NEVER since square headlamps got fitted to the Wrangler (long gone back to round ones) has a new Jeep’s face caused so much grumbling from the brand’s faithful as the 2014 Grand Cherokee. But love or loathe the model’s new look, what the premium SUV promises, according to Jeep, is an “unprecedented combination of best-in-class fuel economy and driving range, available clean-diesel technology, a choice of leading powertrain options, legendary benchmark capability, world-class craftsmanship, posh on-road driving dynamics, and a host of advanced user-friendly technology and safety features.”
The brand’s distributor in the Philippines, CATS Motors Inc., at the recent Manila International Auto Show took the covers off the newest Grand Cherokee, which arrives powered by Jeep’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engines. A new eight-speed automatic transmission that has paddle shifters can bolt to either of the two.
Billed as a “clean diesel” engine, the 24-valve, dual overhead camshaft, common rail direct injected and turbocharged EcoDiesel V6 dishes out the grunt—246hp at 4,000rpm and 550Nm of torque at only 1,800rpm—while spewing out low amounts CO2 emission and consuming less fuel. Jeep reckoned its fuel economy is 43-percent better than similarly sized SUVs running on a gasoline V8.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, first used in the less controversial 2011 version of the Grand Cherokee, is an all-new design that has dual overhead camshafts, an aluminum cylinder block and uses variable valve timing. Typical to gasoline engines, it makes more horsepower than diesel mills—283hp at 6,350rpm—but significantly less torque at 347Nm, which arrives at 4,300rpm.
Three 4×4 systems are available for the latest Grand Cherokee; Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II. Also offered with it is Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension and a Selec-Terrain traction management system, all of which guarantee the new Grand Cherokee lives up to Jeep’s legendary tradition.
Jeep explained Quadra-Trac I is a full-time four-wheel drive system that remains smooth over a variety of road conditions. This lightweight single-speed case has been proven to enhance fuel economy, according to the SUV’s maker.
It added the Quadra-Trac II’s two-speed transfer case uses input from a variety of sensors to determine tire slip and takes corrective action. When a wheel is slipping, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction.
Selec-Terrain is standard with Quadra-Trac II. Selec-Terrain, refined in the 2014 Grand Cherokee, has five different driving settings for all terrains: Sand, Mud, Auto, Snow and Rock.
Meanwhile, Quadra-Lift adds up to 4.2-inches of lift, thanks to air springs, and may be operated automatically or manually with console controls. With its front air dam removed, Quadra-Lift allows the latest Grand Cherokee a 35.8-degree approach angle, a 29.6-degree departure angle and a 23.5-degree break-over angle.
In terms of safety and techie features, the new Grand Cherokee is fitted with—among a slew of other stuff—Front Park Assist, Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Selec-Speed Control, Uconnect 8.4-inch touch-screen radio with integrated climate and infotainment controls, a seven-inch customer configurable multi-view display cluster, Uconnect access via mobile and cloud-based voice texting. Some of its other cabin amenities include Natura leather and exotic open-pore wood trim.
Huge 20-inch alloys bling up the Grand Cherokee’s styling further. And those headlamps? They’re adaptive bi-xenon HIDs with LED daytime running lamps. Hard to argue against that.
CATS Motors prices the Grand Cherokee 3.0L CRD V6 at P3.720 million while the 3.6L Summit V6 costs P3.860 million.