What is it? Jeep is not resting on its laurels with the Grand Cherokee, comprehensively updating it in the design's fourth year.
The 2014 model will feature a revised interior with a new three-spoke steering wheel, paddle shifters, wood trim for uplevel versions, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Outside styling has been tweaked with a shorter upper grille, slim headlights, and LED lighting all around. The rear features a redesigned tailgate to improve rear visibility.
In addition to its styling changes, Chrysler is giving the Grand Cherokee a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine that the automaker claims will get 21/30 mpg for two-wheel-drive version and 20/28 mpg with four-wheel drive. Along with the fuel-economy bump, the diesel version should deliver 240 hp, pull a 7,400-pound load, and have a cruising range of more than 730 miles.
In another boost to fuel economy, all Grand Cherokees will get a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. This means the V6 version—in both two- and four-wheel drive—is expected to get 17-mpg city/25-mpg highway and have a range of 600 miles. This engine can also tow up to 6,200 pounds.
What’s new or notable? The addition of the EcoDiesel V6 to the Grand Cherokee lineup makes Jeep the only American manufacturer to offer a diesel powertrain in an SUV. Jeep claims the range of the two-wheel-drive diesel will be a whopping 730 miles.
CR’s take: The revamped styling comes at the right time as the Grand Cherokee's competition hasn't rested. Jeep buyers will be expected to pay a premium for the EcoDiesel V6, but whether they'll flock to a non-gasoline drivetrain at a higher price remains to be seen.
When will it be available? Early 2013.