Since taking control of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in September, I've logged roughly 3746 miles behind the wheel. With a 260-mile weekly work commute those miles add up quickly. A quick glance at the fuel log shows I'm going an average of 355 miles between fill-ups and I've needed to refuel an average of every 6-8 days, allowing me to not feel like I'm constantly at the pump, something I irrationally dread. Maybe because it means getting up a few minutes early. Something I also dread.

Early in my stewardship I noticed I seemed to gain too much momentum while attempting to maintain a constant speed somewhere in the 20-30 mph range- whether in L.A.'s notorious stop-and-go traffic or navigating the alley behind my apartment. I say "seemed" because this was more of a feeling of the vehicle's continued forward motion than an actual high speed. Rather than slow down noticeably after letting up on the gas the Jeep would retain its momentum and not bleed off speed as I would expect, causing me to apply the brakes heavily for such a relatively slow speed.

Recently I've noticed I no longer need to do this. This is by far the heaviest vehicle I've spent a significant amount of time in and it's taken me a little while to understand, by feel, the nuances of piloting a larger vehicle. Realizing I can use much less throttle to maintain a constant speed has kept my brake stomping to a minimum. Brakes, which by the way, grip nicely and react to various amounts of pressure. No lock-ups or tire screeching to report so far.

A good lesson to learn is that even though these large vehicles drive smoothly and can be as quick as a large car, it can take some time to figure out the differences. Also taking some time to get used to is the mild-amount of attention the Jeep Grand Cherokee seems to attract. The first time I drove our legendary long-term Nissan GT-R home I realized I was driving a rock-star. The attention it garnered was overt and often comical. By no means is the Jeep Grand Cherokee on level with the Nissan, but I've noticed a fair number of motorists taking interest in looking for the badge and giving the vehicle the once over. Most notably a motorcycle officer sped past, slowed down and just when I thought I was going to (unjustly) get a ticket the officer stared at the front badge, paused as if making a mental note, then sped off into the I-5 tunnels just north of Downtown L.A. Jeep is definitely a brand name people care about. No thumbs up yet, but we still have some time. I'm actually more worried about the Michigan plates as we get closer to the Ohio St. vs. Michigan game.

Soon, I'll take the Jeep into a local dealer for a 16,000-mile service, which will include normal fluids changed, tires rotated, and inspections.


Our Car
Months/miles in service 9/14,544
Avg econ/CO217.9 mpg/1.08 lb/mi
Energy cons188 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problemsNone
Maintenance cost$72.61 (oil/filter change, tire rotation)
Normal-wear cost$6.57 (taillight bulbs)