2013 Detroit: Jeep Grand Cherokee gets 8-speed automatic and diesel option

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Jeep is giving Grand Cherokee customers some awesome options for the 2014 model year: "Would you like power or fuel economy? Or, perhaps boatloads of torque?"

If you're a fan of extended road trips, as I am, the 2014 Grand Cherokee offers something special: a stunning 730-mile per tankful highway driving range, thanks to a new 3.0-liter diesel V6 and eight-speed automatic.

Jeep says the diesel model should return 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway in 4x2 models, and 20/28 from 4x4s.

That engine will produce 240 horsepower and a diesel-typical mountain of torque: 420 lb.-ft.

But fear not if you're not a diesel devotee but still yearn for decent fuel economy. This eight-speed auto is standard across the Grand Cherokee line. That means improved V6 and V8 fuel economy as well.

All versions of the 2014 Grand Cherokee will offer a raft of up-to-date safety options, including forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection (a feature we really like).

Other updates across the line include new interior and exterior styling, front and rear LED lights, a nice big 8.4-inch touchscreen display, customizable engine/vehicle gauges in the instrument display, and cloud-based voice texting.

Bored with fuel economy and safety news? Gaze upon the 2014 SRT version. That's the high-performance setup, powered by a thumping 470-hp, 6.4-liter V8 mated to the new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Proving that Chrysler has a sense of humor, the muscle-bound SRT has an "Eco Mode" button to save gas. Well, why not? It uses cylinder-deactivation and transmission reprogramming to cut fuel use. Now, back to business. A new feature more in line with the SRT credo, "Go fast...NOW," is the standard "launch control." Whazzat? A system that "mimics a professional driver's inputs to optimize...performance by bringing engine, transmission, driveline, stability control, and suspension in line for a textbook launch." Translation: It's a magic button to help you win street-drag races.

So, we're back to the beginning: "Would you like performance, torque, fuel economy, or a choice of all three with your new Grand Cherokee?"

See our complete 2013 Detroit auto show coverage.



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