2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 Quick Drive

Back in the saddle again: The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee ascends back to the top of the full-size SUV segment

Love them or hate them; road trips are a part of life. Whether you're setting out as a teenager to a college just far away enough not to fly, or going to visit family for the weekend as an adult, road trips are almost impossible to avoid. There are many vehicles available today that can handle its fair share of road trips but not many are better at it than the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. So, with this in mind, we set out on a road trip to visit family a few hours away for the week, and it quickly became easy to see that the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee was still an ideal road tripping vehicle. Here's what we uncovered.

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Model and Price

Dressed in the luxurious Overland trim, our 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee tipped the price scale at $45,995, but with some additional options, the final asking price climbed to $51,875. This final asking price included a 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi engine ($2,695), Quadra-Drive II ($795), Advanced Technology Package ($1,795), and the Off-Road Adventure II package ($995). The Advanced Technology Package includes brake assist, blind spot and rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with crash mitigation. As for the Off-Road Adventure II package, it includes 18-inch aluminum polished wheels, 265/60R18 all-season on/off-road tires, a front suspension skid plate, a fuel tank skid plate shield, a shiny "Trail Rated" badge, Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system, and Selec-Speed Control. An $895 destination and handling fee was also included.

Safety and Key Features

Weighing in at a stout 4,687 pounds, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is packed with a wide variety of safety features. Some of these standard safety features include side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, and a front seat-mounted torso airbag. Other standard safety features include electronic stability and roll over control, and antilock brakes. Jeep now offers available daytime running lights on the 2014 Grand Cherokee, as well. In government crash testing, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee earned an overall rating of four stars when tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee earned an overall score of "Good" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on its way to being named a Top Safety Pick.

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Family Friendliness and Utility

Family friendliness and utility is exactly why the Jeep Grand Cherokee was created 20 years ago. Originally, the Grand Cherokee was slated to be a replacement for the smaller Cherokee, but due to a collaboration of designers from Chrysler (American Motors Corporation, at the time) and three outside designers, the Grand Cherokee soon dwarfed the original Cherokee in size. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is no different, as its full-bodied size makes it easy to climb in and out. Strapping a child's seat into the back is easy, too, as the LATCH points are located at the base of the seat and are easily within reach. The back seats flip down, making it easy to load almost anything inside the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and with a maximum towing capacity (when properly equipped) of 7,400 pounds, there's little the latest Grand Cherokee can't pull.

Comfort and Quality

Next to the 2013 Ram 1500, we can safely say that the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most comfortable riding vehicles currently in Chrysler Group's portfolio. During its stay with us, we logged more than 1,000 miles from various mini road trips, and other important places to go lodged in between. The 8.4-inch touchscreen loaded up with Chrysler Group's Uconnect infotainment system made every mile quietly slip by. Hooking up both an iPhone and Android only took one time apiece and the Bluetooth audio capability is a necessity for anyone who spends the better part of their day in the car. The leather seats held up well during multiple road trips of 200 miles each way, too.

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How it Drives

It's no 6.4-liter V-8 Hemi leviathan engine like the one found in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, but the 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi engine held its own just fine. On more than one occasion, we found ourselves on a back country road with only an 18-wheeler ahead of us, so the only responsible thing to do was test out the 5.7-liter V-8 engine's acceleration chops. After doing a few tests, unless you specialize in racing 5,000 pound SUVs, the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 and the rest of the SRT package is simply a practice in over-indulgence. Then there's the eight-speed automatic transmission, the redesigned shifter handle, and the shift-by-wire system. The entire drivetrain worked harmoniously together; so well in fact that you have to listen hard to hear the gears hopping around because you won't feel it as you're driving down the road. Our 17.3 mpg combined fuel economy averaged a hair above the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee's advertised combined fuel economy rating of 16 mpg.

Summary

Cutting right to the chase, if you're in the market for a solid family hauler that can also off-road with the best of them, then the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the one to get. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine is no SRT offering, but it's still potent in its own right, and the eight-speed automatic transmission just puts this drivetrain over the top. However, we will admit fuel economy wasn't where we would like to see it, so if that's important to you, we'd recommend going with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 offering or even the all-new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel variant that's new for 2014. The choice of four different engines combined with Jeep's legendary off-roading capability and all of the available cargo space put the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee back at the top of the full-size SUV segment heap.

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Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $51,875
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 14 mpg
EPA Highway: 20 mpg
EPA Combined: 16 mpg
Cargo Space: 20 "grocery bags"
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Excellent
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row (if applicable): Not Applicable
Estimated Combined Range: 393.6 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: No rating

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