Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review – Superlative SUV is Much Loved By Us

Good looking design, interior quality superlative, CRD engine brilliant, superb on-road & off-road capability second-to-none

Large A-pillars obscure view, 8-speed ZF ‘box good but with one slight issue

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

JEEP Grand Cherokee CRD V6 Overland off road

1992 saw the launch of the first Jeep Grand Cherokee, and unlike many American marques to come and go off the British market, Jeep have done well, and there are plenty of their different models driving about on UK roads. The older UK-spec Grand Cherokee models suffered from reliability issues, but they’re still a popular choice for the SUV/4×4 crowd, being both capable off-road and with a high comfort level on-road.

July 2013 saw the launch of a huge update to the 4th generation model, with an exterior facelift and new interior. Price-wise, it’s now competing very closely with the ever-popular Land Rover Discovery – a tough rival indeed. We were sent the brand-new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland to review, so let’s see how the big Yank-tank does on UK soil…

Exterior. Butt ugly or beauty?

JEEP Grand Cherokee CRD V6 Overland review white off road

Undeniably, the new Grand Cherokee has a load presence. It’s a big beast of a 4×4, so automatically it won’t pass someone without being noticed. However, the new front is as in-your-face as it gets making this new Jeep one of the coolest SUV’s on the market currently.

The most noticeable feature are the headlights, which buck the current trend of being huge, instead opting for slim HID, bi-xenon adaptive, swivelling versions which stare out angrily, a thin outer strip of LED’s drawing your attention further. Jeep have thoughtfully kept the Grand Cherokee’s highly recognisable front slatted grille, but it’s been modernised with a honeycomb-pattern grille behind the vertical slats. Below that, matching the style of the from lights are chrome-edged fog lamps, and then another lower grille with more chrome trim.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overlander review side view

In honesty, it’s quite a fussy design but it works very well for the Grand Cherokee. The rest of the Jeep matches the front, with big, bold and brutish looks, a clearly American design to make it stand out well from the crowd. The body of the Grand Cherokee is so muscular it’s almost like it’s been hewn, with large arches cut into the sides, and thick swage lines running down the sides. Up top, the side windows appear narrower than usual too, equating to more metal below and making the Jeep look even bigger.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overlander review rear three quarter view

The rear continues the muscular look, with a sizeable roof spoiler and large faux exhaust ports, and again there’s lots going on with the back end’s design overall, but I maintain it suits this vehicle. All said, this new Jeep Grand Cherokee unreservedly makes its presence known to other road user. Its exterior is cool, modern, more brash than European models, and for its sheer audaciousness I’m absolutely loving this new Grand Cherokee’s design.

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review front driver passenger seat

Open the door of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and you’re greeted with an attractive interior. You’ll probably firstly notice the big 8.4″ touchscreen in the centre console, then the smart-looking central section running between the front seats, which houses the short ‘T’ gear selector, Selec-Terrain 4×4 system and cup-holders which even look cool, thanks to a lit thin blue strip running around the inner of each.

On every model aside from the base Laredo, there are full leather seats, which are heated both in the front and rear. The fronts are eight-way power adjustable, with four-way power lumbar support (which is standard on all models). We had the Grand Cherokee Overland version, which is the second from top model if you don’t count the slightly-mad SRT. From the Overland upwards the steering wheel is heated, and the front seats are also ventilated, and made of soft Nappa leather.Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review front driver passenger seat

As well as this there’s leather trim on the upper dash, doors, console and armrest, as well as a wooden insert on the top section of the steering wheel. Whichever model you go for though, you can’t fail to be impressed with the interior as a whole. Our Overland-spec model was utterly luxurious, and while America took ages to catch up with Europe in build and material-quality terms, they’ve certainly accomplished that with the Grand Cherokee.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review rear passenger seats

Instead of them just slapping cheap leather and horrible trim pieces everywhere, the opposite is the case here. This new Grand Cherokee has very tasteful trim, and it looks good quality too. Everything seemed solidly-built and manufactured to a high standard, and the physical design of the dash and driver’s console looks superb. In all honesty though, Jeep has had no choice but to bring the new Grand Cherokee up to par if they want take a slice of the large SUV market, as manufacturers worldwide continue to make better and more well equipped cars each new model they bring out.

JEEP Grand Cherokee CRD V6 Overland interior trim drive selector

However, the Yanks have always known how to make comfortable car, and the Jeep continues the trend with this new Grand Cherokee. There’s loads of leg and head room in the front and rear, deep, luxurious carpets, and seats which can be reclined in the rear too. It’s a wide vehicle, so you can spread out and relax easily on long journeys. A five-hour round-trip in the Grand Cherokee saw just a 30 minute stop over that time, and I got out the Jeep at the end of the journey as relaxed as when I started. Top marks there then.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review boot trunk space

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review boot trunk space

Boot space is rather large, as you’d expected, with 782 litres rear seats up, and 1,554 litres with them down. That’s possibly enough to lose a small child in, should it be dark. It’s also practical though, with four hangers for bags, and four tie-down points too. As well as this, the boot area hasn’t been neglected in terms of styling and build quality, as it had a good look about it (as storage areas go) with deep carpeting and a smartly-integrated subwoofer on the Overland I tested.

Every button and dial controller in the Grand Cherokee felt good quality, and while it’s a bit geeky to mention, they all had a really positive action to them too. The premium 8.4″ touchscreen system controls almost every aspect of the car, from the audio to the heating controls and much more. Rather than being complex though, it’s user-friendly and logically laid-out, making finding whatever you want to change or control easy. The graphics are sharp, slick and bang up to date, and the satellite navigation system is one of most simplistic and effective I’ve used. Actually, the Jeep touchscreen system as a whole is the best I’ve come across yet, on any car I’ve tested.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review 8.4" screen and heating controls

Another big plus is the driver’s instrument cluster. The rev counter, fuel gauge and water temperature are all traditional dials, but the central section is a 7″ TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen which again features excellent graphics, and shows information about your off-road settings (including wheel articulation), sat nav instructions, speed settings and loads more. Safety kit is good in the new Grand Cherokee, and as well as ‘preventative’ safety tech (which I’ll mention in the Drive section) it features 7 airbags and active head restraints.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review screen modes on the 8.4" touchscreen

If like me you love your music, the Grand Cherokee provides fantastic sound. The base Laredo has 6 speakers, but models above that have a 9-speaker system with a subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier, which makes crazily deep bass. Should you want an even better quality set-up, the highest Summit and SRT versions feature a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman-Kardon surround-sound system. Probably enough volume to explode your innards, then.

There were only two points I didn’t like about the interior. Firstly, instead of the usual two controller stalks behind the steering wheel, there’s one, so you have to control the lights, indicators, front and rear wipers and washers all from one controller. At the end of a week-long test, I still wasn’t entirely used to it. Jeep have made what should be something simple, into something over-complex, and almost distracting. Secondly, the A-pillars are about as thick as Giant Redwood tree-trunk, and at times blocked out entire cars from vision at roundabouts and T-junctions, making you crane forwards and sideways to see clearly.

In summary, the Jeep Grand Cherokee interior is a triumph. The design and layout is impressive, it is superbly comfortable, the trim fit and finish is top notch and the equipment level is highly commendable. The quality easily rivals other SUVs of a similar price, and if you’re in the market for something like a Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90 or even a Porsche Cayenne, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is well worth a sit inside.

Engine and gearbox

For the UK-spec Grand Cherokee, you get a choice of either the 3.0 litre V6 CRD diesel engine with two power varients, or the monstrous 6.4 litre Hemi V8. The base Laredo gets the ‘low output’ version of the V6 diesel, which still kicks out 188 bhp and 324 lbs ft (440 Nm) torque , while any model above has the full-power engine producing 247bhp @ 4000rpm, and a hefty 420 lbs ft (570Nm) of torque at just 2000 rpm.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review engine

The CRD engine itself is a 3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo chain-driven DOHC unit, and made in Italy, while the rest of the car is built in Detroit, USA. The gearbox is an 8-speed ZF automatic with overdrive – an excellent transmission for the most part, with a slight flaw which I’ll point out in the next section. 0 – 62 mph is done in an impressive 8.2 seconds, and you’ll hit 128 mph at the top end. Official UK miles-per-gallon stats are; Urban: 30.4, Extra-urban: 43.5, Combined: 37.7.  Over a 5-hour motorway run, I managed 30 mpg, and at slightly slower speeds (50 – 60 mph) the Grand Cherokee was returning around 35 mpg according to the live readout.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road-2641

The Jeep grand Cherokee drives with a good degree of sportiness about it, and its on road handling is better then you would think, considering the size and weight (2,400 – 2,5oo kg’s) of it.

Fire the big 3 L V6 Diesel engine into life, and it immediately settles down into that smooth, rhythematic sound that you only get from a V6. As you accelerate, the V6 engine puts out a beautiful noise, which is powerful, rich and almost roars it’s way down the road at times. In fact, it suits the muscular Grand Cherokee absolutely, and it will bellow more the harder you push on the accelerator. Wonderful stuff!

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road-2656

Gear changes from the eight speed transmission are quick, almost seamless, and it’s certainly a good box. However, there is an issue that’s annoyed me. When pulling away slowly from a junction, and spotting a car coming quicker then I thought, I planted my foot down but instead of the Jeep powering away, it got itself into a bit of a flap trying to decide which gear to select, before bucking and jolting away heavily for the first few metres of road. This happened a few times, and to be honest it’s only noticeable if you start accelerating slowly and then floor the go pedal. From a standing start though, it is absolutely fine with no issues.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review interior steering wheel and controls dials

The Grand Cherokee is one of the best cruising cars that I’ve come across. In fact, it is on a par with the Jaguar XJ 3.0 litre V6 diesel that we tested, such is its prowess in this department. If anyone knows how to build a car capable of cruising long distances in high comfort and with utter ease, it is the Americans, and the Grand Cherokee is no exception, gliding its way down the road almost serenely, with very little wind or road noise coming into the cabin, and the clever airbag suspension making the ride supremely comfortable and relaxing. To make long-distance travel even more effortless, our tester had adaptive cruise control on it, which makes up part of the Advanced Safety Technology Pack (£2,400).

The powerful V6 twin-turbo diesel feels completely un-stressed at high motorway speeds, and should you want to overtake the Jeep complies by willingly surging forward powerfully. I absolutely love the Grand Cherokee’s CRD engine, and would even go so far as to say it is as good as the Land Rover Discovery’s SDV6!

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white driving cruising

On a winding section of tarmac, the Jeep handles itself impressively, and it took me by surprise because although you constantly get the sense that this is a big, heavy vehicle, the Grand Cherokee takes quick bends confidently and very sure of itself, thanks to a fully independent suspension set-up. It actually feels rather planted, especially when you select the Sport mode, which firms up the air suspension, lessening body roll further. The brakes are reassuringly positive too, and I never felt it lacked in this department. One more thing, if you need to tow anything, there’s Trailer sway damping to ensure it’s much harder to lose control should things go pear-shaped.

There is very little, if anything, to dislike about the way the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland CRD drives and rides, for that beautiful twin-turbo V6 diesel is sublime, and Jeep seem to have somehow given us a car that will not only munch its way across an entire country without trouble, but also gives someone who wants a more spirited drive easily enough power and handling ability to enjoy doing so.

AWD and off-road. Stuck or superb?

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road in mud conditions

Just like Hoover is the main word to describe a vacuum cleaner, no matter what brand you own, the name Jeep is synonymous with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s sacrilegious to owners of other 4×4’s, but a person not particularly into their cars – or one who doesn’t know marques by looking – will often refer to the vehicle as a jeep – as in, “is that your jeep over there”. It’s annoying, but you can’t deny that that happens all the time. I know, because I own one, and it does.

The Jeep is the patriarch of all 4-wheel-drives, and being a blood-relative, this Grand Cherokee has a lot to live up to. While the original Willys Jeep was a simple affair with a straightforward 4×4 system , the Grand Cherokee is as opposite to that as can be. The Laredo, Limited and Limited Plus models get Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II 4×4 system and mechanical suspension, while the Overland and Summit have Quadra-Drive II with rear ELSD (electronic limited slip differential), along with Quadra-List air suspension. Click on the official Jeep links to see how they work.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road

The air suspension means it can offer up to 287 mm  (11.3″) of ground clearance, with a 500mm (20″) wading depth. The height of the Jeep can be controlled manually, allowing the Grand Cherokee to be lowered for easier access or if you want to drive into a multi-story parking lot with limited height, and it also automatically lowers itself at higher speeds into Aero Mode to optimise the aerodynamics. Clever stuff.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road  air suspension and ground clearance

While it’s certainly a complex four-wheel-drive system, I  found controlling it really easy and simple. Whatever terrain you find yourself in, just turn the Selec-Terrain traction control system dial to the setting you want. It has Snow, Sand, Auto, Mud and Rock to choose from, as well as buttons for 4WD Low and downhill descent. Turn the Select-Terrain dial, and a cool graphic of each one comes up on the 7″ screen in the instrument cluster. It’s a zero-fuss, foolproof system that can be used by even the most technologically-challenged driver. If there’s a layer of snow on the ground, select ‘Snow’. Driving onto the beach for a barbecue? Select ‘Sand’. Can’t get much easier that that.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland review screen driving modes selector sand ice rock mud 2

We never really managed to take the Grand Cherokee off road properly, partly due to most bizarre UK winter weather we’ve ever experienced which saw 10˚C in mid-February, with zero snow. However, a short bit of greenlaning (off-road rough tracks designated as public highways) saw the Grand Cherokee smash through deep and sharp-angled mud and water-filled ruts with the driver still in utter comfort, the Jeep taking them in its stride, and also usefully keeping us informed of wheel articulation through the large delves.

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road greenlaning

Selecting the ideal driving mode, in this case ‘Mud’, meant the ground clearance and gearing were set up appropriately. Even through boggy sections the Grand Cherokee pushed on without any trouble, its sophisticated 4×4 system making what should have been difficult-going an almost effortless drive. Approach and departure angles are also really very good on this Jeep, meaning it’s been properly thought through for when it comes to the rough stuff.

Scouring YouTube for Grand Cherokee off-road videos, I came across enough of them to prove it has genuinely impressive capabilities, and it’s obvious that this is not just some pretend off-roader. Should we get the chance to put the Grand Cherokee through its paces, believe us we’ll update this review.

Price

I really, really like the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and personally I think it’s correctly priced, and felt worth its asking cost as you get a lot of bang for your buck. UK on-the-road prices start at £37,695 for the Laredo and up to slightly over £50,000 for the Summit, plus £60,695 for the 6.4 litre HEMI SRT. The Grand Cherokee I tested was the 3.0 CRD V6 Overland, costing £46,695, or a shade over £48,000 if you include the Advanced Safety Technology Pack (£2,400) option it had.

What about its rivals though? While it’s not as advanced or luxurious as the Grand Cherokee, the Mitsubishi Shogun LWB – which is still a comfortable and highly capable vehicle – costs £26,200 – £36,800, while the Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 dCi is between £33,000 to £37,800, the Toyota Land Cruiser 3.0 litre D-4D  from £46 – £52,500 plus the V8 version from £65,000, while the Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 is £40 – £59,500.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland verdict & score

JEEP Grand Cherokee Overland review white off road

I can find very little fault with the Grand Cherokee. The exterior design is ultra-modern and cool, the interior style and design is contemporary, the material quality and fit and finish is of a very high standard, the comfort and equipment level’s excellent, that 3.0 V6 CRD engine is sublime, whilst on-road performance and handling is admirable, and off-road this is a highly capable machine.

The Grand Cherokee Overland surprised me massively in just how good it was as an overall package, and by the end of the week-long test I ended up absolutely loving it. Right now, I believe the 2014 Grand Cherokee is one of the best all-rounders in its class  – it really is that good!

Do you own a 2013> Jeep Grand Cherokee? What are your views on it, and what are the best and worst points? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Exterior  9
Interior  9
Engine  9
Gearbox (auto)  8.5
Price  8.5
AWD & off-road ability  9
Drive  9
Overall Score  9.0 / 10

  Specs

Model (as tested)  2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland
Spec includes  20″ alloys, ESC, ABS, ERM, 7 airbags, hill descent control, hill-start assist, Selec-Terrain 4×4 system, Quadra-Lift air suspension, trailer-sway damping, 8.4″ Uconnect Smartouch system + 7″ driver info screen, 9 speakers + subwoofer & 506W amp, reverse camera etc  See website for more info
Options you should spec  Advanced Safety Technology Pack: £2,400
The Competition  Landrover Discovery 4, Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun, Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Nissan Pathfinder, Volvo XC90
Price  (Feb. ’14)  £37,695 – £50,000. This model: £46,695 + £2,400 option
Engine  3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo diesel CRD with chain-driven DOHC
Power, Torque, CO2   Power: 247bhp @ 4000rpm | Torque: 420 lbs ft (570Nm) @ 2000 rpm. | CO2: 198 g/km
Drive, Gears (as tested)  4 wheel drive | ZF 8-speed automative with overdrive
Ground clearance & Wading depth  Clearance: 287 mm  (11.3″) | Wade depth: 500mm (20″)
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 126 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 8.2 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 2013 version not yet tested
Fuel economy (UK mpg)  Urban: 30.4, Extra-urban: 43.5, Combined: 37.7
Weight (kerb)  2,403 – 2,522 kg’s (5,297 – 5,560 lbs)
Websites  Jeep UK, Jeep USA, Jeep Global

Check out our other car reviews here

Words: Chris Davies | Tested by: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

7 responses to “Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD V6 Overland Review – Superlative SUV is Much Loved By Us”

  1. Stuart

    Excellent review and spot on!

    I’ve got a Jeep GC Summit on order for a September delivery.

    I’ve owned a LR Defender, LR Discovery 4, RR Evoque and RR Sport (2011) and so a LR fan having had no issues really with any of those vehicles and enjoying them very much.

    I then moved to a Sports car briefly but the lure of 4×4 ownership has brought me back. I intended to get a RR Sport again, circa 2012, but a good friend and Jeep fan, said I should test drive the new GC.
    Well, what a revelation! I have driven them in the past and was always underwhelmed but the latest incarnation is easily a match for the Disco 4/RRS (2012). It matches the refinement and comfort of both, less space that the Disco but more than the RRS and its tarmac handling and cruising is superior. Off-road they are equal. The infotainment screen in the GC is light years ahead of those LR’s and better than the one in the Evoque too.

    Given the price, it seems overall a better buy to me and so I shall be embarking upon my first foray into Jeep ownership soon.

  2. Steve wade

    We have a 2014GC Laredo crd it is superb and we’re now about to take delivery of a 2015 crd Overland with the adjustable air suspension and we’re hoping it will tow our large van safer with less sway hopefully won’t need sway bars fitted. Very excited for next Tuesday !! ??
    Ps. Thanks for a Great well written and thorough review of our favourite SUV !!
    Best regards Steve

  3. Steve Pye

    Having read the review I am moving up from Jeep Renegade 2016 to a Grand Cherokee 2014 CRD plus. Although running costs will probably double, the driver and owner satisfaction should compensate!
    Best regards

    Steve

  4. Steve Pye

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD has fully met and even exceeded my expectations. The driving position and viewing platform gives a greater feel of control as well as anticipation. My Cocker spaniel Bess has learned to leap the extra few inches to land in the roomiest load space and sits quietly as the boot lid closes automatically. My Grandchildren are so impressed that Dad’s own Renegade is now relegated too being just a car. The service so far from Swansway Chester has been exemplary so I am looking forward to the next 4 years of safe, secure and comfort behind the wheel.

    Regards

    Steve P

Leave a Reply