2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

More than just a mid life update
By Imthishan Giado

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Has it really been three years since the Grand Cherokee came out? Hard to believe but it has, and like clockwork, the most-awarded SUV in history is now ready for its mid-life update.

That said, of all the myriad mid-size SUVs on sale today the Grand Cherokee is perhaps the only one that least needed an update, with looks that still look fresh today and the refinement that only comes from having a Mercedes platform underneath your all-American good looks. Still, buyers expect change and so here comes change, all dressed up with plenty of places to go.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

For new buyers, the most noticeable change will be the LED daytime running lamps, now standard across the range (along with bixenon main headlights) followed by the gently reworked front fascia and slightly lower foglamps. If they go around to the back, they’ll find more LEDs adorning the rear tail lamps as well, and minor changes to the rear liftgate design. The exterior redesign is subtle enough that there’s just enough to make new buyers comfortable, yet not make current owners exceedingly jealous.

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Interior-2

Bigger changes await within where there’s a new design for the three-spoke steering wheel (with paddle shifters) on all models (SRT8 getting its own specific design) and a glitzy new 7-inch screen on the instrument cluster that’s virtually infinitely configurable – Jeep says over 100 combinations possible – via the four-way directional pad on the left spoke of the steering wheel, and a plethora of new finishes for the wood including a rather fetching ‘open-pore’ option on top Overland and Summit models. Limited and up Grand Cherokees get the 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen (which coupled with Garmin navigation is still the best in the business) and fully redesigned HVAC controls that ditched the dated dot matrix temperature display. (It’s in the touchscreen above now, along with all other entertainment info.)

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Interior-5

Probably the biggest change of all is the shifter; the old gated lever is no more and in its place, the ‘corporate’ Dodge electronic T-handle that’s a nice nod to the Audi playbook. What the gearbox is controlling is perhaps more relevant because the old Mercedes five-speed auto has finally been banished, with a new Chrysler-developed eight-speed in its place.

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Interior-3

The eight-speed auto is big news – it lifts fuel economy across the board for all the engines with the ‘Pentastar’ 290bhp 3.6-litre V6 now delivering 9.8 L/100km on the highway, the ‘HEMI’ 5.7-litre V8 sees economy improve by 10% to 16.8L/100km in the city and 11.76 L/100km on the highway. Overall economy also gets a little boost from the new ‘Aero’ mode for the air suspension that drops the vehicle by 15mm on the highway at speeds beyond 90kph.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

For the launch, we took the Grand Cherokee on a slightly meandering drive from the Trading Enterprises dealership to the Maha Desert Resort on Al Ain road, giving us ample opportunity to test out the new eight-speed auto in action and improvements to the air suspension system. This new box may be built by Chrysler but it was designed by the geniuses at ZF and it shows with smooth, confident shifts and a complete absence of confusion, even with eight ratios to choose from.

Going up gradients, it’s intelligent enough to stay a couple of gears lower; kick down and it’ll go down a few gears more with no hesitation, even if you’re not in the transmission’s Sport mode. Selecting gears via the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters is remarkably intuitive and an absolute boon if you go offroad, as we’ll see later.

On the highway, the Grand Cherokee really feels a class act, with well-contained wind noise and a refined ride, largely thanks to that great air suspension. Dare I say it, it even feels better than the ML350 from which it borrowed its basic platform three years ago. The steering is accurate and well-weighted, the brakes have decent feel – for a family SUV, there still isn’t anything in the class to match it.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

At the Maha resort, things got a whole lot more interesting. Trucks like this don’t often venture into the rough stuff; that’s usually because when they do they it’s not a pretty sight thanks to road-biased tyres and suspension. Not so the Grand Cherokee; press a button and the truck rises up 1.3” to go over most obstacles, a full 2.6” available on the full ‘Offroad 2’ setting.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

We left the Maha almost as quickly as we arrived and ventured out into the countryside to take in some serious rock climbing, the Grand Cherokee clambering over obstacles that would make you wince your teeth in most other vehicles. You have a low range box at your disposal but honestly it’s not 100% necessary; the Pentastar has more than enough torque for most situations; click off first gear and you’re good for almost anything.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Along the way, we also got the chance to try out Jeep’s new ‘Hill Ascent System’. Yes, you read that right – Ascent. Over a ludicrous, axle-twisting set of gullies, we had to manoeuvre the GC without using the brakes at all. Going downhill is easy – activate descent, then select your crawl speed via the paddles. Uphill is a weirder sensation; you have to wait for the truck to ‘sense’ that it’s going uphill then very slowly, foot off the paddles, it starts to gently find its way up rocks. Spooky, but it works!

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Next day at the Maha was a more traditional exercise – dune bashing! On the 20-inch wheels and base Pentastar engine I was slightly sceptical that the GC wouldn’t dig itself a hole to China. Never fear – it managed just fine, although the ride was a tad sharp over bumps and axle hop quite pronounced. For better results, we switched to a HEMI with the smaller 18s which frankly made mincemeat of the soft sand, blasting up hills like its Wrangler little brother.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Sure we got stuck a couple of times but it’s a credit to how good the basic elements of this truck are designed, that we were able to extricate ourselves easily every time. And you have to give credit to that transmission again; paddle shifters rule in soft sand when you need a new gear yesterday, matched to an excellent calibration for the traction control system that rarely gets in your way.
Put some bigger tyres on this car, remove the soft stock bumpers and you have a real weekend warrior – that’s the God’s honest truth.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Verdict
Before this test, hand on heart, I hadn’t taken the Grand Cherokee that seriously. But now having witnessed in action both on and off road, all those awards make sense because nothing else in this price range comes close to its breadth of ability. The only car that might possibly exceed it starts with the words ‘Range’ and ends with the word ‘Rover’ – and for the humble Grand Cherokee that’s very high praise indeed. Word of advice – ditch the stock bumper immediately, it’s far too aerodynamically inclined. A couple of minutes with a wrench and it’s no longer a problem.

But even if you never go offroad, as a day-to-day car this remains one of the best in the business with great visibility, acceptable fuel economy and a car-like feel that completely lacks intimidation. Rivals like the Prado may have tougher body-on-frame construction but they’re a dog to drive on the road; similar air-suspended cars from the likes of Land Rover costs well over AED100k more and aren’t necessarily better to drive. Cheaper options from Korea can’t even begin to compete offroad.

So all things considered, we’re back where we started. Grand Cherokee. Best in the business. Was it ever in doubt?

Grand Cherokee Laredo 3.6L V6 8-Speed Auto
AED 143,900

Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7L 8-Spd. Automatic
AED 165,300

Grand Cherokee Limited 3.6L V6 8-Speed Auto
AED 159,100

Grand Cherokee Overland 5.7L 8-Spd. Automatic
AED 191,200

Grand Cherokee Summit 5.7L 8-Spd. Automatic
AED 207,900

Grand Cherokee SRT8 6.4L V-8 HEMI 8-Spd. Automatic
AED 236,500

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 
Specs (3.6-litre V6)
Engine: 3.6-litre V8, 290bhp @ 6400rpm, 260lb ft @ 4800rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 2061kg

Specs (5.7-litre V8)
Engine: 5.7-litre V8, 360bhp @ 5150rpm, 390lb ft @ 4250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 2336kg (est)

34 responses to “2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review”

  1. ZoXo says:

    2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee typo error.

  2. TC says:

    Are those prices correct? Look a little low.

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] These are base MSRP prices from the Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge Head office. Individual dealers can price cars differently, depending on the options fitted to the cars they order.

  3. TC says:

    Anybody know when the 2014 will arrive in Qatar?

  4. Essa says:

    Thanks for the great review 🙂
    Wanted to ask:
    1. How fast does the transmission change gears?
    2. At what engine RPM can you downshift?
    3. When in Offroad 2 setting, at what speed is the ride height lowered?

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan]
      1) The transmission shift speed depends on what the engine is being asked to do; around town it shifts quite gently. Get on it hard and it slams through the gears quite quickly, if not DSG fast. It’s probably the best offroad auto I’ve ever driven.
      2) The engine will only downshift when its safe to do so, so about 500rpm before redline. As I recall, it will hold gears to redline.
      3) At about 25kph, the suspension will drop to Offroad 2. We did the rock section in OR2, and the sand driving in OR1 and never once touched ground.

  5. Andre says:

    How about the V6 – 18-inches wheels without “Quadra Lift”. Does it make to sand bashing?

  6. Andre says:

    Well, have had proven my Grand Cherokee 2014 V6 with no Quadra Lift a well rounded 4×4!

    Driven it on-road to Sila and desert drive to Al Awir marking up an almost 1000 km on my Odo. To make it short the Comfort, agility & versatility…just amazing.

  7. Baba says:

    Dear Imthishan,
    Can you please give your expert comments about the A/C system for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 Limited. Is the cooling good enough for the harsh UAE climate? Is the A/C strong enough? Considering it has two sets of vents only in the front and the middle section – does it cool fast enough? Is the A/C as strong as Toyota Prado? Please give your opinion as I have heard that the A/C in not very strong.
    Thanks

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] A/C performance is very good – about on par with the Prado these days I’d say. Jeep now does a lot of thermal testing in this region, and consequently A/C and cooling systems are beefed up for our climate.

  8. Mahmoud Osman says:

    I’m writing to you to fill an official complain about how I’ve been handled purchasing my 2014 Grand Cherokee. And the very bad experience I’m having dealing with one of your official distributors from the day I pre ordered the car till now.
    To start with. I purchased a 2014 grand Cherokee from an official distributor of you in Cairo, Egypt. Which is Ezz el Arab. No need to mention all the imprecise dates I’ve been given to deliver my car. I ended up waiting for more than 10 months to finally get my car ready. Anyway that was the least problem I had with them.
    The first moment I waked out with my new car I noticed a weird noise coming out from the car. Which is very odd. I went back to them and complained about this noise. They checked the car and informed me that there was a problem in the rear right suspension. And I’ve been informed that the problem was mended. As I drove the car again I noticed the problem is still the same. And I took the car back to them.
    After a small conversation with one of the technicians or engineers there, I realized that instead of replacing the suspension they just added grease to it as they were short on spares. They also informed me that the same problem exist in the front suspension as well. And they will take care of it, which never happened.
    I had also other problems that I complained about which is the front bumper is not properly fixed and keeps popping out. And a minor crack in the steering wheel. They told me that all these were fabrication mishaps and would be taken care of.
    I’m writing this complain after almost a month of dealing with them, going back and forth through countless phone calls and visits with no solution to all the problems I have with my new car. Which is really frustrating.
    Being a loyal customer with Jeep for more than 15 years with various models during these years, I think I deserve a better handling. And as is still want to stay as a customer with you guys I demand an action to replace this car with a new one after all the problems I’m facing with my brand new car. I’m attaching all the job orders forms I have that proves every single word I narrated here. Thanks so much for your time and looking forward for your action.

  9. Ziraj says:

    Hi Imthishan
    I’m in market shopping for an SUV. I love the GC but there has been some questions on the reliability of GC which is worrying. Do you have any comments on that? I’m also looking at Landcruiser 4.0 V6 (not convinced on value for money with relation to features/looks/drive), Ford Explorer Limited. What would your advice be?
    I intend to do Wadis, Mild-moderate desert driving etc. I like Nissan Patrol but find it too big and too expensive. | will be grateful if you could advice me.

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] I haven’t heard of too many issues with the Grand Cherokee – some occasional sensor faults, some updates for the transmission software – and even if there are, well that’s what a warranty is for!

      Unless you need a seven-seater, the Grand Cherokee is a better everyday car than the land cruiser, it’s lighter, more frugal, feels more car-like to drive and more upmarket inside with better toys. If you plan to do lots of offroading, get a car with the optional air suspension which can net you up to 2.6″ of extra clearance (don’t forget to remove the front spoiler).

      Land Cruisers are good but a bit trickier to drive offroad (they’re very big and bodywork like bumpers and side steps tend to take a beating). The Patrol is even more massive and I wouldn’t honestly recommend it for heavy offroad usage. The Explorer should not go offroad, full stop.

  10. Ziraj says:

    Thank you Imthishan for being honest! that’s the best reply I have received.

  11. Firoze says:

    Hi there,

    Great review. I actually purchased a Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7L 8-Spd and have taken it off road a number of times. I’ve managed to damage the bumper a few times and have replaced the front stock plastic skid plate with a metal one. Do you have any tips on how I can get a few more inches clearance. Descending dunes can be a problem as the front clearance is pretty low. Would larger tyres be advised, if so are you able to recommend any?

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] Good work on the skid plate, that’s necessary with the stock plastic bumpers.

      If your GC has air suspension, your only option is to set it to Offroad 1 and drive slowly and sensibly. If you have coil springs – well you might be in luck. Both Old Man Emu and Eibach offer 2″ lifts which will provide extra ground clearance and allow you to fit larger tyres (you’re looking at least 32″ or 33″ but be careful of rubbing – aftermarket wheels may also be necessary).

      Take your time, choose wisely and enjoy the great outdoors!

  12. Firoze says:

    Thanks for the reply and tips, much appreciated!

  13. Siva says:

    Great review. I have been a fanboy of Grand Cherokee from the time I laid my sight on it.

    Need a quick advise. I am planning to buy an used GC & I am ok with any of the trims as long as it meets my budget(love the SRT, but the used ones available in the mkt are way too over my budget:( ).
    What is the recommended mileage that I should be looking at in order to reduce future maintenance hassles ?

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] You shouldn’t have any major maintenance problems with the GC. 80k is a good mileage to consider; anything under a 100k is also good at the next level of budget. Anything over 150k, haggle very hard indeed!

  14. Martin says:

    It is true that maintaining a GC here in UAE are a real pain? Parts are insanely costly especially with Mopar (parts distributor here in UAE i believe?) Planning to get a GC 2015 limited i understand that this forum was created long time ago. Need an advice about how expensive is the maintenance and is there any current issues in 2015 models so i know what will i get my self into or if it really worth it?

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] No issues that we are aware of, and maintenance not reported to be any costlier than the norm. On a new car you can always opt for a servicing package to keep costs down, but popularity of Grand Cherokee here at the moment, suggests it’s a good value proposition. Let us know how you get on if you go for it!

  15. Nosy says:

    Hi,

    I have a GC 2014 and noted your comment above about the Old Man Emu and Eibach 2″ lift kits. I spoke to the dealer who informed me that this would totally invalidate the warranty on the entire car. In your experience, is this the case?

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] Modifying the suspension would only invalidate the warranty on the suspension components, not the entire car.

  16. Sujith says:

    Need a quick advice. Planning to buy a jeep grand cherokee limited.
    Please advise me for going 20 inch wheels optional instead of 18 inch in limited. What about the cost difference for 20 inch rims and tires optional in GC limited in uae

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] Check with the dealer for price differences as this will vary from country from country and in the UAE, between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Be aware that it’s much cheaper to get the wheels with the car, instead of buying them later as an aftermarket accessory.

      I’ve driven the 20s and they look great, as well as working onroad as well as offroad. You will always get a better ride with the smaller 18-inch wheels and the tyres will be slightly cheaper to replace as well. If you have the money and don’t go offroad (and I mean serious, big dunes) then get the 20s.

  17. Ahmed says:

    Just I would like to ask regards Overland model, is it come with rear DVD

    Thank you

  18. Abed says:

    Hi,

    I am looking to by the limited 2015 in Kuwait, but everybody is tilling me that GC cant handle the tempreature, especially that temp here reaches 60’s in the summer, is it right that I will suufer?

    I need an advice plz
    Thx

  19. Imran says:

    Hi,

    How you guys sew the words, feels a different world of cars. Beautiful !
    I am looking for new 3.6 GC Laredo (Dubai)
    Is it capable enough for offroad, wadis. How about low range requirement

    Was also checking 2014-15 models for 3.6GC Limited Edition. But then I got bad reviews of shifter (2014-15 models)
    Pls advice
    Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *