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2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD Road Trip - Diesel Grand Cherokee

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2009
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Photographers: Melissa HowardPelle Klein

When we last wrote of our Long Term '08 Grand Cherokee test vehicle, we had only 4,000 miles on it, and the new car smell was still present. We talked about the power that the little V-6 musters up, and how the diesel is very quiet and could easily be used as a grocery getter, tow-rig, and commuter vehicle.

Now at just over 13,000 miles, about half of that towing another Jeep of some sort or another, two oil changes in, and having driven the entire West Coast from Mexicao to Canada, the new car smell and feel have both worn off.

Even with the new car smell gone, and the new vehicle rose colored glasses gone, we're still happy with the Grand. It is a great do-it-all vehicle, we still haven't had anything go wrong, and the only costs to date are fuel and regular maintenance.

Since the diesel isn't for sale here in California, we were concerned about taking it to our local dealership for maintenance, and we are more of the do-it-yourselfer anyway, so we decided to save some money and change the oil in our driveway. Due to how much towing and wheeling this Jeep sees, we are changing the oil every 6,250 miles.

We went with Amsoil 5W-40 European Car Formula and a Mann drop in filter. Not only is Amsoil dedicated to making high quality oil, it is made here in the USA with good availability. With 10 quarts to feed the crankcase, we got a 12-quart case.

What it really costs
You can figure out what your Jeep costs you to run, but for us, this Grand Cherokee is the cheapest Jeep in the fleet to drive. Keep in mind; this is in spite of record-setting high fuel prices over the past summer where it wasn't uncommon to see diesel at over $5 a gallon. Here is what we've got into operation costs so far:

$2,913.13 Cost of 601 Gallons of Diesel Fuel
$111.60 Case of Oil (oil change number one)
$12.69 Mann Oil Filter (oil change number one)
$111.60 Case of Oil (oil change number two)
$12.69 Mann Oil Filter (oil change number two)
$15.69 Napa Air Filter (oil change number two)
$3,177.40 Total Parts and Fuel $0.24/mile (over 13,005 miles)

Real World Mileage
We like to figure things out for ourselves, and mileage is no different. One of the reasons that this Jeep is the cheapest in the fleet to operate is because its mileage, even when towing another Jeep, rivals the other Jeeps we've got floating around. And the numbers below include a lot of Los Angeles area traffic, and a not-so-light right foot. The other thing to consider is that unlike your buddy who doesn't really keep mileage or fuel logs, we do; and unlike your buddy, we really don't have anything to gain from embellishing our mileage. The only way any of our logs are useful is if we are dead on with our numbers. So, if you are at home trying to figure out if one of these is for you based on fuel economy, here are some real world numbers to consider.

Average Combined (towing, city
driving, sitting in traffic, highway
driving, wheeling) Fuel Economy:
22.4 mpg (over oil
change number
one interval)
22.2 mpg (over oil
change number
two interval)
Average Highway Economy
(no traffic at 72 mph):
22.7 mpg
Average Trailer Towing Economy
(over about 6,000 miles of
towing a dual axle car trailer
with various Jeeps on it both
around town, on the highway, and in traffic):
16.7 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy (from
5 hours in traffic towing a
{{{Comanche}}} on a trailer):
15.6 mpg
Best Fuel Economy
(on highway at 72 mph
for a 400 mile trip into Arizona)
24.7 mpg (we got 467 miles
out of one tank of diesel)
PhotosView Slideshow

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