The matchup was inevitable. Volkswagen, one of the long-running standard-bearers of diesels in the U.S. market, has offered a diesel engine option in its midsize Touareg SUV nearly every year since the SUV's introduction. Jeep has been on-again, off-again with diesels in its models dating back to the 1980s, but looks to be playing for keeps with the 2014 Grand Cherokee, which is the first 50-state-legal diesel version of the model.
Motor Trend's Jonny Lieberman takes these two examples out in some moderately challenging off-road terrain to determine which is the better all-around SUV. The VW is the slightly trimmer and sportier of the two, but as Lieberman says, "sporty" is a relative term when you're talking about 5000-plus-lb SUVs. The Jeep has a slightly cushier ride on-road than the more stiffly sprung Touareg. Both are powered by 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesels making 240 hp, with the Jeep taking a slight edge in torque at 420 lb-ft, compared to the VW's 406.
Ultimately, the Jeep gets the nod from Lieberman for its superior off-road ability, including multiple terrain settings and a true low-range, and substantially better level of equipment than the Volkswagen, for just a small price premium. Watch the Head 2 Head review below!