Highlights: Pricing for 2014 increases by $1,100 from the 2013 model. For the first time a diesel is available, according to the folks at Jeep, the vehicle can achieve 30-mpg. This is unheard for a SUV.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $48,985 (Base Grand Cherokee starts at $29,790)

Seating Capacity:  5

Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, side, rear, curtain); hillstart assist; ABS; daytime running lights; a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; an 8-speed transmission; cloth seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel; LED tail lamps; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; an overhead console; a capless fuel filler door; cargo tie-down loops; steering wheel mounted controls; automatic a/c with dual controls; a remote USB port; a remote SD card slot; and remote keyless entry

Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  5 years or 100,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Test Vehicle Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder/290-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 17-city/24-hwy

Trim Levels:

Laredo
Limited
Overland
Summit
SRT8

What’s New:  The Grand Cherokee has been refreshed for the model year. A diesel has been added to the line up for the 2014 model year, a fuel-efficient 8-speed transmission, along with a number of high-tech safety features.

Pros: The Grand Cherokee is available in five trim levels with either a 6-cylinder gas engine, a 6-cylinder diesel engine or two 8-cylinder gasoline engines. The Grand Cherokee is available in either a rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive configuration.

The Grand Cherokee we reviewed was the upscale Overland model, which is a step-up from the Limited model. Our Overland was equipped with a rear back up camera, an electronic rear park assist system, a push-button keyless starter, ventilated front seats, front and rear heated seats, leather seats, power front seats, a heated leather-wood steering wheel, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, paddle shifters, a 9-speaker audio system, a dual panoramic roof, LED headlights and 20-inch wheels.

Moreover, the 4-wheel drive system is what makes the Jeep standout with its signature Quadra-Trac system, which includes a two-speed case, a hill descent control and a Selec-Terrain system. This system allows one to choose from per-programmed settings to handle any driving condition. Our Overland added a height suspension system, allowing one to lower the Jeep at the touch of a button.

Furthermore, our well-equipped Jeep was optioned-out with an Advanced
Q1Technology package, which consisted of a radar-cruise control system, a forward-warning collision system and a blind-spot lane-changing system with cross-path detection.

Finally, the 8-inch infotainment system is easy to use, whether using the nav system, the audio system, the ventilated seats or an app. And we can’t forget about the well thought out interior. Jeep engineers definitely paid a lot of attention to detail.

Cons: There were a few downsides to the Grand Cherokee. The 4×4 rode more like a truck which males sense, since its designed for off-road use. The leather seats were extremely too firm. The seats definitely are design for a long trip. Furthermore, the engineers should consider retuning the upgraded audio system, making sure the vehicle offers a crystal clear premium sound.

Verdict: While most automakers, including the popular Ford Explorer, have switched from a truck-based platform to a smooth-riding car-based platform, the Grand Cherokee has remained true and loyal to being a SUV. Its like a ‘Tom Boy’ in a sense. Its rough and tumble — able to play or work on-or-off the road. Yet, it has a very stylish demeanor, wearing the latest features… from the Bi-Xenon front headlights to the dual panoramic roof to the 20-inch aluminum wheels to the oversized user-friendly 8-inch infotainment screen. Yes, this Jeep is capable of doing it all, even if the ride and handling is too firm. We are hoping that the 4×2 offers a smoother ride. Overall, in our eyes, this is one of the best SUVs on the market in terms of fit, finish, high-tech features, overall quality and the pricing. Despite a few quirks, this vehicle is high on our list ,if you’re looking for a do-it-all, stylish five seater SUV.

Competition: Toyota 4Runner Limited 4×4

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him @ twitter/JeffCars.

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