2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Refined Just Right; Raw Where It Counts

Before the United States Military had the Hummer H1 as its vehicle of choice, there was the Willys Jeep. That brand remains iconic in America, having proven itself in World War II and earning a reputation for excellent off-road prowess. Of course, ownership of the Jeep name has changed hands multiple times. Previously, you have Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Jeep, AMC (American Motors Corporation), and its current owner, Chrysler. There was that sleazy affair that Jeep’s parent company had with Daimler in the late '90s to 2000s that introduced us to the poorly-conceived Compass. But that's an era we'd rather scrub from our memories. Fortunately, Chrysler’s Italian sugar-daddy is doing a great job turning the company around and revamping its product line-up.

And that brings us to the focus of today's article: the latest and greatest 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4. We drove the Grand Cherokee during NWAPA Mudfest 2013 (Mudfest 2013: Tom's Hardware Helps Test 23 SUVs) and decided that the SUV (along with its Uconnect Access system) deserved a closer look. We booked it for a week of on-pavement and light off-roading antics.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee offers a host of styling changes that soften its exterior to look more luxurious. The headlights are smaller and feature LED running lights, the front and rear fascia receive several subtle tweaks, there’s added chrome on the tail lights, and you'll find a paint-matched seven-slot grille with chrome inserts. I’m usually not a fan of chrome work, but our test platform pulls it off deftly. 

The fresh styling pays homage to Jeep’s history, too. Each headlight has a little detail that recognizes the company’s roots and history. The driver's side lamp states matter-of-factly “Since 1941,” a tribute to the first year Jeeps were manufactured. Look closely on the passenger-side light and you'll find a silhouette of the original Willys Jeep. If you're not an enthusiast, you'll probably overlook those subtleties. But they remind us that Jeep's Grand Cherokee still has the spirit of its predecessors, despite refinements make it more comfortable for grocery trips, rather than running recon on the battlefield.

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  • I hope the sponsorship money from Jeep helps pay for good stuff elsewhere on the site, because this was a damned boring article.
    -3
  • other then all those tech-check the actual thing that attracts customers towards Jeep is the front trademark spiral grill.
    I drove it in Far cry 2
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  • What's up with the miss-fitting front lighting? It looks like they re-designed all the front lighting and didn't bother fitting the front-end cutouts to the new lighting. Looks terrible.
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  • This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)
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  • How do the gauges work with polarized glasses?
    1
  • MU_Engineer said:
    This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)


    We do not have a track to test 0-60 on while maintaining consistency, nor do we have accurate equipment to test such feats. Speed limit here is 60 and most people do 70-80 weaving in and out of traffic ;). I deny going those "speeds" but the Jeep is quite competent and that HEMI, every press of the gas pedal makes me shed a tear for the fuel economy while enjoying the thrust. Either way we have a SRT8 booked next month for a quick follow up. Hopefully the Pandora and other apps work by then.

    I don't have enough Antec 1200s to test, but that's a pretty good idea for testing methods :).

    1103587 said:
    How do the gauges work with polarized glasses?


    I do not wear polarized glasses so I can't really tell you - mine are just transitions. I don't see them being a problem though. You could always just turn up the brightness on the LCD. It gets very bright.
    1
  • MU_Engineer said:
    This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)


    Slalom test, you say? Hope it does better than its predecessor;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaYFLb8WMGM
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  • I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.
    -1
  • rezzahd said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.


    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...
    1
  • tuanies said:
    rezzahd said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.
    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...


    Okay, sorry got a little ahead of myself. I was just saying when I think car reviews in general I just mean there are other sources I would go to. I tend not to look at the tech in cars. I actually prefer to see how well things like the motor and transmission are built over how fast boot times are for a camera.
    0
  • rezzahd said:
    tuanies said:
    rezzahd said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.
    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...
    Okay, sorry got a little ahead of myself. I was just saying when I think car reviews in general I just mean there are other sources I would go to. I tend not to look at the tech in cars. I actually prefer to see how well things like the motor and transmission are built over how fast boot times are for a camera.


    Yea but there's just so much tech in cars nowadays, hard to avoid when car shopping. At this point in the industry all new cars will be reliable without any major issues as in the past, at least mechanically. Its the electronics you have to worry about. Its also hard to get a plain stripped down car nowadays as well.
    0
  • tuanies said:
    rezzahd said:
    tuanies said:
    rezzahd said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.
    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...
    Okay, sorry got a little ahead of myself. I was just saying when I think car reviews in general I just mean there are other sources I would go to. I tend not to look at the tech in cars. I actually prefer to see how well things like the motor and transmission are built over how fast boot times are for a camera.
    Yea but there's just so much tech in cars nowadays, hard to avoid when car shopping. At this point in the industry all new cars will be reliable without any major issues as in the past, at least mechanically. Its the electronics you have to worry about. Its also hard to get a plain stripped down car nowadays as well.


    Do you think the tech in cars will shift more so to the engines? If it does I could see a lot going wrong, but it is honestly inevitable. I just do not see sport cars getting a speed boost from technology, but I know it is possible.
    0
  • tuanies said:
    We do not have a track to test 0-60 on while maintaining consistency, nor do we have accurate equipment to test such feats. Speed limit here is 60 and most people do 70-80 weaving in and out of traffic ;).


    Duly noted. I did not know exactly where you tested the vehicle. I am a big gearhead and nearly all of the reviews I read are by groups with their own tracks, skidpads, slalom courses, etc. or at least access to them. I don't blame you for not doing testing beyond "how was it to drive this vehicle?" on public roads.

    Quote:
    I deny going those "speeds" but the Jeep is quite competent and that HEMI, every press of the gas pedal makes me shed a tear for the fuel economy while enjoying the thrust. Either way we have a SRT8 booked next month for a quick follow up. Hopefully the Pandora and other apps work by then.


    My daily driver is an F-150 with the twincam 5.0 V8. The truck weighs around three tons, more in the winter as I have 500 lbs of sandbags in the back for traction. You get used to the fuel mileage. I run E85 in mine as it is about a buck a gallon less than 87 octane swill but runs like a champ in the 10.5:1 compression V8 (it's 105 octane and my avatar is a picture of an octane sticker from an E85 pump.) Fuel mileage does go down a little bit though and I consider anything over 14 mpg to be "good." It's the "smiles per gallon" that really counts, as a buddy told me. You can't get as many smiles per gallon out of a piddly little four-cylinder engine econobox as a big V8 powered truck so it is more than worth it :D

    I don't think I would even be thinking of the Pandora app if I had an SRT8 Jeep GC at my disposal. I'd put on a helmet and be heading for the nearest drag strip to legally and safely wring her out good :D

    Quote:
    I don't have enough Antec 1200s to test, but that's a pretty good idea for testing methods :).


    My favorite car magazine, Car and Driver, which I have subscribed to before I even had a license, uses number of beer cases as their space metric. I figured computer cases would be more appropriate for this audience. If you don't have enough cases to fill the area, you can always just use a larger case. My current machine uses a Chenming ATX-801F which is a double-wide early-1990s era case about the size of a large dorm fridge and is designed to swallow a quad-socket SWTX board with no modifications needed. My old Ford Escape could fit six of them. It was a fight between hitting GVWR and the rear cargo area being filled as an ATX-801F is 75 lbs empty and about twice that when filled with four heavy heatsinks, 15 3.5" disks and redundant kilowatt PSUs.
    0
  • tuanies said:
    Yea but there's just so much tech in cars nowadays, hard to avoid when car shopping. At this point in the industry all new cars will be reliable without any major issues as in the past, at least mechanically. Its the electronics you have to worry about. Its also hard to get a plain stripped down car nowadays as well.


    I absolutely second that one. I grew up around the time period when the cars went from completely mechanical to the beginning of electronic controls. The first car I remember riding in was my dad's '81 F100 with a 1 bbl 300 six and a three-on-the-tree manual. (That was a memorable vehicle and I have a very soft spot for the '80-86 bullnose Fords as a result. I will be restoring a bullnose F-350 in the next few years as a result :thumbsup) The first car I drove was a '91 Chrysler minivan with EFI and an electronically controlled (and awful!) slushbox but everything else was mechanical. My current vehicle is an '11 F-150 ECSB where everything is electronic- electronic power steering, PCM controlled trans and semi-indirect EFI engine, 4-wheel disc ABS, there is a big LCD in my IP, and shoot, and even the throttle is a fly-by-wire design (debuted in the 1994.5 Powerstroke diesel.) About the only thing that is still mechanical is the parking brake! The problem is that the electronics infiltrate everything and in the case of newer engines, it is increasingly encrypted and VERY difficult to work with without expensive specialized equipment. I am not afraid of computers as I am obviously a mod here on a computer enthusiast website and run quad socket Gentoo Linux compile-everything-from-scratch machine as my "daily driver" but sheesh, as an engineering major, sometimes we have gone overboard with the electronic gewgaws and introduced a lot more possible points of faiure. For me, I bought my truck off the lot and essentially got my 4x4 ECSB V8 XLT for what Ford asks for a 4x2 RCLB base model V6 truck. I got the electronic stuff and the extended cab for free and for a lot less than if I ordered a stripped down V8 ECSB or ECLB for. I have mixed feelings. It runs well now and probably will for the next decade but if anything goes wrong, it will take an expensive code puller to figure out what is wrong vs. just a simple mechanical symptom diagnosis. I intend to keep my truck for a long time as I predict V8s will become rare as hens' teeth. The EPA and their asinine CAFE standards will guarantee that. As as engineer, simpler is better for the most part due to simplicity and less to possibly fail. I'd keep my NA V8 over a highly turbocharged V6 ANY DAY. I also predict that even the 5.0 twincam V8 is a dead man walking due to the EPA unless we elect sane folks to rein in these unelected regulatory agencies and get rid of the ill-advised CAFE standards. (Anthropomorphic global warming has not been proven, let alone CO2 == global warming and reduction of CO2 emissions can ameliorate the issue.)

    rezzahd said:
    Do you think the tech in cars will shift more so to the engines? If it does I could see a lot going wrong, but it is honestly inevitable. I just do not see sport cars getting a speed boost from technology, but I know it is possible.


    The biggest thing predicted with electronics in engines is Google's automated cars.Those things as well as any other "autonomous" technology is not going to fly due to security and liability reasons. The first one to cause a serious injury or fatality due to a one-in-a-million failurewill make trial lawyers salivate with the payout (likely billions of dollars.) You are going to have to drive your car. Modern cars can drive well at at well over current speed limits. (A similar F-150 to mine has been shown on YouTube more than pegging the 120 mph speedometer despite the fastest speed limit in the U.S. being 85 mph.) Technology won't improve things. What will improve driving is you paying attention to driving. Period.
    0
  • rezzahd said:
    Do you think the tech in cars will shift more so to the engines? If it does I could see a lot going wrong, but it is honestly inevitable. I just do not see sport cars getting a speed boost from technology, but I know it is possible.


    It already has. We have drive-by-wire systems, driving assistance technologies that can tap into the engine management systems to assist in collision prevention. The engine management systems benefit from newer developments for faster reading/monitoring (ie sports cars) or enable technologies such as cylinder deactivation or start/stop technology. All of those rely majorly on a vehicle's electronics system.

    I mean look at the Nissan GT-R, its a marvelous performance machine only made possible with technology. The vehicle ECU monitors every aspect of the vehicle and alters everything accordingly. You also see vehicles have adaptive suspension technologies that can adapt to road conditions, which is tech-based.

    I can go on and on about all the tech systems but I hope you get the idea of why we're trying to cover it all.

    I do see tech improving fuel economy of vehicles. There's only so much you can do mechanically but with the aid of new electronics and even electric motors, we will see new improvements in the future. Mazda has their i-eLoop that captures wasted energy from braking and stores it into a capacitor to run vehicle accessories at idle, which is made possible by technological developents. It also yields about a 1-2mpg increase on a pure gasoline vehicle too.


    Duly noted. I did not know exactly where you tested the vehicle. I am a big gearhead and nearly all of the reviews I read are by groups with their own tracks, skidpads, slalom courses, etc. or at least access to them. I don't blame you for not doing testing beyond "how was it to drive this vehicle?" on public roads.

    I usually spend a week with a vehicle doing my normal driving and taking my family out in it. There's the occasional off-road adventure with cars that have that ability.

    I do not have access to any of those tracks, unfortunately.

    Quote:
    My daily driver is an F-150 with the twincam 5.0 V8. The truck weighs around three tons, more in the winter as I have 500 lbs of sandbags in the back for traction. You get used to the fuel mileage. I run E85 in mine as it is about a buck a gallon less than 87 octane swill but runs like a champ in the 10.5:1 compression V8 (it's 105 octane and my avatar is a picture of an octane sticker from an E85 pump.) Fuel mileage does go down a little bit though and I consider anything over 14 mpg to be "good." It's the "smiles per gallon" that really counts, as a buddy told me. You can't get as many smiles per gallon out of a piddly little four-cylinder engine econobox as a big V8 powered truck so it is more than worth it :D


    I'm used to the 19MPG my 2000 BMW 528i (E39) wagon gets when I have fun with it. The occasional econobox or electric vehicle spoils me though.

    Quote:
    I don't think I would even be thinking of the Pandora app if I had an SRT8 Jeep GC at my disposal. I'd put on a helmet and be heading for the nearest drag strip to legally and safely wring her out good :D


    The vehicles are still owned by the companies and they have strict no track policies unless with prior consent, which is harder to get.


    My favorite car magazine, Car and Driver, which I have subscribed to before I even had a license, uses number of beer cases as their space metric. I figured computer cases would be more appropriate for this audience. If you don't have enough cases to fill the area, you can always just use a larger case. My current machine uses a Chenming ATX-801F which is a double-wide early-1990s era case about the size of a large dorm fridge and is designed to swallow a quad-socket SWTX board with no modifications needed. My old Ford Escape could fit six of them. It was a fight between hitting GVWR and the rear cargo area being filled as an ATX-801F is 75 lbs empty and about twice that when filled with four heavy heatsinks, 15 3.5" disks and redundant kilowatt PSUs.

    I don't think I have the strength or energy to load the back of a car with 75lb cases :p. I still have a day job, a wife and two kids!
    1
  • My wife has a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 with the Hemi. Came pretty loaded with leather, sunroof, Navigation, tow package, power everything, heated seats, etc. It really has been a superb SUV and bested everything else we tested at the time for the $$ we spent ($33k OTD). I do like the 2014's 8sp ZF tranny and improved infotainment along with some other features that mine was missing, like power liftgate. The 2011's old school 5sp auto is a bit clunky, but even with it, we still get okay highway mileage at around 20mpg (best is 22), average overall is only 16-17mpg though, which leaves a lot to be desired but we knew that mpg's would not be that good going in. Handling is decent, but a MDX or Q5 go around corners much better.
    0
  • Used to love the Grand Cherokee, have owned 2 of them, and a regular Cherokee back in the late 90's that I thought was just awesome. More luxurious you say? I cannot for the life of me figure out how you come up with that. Cheap and ugly are the words that come to mind when I look at this thing.
    0
  • Does it play Crysis?
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  • The SRT8 has a 6.4L engine. The old SRT8 had the 6.1L.
    My 2011 Grand Cherokee still going strong with no repairs yet other than a couple cracked skid plates. I I know it's not old but I've taken this thing through some serious crap and have been surprised with what it actually goes through with some good tires on it.
    0
  • Not an advanced Hybrid with an Atkinson cycle engine and powerful electric motors, yawn
    0