically adjusted for variable vehicle height, flick automatically from low to high beam as required by traffic, and impart a carnival glow in broad daylight thanks to LED daytime running lights. The seemingly pricey package provides much more than just better illumination. Among the inclusions: a huge Panorama sunroof that gives backseat captives the pleasurable illusion that they’re riding in a convertible. We took a foursome on a day long excursion along the twisting, sometimes nauseating Coast Route, and never heard a single complaint about backseat discomfort.

The 8.4 inch screen, which is also part of the Luxury II package, is a wonder of technology. Chrysler’s UConnect system is far superior to other, nominally similar domestic and foreign offerings such as Ford’s MyTouch, Cadillac’s CUE, and BMW’s iDrive. For ease of use, it’s hard to beat UConnect’s intuitive operation. This system, which encompasses everything from climate control to phone usage to infotainment sources, immediately summons whatever touch screen you might need, and presents the information in a visually clear and obvious way. As soon as I received this Jeep for my weekly drive, I spent about 10 minutes reconfiguring everything about its behavior to suit my personal preferences. For example, I eliminated the annoying valet seat slide and steering wheel tilt, then muted the remote fob door lock chirp. And I did so with absolutely no prompting from the owner’s manual. Good thing too, since the manual was absent from the glove box.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 Diesel

This latest Grand Cherokee with its hyper efficient diesel motivator represents a remarkable accomplishment for Jeep and parent company Chrysler. Its Quadra-Drive II 4WD system allows you to select any suspension height or traction setting from outback to sand to snow with the simple twist of a fat dial on the center console. In normal pavement mode, the admittedly heavy (4,900 lb.) Cherokee tends to lose front axle grip first in twisty turn work. Yet the Michelin Latitude mud and snow rated tires (265/60R18) manage to extricate you from even the most precarious incipient slide by clawing the pavement resolutely. Even when you’re pushing this behemoth to the limit, you’ll never irritate your riders, who remain blissfully unflustered thanks to this Jeep’s uncanny composure in duress. You could hardly ask for more than that from any SUV, and the fact that this one, fully loaded, slides in under $50,000 makes the ownership experience all the more remarkable.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 Diesel

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4×4 Diesel

  • Engine: 3.0 Liter V6 Turbocharged Diesel
  • Horsepower: 240hp
  • Torque: 420lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 21 MPG City/28 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $49,185
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel Review

Friday February 8th, 2013 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Torquemeister, Impeccable Interior Appointments
Gripes: Slight Vibration at Idle

When the term SUV was coined back in the late 80s to describe the Ford Explorer and its imitators, the word “sports” in the descriptor ‘sports utility vehicle’ referred to the amount of sports gear your utility vehicle could transport. It certainly didn’t mean that your SUV was sporting to drive.

But all that changed when BMW debuted the X5, followed by Porsche’s introduction of the Cayenne. These SUVs put a premium on driving enjoyment rather than pack mule capacity. Porsche has been refining the Cayenne for almost a decade now, and the latest diesel-powered offering is a testament to just how much they’ve improved the breed.

This is a heavy duty truck, with a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. It’s also capable of traversing just about any wilderness trail, thanks to full time all wheel drive, air-adjustable ride height, and locking front and center differentials. Yet on paved roads, the Cayenne diesel behaves much like any Porsche sports car, with an agility and responsiveness that belie its curb weight of 4,700 pounds.

Under the hood lies a 3.0 liter, turbocharged, V-6 diesel that makes just 240hp. While that horsepower rating seems low compared to available gasoline fueled Cayennes — which range from 300hp (3.6 liter V-6) to 500hp (4.8 liter twin turbo V-8) — the diesel’s immediate torque output of 406 lb.-ft. elevates it above the rest of the model line for sheer grunt. When you swing wide to pass slower traffic, the diesel’s torque produces an instant surge that is unmatched by any other Cayenne. It’s exactly the kind of thrust you’re going to need when towing a travel trailer over the Sierras.

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2011 Ford F- 250 Super Duty Diesel Review

Thursday May 26th, 2011 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty
By contributing editor David Colman

Pros:

  • Enough torque from the diesel-powered dinosaur to move mountains
  • Super comfy interior

Cons:

  • 8 grand extra for the diesel engine option
  • No 4-wheel-drive

There are still a few escapees from the LaBrea Tar Pits roaming our highways, and this brutal Ford is one of them. At over 20 feet long, and 7 feet high, this F-250’s skeleton ought to be on display at the Museum of Natural History. Joking aside, though, if you plan to tow a big boat or mobile home, the Super Duty Diesel is just exactly what you need. The F-250, with a minimum tow rating of 11,800 pounds, will rise to meet any occasion, especially if you equip it with the new 6.7 liter Turbo V8 Diesel, which produces an amazing 735 lb-ft of torque at just 1,600 RPM. With that much grunt on hand so low in the RPM spectrum, you need to take extra care not to spin the rear wheels, especially when the eight foot cargo bed is empty. In fact, the F-250 really needs 4-wheel drive to maintain traction in damp conditions, because it’s way too easy to get this rig sideways in the wet in rear wheel drive.

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40 MPG Cars – Affordable and Fuel Efficient

Tuesday March 29th, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevy CruzeWith fuel prices continually rising, 40+ mpg cars are looking like a great option for consumers who can’t afford or don’t want hybrid technology. Without breaking the bank, these affordable fuel efficient cars range from $15,000 to about $20,000 and all provide 40 mpg or more highway mpg driving. Companies that have joined the 40-mpg club are Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Smart.

Automakers are achieving the 40 mpg mark by using lighter-weight materials, modern gasoline powered engines with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions along with additional fuel-saving technologies such as low-rolling-resistance tires.

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Posted in Audi, Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Press and News, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , || 4 Comments »


2013 Chevrolet Cruze Goes Diesel for North America

Tuesday February 22nd, 2011 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevrolet CruzeNews has emerged that the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze will be available as a diesel engine option for the North American market, with sales expected to begin sometime in 2012. GM Inside News sources at the Lordstown, Ohio assembly, where the Chevy Cruze is produced, are said to have confirmed they will start building a diesel model for the 2013 model year. The Chevrolet Cruze is a popular car that is sold in over 60 countries worldwide in gasoline and diesel engine models and was just recently launched in the North America market. With Americans becoming more interested in fuel efficiency and smaller sized cars, the diesel powered Cruze could be a step in the right direction.

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MINI Cooper SD Diesel for the European Market – The U.S. Can Only Dream

Tuesday February 8th, 2011 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: aquadog

Mini Cooper SDMINI has announced the MINI Cooper SD, a diesel version of their popular S performance model, which will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The MINI Cooper SD will include a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter for cleaner emissions and will offer the best performance and economy of the line. The new MINI Cooper SD also features a 2.0-liter turbo diesel, four-cylinder, 143-horsepower engine, a six-speed manual with an optional six-speed automatic transmission, Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start/Stop, Shift Point Display, and Electric Power Steering.

Will this fuel efficient, cleaner emissions car come to the U.S.? MINI has yet to make a final decision on a diesel-powered model for the U.S.  So for now, we can only dream.

Video and photos after the jump

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2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Edition Review – V-dub's cup runneth over

Wednesday October 20th, 2010 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

By Derek Mau

Props to Volkswagen for trying to inject some fun into a family sedan that would otherwise be more associated with the sober, button-down demeanor of a desk-jockey commuter locked into a 9 -5 job with no hope for advancement beyond his cubicle walls with the neutral tone fabric. Take one tidy sedan powered by a very frugal turbo-diesel and DSG gearbox, dial-in the suspension from the more sporty GLI, dress it up with an aero kit and a shiny set of 18 inch alloy wheels, and the excitement dial gets turned up a couple of notches. Just how exciting is the Jetta TDI Cup Edition? I take the  working man’s coach to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey and push it through the turns to find out if getting 40 mpg and having fun at the same time is possible.

The engine remains standard: It’s VW’s 140-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel four, mated to either a six-speed manual or the undeniably high-tech six-speed direct-shift gearbox automatic. No powertrain changes between the standard Jetta TDI and the Jetta TDI Cup Edition, but it does get a bigger set of binders in addition to the performance mods mentioned above.

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2010 BMW 335d Review – Clean and efficient MPG in the ultimate driving package

Friday June 25th, 2010 at 1:66 PM
Posted by: anson

2010 BMW 335d sedan

>>> Review by Anson Tse | >>> Photographs by Derek Mau

Pros

  • Loads of torque
  • Fantastic handling
  • Clean emissions and great fuel economy

Cons

  • Powertrain lacks responsiveness expected from a BMW
  • It’s just too expensive

The Ultimate Driving Machine. That’s BMW’s tagline that they use to describe the vehicles they make. Clearly this reputation has been well earned over the years and the 3-series always finds itself square in the cross hairs of its competitors. The 335i is a magnificent sport sedan with a very potent twin-turbocharged gasoline powered inline 6.  So what happens when the boys from Bavaria shoe horn a diesel powered twin-turbo 6 cylinder underneath the hood? No black smoke from this one, just a stump pulling 425 pound-feet worth of torque, more than enough to turn those rear tires into piles of molten rubber.

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2010 Audi A3 TDI Coming To America

Tuesday September 8th, 2009 at 7:99 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Audi A3 TDI

More news on the diesel front: Audi has finally decided to bring a diesel variant of its very popular A3 to America as a 2010 model. The A3, which is sort of the car that people buy when they want more than a Volkswagen and less than a bigger Audi, has been intensely popular. Small and compact enough for urban duty, yet able to travel long distances with ease put the car on a spectrum of car buyers’ short lists.

The only thing missing, for the American market, has been a diesel option. The oil burners have been available since the get go in Europe, where diesel is a popular fuel choice, but Audi has been reluctant to bring any of their diesels to North America. This has been something of a downer for those that want an Audi and are either the frugal type, or more green conscious, but now that’s all set to change.

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