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  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland EcoDiesel Long-Term Update 2

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland EcoDiesel Long-Term Update 2

Towing in comfort

Mar 25, 2015
Photographers: Sean P. Holman
As soon as nearly 6,500 pounds of trailer and project truck were hooked up to our ’14 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the questions started rolling in: “Can you even tow all that?”, “That thing got a Hemi?”, and “Are you sure that’s enough tow rig?” As it turns out, the answer to those burning questions are “yes,” “no,” and “yes.”
"“Does that Thing have a Hemi?”"
Our Grand Cherokee is equipped not with a gasoline-fed Hemi V-8, but rather a grunty 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6. With 420 lb-ft of torque on tap (that’s 30 more lb-ft than the Hemi), our Grand is more than up to the task of pulling around 6,500 pounds. In fact, the tow rating of 7,200 pounds on our four-wheel-drive tester is the very same as its Hemi-equipped brethren. Two-wheel-drive models are rated at 7,400 pounds.
Whether it’s a 2,000-pound utility trailer or a 7,000-pound travel trailer, the Grand makes quick work of hooking up, especially if you have to do it alone. On the bumper, you’ll find a four- and seven-pin connector, along with a Class III hitch. The backup camera, which displays not only centerline but also the steering angle and anticipated track of the SUV, is aimed straight at the hitch and is hugely beneficial. Another helpful feature is the four-corner air suspension that can be adjusted up or down to better match the tongue height of the trailer. The air suspension will also self-level the rear suspension for load or tongue weight, compensating for a less-than-optimally loaded trailer.
Photo 2/4   |   Those who tow multiple styles of trailers will appreciate the integrated four- and seven-pin connectors.
Once out on the road, the Grand has no trouble bringing the load up to highway speeds. The steering is weighted nicely and the SUV is a stable towing platform, thanks in part to the Trailer Sway Control (TSC) system. TSC recognizes a swaying trailer and can bring it back into line with none of the drama usually associated with such an event. It can also improve handling in crosswinds or with an improperly loaded trailer, giving the average user a larger margin for safety. Even with a load nearing the advertised limits, the brakes feel strong, although we do wish Jeep would offer an integrated trailer brake control with this level of capability. Fortunately, a plug-and-play controller is available through the Mopar catalog.
While there is no dedicated tow/haul button in the Grand, the ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission does a masterful job of gear selection. Additionally, the Grand is equipped with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for any desired manual intervention. Our only criticism is that the EcoDiesel needs a few extra revs above the 4,500-rpm redline, or an overrev feature like the 6.6L Duramax V-8 that would allow the driver to grab an extra gear on downshift without using the brakes.
Photo 3/4   |   A rare sight: The Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel stopped to top off the fuel tank.
Most of our towing to this point has been around town and less than 50 miles at a time, but we estimate fuel economy to be in the high teens with a trailer attached, putting the trailering range at more than 400 miles. In mixed driving, we see a little more than 500 miles between fill-ups, while our best all-highway run has put us at more than 600.
During this report, we watched the odometer roll past 10,000 miles, bringing us into Huntington Beach Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Huntington Beach, California, for our first scheduled service stop. Interestingly enough, we did not have to replenish the DEF tank once during those miles, and the DEF warning light came on within 50 miles of our “service due” warning—right on time. In addition to the scheduled service, a couple of electronic module updates and a service bulletin on the halfshaft boot clamp were required, but the Jeep was turned around quick, and the dealership even washed it for us.
With the electronic updates complete, our first service out of the way, and the engine no doubt broken in by now, we’ll be monitoring our fuel and DEF consumption during the next report to see if anything changes. To this point, we have been nothing short of impressed with the EcoDiesel V-6 and flexibility of our Grand, but we plan to push it further in the next quarter with more highway miles—both with and without a trailer attached.
Photo 4/4   |   2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Ecodiesel
Report: 2 of 4
Previous report(s): Dec. 2014
Base price: $46,195
Price as tested: $54,780
Long-Term Numbers:
Miles to date: 10,050
Miles since last report: 4,865
Average mpg (this report): 23.09 mpg
Test best tank: 27.48 mpg
Test worst tank: 19.64 mpg
Test Maintenance:
10K Service: Oil change, tire rotation, electronic updates, halfshaft boot clamp repair
Problem Areas: None
Fast Look:
We Like: Plenty of torque from the EcoDiesel, surprisingly good towing platform
We’d Change: Integrate a trailer brake controller
We Say: Good power, good economy, and good capability make for a good match.
Logbook Quotes:
“We washed a pair of jeans with the key fob in the pocket, then dried them. True to the Jeep heritage, our key fob was no worse for the wear and still works.”
“Just towed close to 6,500 pounds and the Grand handled it with ease, although I would have liked the peace of mind of an integrated trailer brake controller.”
“Hooking up a trailer alone? No problem, the air suspension and backup camera make it easy.”
“Just filled up next to an EcoDiesel Ram. I’m starting to see more of these two vehicles out in the wild.”
“Towing an 8½-foot-wide trailer really makes me wish the Grand could be had with towing mirrors.”

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