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

Jeep's Off-Road Adventure II Package

This isn't a true Jeep unless it can flex its off-road prowess straight from the showroom, right? Our Grand Cherokee came with the Off-Road Adventure II package that adds 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, all-season on/off-road tires, Selec-Speed Control, a more capable Quadra-Drive II 4WD system, an electronic limited-slip rear differential (with a 3.09 final drive), and skid plates to protect the front suspension, fuel tank, and transfer case. Since we try to test every feature possible, we loaded up the Grand Cherokee into a convoy consisting of Toyota 4Runners and this SUV's predecessor, a WK Grand Cherokee (2005-2010), and headed to Wilkeson, WA to play on the forest service road.

The Quadra-Drive II 4WD system takes the standard Quadra-Trac II 4WD and adds an electronic rear-limited slip differential. Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II 4WD is a pretty standard full-time 4WD setup with a 4-low mode. There is no way to force it into rear-wheel drive mode. However, the transfer case does not engage the front wheels unless the rears are slipping.

In terms of the Off-Road Adventure II's electronics features, there’s only Selec-Speed Control. While most manufacturers tout hill-descent control features that let you maintain a vehicle's speed going down a hill, Selec-Speed Control does the opposite, allowing you to define a speed for ascending a hill and maintaining it, no matter how hard you mash the gas. We played with the feature a bit and found it neat, but found ourselves modulating the throttle manually most of the time.

A quick aside about our journey to Wilkeson, WA. The first obstacle we encountered was a technical off-road hill. We were third in the convoy, sending the fourth-gen 4Runner and WK Grand Cherokee, both with mild lifts and beefy tires, through first. Exercising a bit of caution, both made it through easily. When it came our turn, we left the Selec-Terrain system in Auto, enabled 4-low, and raised the Quadra-Lift air suspension to its Off-road 2 setting for maximum ground clearance. Likewise, we made it through with ease, escaping without a scratch.

As we drove up the service road, we found some remnant snow to play with. We sent off the first-gen 4Runner to scout it out, since he was the lightest vehicle of the bunch. He got stuck a couple times and we had to help him out. He made his way back down, making room for the Jeeps to play. The WK Grand Cherokee and its beefier off-road tires went up first, while we followed in our show room-fresh model with 5000 miles on the odometer. With the Selec-Terrain system dialed in for snow, we traversed the snow-covered incline in Off-road 1 mode. The snow got a bit high, and started scraping the bottom of the SUV, so we raised it to Off-road 2. With one press of a button, we were on our merry way again.

The Off-Road Adventure II package, combined with the fantastic Quadra-Lift suspension, really delivers. During our off-road expedition, my friends in their lifted 4Runner and Grand Cherokee were equally impressed with the stock Grand Cherokee's utility. I consider the added off-road features in this package worth the $995 you're asked to pay.

  • 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