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Old 12-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
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JEEP R&D - can we finally get a diesel Wrangler?

Jeep takes new path with diesel 2014 Grand Cherokee - latimes.com

Jeep takes new path with diesel 2014 Grand Cherokee

Jeep aims to draw buyers away from SUVS of German luxury brands with entries including the 2014 diesel Grand Cherokee Summit, which comes with lots of goodies.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel points the brand in a luxury direction that will also see the return of the Grand Wagoneer model in the future.
CAPTIONS
1/9
By David Undercoffler
December 1, 2013, 6:15 a.m.

This is not your grandfather's Jeep.

The 2014 diesel Grand Cherokee Summit points the brand in a very different direction than its beginnings as a bare-bones World War II gadabout. The same can be said for this new version's $57,000 price tag.

Today's Jeep comes with trinkets that were beyond fantasy in the 1940s, including adaptive cruise control, heated and cooled leather seats and an adjustable air suspension. The hope is that goodies like these will draw buyers out of sport utility vehicles from established German luxury brands and establish Jeep as a competitor in the cut-throat, $50,000-plus arena.


"Once you hit that level, the market shrinks significantly," Mike Manley, Jeep's chief executive, said in an interview at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. "It's a tough market, but what we've seen with the [high-end Grand Cherokees] is that we can really compete there."

Chrysler's can-do brand also wants to grab some of those owners with the new diesel option on the Grand Cherokee, which Jeep refreshed for the 2014 model year. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi each sell at least one diesel SUV in the U.S.

To stay in league with this group, Jeep is positioning the diesel model as its most premium offering (not including the 470-horsepower, full-bonkers SRT model that sails past $70,000). This means you can spend as much as $59,000 on a diesel Grand Cherokee. The almost fully loaded diesel Summit we tested sells for $56,990.

In addition to the aforementioned goodies, the Summit model includes a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, 8.4-inch touch-screen navigation and infotainment system, heated steering wheel, forward collision mitigation, backup camera and blind-spot monitoring.

Adding the diesel engine to the Summit model is a $5,000 option, and includes an upgrade to a four-wheel-drive system, a limited-slip differential, and heavy-duty ABS brakes and rear axle.

And let's not forget the engine itself, a 3.0-liter V-6 pulled from duties in the European Grand Cherokee. With just 240 horsepower to move nearly 5,400 pounds, this Grand Cherokee can feel sluggish when you meet an onramp or passing situation. This fault isn't limited to this Jeep diesel however; nearly all the German diesels it's chasing have almost identical horsepower.

Another byproduct of driving this diesel is the noise. With all the clatter of your favorite school bus, sneak into your driveway at night you will not. However, after a week of testing we admittedly found ourselves used to the sound, and the tightly bolted interior does a great job of keeping this noise and others out.

Otherwise, the diesel model handled and drove like any other Grand Cherokee on the market. This is high praise, as you need only a few minutes behind the wheel to feel the excellence of the chassis, which this Jeep shares with the current generation of Mercedes ML SUV (a latent byproduct of the failed Daimler and Chrysler venture).

Also worthy of praise is the Grand Cherokee diesel's best attribute: piles of torque — 420 pound-feet if we're being scientific about it — that aids in initial acceleration and lets this SUV tow as much as 7,400 pounds.

A fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission has been fitted to the entire Grand Cherokee family for 2014. In this model it stays out of the engine's way, and was content to play a subtle role in reducing the SUV's fuel intake.

The EPA rates this diesel version at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. We averaged 25 mpg during nearly all highway driving, which means around 600 miles on a single tank was possible.

This is another reason Manley and his team at Jeep were keen to bring this diesel stateside. Few modifications were needed to bring it into compliance with U.S. regulations, which means this is a relatively cheap way for Jeep to boost the brand's fuel economy average.

While it's unfortunate that Jeep customers have to part with so much cash for a capable and fuel-efficient diesel engine, Jeep hasn't ruled out making it available on lesser Grand Cherokees or different models entirely.

"I think [high-end models] are going to be a proxy to what else we can do with diesel," Manley said. "This is like a litmus test for us."

Jeep is considering the diesel on the base Laredo trim that is so popular among customers who lease. Currently, the cheapest diesel Grand Cherokee costs at least $41,590. Jeep may also bring to the U.S. the diesel version of the all-new compact Cherokee that recently went on sale. That model is available with a diesel engine in Europe, and Jeep would again position it at the high-end.


Such a strategy is not without its downsides. The Grand Cherokee diesel's biggest flaw is the interior's lack of overall refinement. That's not to say this is an unpleasant or uncomfortable vehicle. But buyers getting out of a similar BMW or Mercedes will certainly notice the inside of this Jeep is a little lower rent than they're used to.

Consider this collateral damage. A base Grand Cherokee — which has the same basic interior — isn't aimed at the luxury crowd and starts at tens of thousands of dollars less than anything with a German emblem on the hood.

This is why Jeep is looking forward to the future, which includes a deep dive into luxury waters. Not only did Manley say that an even more robust Grand Cherokee model could be possible in the future, but also that the company has plans to launch an all-new SUV in 2016 or 2017.

That model would resurrect the Grand Wagoneer nameplate, and probably would target SUVs with three rows of seats such as the Mercedes GL, Infiniti QX60, Lexus GX and Audi Q7. This true-luxury model would avoid Grand Cherokee's challenge of seeking both high-end refinement and everyday cost effectiveness.

"I would like to see a Grand Wagoneer compete at the true top end against other luxury three rows," Manley said. "For me that's an exciting opportunity. I do think we can go further."

Don't rule out Jeep on that one. Going further is something the brand has always been good at. Starting with your grandfather's Jeep.

david.undercoffler@latimes.com

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

Jeep takes new path with diesel 2014 Grand Cherokee - latimes.com


Ok, Jeep - when is our turn? The Pentastar is nice - but still buggy.

There is demand from Wrangler owners for a diesel - I'd trade mine in for one. Or is that the issue, you figure we like the Wrangler so much that you can continue to sell them without a diesel because we will continue to buy them anyhow? It's frustrating, especially dangling the new Cherokee option out there.

You state yourself, this would bring Jeep's EPA options back up with fuel mileage. I know EPA standards in EU are tougher, no excuse for not giving us diesel because of that - and you said it yourself above.

We want the torque, we want the reliability - my Pentastar had seen more dealer time in one year than my TJ has in 7 years!!! You are losing money on me in warranty work..

Come on Jeep, bring the diesel to Wrangler owners! Let's not forget - there's already a diesel everywhere BUT the US!

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Old 12-01-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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I hear ya brother! I love my Jeep, but I'd love it more with a turbo diesel.

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Old 12-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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CP 4.2 pump would be an issue on US diesel fuel.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:23 AM   #4
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If Jeep is bringing a diesel engine to the Grand Cherokee and maybe the Cherokee - they can surely fit one into a Wrangler and make it work. Yeah, there are aftermarket options, but I want something stock, and there's getting to be a point now where there are no excuses left.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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I'd be happy without a diesel if they just put bigger fuel tanks in the JKs. Anyone have the torque curve for this engine? I'm skeptical about low rpm performance since it's a turbo. It'll also probably require an automatic transmission.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #6
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Mostly city driving here. A diesel would be cool, but the juice probably isn't worth the squeeze for me. Diesel is also notably more expensive than even 93 octane and non-oxygenated gasoline here. Doing the math, I would be paying more per mile just in fuel, let alone the price of the drivetrain. No idea what a diesel costs for maintenance ie: oil, additive fluids, etc...

Still, more power is sometimes enough reason to say "What the heck" and enjoy it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #7
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Is the Pentastar really still buggy?
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #8
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Swanson - my 3.6 Pentastar has been GREAT. But, I'd sure like to see one of the new 3.0 liter turbo diesels avail in the Wrangler.

Good grief, it's got 420 ft lbs of torque!

I haven't seen the torque curve, but have no reason to suspect it would be a problem, after all, torque monster diesels like the Cummins found in the big Dodge pickups bring on the power at low, useful rpm's.

Somehow a diesel in the Wrangler just seems long overdue.

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Old 12-13-2013, 05:22 AM   #9
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The European Wrangler gets a Diesel. 30mpg. It's slow, but has gobs of torque and GETS 30 MPG. Let me say that again. A Jeep Wrangler gets 30MPG
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:26 AM   #10
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A diesel would push me into buying a new Jeep.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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Which U.S. Diesel Wrangler owner will be the first to do the tragically inevitable?



That along with a badly set tuner to produce huge amounts of particulates, a dually rear axle, ALCOA 21.5 inch wheels, lots of running lights, a chromed grille, and chrome testes hanging from the trailer hitch?

It's gonna happen.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2five22 View Post
Which U.S. Diesel Wrangler owner will be the first to do the tragically inevitable?



That along with a badly set tuner to produce huge amounts of particulates, a dually rear axle, ALCOA 21.5 inch wheels, lots of running lights, a chromed grille, and chrome testes hanging from the trailer hitch?

It's gonna happen.
They already put 35s, winch bumpers, and a lift on them. We're already a bunch of rednecks. Why not? lol
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2five22 View Post
Which U.S. Diesel Wrangler owner will be the first to do the tragically inevitable?



That along with a badly set tuner to produce huge amounts of particulates, a dually rear axle, ALCOA 21.5 inch wheels, lots of running lights, a chromed grille, and chrome testes hanging from the trailer hitch?

It's gonna happen.
For some reason every 5.9 Cummins I see on the road is tuned like this. I don't (and never will) get it.....
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:55 AM   #14
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Where I live Mud Drags are very popular amongst the ag community. Race ready diesels that second as workhorses are all around. I could see a single chrome stack protruding through the hood of a Jeep pulling a small sled.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:40 PM   #15
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If they'd slap the 3.0 in the 2015 JK, I'd be all over it (not trusting that the JK replacement will be satisfactory, so I hope they don't wait until then).
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #16
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I don't think the European diesel would be all that palatable to U.S. buyers as most would be expecting the higher horsepower associated with U.S. diesel engines. Whatever diesel we end up with, if we ever see one, will be designed for the U.S. market. In the meantime, if you hydrolock you motor during a river crossing, Banks has your diesel replacement crated up and ready to go.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Osage Orange View Post
Where I live Mud Drags are very popular amongst the ag community. Race ready diesels that second as workhorses are all around. I could see a single chrome stack protruding through the hood of a Jeep pulling a small sled.
I second this. Though im not a fan I like the 5in pipe all the way back

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