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Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel Review

Jeep Grand Cherokee If you want to buy a new diesel-powered 2008 SUV, you can choose from just three manufacturers in the USA: Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, or Jeep.

Make that three manufacturers and two engines …

While it may be news to many folks, Jeep began offering a Mercedes-Benz diesel option in the Grand Cherokee back in 2007. The combination of a Jeep soul with a Mercedes heart is tough to beat.



The 3.0 liter Mercedes-Benz common rail diesel (CRD) is well-suited to the Grand Cherokee, producing 215 horsepower and a very healthy 376 foot pounds of torque. The torque figures put the diesel on a par with the 4.7 liter V-8 (305 HP and 334 foot pounds of torque) and 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 (330 HP and 375 foot pounds of torque). It’s an even match up when it come to grunt, but when it comes to fuel efficiency, the 3.0 liter CRD shines.

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD EPA Mileage Estimates:

Engine City Hwy
4.7 liter V8 14 19
5.7 liter V8 HEMI 13 18
3.7 liter V6 15 19
3.0 liter V6 CRD 17 22

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Over the test period, our Grand Cherokee’s turbo-diesel delivered endless torque as it turned in a very respectable 21.6 miles per gallon (MPG) combined, with 24.3 MPG on the highway. Those are excellent numbers for a 5000 pound Trail-Rated SUV with full-time four-wheel drive. When it comes to 4WD capabilities, this isn’t a poseur … it’s the real thing.

Driving the diesel Grand Cherokee is different from any other green SUV. The power comes on right off the line and doesn’t stop. The engine makes its presence known when the throttle is dropped, but the din isn’t obtrusive.

While the steering feels heavier than the Lexus 400h or Ford Escape Hybrid, it’s not heavy in a bad way … it feels solid at freeway speeds where a lighter SUV might dance a bit in crosswinds.

It’s a solid ride with understated luxury.

As it stands, the diesel option is quite compelling. Some tweaks could put it over the top.

At 65 miles per hour, the Grand Cherokee’s CRD engine turns at roughly 2500 RPM. It seems like the transmission might benefit from an additional overdrive gear to drop the revs and pick up a mile per gallon or two at highway speeds.

An aero package could yield benefits, as well … as the Grand Cherokee isn’t the most aerodynamic SUV out there.

Diesel SUVs?

They’re’ as American as German Apple Pie …

After completing a two-week review of the CRD-equipped Grand Cherokee, we’re convinced of not just the domestic viability of diesel-power for SUVs and other passenger vehicles, but of the inevitability of of the technology, if only given the chance to succeed in the United States.

Chrysler is to be commended for sticking to plan. There are huge benefits to come from efficient diesel-powered SUVs running on domestically sourced fuel. We hope to see a full line of Jeep diesels available here in America in the near future.

Grand Cherokee Diesel courtesy of Bosch

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26 comments ↓

#1 35 MPG: Why Wait Until 2020? on 03.15.08 at 8:58 pm

[...] due to recently tightened emissions regulations. With the exception of the domestically-available Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel, all of Chrysler’s North American manufactured high-MPG diesel-equipped vehicles are being [...]

#2 John Quadrozzi, Jr. on 04.20.08 at 9:38 pm

WOW!!!!!!!! What is wrong with this country? It boasts it’s green driven, yet it’s letting the euro’s drive it.

We need to give some emissions conssessions on high mileage diesel vehicles (HMDV’s). At least allow US sales of the HMDV’s till 2011 giving them a chance to catch on while the manafactures catch up on the emissions requirements. Saving fuel should be our highest priority to slow down the Arab pipeline. Note: Production of diesel fuel creates less pollution and energy than gasoline. “WAKE UP AMERICAN LEADERS”

#3 Ellery Bice on 05.29.08 at 9:41 pm

A hot seller would be diesel powered
dual purpose motorcycle. Perhaps
a BMW or the Kawasaki diesel enduro
That was built for the U.S. Military.

#4 Nick on 07.15.08 at 12:32 pm

I’m ready to buy, as soon as: 1. The transmission is given an extra gear to drop the engine RPM’s on the highway. 2. Jeep warrants the diesel engine and drivetrain for life, like they do for the gasoline counterparts. 3. America decides that diesel technology is a good idea and consumers actually buy the diesel products. I don’t want to get stuck with a one-hit wonder like the diesel Jeep Liberty of a few years ago…

#5 Rich on 07.27.08 at 9:05 pm

I have an 06 Liberty Diesel LTD and love it. Get one…

#6 Diesel Mileage: 1998 - 2008 on 08.13.08 at 10:00 am

[...] The choices thinned for diesel owners in America in the years between 1998 and 2008, with Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz continuing to be the only manufacturers to offer diesel passenger cars in the United States. Budget conscious Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Beetle TDI owners enjoyed excellent mileage throughout the period, benefiting from VWs commitment to the market. 1999 marked the last year for a domestic diesel SUV – with the GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe – until Jeep ever-so-briefly bolted a VM Motori diesel under the hood of the domestic Liberty. 1998 saw the last of the light diesel pickup trucks with the GMC and Chevy K2500 and C1500 models, as diesel-power retreated to the heavy-duty trucks. The end of this period offers hints of the clean diesel revolution, with Jeep’s introduction of the world-class six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz diesel in the Grand Cherokee CRD. [...]

#7 James on 08.15.08 at 11:14 am

Volkswagen makes the Touareg with an optional 5.0l diesel. I have considered buying the Jeep CRD but hesitate because the fuel efficiency isn’t as good enough to offset the currently more expensive diesel fuel.

#8 CarrboroTDI on 08.29.08 at 12:49 am

Re: Touareg – it’s overkill. Too big and powerful of an engine, thus no real savings in MPG and the cost of the vehicle was too high. The Mercedes 3.0 L seems much more reasonable, and with a test report of better than 21 mpg overall, the 20-25% better mileage does justify the extra 15% expense of diesel fuel. And with “clean diesel” emissions, this is a great car if you need (not want, but NEED) an SUV of this size. I like it!!

#9 Joe on 08.31.08 at 5:21 pm

Great review, I just rented a 3.7L gas version and loved it so much im thinking of picking up this diesel as it has more power and 10MPG better! I hope they do lower the rear axle gear as 2500RPM in a diesel IS high, the 3.7L gas only turned 1,900 at 65mph.

#10 Joe on 11.25.08 at 3:23 pm

Great review, but having 2 kids in 2 carseats, 2 labs, ski equipment, Mtn bikes, etc., then want to take Grandma, where does everyone sit? I live in BC, need 4wd/awd when working as rep on the road, or want to go skiing and the road is closed to people without 4wd and good winter tires, what am I supposed to drive? Have a Pathfinder (Pumpfinder), which hits all the needs, except fuel economy. Where is their Diesel? Would go with a Cherokee, but where’s the extra seat? By the way, not buying a Van…too hard to drive through creeks to go fishing. What do you suggest?

#11 Dave on 01.31.09 at 7:53 am

I have an ’07 Grand Cherokee CRD and love it (46,000 miles). Had a Liberty CRD and when I heard they were introducing the bigger platform, I had to have it. I would like to buy a new one – but did they drop it for ’09?

#12 mike schall on 02.02.09 at 10:05 am

I’ve had a diesel grand cherokee about 3 weeks and am getting about 26mpg driving a combination of city/hwy.

#13 twinstick on 02.22.09 at 2:26 pm

I’m sure that there is a conspiracy going on here about obtaining great diesel motors here to own. It seems that just as folks warm up to the diesels here, the companies take them away for one reason or another. In the most recent cases though, I can blame those ever-loving rat bastards in Congress …

#14 harm on 03.07.09 at 5:58 pm

Just test drove the Cherokee Diesel. Was somewhat impressed but there is no leg room for my 10 year old in the back seat. Revs too high on hwy and to much wind noise. Brakes are hard to modulate. Great suspension set up

#15 Darkman on 05.28.09 at 5:09 am

had the diesel over one year 30 000k no issues, the 4WD is excellent . super comfortable, the diesel right now in Alberta is $0.75 per liter and gasoline is 0.95 that’s .20 less per liter on a 80 liter tank thats $16 less per full up.
untop of the Diesel being 20% more fuel efficient (like i said i’m from Canada and all calculations are metric feel free to convert to MPG).

I did alot of research on these engines and you wont find many issues with the engine or transmission, do your research on Mercedes and jeep engines not to many faliures, most common issue is faulty fuel or some old diesel. and taht is easy solved refill and engine codes goes away after a few starts.

now cmpare what you get in a jeep and any other car in its class, you can buy a brand new laredo loaded with options and the diesel package, for 35000 new and compare it to a honda pilot with same features you are looking at $55000 new.

now story goes nissans and pilots are most reliable,
and they keep there value, so does the VW and so does the Mercedes, I believe that the jeep CRD will keep its value for the simple fact that its not a mass production like the V6 or V8 models, you will never see a rent a car jeep with a Diesel. Rentacar industries tend to take just about any car value downhill. as they floot the market with used cars after the vehicles hit a certain amount of KM…..

as for warranty the diesel should be good for 500 000km with meitenance before rebuild, this last statement is my personal opinion….

#16 steve gerstman on 09.02.09 at 3:15 pm

I cannot wait for the 2011 jeep cherokee to come out, with the diesel, would like to have one.

#17 Ray Hess on 09.19.09 at 9:52 pm

bought a 05 and 06 diesel Jeep Liberties, one for her and one for me, saw the 07 Grand Cherokee diesel, then traded the 06 liberty for the grand cherokee. I pull a “27 foot BH travel trailer,” had to use an equalizer hitch to keep it in control, get 12 to 15 mpg, 75 mph it gets 12, at 55 it gets up to 15 but no more. The torque is clear off chart it just plain holds it. This is one of the best out fits I have ever owned. You have to put a load on it to understands how good it really is. I was afraid that they were not going to build them anymore, but someone said they are going to build them in 2010? Why Don’t they put this engine in smaller P.U. or a 1/2 ton? (Because they would out sell everything else.) MB made this 3.0 L engine with the perfect match of RPM and Torque!! Remember this is only a 3.0 L at around 150 CID, This engine is fantastic!!!

#18 john mazurek on 01.07.10 at 9:58 pm

I would like to have some informations about diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee.

#19 Jason Carpp on 03.10.10 at 4:38 pm

I hope the Jeep Diesel makes it here in the USA. The US govt’s. always tellinig us that we’re supposed to be driving more fuel efficient vehicles. Well, here’s one of those fuel efficient vehicles to hit the market. I’d buy one if it were available. New, used, pre-owned, whatever. If it’s available, I’ll drive it.

#20 lorne on 03.27.10 at 10:23 pm

jason c… there is a diesel gc available in usa… 2007 & 2008 at least.

i am waiting for 2011 now to see what jeep is going to do… no MB, but told maybe for europe and canada a fiat engine that apparently tried tested and true… does anyone know more about this engine?

#21 Wayne on 03.31.10 at 7:54 am

Sorry, but you have your specs wrong on the 4.7 v8. She only has 235 hp, and far less torque than you quote! I know, because I own one!

#22 Jason Carpp on 04.16.10 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for the info, Lorne. If given a chance to succeed here in America (USA and Canada), I can see something like this 3 litre diesel engine used in the Cherokee (1990 – 1997), or for Dodge’s smaller trucks and Chrysler vans like the Dodge Caravan or the Voyager.

#23 mike bender on 06.23.10 at 8:46 pm

One reason the CRD Liberty was canceled was emissions. There was still a lot of high sulfur diesel at the pumps in America. The fear from EPA was that people would use the 500 parts per million instead of the 50ppm fuel and it would pollute. Not as bad as the 1990 Chevrolets or Fords or still limping around needing tuneups.
If the fuel had been cleaner the CRD libby would have been available a couple more years. Demand was good and it would have continued if not for emissions restrictions. It is actually a bit comforting to learn the V-6 will be made by Motori who made the 4 cylinder for the Liberty. I have one and it has been trouble free for 90,000 miles. (If I change the fuel filter on schedule).
The fuel mileage and pulling power of the diesel are amazing. With proper sound deadening material the diesel does not need to be offensive.
Valcent industries has developed a way to make diesel fuel from alga. They can grow it in a greenhouse and it doubles its volume in just four hours. Think of powering Americas vehicles with alga. No more foreign oil. Go to youtube and type in alga diesel.

#24 Alfred L Early D. Min. on 06.25.10 at 12:50 pm

I have a 2010 Jeep Commander Sport. This man does not fall in love with any auto made in America. However, my Commander has won my heart. It drives like a G500 Benz to me. I feel safe and comfortable in the automobile. Please O pa, put the 3.0 liter V6 CRD in this model. If it were possible, I would pay to have the diesel 3.0 dropped into my 2010 Jeep Commander today. Is there anyone with the knowledge out there; please email me. I love my Jeep except for the drive train of a Mercedes diesel engine. I would buy one if it were made today, you can take that to the bank. I checked the Jeep Commander against the Lexus GX470, trust me, except for a little wind noise, Jeep Commander gives the exact same ride. Jeep has more leg and shoulder space, I’m 6’4, 320lbs. Please don’t take my word for it, I dare anyone one to check this out. Plus the Jeep cost much less, but more automobile for your money. I would suggest the Jeep Commander to anyone who desires a big automobile ride. Besides, Jeep is what I drove while in Vietnam. They were dependable then and are the same now. This veteran is in the know, see for your self.

#25 Mike on 01.19.11 at 12:45 pm

I just bought an 07 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel with 40k miles and Quatradrive. Got transfered from El Paso to North Carolina a week later so towed a 12′ Uhaul, loaded, into a huge snowstorm on I-40. Not only did I average 16mpg but its like a bulldozer in the snow. Pulling a trailer in whiteout conditions was amazing…would not recommend that for everyone but it shows the potential for this Jeep. I think it will be perfect in the mountains around Asheville!

#26 Carl on 05.10.14 at 8:51 pm

Great idea, way overpriced. Mine got 18 no matter what I did. 90mph on texas highways: 18, idle for hours 18. You get the picture. The problem I had with it was comfort. I’m 5’9″ and I didn’t fit. Major problem. I lope jeep, planning on gettin a wrangler soon but we need more affordable diesels here in the States. We would be stupid not too.

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