Saturday, January 24, 2009

Diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee is powerful and pleasant


A recent test drive in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited turbodiesel gave us a chance to see just how nicely diesel vehicle technology has progressed.
Unlike previous models, today's diesel vehicles are not smelly, don't belch smoke into the air and aren't very loud.
The Grand Cherokee Limited came with a 3.0-liter V-6 with common-rail diesel technology developed by Mercedes-Benz.
The traditional diesel rumble sound is still audible, but in no way is it intrusive — it's just a low-hum.
The five-speed automatic transmission rolls from one gear to another without drama.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of driving this Grand Cherokee is its torque, which is 376 pounds-feet. It's quite evident when you attempt to merge onto a freeway crowded with speeding commuters.
Horsepower is a relatively modest 215.
So why buy a diesel?
It's not because of the price of diesel fuel, which has been running consistently higher than even premium unleaded gasoline.
But, the upside is that when you fill your tank, it tends to stay full longer than a gas tank.
The EPA numbers for the tester are 17 mpg city/22 highway. In combined driving we were getting just shy of 20 mpg.
Now, compare that with the gasoline Grand Cherokee, which has a 3.7-liter V-6 and carries EPA numbers of 15 and 20. It also falls short of the diesel in horsepower and torque.
If you bump up the Grand Cherokee to the 4.7-liter V-8, your EPA numbers drop to 14 and 19.
This diesel technology gives you better power than most hybrids we've tested, its fuel economy numbers aren't too far off and you aren't weighed down with extra batteries.
Diesel fuel is widely available, too — most estimates say that about 50 percent of retail fuel stations nationally carry diesel.
Besides the diesel technology, this Grand Cherokee offered what you would expect from a Jeep.
The interior was nicely designed, there's a fair amount of room for driver, passengers and cargo, and visibility is good, thanks to the high seating structure.
We didn't check its off-road capabilities, but would assume that it performs well in this area, too.
The sticker price was $40,905.

1 comment:

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