DETROIT, MI – Jeep briefly offered a Mercedes-Benz V-6 turbo-diesel engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee back in 2007. Owners loved it but it became a collateral casualty of the DaimlerChrysler split.
Now the diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is making a comeback! Chrysler announced here at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) thi week that the heavily revised 2014 model will be available with a Fiat-sourced V-6 diesel engine.
There are few vehicles more suited to the low-effort, abundant torque of a diesel engine than a big SUV. Chrysler says this one should allow the big Jeep to deliver highway fuel numbers numbers of less than 8 litres/100 km.
After a shortened 2013 model year, the 2014 Grand Cherokee will appear in Jeep stores in February. In addition to the new diesel, it features reworked styling inside and out and a new ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission across the model range, replacing the five-speed used currently.
The interior is more luxurious, especially on the Summit trim level which has leather seats and a 19-speaker, 825-watt, surround-sound audio system. All models get a new three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters and Laredo and Limited models come with dark wood trim.
I recall the introduction of the 2007 Jeep with the 3.0-litre Mercedes-Benz diesel clearly. Two of only six Grand Cherokees diesels in the country were stolen from outside the hotel while we were attending the technical presentation inside.
They were never recovered. The police suspected they were on a boat to an eastern European destination within an hour of the heist.
This diesel has been available in the European version of the Grand Cherokee for more than a year. The 3.0-litre V-6 is produced by VM Motori, a Fiat subsidiary.
It produces 241-horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque and will be shipped from Italy to Chrysler’s plant in Detroit where the Grand Cherokee is built.
The diesel Grand Cherokee will carry a 3363-kg (7400 lb) tow rating and is expected to get 11.8 litres/100 km in the city and 8.4 on the highway for 4x4 models. That compares to 16.8 and 11.2 for the current top engine – the 5.7 litre HEMI.
While producing 119-fewer horsepower, the diesel tops the HEMI by 40 lb-ft. of torque – the number that counts most when towing. Especially significant is the fact the diesel produces maximum torque at very low revs, again a big factor in towing and heavy off-road use.
More pulling power and significantly better fuel economy – what a great combination!
Standard equipment on the 2014 Grand Cherokee is a 290-horsepower V-6 gasoline engine that can tow up to 2818 kg (6,200 lb) and the 6.4-litre HEMI V-8 with a 3363-kg (7,400) pound tow rating.
The Grand Cherokee SRT is also available with subtle tweaks under the slightly redesigned sheet metal. The 6.4-litre Hemi V8 also gets the eight-speed transmission, which will improve both performance and fuel economy.