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Saturday, Apr 30, 2016

New again: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

I reckon Jeep must have a new motto: Don’t let the grass grow under the tires. You see it’s only been two short years since they last did an extreme makeover of the best-selling Grand Cherokee sport-ute. Now, lo and behold, the folks at Jeep have just unwrapped a brand-new version, with fresh styling, more engine choices, a new transmission and an interior so good that it could have come from Robb & Stucky. Normally it’s at least three, maybe four years before an automaker will spend the cash to refresh a model. Not Jeep, which right now is on a roll bigger than Tiger Woods.
The logic is simple: Don’t give your customers an excuse to get bored and go shopping elsewhere. So for 2014, this refreshed Grand comes with a new-look front end, skinnier headlights with bright-white LEDs, and a funky, chrome-ringed lower air intake. Inside, quality levels take another step up, with lots more soft-touch plastics, high-rent cloths and leathers for the seats, and a new 8.4-inch touch screen. But the big news is what’s under the skin. There’s a new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel turbo V-6 that can deliver up to 30 to the gallon. That’s in addition to the carry-over 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. The best news however is the addition of a new standard eight-speed automatic to replace the old five-speeder. That’s huge. Take your pick of Laredo, Limited, Overland or flagship Summit models, with prices ranging from $28,795 all the way up to $50,000-plus. Yet in my humble view, it’s the base Laredo 4x2 I’ve been driving that still offers the best bang for the buck. The carry-over Pentastar V-6 now feels even zippier courtesy of the new eight-speed auto. It’s quiet, refined, rides smoothly, and is nicely equipped, especially with the $1,700 E-package. Out the door for under $32,000. And definitely no grass in its tire treads.