Roadshow Video Reviews
2014 Jeep Grand CherokeeIt's Jeep's version of the Land Rover, which means rugged and luxurious. Take a ride in our Editors' Choice, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and check the tech.
It's the top of the line of the top of the line for Jeep. This ain't no CJ. Let's drive the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, and check the tech. You can spot a 2014 Grand Cherokee by the face, revised rather notably. But beyond that the Grand Cherokee carries on as something of the American Land Rover. Big, clean and bulk. Without a lot about World War II bric-a-brac that doesn't make a lot of sense to buyers under 40 anymore. Except for some little tiny since 1941 callouts, you'll find headlights and the steering wheel. They just can't help themselves. Now right as you get inside this guy, you realize it's about as spacious as you thought it was gonna be as you approached its bulkiness walking to it. Plenty of good head room, and I'm not even nearly at the bottom of the seat travel. As you can see, this isn't the CJ Jeep of back in the day. This has become the biggest bourgeois rock crawler in the market. But they're meant to be luxurious, that's what Grand Cherokees do in the Jeep line-up. Let's get right to our sensor stack technology. This is what you probably notice right off the bat in this very nicely-- almost too nicely appointed cabin. This is a garment-oriented nav system to begin. You recognize there it right away because it has the familiar wear too, that's garment language. It's right here that's one of the easiest to use in the entire auto industry. Once you do get your navigation set or just browse in the map, it's one of the nicer-looking ones. Street names are always quite legible, as are the legends for traffic and such or direction of street. It's a little doughy and a little bit soft, but once you zoom in well enough, you can read it very well. Onto the media now, AM and FM radio both have HD radio and it's well documented here. You've got an HD button indicator there on the right, and once you get into the FM HD where you often will find secondary or even tertiary stations, it's very easy to bounce between them. You just hit next and it goes from HD1 to HD 2-- SiriusXM of course satellite radio standard on this car as well. Those are really nice job of calling out that particular kind of media with good channel art, great Medatags, and they use all the real-estate. I almost rarely see a station name or a title that has the rotator go-- you know-- piece by piece. Now like old school thinking, they still put media under a separate bucket. And that's where you'll find your iPod connection, SD card is one you'll probably not gonna use so often, but again Meda and [unk] do a good job as good as you did on the card. And of course Bluetooth streaming with Medatag information again. You've also got an OX jack, and by the way, all that stuff lives down here in this bin in the front. In the back, there are two more USB jacks but don't get excited, those are not for media, those are USB charging jacks. Few more technology touches I wanna call your attention too, before we go to the hood-- interesting, very electronic, very modern, very non-Jeep to be honest-- shifter down here that controls the 8-speed automatic. Now down here your drive train control systems and what's a fairly ambitious and sophisticated undercarriage, because we have the 4-wheel drive version, not all of these are. This is honestly kinda taken out of the page from Land Rover that had this thing pretty early on, but you just rotate the knob and it does all the thinking for you for setting up how the 4-wheel drive works. From snow to sand, to let it figure as conditions change, and then we have mud and rock. You also see at the air suspension has different ride heights. You could invoke those if you want, in fact, the levels go from entry-exit, which the car only does when it's parked, to aero for being on the highway, to off-road one and off-road two, high and higher. And then you can push it in the 4-wheel drive low right here, that by the way is even lower than it used to be in the Grand Cherokee, now a 44 to 1 low range ratio-- super crawl on that guy, and you've also got this set control right here, to get down the hill using it's smarts and not your foot. Last bit of cool tech in this cabin is the center display on the instrument panel. Notice we've got a tack on the left, temp and fuel gauges on the right. Those are all real gauges-- mechanical, but in the middle there is an LCD as its current fashion on higher trim cars. You connect apps, now not a lot going on here yet. You've got Bing search, a bunch of remote telematics you can do from your smartphone, and a hot spot which functions as proof that car makers want a piece of the mobile bandwidth explosions. It cost anywhere from 10 bucks a day to 35 bucks a month to activate the jeep's built-in hot spot. And when you do, it's only 3G. Now the first thing I noticed when I get to the engine bay without reading a single spec, is that I know there's a HEMI V8 option, because you got about enough room in front of this V6 to put one of those micro-apartments they're doing these days. So, yes you can get 2 more cylinders on the front, that's another video. We have the 3.6 liter Variable Valve train V6, one of their Pentastar motors. This guy doesn't do any particular trickery, but delivers 290 horsepower, 260-foot pounds of torque. Good enough to move this basically 5,000 pound vehicle up to 60 and about 70-1/2 seconds, while delivering-- not bad-- 1724 mpg in 4 x 4 trim. What's also interesting to me is there's a diesel, a turbo diesel option for the first time on this guy. It's an Italian motor source by, you know, the parent company of Chrysler, Fiat. But it adds $5,000 to the sticker price. Even though it gets up to 30 on the highway, I couldn't earn that back in my lifetime. Now around the town, where you're gonna spend 99 percent of your time in this Jeep, the driving is-- it's a truck, you don't forget that between the kind of non-throttle response, the bouncy-jouncy ride, and the thing you don't find anymore on a lot of vehicles, which is high-profile tires, relatively. So, this is like driving one of those foam pillows. Power is great, this has a really nice V6 engine and it comes on really well, but it's blanketed in a bunch of other BS that just tends to mute its responses. Sport mode does wonders-- took here a lot of that, but it's actually too high strong for most drivers to use everyday. It's-- it holds the gear a really long time and it's gonna piss you off, 'cause it's just too much noise and too much whirring going on, unless you're really into it, and then the suspension lets you down. So, there's no happy medium in this thing. Now we have Adaptive Cruise Control which also has a Forward Collision warning which will get in there and mitigate the crash. You activate that just by turning on cruise, and then you have these two buttons here that rather cartoonally show you distance greater or distance less. And if I set this right here and I set my speed and I set my distance. It seems to be very well-- reading the road in front of me. But I got to tell you in the end driving this Grand Cherokee, I just feel like a I took a nice off road vehicle and I suburbanized it too much. It's been defanged on. Maybe it's just me, but I think an off road vehicle with this kind of credentials, should be a little more pure instead of swaddling all these stuff. But this is America, who am I kidding? Tune up a Grand Cherokee CNET style is pretty easy. Just bring 52 grand, you order the Summit Trim level that we have at about $49,000, and then add 4-wheel drive for $3,000 more. Skip non-sense like the optional back seat blue ray system and tell your kids to just roll down the window. That thing out there is called a tree.