We are big fans of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the latest upgrades Jeep made for 2014 make this vehicle even more appealing than ever.

Although there is a new optional 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine that delivers an estimated 30 mpg highway (4X2 model), a driving range of more than 730 miles and a towing capability of 7,400 pounds, our vehicle is equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that first debuted on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee which delivers 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.

But now it’s mated to a new eight-speed transmission, increasing towing by 24% over the 2013 model (from 5,000 to 6,200 pounds). Fuel economy for our 4×4 model is 17/24/19 (city/highway/combined) mpg with a driving range of more than 600 miles.

This setup won’t throw you back into your seat when you floor it, but it is adequate for most uses. The new transmission is actually matched really well to engine. Shifting is pretty smooth too.

Our vehicle came equipped with the Quadra-Trac II 4WD system, which has a two-speed transfer case.  It also has the Selec-Terrain System that has been modified for 2014, and allows you to select one of five different driving conditions. “Sport” mode that was previously on the Selec-Terrain controller is now engaged with the shift lever.

Even when in Sport mode though, there is moderate body roll in corners at higher speeds, and higher speed handling is not sharp, but that’s expected in a “Trail Rated” vehicle, and is not uncommon in its class. The ride is very comfortable though, and the suspension absorbs bumps well.

The soft suspension tuning didn’t tame our enthusiasm for this vehicle much, since this vehicle was really designed for trail use. Unfortunately, most buyers probably won’t spend nearly as much time taking the Jeep real off roading, but it’s nice to know that you can when the opportunity arises.

What did tame our enthusiasm though is it’s as tested price of $51,990. Fortunately, you can opt for a less lavishly equipped Grand Cherokee and spend a lot less money. Features like heated front and second row seats, suede like headliners, real wood trim, and an air suspension may not be on everyone’s priority list. A base Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×2 starts at just under $29,000.

Engine: 3.6L V6 24 Valve VVT
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Horsepower: 290 hp
Torque: 260 lb-ft
Towing Capacity: 6,200 Pounds
EPA Rating (city/hwy/comb): 17/24/19
Base price: $50,995
Price as Tested: $51,990

[nggallery id=47]