What happens when you take a $56k Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland off-roading? Two things. First, you’ll enjoy one of the poshest off-roading experiences ever – unless your daily driver is a Range Rover, perhaps – and second, you’ll be wishing the stock tires had more off-road cred. It’s through no fault of Jeep that the tires weren’t up to the challenge of a snowy, muddy, rocky Gold Mine Hill course in April. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the ratio of on-roading to off-roading the engineers had in mind when choosing the 20-inch Bridgestones was somewhere close to 97 to 3, or maybe a little higher.
But back to what the Jeep name stands for. Off-roading. The Grand Cherokee Overland comes with the company’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with a rear electronic limited-slip differential. The system comes with five settings: snow, sand, mud, rock, and auto. Rock mode is the most extreme as it is the only setting the requires the vehicle to be in 4-LO. It just so happens we needed it, too, since the base of stage three was covered with mud, which was then covered with snow.
The 3.0-liter diesel engine rated at 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque did little to help the JGC up the hill because, well, speeds never exceeded two mph. On the highway, it was a different story, however. The engine and 8-speed automatic transmission helped it trounce a Hybrid RAV4 on our 100-mile MPG loop. And it did it with torque to spare. Check out that mashup in the video below.