2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Road Trip

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Real World Road Trip

Date Posted: July 24, 2014
By Zack Spencer

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is now available with a 3.0L turbocharged V6 diesel. Canadians prefer premium mid-sized German SUVs with diesel engines but is this new Jeep ready for prime time.

Summer, what a wonderful time of year, heading out on the open road with family. Okay it isn’t all fun and games, especially with an 11 year old and a 9 year old boys bickering in the back seat, but for the most part it can be enjoyable. For the first time I decided to take a road trip to one of my many car-related events. Usually I fly to a vehicle lunch but this time I thought I would take some extra time, and the family, on the road from Vancouver to Portland Oregon. While I attended the 2015 Dodge Challenger event at the Portland International raceway, my family could take in some of the local sites. To get us to a Chrysler event I asked if there was a Chrysler vehicle available for a test run? Luckily the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel was available. I’m a huge diesel fan, so this would be a good test of this new model and a perfect family machine.

Day one

The plan was to break things up a bit, instead of six solid hours behind the wheel. From Vancouver we crossed the border with relative ease thanks to the advent of the Nexus card. So crossing the border took all of ten minutes. The next stop was the Boeing plant in Everett Washington. This Boeing location was first developed in the 1960 when the worlds first Jumbo Jet was being developed, the iconic 747. I take over 100 flights a year but I’m still impressed with the machines that make it all happen, especially the 747. In fact I’ve booked a flight back from the upcoming Paris Auto show just so I can fly in a 747 again. Don’t worry, my kids think I’m nuts too. One tip, I wouldn’t visit the factory tour, as we did on the weekend. There is no action, just half built plans sitting around. I found it all amazing but my two boys didn’t share my enthusiasm.

Day two

After a night in Redmond Washington we got up and made the trek down to Portland, the land of tax free shopping and the Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark. Keeping with the 747 theme, I told my boys all about the waterpark just outside of Portland in McMinnville Oregon that has a real 747 on the roof with water slides out the fuselage, through the roof of the building and splashing into a huge waterpark complex. This, along with promise of Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnuts kept everyone on track for the three hour Jeep ride. Now the Grand Cherokee is a fantastic vehicle for an active family of four, there is plenty of room in the back seat I never heard one complaint. My wife loved the solid ride and I kept an eye on the diesels fuel economy. At the end of our run to Portland the average consumption was 8.0L/100km. pretty nice stuff for a truck with 420 lb.-ft. of torque.

Day three

This was the day I had to work, poor me trying out the all-new Dodge Challenger Hellcat on the track with all 707hp. It’s a tough gig. While I was shooting for Driving TV, my wife took the Grand Cherokee to the Evergreen Waterpark for a day of 747, splish-and-splash. I checked in throughout the day and the comments were universal. “This is the best waterpark ever”! As I wrapped up the day at the track I did get a frantic call from my wife. “The Jeep has lost power, I can’t drive over 30mph, what should I do?” The gang at Chrysler jumped to attention and before I knew it I was on the road with another Jeep Diesel and being accompanied by two PR reps in a 2015 Challenger. From the track to my stranded family took over an hour, in total they sat at a Shell station for two hours waiting. To pass the time, the kids ate what they wanted from the Shell convenience store and taking “selfies” seemed to do the trick. Once we arrived we realized a Dodge dealership was literally five minutes up the road.

Day Four

With a belly full of Voodoo Doughnuts, like Double Bubble flavor, fruit loops, coco puffs and good old chocolate we were ready to go leave Portland. It took a while for our repaired Jeep to arrive so on we went to sample more tax-free shopping and sample some of Portland’s many food trucks. When the Jeep did arrive, it turns out the Diesel went into “limp-mode” enabling the driver to get to the next dealership. The fix was a simple computer program flash, which took no time at all. Regardless, we were on the road, heading to Seattle for some underground fun.

Day Five

After a great night in Seattle we woke up to rain, lots of rain, so we went underground to visit the old, hidden city of Seattle. These tours take tourist on a walk through the ruins of Seattle after the massive fire of 1886 and the rebuilding that took place. Basically, Seattle is built on top of the old city and all these times I never knew it. There are tunnels and abandoned sections of buildings that look as they would have over a hundred years ago. After the tour, the rain was getting us down and we all wanted to get home. The Grand Cherokee never set another wheel wrong; it was fantastic in the heavy rain and very solid on the highway. After 1300 plus kilometers behind the wheel I averaged 8.5L/100km. Now some of this might have been skewed due to the short trip to the dealership. The only true way to find out is to do it all again next year.

The Lowdownn

Power: 3.0L turbocharged diesel V6 with 420 lb-ft. of torque

Fill-up: 9.8L/7.0L/100km (city/highway) 

Sticker price: $58,000-$62,000

After 1300 plus kilometers behind the wheel I averaged 8.5L/100km
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