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With an SUV’s off-road capability but a crossover’s car-like ride, and its own take on rugged style, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a study in contradictions—but they resolve into one impressive, capable, attractive vehicle. The result is an appealing alternative to even more expensive vehicles from BMW, Porsche, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz.
The Grand Cherokee, along with the Ford Explorer, is one of the "original" SUVs that kicked off the suburban utility craze in the 1990s. It's come so, so far--not the least in fuel economy. For 2014, it gains a new turbodiesel engine option, which gives it better highway fuel economy than some luxury sedans we can name.
Today's Grand Cherokee is one pretty, sophisticated piece. The details are fine, if the sideview reminds us some, or a lot, of the BMW X5 or VW Touareg. The LED taillights, at least, have more bite this year, and that addresses the derivative look of the rear end nicely. Rear LED taillights and a spoiler lifted from the SRT edition are standard on all versions now, while from the nose and tail, the lower fascias are different, pierced by dual exhausts on most models and on the SRT.
It's a case of one body, three very different missions. The Grand Cherokee tackles competitors like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, even the prosaic Subaru Outback, by being many different things at once, whether it's a frugal diesel cruiser, an inexpensive family SUV, or a high-powered luxury machine.