The End Of The Road
Well, it was a good year with our long-term Grand Cherokee with the 3.0L diesel engine.
Considering our proclivity for soft-top Jeeps, we were surprised at how sad we were to see it go. Not quite selling-a-flatfender sad, but sad nonetheless.
In the year we had it, we managed to rack up 42,105 miles on it towing, road-tripping, and just cruising the US. We made a coast-to-coast-to-coast run, we drove along the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Canada, we did a day-trip to Portland, Oregon, from Los Angeles, California, and we made it to Moab three times in a year.
Don't think for a second that the Jeep was babied, either. We ran trails with it, towed with it, and drove it through snow that required lockers with our 35-inch tire shod TJ. If we had to guess, we'd say somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 of those miles was dragging another Jeep along on a dual-axle car trailer behind the Grand. All the while we were laughing at how the Grand got better mileage towing a Jeep than the Jeep on the trailer would get on its own
When people found out it was a diesel, they'd ask us, "What kind of mileage did you get?" Well, long story short, if we would stay out of the skinny pedal, we'd get 22-23 mpg on the highway, 16-17 mpg in LA city traffic, and 16-17 mpg towing. At the time we thought nothing of it, its just the way it was. Now that the Grand is gone, we are pulling about 8 mpg less on the highway, and the more frequent fill-ups are a killer on long trips. With the Grand, we'd clear 350 miles towing or 450 miles unloaded on a 20-gallon tank. With a regular Jeep, we are lucky to see half that on the same number of gallons. Heck, even Mileage Master only hits 350-400 on a tank, and that's about 23-24 gallons.
Mileage aside, running 1,000 miles in a day for many days consecutively became a no-brainer, towing or not. Want to go to Portland? Denver? Albuquerque? No problem and no airplane needed, either. All of the events Trasborg covered since the Grand arrived were driven to, even the east coast ones.
If we liked it so much, why did we give it back? Well, we did everything we could to hang on to it. Having made it over 40,000 miles with no major issues, we got really curious to push 100,000 and see just how well put together this hoity-toity Jeep with the high-falutin' Mercedes-sourced diesel engine was. Would we kill the transmission with all the towing we were doing? Just how long does a set of brake pads last (we still had plenty of meat on ours at 40K+)? Will all the electrical doodads cause insurmountable issues down the road? Will the blend doors die a horrible death like most other Grand Cherokees? We might never know.
We really expected after all this abuse that we'd have tons of squeaks, rattles, creaks, and groans. There is only so much a unibody Jeep will put up with before flexing. But the day we gave it back it was as quiet and comfortable as the day we got it.