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DATE News (chronologically)
01/14/13
automotive
Grand Cherokee will get 8-speed, diesel option  A re-engineered Jeep Grand Cherokee will get a new eight-speed automatic transmission, a new optional diesel engine and Chrysler Group's latest Uconnect infotainment system for the 2014 model year.

Jeep's flagship SUV will be revealed today at the Detroit auto show.

In addition to the powertrain changes, designers slightly restyled the Grand Cherokee's front fascia and rear taillights. Inside, the SUV will get an 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment system.

A re-engineered and restyled SRT version of the Grand Cherokee, with the eight-speed transmission, will be shown as well.

The styling and engineering changes come less than three years after the SUV was last reworked in 2010.

"I remember the days when you used to launch a vehicle and leave it for six years, and then wonder why your segment share had halved," said Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand.

The Grand Cherokee is the latest rear-wheel-drive Chrysler vehicle to get an eight-speed automatic transmission, following large sedans and Ram 1500 pickups. Chrysler says the transmission will improve driving dynamics and fuel economy and help reduce road noise.

An optional 3.0-liter diesel engine has been added to the SUV's available engines in the United States, delivering 240 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 remains the standard engine, and a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is optional.

For the 2014 model year, Jeep will split its top-end Grand Cherokee trim, the Overland Summit, into two separate trim levels, Overland and Summit. It retains the lower-end Laredo and Limited trims.

To improve fuel economy, Jeep has installed an Eco mode on all levels of the 2014 Grand Cherokee. The mode alters the eight-speed automatic's shift schedule and raises and lowers the vehicle. On models equipped with a V-8 engine, the Eco mode enables cylinder deactivation.

Designers took a light touch in restyling the Grand Cherokee's exterior, adding new front and rear LED lighting and larger taillamps. The front fascia has several small changes.

Inside, the 2014 Grand Cherokee will get an 8.4-inch touch screen and Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system. Also new is a redesigned steering wheel with paddle shifters on all trim levels.

A new 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster delivers vehicle information to the driver. Autonews

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