Jeep used the 2013 Detroit Auto Show as a launch pad for the refreshed and revamped Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2014 model scoring a wide variety of upgrades, changes and revisions—especially to the RIDES-loved Grand Cherokee SRT8 model.
But let’s start with the most obvious change—the new front end. All 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees score a revised face, with Chrysler 300-like headlights to give the Grand Cherokee a more “premium” appearance. Here in the RIDES office, opinions are divided over it—some of us like it, some of us aren’t too keen. But we’re gonna wait until we see it in person before we make a final judgement.
Where we are in agreement, though, is that the 2014 changes make for a better Jeep all around. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the range, which leads to improved fuel economy and quicker acceleration. There’s a new engine in the range, too—a 3.0 liter turbodiesel V6 making 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, which lets it tow 7,400 pounds. It’ll also go 730 miles or so on a single tank of gas, if you can go that far without your bladder exploding. The 2014 Grand Cherokee also comes with a new touchscreen in the center console, a configurable seven-inch instrument panel display, and—if you snap up the top-level Summit model—a nineteen-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon surround sound stereo.
But if you’re like us, you lust after the Grand Cherokee SRT8 and its 6.4 liter Hemi V8. Thanks in part to the new eight-speed automatic, towing is increased 44 percent, to 7,200 lbs—while a new launch control mode means the GC SRT8 can launch like Usain Bolt over and over again. Larger shift paddles behind the wheel make it easier to take manual control of this whip, while the standard 8.4 inch touchscreen with cellular Internet access lets drivers search the web or share their Jeep’s performance with other SRT owners without leaving the car. And if you somehow get sick of the sound of that Hemi V8, yes, you can get the 825-watt, 19-speaker stereo in the Grand Cherokee SRT8 too.
All in all, the 2014 updates for the Grand Cherokee result in a fresher, cooler SUV that should easily live up to the competition. Now if we can just get used to the looks…[Shout-out to Jeep!]