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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee for Sale at Louisville Kentucky, KY – A Full Review & Brochure

 

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee for Sale at Louisville Kentucky, KY

After two decades of assembling its Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle, the American automaker has finally delivered a world-class off-roader capable of taking on everything in its segment – and more – with a high likelihood of coming out on top.

And if you drove last year’s model, it’s time to climb behind the wheel again as Jeep has significantly updated the SUV for 2014 with a bold new exterior appearance, an upgraded interior with enhanced electronics and a new transmission that completely transforms the way it drives.

We recently spent a full week with a dark blue reviewing, diagnosing and driving the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, a well-optioned model fitted with the standard gasoline-fed V6. While it didn’t have the punch of the range-topping V8-powered SRT8, or the fuel-sipping economy of itsnew EcoDiesel sibling, the high-volume variant left us quite impressed.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee OverlandWithout question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its predecessor.
Slightly more than 20 years ago, Jeep launched its all-new Grand Cherokee for the 1993 model year.
The current chassis is its fourth-generation iteration (known as the WK2 to brand purists), which made its debut at the 2009 New York Auto Show, but it didn’t go on sale until the following summer as a 2011 model. Three short years later, Jeep has introduced the revised 2014 model with a slew of significant upgrades.Jeep is offering its 2014 Grand Cherokee in no fewer than six different models (listed in order of increasing base price): Laredo, Laredo E, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. Depending on the model, there are three engine choices (3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter V8 and the new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel) and several powertrain choices (4×2 and three different 4×4 systems). While the aforementioned diesel and high-performance SRT models capture most of the spotlight, the standard gasoline-powered V6 models comprise the bulk of sales – more than justifying this review.As indicated, Jeep made several improvements to the Grand Cherokee for the new model year. Mechanically speaking, a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing five-speed gearbox and the four-wheel-drive system has been improved with new modes. Cosmetically, the front fascia has been redesigned and there are new taillamps, a larger liftgate spoiler and more wheel choices. Jeep didn’t leave the interior alone either, as the 2014 models are fitted with a new steering wheel with paddle shifters, revised instrument cluster, redesigned center stack with the company’s larger 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, upgraded Uconnect Access and other enhanced interior materials. Without question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its 2013 predecessor.

The Overland in standard configuration is fitted with a very high level of equipment.

 

Our particular 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, painted in True Blue Pearl over two-tone Vesuvio Indigo Blue and Jeep Brown interior upholstery, started with a base price of $45,995. Few would blame the owners who add absolutely no options, as the Overland in standard configuration is equipped with a very high level of equipment that includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-operated eight-way driver and front passenger seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Chrysler’s Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 506-watt audio package, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, bi-xenon headlamps and more. Even so, our tester was upgraded with the Customer Preferred 23P package ($1,695), which included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist, blind spot and rear cross path detection. The bottom line on our SUV’s window sticker, including the mandatory $995 destination charge, was $48,685.

Like most late model Grand Cherokees on the road today, our vehicle featured Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. New for 2014 is a standard ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic that provides not only improved fuel economy and better acceleration, but a new lower crawl ratio of 44:1 to aid off-road prowess when equipped with the two-speed transfer case (Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II is standard on the Overland). The EPA rates the SUV at 17 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway, which is a slight improvement over last year’s 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The engine is also E85 compatible, but burning the ethanol fuel blend delivers reduced economy.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.

Underpinning the Grand Cherokee is an independent suspension mounted to a steel unibody chassis shared with the current-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class (consider it a gift from the earlier DaimlerChrysler days). The front features upper and lower control arms while the rear is fitted with a multi-link design. Twin-tube, gas-charged shock and coil springs round out the package. The Quadra-lift air suspension, with four drive heights and a low Park mode to ease ingress/egress (4.1 inches of total travel), is standard on the Overland. The steering is electrically assisted, and the Grand Cherokee requires just 37.1 feet to turn curb-to-curb. Our Overland was equipped with 20-inch cast aluminum wheels, wrapped in 265/50R20 Goodyear Fortera HL all-season tires.

First impressions mean quite a bit in the automotive world, especially when emotion sells more vehicles than any pushy salesman. In that regard, the 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.

The exterior refresh is attractive, as it maintains the Jeep’s obligatory aggressive and capable appearance while losing some of the shiny chrome in the process. Headlights are now sleeker and more detailed, and the lower fascia receives the same attention. The alterations to the back of the vehicle are less obvious, but Jeep has repositioned some of the flashy trim and cleaned up its overall appearance.

All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint.

While the contrasting dark blue and chocolate interior would not be our first choice, the white piping on the seats and wood on the dashboard provided an upscale appearance. All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint. The front seats are comfortable, with nice bolsters, long lower cushions and good lumbar support, and the driving position fit your editor’s six-foot two-inch frame well. A bright and very legible multi-configurable instrument panel is easy to see, even through polarized glasses, and the Garmin-based Uconnect navigation was intuitive for all who used it (although we didn’t like how many of the seat heat/cooling functions required more than a few actions to access). To ease connectivity, the driver and front passenger are offered an AUX, USB, SD and 12-volt DC power outlet in a panel at the bottom of the center stack.

Second row passengers were equally as content, with acceptable leg, knee and toe room; large tinted windows; and plenty of power to charge their own personal electronics (Jeep has put twin USB ports and a 115-volt outlet on the rear of the center console, exclusively for their use). When the center armrest is raised, the cushion beneath it is flat to make a comfortable fifth seating position.

A lack of a third row Dodge will sell you a Durango for that role means there are no bulky hide-away cushions to prevent the 60:40 split second row from folding, thus creating a flat and expansive cargo area. The front passenger seat folds flat to increase cargo space, too. There are also four metal rails, and steel tie-downs, to help secure larger loads and grocery bag hooks to keep the little things from rolling around (another 12-volt DC outlet is in the rear cargo hold).

The push-button stop/start is carried over from last year. The more significant news is the new electronic shift lever replacing its gated predecessor on the center console. Seemingly lifted right out of the current-generation Audi A8 sedan – they are virtually identical as both share the same ZF eight speed transmission – the stubby T-handle only requires a nudge to engage the gear. In practice, the gear selector requires a slight learning curve, and it cannot be rushed without drawing profanities, but it works well after a bit of familiarity.

Our initial positive impressions of the exterior and interior are complemented by the Grand Cherokee’s new driving dynamics.

The V6 will never match the brawn of the SRT’s V8 (or even the Hemi), and nobody should expect it to, but the new lower first gear allows the volume model to leap off the line with newfound energy. The Jeep weighs 4,984 pounds, which is about average in this segment, but a happy marriage between the six-cylinder Pentastar and the ZF eight-speed transmission (it reportedly has 90 different shift algorithms from which to choose) means the SUV will hit 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds flat. On the road, the power seemed to fall off at higher speeds, but it was more than adequate for most passing maneuvers. According to Jeep, our test car will tow 6,200 pounds (those seeking more pulling capability should look at the diesel or SRT, as those are both rated to pull 7,200-plus pounds).

The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.

Once at speed, extensive soundproofing and thick door seals kept wind noise to a minimum. Unlike the beastly SRT8, docked points for road noise in our recent review, the narrower all-season rubber on this four-door never howled on the open road. While it likely doesn’t help lower cabin noise, the air suspension automatically lowers the vehicle at highways speeds to improve the vehicle’s overall aerodynamics and aid fuel economy (the Grand Cherokee earns a drag coefficient of 0.37).

Tuned for on- and off-road travel, the ride was on the firm side yet its damping response aligned with our expectations – softer than the SRT8, but still maintained a sporty edge. Its European-bred chassis is stiff and responded well to steering requests. Even so, we found ourselves skipping the tight mountain curves where the Jeep began to feel a bit awkward, and taking the highway routes to make good use of the excellent radar-based adaptive cruise control. The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.

It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment.

Sadly, and despite setting a day aside for it, we never had the chance to take the Grand Cherokee off the pavement and try its Select-Terrain system (our planned trip to an off-road park was pushed off the schedule when another automaker was late with a vehicle delivery). Based on previous experience, the new revisions will only improve its competence after the concrete ends.

As you have likely concluded, we really enjoyed our time with the improved Grand Cherokee. It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment. In base form, the $31,000 Laredo version competes exceptionally well against the Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer – we’d likely choose it over all four if a third row of seating weren’t required, and especially if off-road excursions were on our extended menu.

Yet more impressive than beating a typical mid-priced soft-roader is the Overland’s ability to be a worthy lower-cost alternative to the widely praised BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The American beats both in content, equals them in ride quality and is more capable on rough terrain. Thanks to a host of new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades for 2014, the Grand Cherokee has emerged as America’s new midsize SUV standard of excellence.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Louisville Kentucky KY, Grand Cherokee Reviews

Reviews and Information: 2014 Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee

Full 2014 Jeep Wrangler Review

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a no-nonsense vehicle that’s at its best when the pavement ends. This classic SUV will climb over rocks, cross streams and frolic in the sand dunes whenever you please, thanks to its standard four-wheel drive and high ground clearance. Just don’t expect too many comforts along the way. Although the current Jeep Wrangler is the most civilized version ever, it’s still noisy, rough-riding and nothing at all like the compact and midsize crossover SUVs that dominate this price range. However, if your weekend plans include off-roading, this Jeep is arguably the most capable utility vehicle you can buy.

It’s also among the most versatile. Not only can you choose a Wrangler with two or four doors, you can remove the roof, doors and even the windshield if the mood strikes (and you have the right tools). Although, in practice, you probably won’t care to drive the Wrangler for sustained periods of time without these components. We’d recommend the soft top over the (heavy) hardtop if you plan to drive your Wrangle al fresco on a regular basis, but keep in mind that it makes your Jeep more vulnerable to thieves and still requires considerable time and patience to remove and reinstall. Whether you see this as one of the Wrangler’s quaint charms or an unnecessary hassle largely depends on your expectations.

Of course, some of the Wrangler’s issues can’t be brushed off as easily. Braking distances are long, and handling on paved roads is far less steady and refined than other SUVs you might be considering. Still, there’s unexpected fun to be had in driving a Jeep Wrangler around town, as its short wheelbase makes it blissfully easy to maneuver in tight spaces if you don’t mind the slow steering. The V6 engine provides sufficient power, too, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for on the factory options list, the Wrangler enjoys massive aftermarket parts availability from both Chrysler’s in-house supplier Mopar and hundreds of independent companies.

If the Jeep Wrangler’s rugged image and off-road capabilities appeal to you, we’d recommend a lengthy test-drive. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to be drawn in by the Wrangler’s cool factor only to realize soon after they’ve purchased one that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like theNissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser would have been a better choice for driving to work every day. If you know what you’re getting into, though, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to get back to basics and back to nature.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV available in two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions. Each comes in Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trims.

The Sport comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear tow hooks, foglamps, a removable black soft top, crank windows, manual locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, CD player and steering wheel controls. The Unlimited Sport gets four doors, a bigger gas tank, more backseat and trunk space, air-conditioning and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. The Power Convenience Group adds heated power mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power locks and windows and keyless entry. Air-conditioning (for the two-door), satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

Pricing options for the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee available at Jeeps for Less .com. The Sahara adds the above options plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, under-hood insulation, side steps, automatic headlamps, body-colored fender flares, power windows and a six-speaker Alpine sound system.

The Rubicon is not the most abundantly equipped trim level; instead it boasts the most robust off-road credentials. On top of the base Sport equipment, the Rubicon adds special 17-inch wheels, 32-inch tires, heavy-duty axles and transfer case, electronic front and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting front sway bar, rock rails, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio. The previously mentioned Power Convenience Group (heated power mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power locks and windows and keyless entry) is an optional extra on the two-door Rubicon, but it’s standard on the Rubicon Unlimited.

The Connectivity Group is available across all trims and adds Bluetooth, a USB/iPod interface, an upgraded trip computer and a tire pressure monitoring display, as well as a leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob on the Sport and Sport Unlimited.

Also optional on all trims is a multi-piece removable hardtop with a rear defroster and wiper; you can buy it in addition to, or instead of, the standard soft top. The default color on the hardtop is black, but you can also get it in body color on the Sahara and Rubicon. Jeep also offers a premium version of the soft top made of nicer material; it’s available on all trims.

Optional on the Sport and Sahara is a limited-slip rear differential, while the Sport and Rubicon can be equipped with half doors that include plastic side windows. The Sahara and Rubicon can be equipped with leather upholstery and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, digital music storage and real-time traffic.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. So you would be getting the same vehicle in a used or pre-owned wrangler for sale.  Four-wheel drive is also standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears, though the Rubicon features an upgraded transfer case with extra-low gearing. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic with both hill-start assist and hill-descent control is optional. When properly equipped, the Wrangler Unlimited has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, while the two-door Wrangler tops out at 2,000 pounds.

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped two-door Wrangler went from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly quick 7.1 seconds. A heavier Wrangler Unlimited with the automatic transmission did it in 8.8 seconds, which is about a second slower than an equivalent Nissan Xterra. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-door is 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The Unlimited is rated 16/20/18 with the automatic and 16/21/18 with the manual.

Safety

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front airbags and hill start assist. Front side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, both two- and four-door Wranglers came to a stop from 60 mph in about 140 feet.

It should be noted that the Wrangler’s doors do not provide the same level of protection as regular doors do in a side crash. As such, it won’t surprise you that the Wrangler doesn’t fare well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s side-impact crash test. Without side airbags, the two-door Wrangler earned the worst rating of “Poor,” while the Unlimited got the second-worst “Marginal.” However, both the two-door and four-door Wranglers get the best possible rating of “Good” in the IIHS’s moderate-overlap frontal-offset test. The two-door Wrangler earned a Marginal rating in the Institute’s newer, small-overlap frontal-offset test (which concentrates crash forces on a smaller section of the front bumper), but in fairness, most compact SUVs have done poorly in this test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Though Jeep has refined and civilized the Wrangler over the years, there’s no hiding the fact that the Wrangler’s interior prioritizes function over comfort. Lean and durable, the cabin can be cleaned easily after a day spent in the dirt and dust. Despite the abundance of hard plastic surfaces, it’s fairly attractive, with rounded lines that give it a fluid, organic look.

With the two-door, you’ll find a backseat that seats just two passengers. Leg- and foot room in back are also pretty limited. If that isn’t sufficient, the Unlimited offers room for three and its extra set of doors provides easier access. There’s not much cargo room behind the two-door Wrangler’s backseat (just 12.8 cubic feet), but the four-door Unlimited offers a more useful 31.5 cubic feet. The four-door also offers a respectable 70.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded, compared to only 55.8 in the two-door.

Raising and lowering the soft top on any Jeep Wrangler takes time and patience. Storing cargo within a soft top is also risky, since the top is easily compromised by thieves, and only the meager glovebox and center console can be locked. The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don’t intend to go completely al fresco on a routine basis. Bear in mind, though, that the hardtop is heavy, so you’ll need a friend to help whenever you want to remove it.  For the best selection and inventory of Jeeps and parts, service, repairs and accessories it’s the Jeep Thing Blog website.

Driving Impressions

If your mission is to blaze trails off-road, you won’t do much better than the 2014 Jeep Wrangler. The Rubicon trim is especially capable, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn’t as nimble on tight trails as the shorter two-door model, but more generous cabin space means you can carry additional gear. The four-door also feels more stable around corners and on the highway. Nonetheless, all Wranglers suffer from tippy handling, a rough ride and slow steering that is kindly described as nebulous in feel. Road and wind noise are also excessive.

While the Wrangler won’t win any drag races, its V6 is capable and gets the heavy SUV moving briskly. The standard six-speed manual features precise but long throws, an easily modulated clutch and a hill start assist feature, which is a godsend for stopping and starting midway up hills while going off-road. The five-speed automatic, meanwhile, offers smooth shifts and good fuel economy. Acceleration can be sluggish in the heavier Wrangler Unlimited models, and when you factor in the automatic transmission’s slow gearchanges, passing maneuvers often require a bit more planning.

Full 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review

What’s New for 2014

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee receives a host of changes this year. Highlights include a refreshed exterior design, a new 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine, a new eight-speed automatic transmission and an updated interior with new technology features.

Introduction

If you haven’t been around a new Grand Cherokee in a while, you might be surprised when you slide behind the wheel of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Previous versions of the top Jeep took hits for their excessive fuel consumption and general lack of refinement, but the Grand Cherokee has rebounded in recent years with significant improvements to ride quality, fuel economy and interior accommodations. It’s one of our favorite midsize SUVs, and Jeep has made key updates for 2014 to address its few lingering faults.

The two biggest changes to the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee are its eight-speed automatic transmission and a new, highly economical diesel V6. Jeep has fitted the eight-speed automatic to every Grand Cherokee model, and its smooth, refined shifts are a welcome improvement over the lurchy, indecisive behavior we noted with the five-speed automatic previously offered with the base V6 engine. Better yet, the new transmission brings better fuel economy across the board.

The new turbodiesel V6 marks the first time the Grand Cherokee has had a diesel engine option since 2009. It provides the highest fuel economy of all the available engines, and its ample low-end torque makes it the best option if you’re planning to tow or go off-road with your Jeep. The downside is that the diesel engine is more expensive than the JGC’s V8, but our math tells us that difference is made up at the pump in about 35,000 miles. If you can handle the upfront cost, the diesel engine is an outstanding choice on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Although the current-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is much more comfortable and civilized in everyday driving than older versions, it hasn’t lost any of its off-road prowess. Jeep gives you several four-wheel-drive systems to choose from, and an optional off-road package provides an adjustable air suspension that can change the ride height on the 2014 Grand Cherokee from 6.6 inches for easy entry in garages with low vertical clearance to 11.3 inches for maximum ground clearance while on rough terrain. Alongside that, the Grand Cherokee’s upscale interior continues to be a draw, and it’s complemented this year by a new electronics interface with an available 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Add this up and you’re looking at one of the best picks for a do-everything midsize SUV. The Grand Cherokee’s closest competitor, the Toyota 4Runner, shares the Jeep’s off-road aptitude, but it doesn’t offer a V8 or diesel option, and its interior simply isn’t as nice. The price tag on the JGC, however, typically exceeds that of the 4Runner or popular crossover SUVs like the Ford Explorer or Honda Pilot. In that sense, the Grand Cherokee is similar to the Volkswagen Touareg, which also has a high-end cabin and offers a diesel engine option (though the VW is tuned more for on-road performance rather than off-road pursuits). Like the Touareg, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee feels as if it belongs in a higher class, and if you need or simply want all of its capabilities, you won’t mind paying a little more for it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a five-passenger midsize SUV that comes in five trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. Each is available with rear-drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), except the high-performance SRT model, which is 4WD only.

Standard equipment for the Laredo includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, dual-zone air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch touchscreen, a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Laredo’s optional Security and Convenience Group includes a power liftgate, remote engine start, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Also optional on the Laredo are 18-inch wheels, an eight-way power driver seat, satellite radio and Jeep’s new 8.4-inch touchscreen display with voice command.

The Limited trim level includes the Laredo’s standard equipment plus the contents of the Security and Convenience Group, 18-inch wheels, power front seats, driver memory settings, heated rear seats and a nine-speaker premium audio system.

With the Limited trim, two additional option packages become available: the Luxury II Group and the Advanced Technology Group. The Luxury Group II adds a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Advanced Technology Group includes Forward Collision Warning, rear cross path detection, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The 8.4-inch touchscreen is again optional, though it can also be fitted with a navigation system on the Limited.

The Overland model features all of the standard equipment from the Limited, plus 20-inch wheels, the 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation and the contents of the Luxury Group II package. The Summit comes with the most standard equipment, as it includes all of the features from the Advanced Technology Group, along with a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and polished 20-inch wheels.

The high-performance SRT model is equipped like the Summit model, but the panoramic sunroof moves to the options list. You also get an exclusive V8 engine, 20-inch forged wheels, LED running lights, an adaptive suspension, performance-tuned steering, Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, leather/suede sport seats and carbon-fiber cabin accents.

A Blu-ray-capable rear-seat entertainment system (with twin seat-mounted displays and HDMI and RCA inputs) is optional for the Limited, Overland Summit and SRT. The towing package that’s standard on the Overland and Summit models is available as an option on the Laredo, Limited and SRT trims.

Powertrains and Performance

Except for the SRT version, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is the only engine you can get on the Laredo, but two other engines are available on the Limited, Overland and Summit models: a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that cranks out 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

The SRT comes exclusively with a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.

All 2014 Grand Cherokees use an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Cherokee SRT uses a heavier-duty eight-speed built to handle its more powerful engine. The SRT also features a specialized all-wheel-drive system tuned more for high-performance driving than off-road use.

The standard 3.6-liter V6 gets an estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 combined mpg when equipped with four-wheel drive and 17/25/20 with rear-wheel drive (2WD). At the test track, a Grand Cherokee Overland V6 with 4WD sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a fairly quick 7.9 seconds. When properly equipped, maximum towing capacity for a V6 Grand Cherokee is 6,200 pounds in the 2WD and 4WD configurations.

The optional 5.7-liter V8 gets an estimated 14/20/16 mpg when equipped with 4WD and 14/22/17 with 2WD. Towing capacity for the 5.7-liter V8 Grand Cherokee is 7,200 pounds with 4WD and 7,400 pounds with rear-drive. Fuel economy is vastly improved when you select the new diesel engine, which is said to achieve 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway when paired with four-wheel drive and 30 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. When equipped properly, tow capacity is the same as the V8.

The SRT V8 returns an estimated 13/19/15 mpg, a slight improvement on last year.

Non-SRT Grand Cherokees come with three available 4WD systems: the single-speed, light-duty Quadra-Trac I system (standard on the Laredo), Quadra-Trac II with a two-speed transfer case (optional on the Laredo, standard on Limited and Overland), and Quadra-Drive II with a rear electronic limited-slip differentia l (optional on Limited and Overland, standard on Summit). An adaptive air suspension (Quadra-Lift) and a driver-selectable traction control system that adjusts to different surfaces are also available (optional on the Limited, standard on 4WD Overland and Summit).

Safety

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill ascent control, hill descent control (optional on Laredo) front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The Advanced Technology Group (optional on the Limited and standard on Overland, Summit and SRT) includes forward collision warning, rear cross-path detection and blind spot monitoring.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Overland V6 4WD stopped from 60 mph in 134 feet. That’s about 10 feet more than average for this segment. However, if past history is any indicator, we’d expect the SRT to be very strong in this area.

In government crash testing, the Grand Cherokee earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Grand Cherokee received the highest possible rating of “Good” in the frontal-offset, side and roof-strength crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2014 Grand Cherokee’s interior looks similar to last year’s, but there are some useful upgrades. The dash now houses a standard configurable 7-inch screen that can be used to display a wide range of information. We also like the center-mounted 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s standard in all Grand Cherokees, except the Laredo. It features an easy-to-use interface and includes a WiFi hotspot and smartphone app integration, including media apps from Pandora and iHeartRadio. For great selection and inventory of Jeeps at the best prices from dealers in the Louisville, Kentucky area see Used Cars Trucks in Louisville, KY.  It also houses the navigation system if you select that option. Overall, the Grand Cherokee has one of the nicest interiors in its class.

While the Grand Cherokee has no third-row seat option, there’s ample room for a family of four or five, and you can order up a significant amount of luxury ambience, including ventilated front seats and a new dual-screen, Blu-ray-capable rear entertainment system with an HDMI input. Backseat passengers should be pretty comfortable, as the Grand Cherokee offers up considerably more rear legroom than the Toyota 4Runner. With the rear seats in place, the cargo bay measures 36.3 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded down, the Jeep has 68.3 cubic feet of storage space.

Driving Impressions

Driven on paved roads, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is comfortable, quiet and stable around turns. The new eight-speed automatic transmission is a great addition, as it’s much smoother and quicker-shifting than the five- and six-speed automatics offered last year. Given its generally smooth and spirited response, most people should be satisfied with the base gasoline V6.

Although the new diesel V6 has a low horsepower rating, its high torque output makes it ideal for big-league towing jobs and off-road use. Meanwhile, its high fuel economy ratings will appeal to anyone looking for a downright efficient Jeep with impressive cruising range.

The Grand Cherokee SRT is a tower of power that accelerates and stops at rates that will impress even the most seasoned sports car driver. It’s a sleeper performance vehicle if ever there was one, but its stiff suspension robs it of some of the comfort that makes the rest of the Grand Cherokee line so good.

For better websites and additional information on other Makes & Models of Cars, Trucks and SUV’s for Sale see the entire profile at GMRG Inc.

Off-road, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at the top of the mountain for its class. The new transmission is also beneficial for off-roading, as it improves refinement and drivability in the dirt. Trail obstacles and steep hills are easily dealt with regardless of which engine you choose, thanks to the advanced four-wheel-drive systems and the Jeep’s generous ground clearance.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Laredo, Jeep Rubicon, Jeep Sahara, Jeep Parts Service & Repairs, Jeep Accessories, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, Limited 4WD Overland and Summit, Jeep Unlimited, Jeep Reviews & Rankings

A car, truck, suv and Jeep dealer’s guide to the 10 best used vehicles in Louisville, Kentucky

A car dealer’s guide to the 10 best used vehicles in Louisville, Kentucky

The first gets people to laugh. The second gets them to think. But it’s my third tip that’s most important for those looking to buy an older used car:

• Don’t believe the hype.

Cars from prestige brands (especially European ones) don’t necessarily last longer or work better. In fact, they now represent many of the most costly and least reliable vehicles in the used-car marketplace. The exact opposite is true for certain unpopular brands and models. Defunct automakers such as Saturn, Saab, and Pontiac have certain specific models that can equal — or exceed — the quality of the so-called market leaders.

 Consumers often agonize about what vehicle should be their next car. When it comes to older used cars in particular, I have always offered buyers three ironclad pieces of advice:

• Your footwear is going to have a greater impact on your life than the car you drive.

• The driving and maintenance habits of the prior owner will have a far greater effect on a used car’s longevity than the brand. So whatever you choose, make sure you have it inspected before you buy.

Last week, I talked about a study my partners and I used to find the vehicles that came up defective or broken most often at used vehicle auctions. That same data also reveals the most durable cars and trucks over several years, and with results that defy popular wisdom.

To give you a grasp of how divergent our findings have become versus the usual stereotypes, the Chevrolet Cavalier, a car not generally associated with quality, has registered more trade-ins with over 180,000 miles, and fewer defect issues, than the entire Volkswagen line-up. Other models that are no longer sold as new cars, such as the Buick Park Avenue and Saturn L200, are apparently capable of matching the overall quality of their classes’ top-tier vehicles for thousands of dollars less.

There are plenty of good used vehicles out there that are capable of offering the highest levels of long-term quality and owner satisfaction. However, since manufacturers often sell multiple vehicles over the same platform, to increase reliability and lower cost, for this study we have decided to broaden the field a bit and highlight the ten most successful platforms. This way those less popular models in our study don’t get overlooked.

1. Lexus LX470/Toyota Land Cruiser

These vehicles are the automotive version of granite. They are heavy as hell, don’t age and will most assuredly squash whatever vehicular bugs and cockroaches are on the road should the Zombie Apocalypse ever take place. The Land Cruiser and LX470 are the best on our list.

2. Ford E-Series

While GM only offered a mild redesign of their full-sized vans back in 1995, and Dodge left the segment entirely, Ford decided to double down by improving the vehicle’s interior design several times over, and then sticking with three engines that Ford has collectively put into over 10 million vehicles (the 4.6-liter V-8, the Trition 5.4-liter V-8, and the 6.8-liter V-10).

The end result is the best-selling full-sized van in today’s market, and one whose durability has been earned the hard way. A true workhorse that is kept instead of curbed.  And to keep the momentum going Ford has introduced the Transit connect – a 21st century look and design for today’s global business environment transportation needs.

3. Lexus LS

The LS400, LS430 and LS460 are among the only ultra high-end luxury models that buck the trend of having dubious reliability and maintenance issues upon trade-in. No luxury car in our study, on average, is driven longer with more miles on the odometer, and fewer defects, than the Lexus LS series.

4. Chevy/GMC full-sized trucks and SUV’s

Toyota and Lexus finished first and second in the Manufacturer Quality Index Rating. But guess who finished third? GMC.

With GMC only selling trucks and SUVs, all of which are also sold by Chevrolet, the two have combined to offer outstanding quality and durability that few others can match, which is one of the main reasons why GM trucks have remained so dominant. Suburbans, Chevy Silverado, Tahoes, Yukons and a long list of other makes and models are all part of the GMT platform which has remained at the forefront of vehicle longevity.

5. Ford full-sized trucks (V-8 and V-10 models)While Dodge remains a distant third, and Toyota and Nissan have barely made a dent in the full-size truck business, Ford has become Chevy’s equal in the segment, and in certain cases, now the superior choice. The now defunct Ford Excursion holds the title as the third most reliable full-sized SUV in our study (the Land Cruiser and LX are first and second). Meanwhile  the Ford F-Series is based on the P-platform which regularly yields that V-8, rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame combination that has made the F-150 the best selling vehicle in America for 32 years running.

6. Toyota Camry / Lexus ES / Toyota Avalon

We found in our year-long study that the Honda Accord has experienced a rash of transmission issues with V-6 models, and the Nissan Altima had severe oil consumption issues with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The Toyota Camry is the only midsized vehicle to remain consistently well above average for the last twenty years (click the charthere.) The mid-’90s to mid-2000s Lexus ES and Toyota Avalons are based on the Camry XV platform which laid the foundation for other standouts from this era, including the Toyota Solara and Sienna. The Avalon is the second-highest ranked car in our study.

7. Toyota 4Runner / Lexus GX470

We should mention that there have been two major platforms for older 4Runners. The older 4Runner was based on the Toyota truck and then later, an overseas model known as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. In 2003, Toyota decided to offer the North American only 4Runner with it’s very own platform and added a Lexus variant. Both 4Runners are a cut above in terms of long-term reliability. The 4Runner and GX470 are ranked 5th and 8th respectfully while the older Toyota truck rounds off the top ten.

8. Honda S2000

Only 65,000 S2000s were built over a ten year period, and yet they remain neck-and-neck with the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the most popular roadster of the past decade. The S2000 has the distinct honor of being among the few on our list that are exceptionally reliable and fun to drive.

9. Toyota Prius

While the S2000 has served as a fun car for the enthusiast, the Prius has become the car of choice for planet-lovers and hipsters. Fewer than 4 percent of Prii that are traded-in exhibit any type of serious mechanical issue, and that includes problems with the hybrid battery.
While the older Honda Civic Hybrid and Accord hybrid have all experienced substantial battery wear, the Prius remains among the most reliable vehicles in the marketplace by any standard.

10. Lexus GS

It was our hope to make this list a bit more diverse by incorporating platforms instead of single models, since Toyota has so far managed to nail down eight of the top ten slots in our long-term reliability study.

The good news is that this platform based list offers over 40 distinct models to choose from, both imports and domestic, and certain popular media favorites such as the Honda Accord and Toyota RAV4 can no longer obscure major mechanical defects that don’t take hold until after most first owners sell their vehicles. The bad news for Toyota haters, however, is that yet another Toyota product —the Lexus GS — rounds off the list. The GS was based on the Japan-only Toyota Crown and Toyota Aristo for most of it’s life, and it’s the seventh rear-wheel-drive platform to land in the top ten in our list of best long-term reliability.

These rankings will gradually change over time as we are scheduled to get over 600,000 vehicles into our reliability study by the end of 2014, and well over a million by 2015. So feel free to click here for a model by model breakdown.

But as it stands today, if you’re looking to buy a used car, a Toyota will likely have the most life left.

Used Ford Truck, Used Toyota, Used Honda, Used Chevy Silverado, Used Dodge Ram Truck, Used Lexus, Used BMW, Ford Transit Connect, Used Cars for Sale Louisville KY

For more information about Used Cars, Trucks SUV’s and commercial work trucks in the Louisville Kentucky, KY area and to see dealer selections and inventory – please see the Global Media Relations Group, GMRGinc. Website at:  www.gmrginc.com

the New GRAND CHEROKEE FROM JEEP A 2014 in Louisville,ky

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee


Jeep appears to have nailed it this time. After two decades of assembling its Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle, the American automaker has finally delivered a world-class off-roader capable of taking on everything in its segment – and more – with a high likelihood of coming out on top.

And if you drove last year’s model, it’s time to climb behind the wheel again as Jeep has significantly updated the SUV for 2014 with a bold new exterior appearance, an upgraded interior with enhanced electronics and a new transmission that completely transforms the way it drives.  Test Drive the New 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Louisville, KY.

 

We recently spent a full week with a dark blue 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, a well-optioned model fitted with the standard gasoline-fed V6. While it didn’t have the punch of the range-topping V8-powered SRT8, or the fuel-sipping economy of itsnew EcoDiesel sibling, the high-volume variant left us quite impressed.


Without question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its predecessor.

Slightly more than 20 years ago, Jeep launched its all-new Grand Cherokee for the 1993 model year. The current chassis is its fourth-generation iteration (known as the WK2 to brand purists), which made its debut at the 2009 New York Auto Show, but it didn’t go on sale until the following summer as a 2011 model. Three short years later, Jeep has introduced the revised 2014 model with a slew of significant upgrades.

 

Jeep is offering its 2014 Grand Cherokee in no fewer than six different models (listed in order of increasing base price): Laredo, Laredo E, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. Depending on the model, there are three engine choices (3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter V8 and the new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel) and several powertrain choices (4×2 and three different 4×4 systems). While the aforementioned diesel and high-performance SRT models capture most of the spotlight, the standard gasoline-powered V6 models comprise the bulk of sales – more than justifying this review.

 

As indicated, Jeep made several improvements to the Grand Cherokee for the new model year. Mechanically speaking, a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing five-speed gearbox and the four-wheel-drive system has been improved with new modes. Cosmetically, the front fascia has been redesigned and there are new taillamps, a larger liftgate spoiler and more wheel choices. Jeep didn’t leave the interior alone either, as the 2014 models are fitted with a new steering wheel with paddle shifters, revised instrument cluster, redesigned center stack with the company’s larger 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, upgraded Uconnect Access and other enhanced interior materials. Without question, the 2014 is significantly improved over its 2013 predecessor.  For Best Pricing on a New Grand Cherokee click the available link.


The Overland in standard configuration is fitted with a very high level of equipment.

Our particular 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4, painted in True Blue Pearl over two-tone Vesuvio Indigo Blue and Jeep Brown interior upholstery, started with a base price of $45,995. Few would blame the owners who add absolutely no options, as the Overland in standard configuration is equipped with a very high level of equipment that includes leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-operated eight-way driver and front passenger seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Chrysler’s Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 506-watt audio package, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, bi-xenon headlamps and more. Even so, our tester was upgraded with the Customer Preferred 23P package ($1,695), which included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, advanced brake assist, blind spot and rear cross path detection. The bottom line on our SUV’s window sticker, including the mandatory $995 destination charge, was $48,685.

 

Like most late model Grand Cherokees on the road today, our vehicle featured Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. New for 2014 is a standard ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic that provides not only improved fuel economy and better acceleration, but a new lower crawl ratio of 44:1 to aid off-road prowess when equipped with the two-speed transfer case (Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II is standard on the Overland). The EPA rates the SUV at 17 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway, which is a slight improvement over last year’s 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The engine is also E85 compatible, but burning the ethanol fuel blend delivers reduced economy.


The 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.

Underpinning the Grand Cherokee is an independent suspension mounted to a steel unibody chassis shared with the current-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class (consider it a gift from the earlier DaimlerChrysler days). The front features upper and lower control arms while the rear is fitted with a multi-link design. Twin-tube, gas-charged shock and coil springs round out the package. The Quadra-lift air suspension, with four drive heights and a low Park mode to ease ingress/egress (4.1 inches of total travel), is standard on the Overland. The steering is electrically assisted, and the Grand Cherokee requires just 37.1 feet to turn curb-to-curb. Our Overland was equipped with 20-inch cast aluminum wheels, wrapped in 265/50R20 Goodyear Fortera HL all-season tires.

 

First impressions mean quite a bit in the automotive world, especially when emotion sells more vehicles than any pushy salesman. In that regard, the 2014 Grand Cherokee starts off strong even before the engine is started.

 

The exterior refresh is attractive, as it maintains the Jeep’s obligatory aggressive and capable appearance while losing some of the shiny chrome in the process. Headlights are now sleeker and more detailed, and the lower fascia receives the same attention. The alterations to the back of the vehicle are less obvious, but Jeep has repositioned some of the flashy trim and cleaned up its overall appearance.


All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint.

While the contrasting dark blue and chocolate interior would not be our first choice, the white piping on the seats and wood on the dashboard provided an upscale appearance. All of the touch surfaces feel substantial and of high quality, solving that common complaint. The front seats are comfortable, with nice bolsters, long lower cushions and good lumbar support, and the driving position fit your editor’s six-foot two-inch frame well. A bright and very legible multi-configurable instrument panel is easy to see, even through polarized glasses, and the Garmin-based Uconnect navigation was intuitive for all who used it (although we didn’t like how many of the seat heat/cooling functions required more than a few actions to access). To ease connectivity, the driver and front passenger are offered an AUX, USB, SD and 12-volt DC power outlet in a panel at the bottom of the center stack.

 

Second row passengers were equally as content, with acceptable leg, knee and toe room; large tinted windows; and plenty of power to charge their own personal electronics (Jeep has put twin USB ports and a 115-volt outlet on the rear of the center console, exclusively for their use). When the center armrest is raised, the cushion beneath it is flat to make a comfortable fifth seating position.

 

A lack of a third row (Dodge will sell you a Durango for that role) means there are no bulky hide-away cushions to prevent the 60:40 split second row from folding, thus creating a flat and expansive cargo area. The front passenger seat folds flat to increase cargo space, too. There are also four metal rails, and steel tie-downs, to help secure larger loads and grocery bag hooks to keep the little things from rolling around (another 12-volt DC outlet is in the rear cargo hold).


The gear selector requires a slight learning curve, and it cannot be rushed without drawing profanities.

The push-button stop/start is carried over from last year. The more significant news is the new electronic shift lever replacing its gated predecessor on the center console. Seemingly lifted right out of the current-generation Audi A8 sedan – they are virtually identical as both share the same ZF eight speed transmission – the stubby T-handle only requires a nudge to engage the gear. In practice, the gear selector requires a slight learning curve, and it cannot be rushed without drawing profanities, but it works well after a bit of familiarity.

 

Our initial positive impressions of the exterior and interior are complemented by the Grand Cherokee’s new driving dynamics.

 

The V6 will never match the brawn of the SRT’s V8 (or even the Hemi), and nobody should expect it to, but the new lower first gear allows the volume model to leap off the line with newfound energy. The Jeep weighs 4,984 pounds, which is about average in this segment, but a happy marriage between the six-cylinder Pentastar and the ZF eight-speed transmission (it reportedly has 90 different shift algorithms from which to choose) means the SUV will hit 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds flat. On the road, the power seemed to fall off at higher speeds, but it was more than adequate for most passing maneuvers. According to Jeep, our test car will tow 6,200 pounds (those seeking more pulling capability should look at the diesel or SRT, as those are both rated to pull 7,200-plus pounds).


The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.

Once at speed, extensive soundproofing and thick door seals kept wind noise to a minimum. Unlike the beastly SRT8, docked points for road noise in our recent review, the narrower all-season rubber on this four-door never howled on the open road. While it likely doesn’t help lower cabin noise, the air suspension automatically lowers the vehicle at highways speeds to improve the vehicle’s overall aerodynamics and aid fuel economy (the Grand Cherokee earns a drag coefficient of 0.37).

 

Tuned for on- and off-road travel, the ride was on the firm side yet its damping response aligned with our expectations – softer than the SRT8, but still maintained a sporty edge. Its European-bred chassis is stiff and responded well to steering requests. Even so, we found ourselves skipping the tight mountain curves where the Jeep began to feel a bit awkward, and taking the highway routes to make good use of the excellent radar-based adaptive cruise control. The SUV excels on the open road, especially at speed.


It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment.

Sadly, and despite setting a day aside for it, we never had the chance to take the Grand Cherokee off the pavement and try its Select-Terrain system (our planned trip to an off-road park was pushed off the schedule when another automaker was late with a vehicle delivery). Based on previous experience, the new revisions will only improve its competence after the concrete ends.

 

As you have likely concluded, we really enjoyed our time with the improved Grand Cherokee. It appears that Jeep has finally delivered one of the best overall vehicles in the midsize SUV segment.

Yet more impressive than beating a typical mid-priced soft-roader is the Overland’s ability to be a worthy lower-cost alternative to the widely praised BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The American beats both in content, equals them in ride quality and is more capable on rough terrain. Thanks to a host of new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades for 2014, the Grand Cherokee has emerged as America’s new midsize SUV standard of excellence.  For more information see the site:  http://jeepthingblog.com.

Jeep Wrangler for Sale Louisville, KY and Indiana

 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Road Test: . . .

There aren’t many obstacles that slow down a Jeep Wrangler. It can climb impossibly steep slick rock at Moab, bash its way up the Rubicon Trail, plow through mud or make its own trail across the desert.

But then there are those pesky paved roads. Those it doesn’t cotton to.

Enter the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. Like all Wranglers for 2012, it has an all-new engine and an interior that was completely redesigned just last year. It also offers a new five-speed automatic transmission if you don’t want the standard six-speed manual. Rest assured it can still do all those great things off road, but this time it promises good things on the road, too.

Pentastar to the Rescue
Even traditional Jeepers will admit the previous pushrod 3.8-liter iron-block V6 was a slug. It made adequate torque, critical when trying to climb up the face of a cliff in 4WD Low, but on city streets the Wrangler could barely get out of its own way.

For 2012, the Wrangler has been upgraded with Chrysler’s newest V6. Dubbed the Pentastar, the new 3.6-liter DOHC engine pumps out 285 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Those are typical numbers for a modern V6 these days, but compared to the old 3.8 they represent an improvement of 83 hp and 23 lb-ft of added torque.

The all-aluminum Pentastar is also some 90 pounds lighter and 3.7 inches shorter than the outgoing 3.8-liter six. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s more efficient, too, as the Wrangler gets an EPA rating of 16 city/20 highway mpg, a 1-mpg improvement over the previous numbers.

We averaged a less-than-stellar though not completely globally irresponsible 16.7 mpg during our two weeks with the Wrangler. Not terrible for a 4,493-pound vehicle with virtually no aerodynamic efficiency whatsoever.

Five Is Better Than Four
Jeep also replaced the long-outdated four-speed automatic transmission with the A580 five-speed ($1,125) found in the Grand Cherokee. A six-speed manual remains the standard transmission on the Wrangler, as does a low-range transfer case. Off-roaders fear not, as the new five-speed has a lower 1st-gear ratio than the outgoing tranny.

At the test track this combo of more power and an extra gear ratio netted a not-quite-as-underwhelming 0-60-mph time of 8.8 seconds (8.5 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip), a full 1.8 seconds quicker than the last four-speed automatic-equipped Wrangler Unlimited we tested. The quarter-mile came and went in 16.4 seconds at 85.1 mph.

Clearly, the Wrangler still won’t set your hair on fire with its breathtaking acceleration. It’s still slower to 60 than a Toyota FJ Cruiser (8.3 seconds) and the Nissan Xterra (7.6 seconds). One new SUV it can leave behind is the 2012 Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder (9.1 seconds). Not exactly much of an off-roader, but still a vehicle that buyers of the four-door Wrangler might consider.

Out on the road, the new engine and tranny offer big improvements in terms of refinement. The engine is smooth, reasonably quiet and has a nice surge of power from 3,700 rpm to 6,400. The automatic offers supple shifts, but it’s not exactly eager to offer them up. We found ourselves dipping into the throttle deeper than we expected to get it to kick down. We’re guessing that Jeep’s goal of improving the Wrangler’s fuel economy no doubt contributed to that.

Handling? Don’t Talk About Handling
Despite its newfound refinement, this is still a Jeep Wrangler. Therefore, on-road handling is not its forte, even with its newly retuned suspension. Between the live axles at both ends and the recirculating-ball type steering system, the Jeep feels far more detached than most modern SUVs. The long-travel suspension allows lots of roll and the nonlinear, slightly overboosted steering provides little in the way of feedback. Fast corners require an extra correction or two because there’s a delay with each steering input.

Any hopes of legitimate numbers were quashed with the first run through our slalom course. The Wrangler’s insanely aggressive electronic stability control system can’t be fully defeated (except in 4WD at less than 35 mph), and it stabs the brakes at the slightest bit of roll angle or tire slide. Hence the pathetic 51.4-mph slalom speed and 0.63g of lateral grip. We didn’t sweat it much, though; it’s a Jeep after all.

With 11.9-inch rotors up front and 12.4s at the rear, not to mention its substantial weight, the Wrangler’s 138-foot stop from 60 mph isn’t half bad. We were less impressed with the Wrangler’s mushy pedal, considerable nose dive and noticeable side-to-side squirm that will grab your attention when you’re hard on the binders.

In Its Natural Habitat
You can’t do the Wrangler justice without taking it off-road. So we headed to the desert where we bashed around on rough fire roads, climbed rock-filled ascents and put the Wrangler’s hill descent control to use on a couple of steep downhills. Everything worked as advertised. In fact, it felt almost too easy sometimes.

Through it all its suspension easily soaked up everything we threw at it while the 10.2 inches of ground clearance kept us from touching down on any rocks. The Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system is a snap to use and the addition of the optional Trak-lok limited slip makes it that much more capable, even with the Sahara’s meager on-/off-road tires.

If there’s one downside to the 2012 Jeep Wrangler’s off-road prowess, it’s the difficulty in finding its limits. With most SUVs, it’s easy to predict what they’ll tackle with ease and what’s better left untouched. In the Jeep, you’re tempted to take on just about anything. And with the right driver and a good spotter, you’ll probably make it, too.

The Price of Progress
Although a base two-door Wrangler starts at just $22,845, pricing on our four-door 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara begins at $31,545 (including $800 destination). Yeah, four-door Wranglers with a healthy set of standard features aren’t cheap. With options such as the automatic transmission, navigation system and three-piece body-color hardtop, our Wrangler shot up to a whopping $37,200.

To anyone who hasn’t been in a Wrangler for awhile, that kind of money looks downright ridiculous for a Jeep. But get inside the latest version and it’s not so hard to believe. After a heavy interior redesign last year, the Wrangler now looks like a modern SUV inside. The materials quality has drastically improved, there are modern electronics and the cabin is relatively quiet with the hardtop in place.

It’s nowhere near the refinement you get in something like a Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango, but that’s fine with Jeep. The Wrangler will never be a crossover or even a truly mainstream choice. Even though the level of refinement has been raised yet again, the Wrangler is still authentic. In other words, the Wrangler is right where it was before: perfect for nontraditional SUV buyers and a stretch for typical SUV buyers.

The new engine is a huge improvement, but the 2012 Jeep Wrangler still isn’t the fastest or the most efficient vehicle in its class. It doesn’t have the most features either, or the most comfortable cabin.

What it does have is a combination of modern conveniences and legendary off-road abilities wrapped up in one of the most distinctive shapes on the road today. 

2012 Jeep Wrangler Review

2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV

Though more civilized than ever, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler remains a no-nonsense American icon. Its quirky character and unique off-road abilities continue to hold appeal.

Superior off-road capability; strong engine; surprisingly fun to drive around town; two- and four-door variations; rough-and-tumble image; it’s a convertible.

Sport

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)

Unlimited Sport

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)

Sahara

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

 

Jeep Wrangler SUV Sahara
Rubicon
  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 17 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

Unlimited Sport RHD

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Automatic transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/20 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control

 

Unlimited Sahara

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

Unlimited Rubicon

  • 3.6L V6 engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Up to 16 cty/21 hwy mpg
  • 4-wheel drive
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite radio
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Navigation System (Optional)
  • Bluetooth (Optional)
  • Side/Curtain Airbags (Optional)
  • DVD player (Optional)

 

Rarely does a car reviewed have as many pros and cons as the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Most vehicles have a lot of one and not much of the other. The Wrangler, on the other hand, has a wealth of extremes. It has old-school solid axles at both ends and standard crank windows. It’s incredibly noisy and rough-riding. The soft top is a puzzle to operate and is basically a big “break in!” sign to potential thieves. Indeed, measured against virtually any other new SUV, the Wrangler is in many ways, well, terrible.

And yet the Jeep Wrangler not only remains appealing but remains one of the best-selling SUVs in the country as well. Part of the reason why is because some of those foibles are actually indicative of an incredibly honest, back-to-basics off-roader. Of course, the Wrangler also looks pretty cool and can dive headlong into places where few other vehicles would dare dip their toes. Plus, what other new car allows you to remove not only the roof, but the doors and windshield as well? The answer is none.

Of course, some of the Wrangler’s issues can’t be brushed off as simply “quaint.” The soft top’s issues are real, as are long braking distances and limited secured storage. But there is finally good news for what lies under the hood. Gone is the agricultural and gutless old V6, and in its place Chrysler’s new “Pentastar” 285-hp V6. Smooth, robust and reasonably efficient, this engine radically transforms the Wrangler. Boasting a whopping 83 more horses than the outgoing engine, the new V6 is more than a second quicker from zero to 60 mph. A newly available five-speed automatic improves power delivery and efficiency as well.

Whether you get a basic two-door Wrangler with crank windows and a soft top or a high-dollar four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sahara with heated leather seats and a hardtop, this iconic Jeep is without question a unique vehicle. However, we highly recommend taking it on a lengthy test-drive and paying attention to the above issues to see if you could really deal with them on a day-to-day basis. It’s not uncommon for folks to be taken in by the Wrangler’s cool factor only to quickly realize after purchase that a compact crossover or a more livable off-roader like the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiserwould’ve been a wiser choice.

If you know what you’re getting into, however, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a wonderful way to not only get back to basics, but nature as well.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV available in two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited versions. Each comes in Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trims.

The Sport comes sparsely equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear tow hooks, foglamps, a removable soft top, crank windows, manual locks and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, CD player and steering wheel controls. The Unlimited gets a bigger gas tank, four doors, more backseat and trunk space, air-conditioning and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The Power Convenience Group adds heated power mirrors, power locks and windows, and keyless entry. Air-conditioning (two-door), satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels are also optional.

The Sahara adds the above optional items plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, under-hood insulation, side steps, automatic headlamps, body-colored fender flares and a six-speaker Infinity sound system.

The Rubicon is not the most abundantly equipped trim level, per se, but rather the trim that boasts the most robust off-road credentials. It adds on top of the base Sport equipment special 17-inch wheels, 32-inch tires, heavy-duty axles and transfer case, electronic front and rear locking differentials, a disconnecting front sway bar, rock rails, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and satellite radio. The Power Convenience Group is optional on the two-door, but standard on the Unlimited.

The following packages are available on all trims. The Connectivity Group adds Bluetooth, an iPod/USB audio interface, an upgraded trip computer and a leather-wrapped wheel on the Sport. A multi-piece removable hardtop with a rear defroster and wiper is optional with or without the standard soft top remaining. It comes standard in textured black, but can be had in body color on the Sahara and Rubicon.

Optional on the Sport and two-door Rubicon are a limited-slip differential and half doors that include plastic side windows. The Sahara and Rubicon can be equipped with leather upholstery and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, digital music storage and real-time traffic.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 285 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive is also standard and includes high- and low-range transfer case gears, though the Rubicon features an upgraded transfer case with extra-low gearing. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped, two-door Wrangler went from zero to 60 mph in a surprisingly quick 7.1 seconds. A much heavier automatic-equipped Wrangler Unlimited did it in 8.8 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the two-door is 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The Unlimited is 16/20/18 with the automatic and 16/21 with the manual.

Safety

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, and hill start assist. Front side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, both two- and four-door Wranglers came to a stop from 60 mph in about 140 feet.

It should be noted that the Wrangler’s doors do not provide the same level of protection as regular doors do in a side crash. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it didn’t fare well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s side crash test. Without side airbags, the two-door Wrangler earned the worst rating of “Poor,” while the Unlimited got the second-worst “Marginal.” However, the Wrangler did get the best possible rating of “Good” in the frontal-offset test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Despite the increase in available niceties over the years, the Jeep Wrangler is still a vehicle meant to drive through dust, dirt and muck and then be easily cleaned afterward. Interior materials and switchgear were dramatically improved last year, and the design now has a rounder, more organic look.

The two-door’s backseat can host only two passengers and suffers from limited leg- and foot room. If that isn’t sufficient, the Unlimited has room for three and its extra set of doors makes for easier access. The four-door also offers 86 cubic feet of cargo space when the second-row seats are folded, which is quite substantial.

With any Wrangler’s soft top, however, storing cargo inside can be a risky situation since only the meager glovebox and center console can be locked. The soft top is also complicated to raise and lower, and requires you to store its bulky plastic windows somewhere inside the cabin (which is tough in the two-door). The optional hardtop, which features removable T-top-style panels over the front seats, is a smart solution for those who don’t intend to routinely go completely al fresco.

Driving Impressions

 

The Wrangler also used to be described as slow, but no longer. It won’t be winning any drag races, but the new V6 is a thoroughly modern engine that can actually get the heavy Wrangler moving briskly. The standard six-speed manual features precise but long throws and an easily modulated clutch. The automatic is now a much more modern five-speed unit that further aids power delivery and fuel economy.

 

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations, especially in Rubicon guise, thanks to its specialized hardware. The Wrangler Unlimited four-door isn’t as maneuverable on tight trails as the much shorter two-door model, but its roomier interior means you can carry more gear. It also feels more stable around corners and on the highway. Nonetheless, all Wranglers suffer from tippy handling, a rough ride and steering that is kindly described as nebulous. Road and wind noise are also excessive.

 

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