Does the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel stack up to VW, Porsche?
The new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is an impressive sport utility with many of the things that only Jeep can provide. One of the biggest pieces of news for the new Grand Cherokee, though, is the addition of a turbo diesel option for extreme fuel economy.
The new Grand Cherokee looks great, retains the legendary Jeep offroad capability, holds luxury to a high standard, etc. It competes directly with the Volkswagen Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne models, which have both held exclusive ownership of the diesel realm in full-sized SUVs. When the 2013 Grand Cherokee releases with its diesel option later this year, though, that VW Group hold on diesel power will be challenged.
The Grand Cherokee will use a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine which will deliver an EPA estimated 30 mpg highway. Compared to the gasoline variant, that is a great number - the 3.6L gasoline gets 24 mpg hwy. Jeep also claims a "best in class" total possible range of 730 miles per tank of fuel.
The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel also has a 3.0L diesel engine and gets 29 mpg highway. The 2013 VW Touareg has the same engine and receives the same 29 mpg highway. That's only one point of difference.
So what about that "best in class" claim Chrysler makes about the total possible range for the 2014 Grand Cherokee? Well, it comes down to fuel tanks and timing. While Jeep hasn't released the information for their EcoDiesel option's tank size, to get that kind of range at 30 mpg, it would have to have about 24.3 gallons of tank capacity. That would be about two gallons less than the VW and Porsche, which both have 26.4 gallon capacities. Both of those also have a 740 mile range claim - ten miles more than the Jeep.
So how does Chrysler get away with calling theirs "best in class" when it's clearly not? Simple. The claim comes with the caveat that it's for the 2014 model year. So far, Jeep is the only manufacturer to have announced a 2014 model year diesel-powered SUV. The good news? They hold the title for best-in-class highway fuel economy. The 2014 Grand Cherokee is also competitive on many other fronts. The lame marketing claim for best range is, well, just a marketing angle and not much else.
For more about the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, click here for our exclusive interview with Wendy Orthman.
*EPA numbers for MPG taken from fueleconomy.gov.