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

2014 Grand Cherokee: Not A Tech Marvel, But Capable Off-Road

Jeep's 2014 Grand Cherokee is comfortable on-road and highly capable off-road, driven straight from the showroom. The software component of Uconnect Access is very good. We like the usability of its interface, and really dig the 4:3 touchscreen compared to the wide displays more typical of infotainment systems. It's slow to boot, unfortunately. Though, once Uconnect Access was up, responsiveness was good.

We’re glad Jeep didn’t transition to capacitive buttons, unlike Ford and Cadillac. We can’t say this often enough, but we love those physical controls. Touchscreen displays are nice for secondary input, but they simply cannot match the feedback that buttons and knobs give you. Kudos to Jeep for maintaining a good balance between modern technology and the old-school stuff we don't want to see go away.

As far as driving aids go, we were disappointed by the adaptive cruise control system. It’s a nice option to have, but as the technology goes mainstream, luxury vehicles should all have a low-speed follow function. There’s no reason why a Subaru boasts full-speed-range cruise, while this $52,000+ Jeep requires manual driver input at speeds under 20 MPH. The rest of the Advanced Technology Group is nice though, and the $1700 addition isn't bad compared to what other manufacturers are charging for similar functionality.

Jeep's top-end powertrain is quite a bit of fun. If you can afford the Hemi V8's gas bill, you're rewarded with great acceleration, too. Given a choice, we'd either step down to the 3.0-liter V6 diesel or go for broke with the 6.4-liter Hemi in the SRT8. I'm personally a big fan of the Quadra-Lift air suspension as well. I was never fond of air suspension systems before, but having the flexibility and convenience of raising and lowering the SUV with the press of a button changed my mind.

Growing up, I had a Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep. The plain red one, back before they got cheap with the plastic and replaced the faux lights with stickers. As a result, I've always had a soft spot for Jeep's Wrangler. However, after driving the Wrangler during NWAPA Mudfest 2013, I decided that wasn't the SUV for me. I still like the idea of a four-door off-road vehicle, but the lack of amenities doesn't suit my adult tastes.

After spending a week with Jeep's 2014 Grand Cherokee, this is the type of SUV I could see myself daily driving. It’s not extravagant or audacious like a Range Rover, but it stays true to the Jeep heritage while adding a number of technological niceties. It’s a vehicle my wife could take the kids to a play date in during the week, while I take them to the mountains on the weekend. Crossovers from BMW, Audi, VW, and even Lexus offer smoother, more car-like rides. However, the Jeep does double-duty as soccer mom-mobile and off-road champion. And that's why we like it so much; it's the Swiss Army knife of SUVs.

  • cheesyboy
    I hope the sponsorship money from Jeep helps pay for good stuff elsewhere on the site, because this was a damned boring article.
    Reply
  • sanilmahambre
    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
    Reply
  • vertexx
    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.
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    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)
    Reply
  • poik
    How do the gauges work with polarized glasses?
    Reply
  • tuanies
    11512660 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 :).

    11512907 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.
    Reply
  • cheesyboy
    11512660 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
    Reply
  • rezzahd
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    11513248 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...
    Reply
  • rezzahd
    11513294 said:
    11513248 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.
    Reply