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FEATURES | 10 out of 10
A powered liftgate is optional, and it readily stops if anything obstructs its movement. You can also easily open and close the liftgate manually, which is sometimes difficult on models with power liftgates. All models have a rear window that opens independently of the liftgate.
A touchscreen sat-nav is optional, along with Jeep's massive "CommandView" dual-pane sunroof, but the niceties aren't just limited to the big-budget options.
The Overland basically goes whole hog with navigation, a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, and interior upgrades.
Car and Driver
Jeep is asking a $4,500 premium for the diesel engine, which makes it $2,305 more expensive than the Hemi V8. A bit of quick math using national average fuel prices reveals that the Ecodiesel will pay for itself relative to the Hemi V8 in about 35,000 miles.
The Summit model comes standard with adaptive cruise control. On wide-open Texas two-lanes, it worked as well as any other system I’ve used in the past.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in five (and a half) different trim levels, each with enough standard features to qualify it as a premium SUV. Most versions cross the border into true luxury-ute territory.
Standard equipment on the $29,790 2014 Grand Cherokee Laredo includes cloth seats; power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; 17-inch wheels; air conditioning; a tilt/telescope steering wheel; and keyless entry. All versions have an audio system with an AM/FM/CD player and SiriusXM satellite radio. On that Laredo, four-wheel drive is a $2,000 upgrade--but it is the only choice available. No options are offered on this version, which means it's an advertising special--a "low, low price" version that gives hope to skinflints, who usually end up paying more than $33,000 for a popularly equipped "base" version.
That "base" version is the $31,490 Laredo E, which adds a power driver seat as standard equipment, along with the ability to option up to low-range 4WD, a rearview camera, heated front seats, and navigation. Options on this version also include remote start, a power tailgate, and an off-road package.From this point, the Grand Cherokee pivots from family crossover into high-end hardware. Ascend to the $36,790 Limited and you'll get 18-inch wheels; leather seating with a power front passenger seat; a power tailgate; remote start; heated front seats; and a rearview camera. Options include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, navigation, and Selec-Speed control for off-roading. The $43,990 Overland adds on 20-inch wheels; LED daytime running lights; navigation; on 4WD models, an air suspension; Nappa leather seating with ventilated front seats; a panoramic sunroof; and a leather-trimmed dash. At the $48,990 Summit, you'll be rewarded with almost all of these features as standard equipment, but unique wheel and wood choices, including a matte "open-pore" finish, and a sueded headliner; only a Blu-Ray rear-seat DVD system is an option.
The Ecodiesel drivetrain is a $4,500 option on these models; four-wheel drive is $2,000 on the Limited, and $3,000 on the Overland and Summit.
A special mention goes to the $63,990 Grand Cherokee SRT--yes, the "8" has been dropped from the name this year. It has its own standard features, from cosmetic touches like paddle-shift controls; power tilt/telescope steering; leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel; leather and suede seats; carbon-fiber interior trim; metallic pedal pads; and a vehicle information center in the gauges. There's also Performance Pages, which displays functions like 0-60 mph times, braking distances, and quarter-mile times, for those places and times that let you exercise the SRT's massive tires and HEMI horsepower. Options on the SRT include a dual-pane sunroof, a luxury package with leather trim and a power tailgate, and a harman/kardon 19-speaker, 825-watt audio system. SRTs also come with a free day of driving instruction at one of a handful of selected tracks around the country. All told, it's priced just below $73,000.
With all of its trailblazing intact, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is also one of the most digitally advanced utility vehicles available, period, even counting the Ford offerings with its "Touch" systems--the Flex, Explorer, Edge, and Lincoln MKT and MKX. It plugs into the data slipstream via the available Uconnect mobile package includes an 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen that controls infotainment systems, in tandem with voice and steering-wheel controls. Data services are 3G, and are provided by Sprint, wired into the car, which means streaming audio and voice-to-text functionality are built in, as well as wireless connectivity and in-car hotspots, making it even easier to stream video to portable devices and to passengers needing entertainment.
The main takeaway from Uconnect is that it's a bit easier and quicker to learn than Cadillac's CUE or Ford's MyFord Touch systems. While it has just as many steering-wheel buttons, it also has a persistent row of virtual buttons--shortcuts to favorite controls. The configurable 7-inch display on all models has "hot corners," meaning you can choose which information is placed in the gauges' periphery. On top of all that, it's laid out with clean, pretty, and well-rendered screens. It isn't perfect, though: voice commands are usually understood, but the underlying functions aren't always as rich--I couldn't choose a city and state as a destination without an address, for example.
On the Grand Cherokee SRT, the screen displays Performance Pages, which lets drivers measure acceleration and grip on their trip, even share the info through the Web with other SRT owners.
Performance pages, 825-watt audio, Nappa leather--what more could you want in a Grand Cherokee? Wifi? Done.