Nabbed For A Year
We have been talking about Jeeps with diesel engines for a while now. And over the last few years we've gently and not-so-gently prodded Jeep Corporation in these pages to bring a diesel Wrangler to the U.S. Well, we have yet to see a diesel Wrangler on these shores, but there is-right now-a diesel Jeep available at your dealership or a dealership one state over.
The Grand Cherokee has been available in this country with the 3.0L V-6 CRD diesel engine since the '07 model year (since '05 overseas), but no one seems to know about it. The engine is rated at 215 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. That power gives the Grand a 7,400-pound towing capacity, which means it can pull a dual-axle car trailer and any of our short-wheelbase Jeeps with ease. We ran it on a four-wheel dynamometer (it is full-time 4WD) and registered 197 hp and 347 lb-ft at the wheels, so we think Jeep is underrating the engine just a bit.
With the rising price of everything, but especially diesel fuel, we got to wondering if a diesel vehicle makes sense anymore. As of this writing, diesel fuel in California is about a dollar more a gallon than regular unleaded. If that wasn't enough, the added price of the diesel engine is no different for a Jeep than it is for any other product.
So we talked Jeep into loaning us an '08 Grand Cherokee equipped with the CRD engine. They even let us option it out as we saw fit. At the time of our ordering, we had to get a Limited in order to get the diesel engine; as of this writing the diesel can now be optioned on the base-model Laredo. In addition to the diesel package, we opted for the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 Group, which got us skidplates and towhooks; the Trailer Tow Group IV, which came with a towbar, trailer wiring, and heavy-duty cooling; and the My Gig Navigation System, which has a $900 discount attached to it, so the option is essentially free.
As tested, we were out the door for $42,335, which puts it in the 1-ton diesel pickup range, so if it is only a tow rig that you care about, maybe this isn't for you. If you want a Jeep that can tote the kids, that the wife can drive without any nervousness, and that you can easily back a trailer up with, this might be a good do-it-all alternative for you.
Our goals for this Jeep are to bring you real-world feedback on the current Grand Cherokee platform and the 3.0L V-6 CRD engine and drivetrain, and to see just how expensive it is to use day-to-day in comparison to our gas-powered rigs. We have had it for a month so far, racked up 4,000 miles, and are fast approaching our first service. Stay tuned as we continue to stack up miles and bring you the real skinny on the new top-of-the-line Jeep.
Specifications And Price
Base Price (Limited 4x4 Package): $38,875
Destination Charge: $730
3.0L V-6 Turbo Diesel Engine: $1,655
Quadra-Drive II 4x4 Group: $795
Trailer Tow Group: $280
My Gig Navigation System: $900
My Gig Discount: -$900
Total Price as Tested: $42,335