This 7-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland has seen some proper Utah off-roading.
As much as we love publishing the best new car reviews we can to TFLcar.com and our various channels, some of the best stories and real-world experiences come from you all in the TFL community. Case in point: Brent’s years-long experience with his 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.
Most Grand Cherokees don’t see more than a dirt road or maybe the occasional snowstorm, but an awesome group of folks out there in the Jeep community ensure the brand’s more luxurious SUV lives up to the name. It doesn’t hurt that this owner’s in Utah, either, a state that offers some of the most spectacular off-roading opportunities out there.
Here’s how Brent introduced his lengthy, extremely thorough take on his Jeep:
Followed by everything he loves and hates about his Grand Cherokee:
Things I love about the 2014 JGC Overland
The 5.7L V8 is an absolutely perfect match for this vehicle. Its 8-speed transmission is a massive upgrade over the [previous generation] WK. There were some terrifying transmission programming quirks in the WK2, but a firmware update about a year in resolved them.
Update: An earlier typo said the Grand Cherokee had a 10-speed transmission, but it’s actually an 8-speed. We apologize for the error.
This platform is an off-road marvel. The air suspension is wonderfully compliant at standard height, and the 4 inches of lift you get with the push of a button is wonderful when in the gnarly stuff. The suspension tuning is the perfect mix of a rock crawler and a desert runner. However (and contrary to what y’all said in the show), raising the air suspension doesn’t increase the Jeep’s clearance, only the approach and departure angles.
The Quadra-trac II system is brilliant. Behaves like locking diffs. Did I mention this thing is an off-road marvel? The turning radius is excellent. Shockingly good, actually.
It looks great in Park City. Looks great in Palm Springs. Looks great in Moab. The Grand Cherokee’s seats are comfortable, and the leather upholstery is decent. Seat heating and cooling works great. The WK2 is the perfect size for the average family with 2 adults and 2 children.
Fuel economy is adequate for a boxy SUV with a V8 (20 mpg-ish if you drive 70 on the freeway; 18.5 mpg @ 80mph). The WK2 can tow far more than you should with a short wheelbase off-roader. Unless you seriously overload your trailer, you can’t really tell it’s there. It has a legitimate universal receiver for both towing and attaching baskets, bike racks, etc.
Things I hate about the 2014 JGC Overland
My Jeep Grand Cherokee has a low-res resistive touch screen (vomit). It was already grossly outdated when it shipped in 2014. The forward collision detection is so bad I have to turn it off — permanently. The navigation is pathetic, and the music app in the infotainment system is brain dead. Many of the infotainment design choices appear to have been made by drunken monkeys. The whole thing is pretty bad as a package.
Interior materials are a mix of wonderful and terrible. There’s some really nasty painted plastic adjacent to beautifully-polished dark wood (WTF?). The climate controls are flaky at best, and the HVAC system itself isn’t great (broad fluctuations). By comparison, my Audi holds cabin temps so perfectly that the temperature never crosses your mind.
The readout for the estimated range (based on fuel level) reads “Low Range” when you’re nearly empty. “Low Range”??!?!?! That means something totally different (transfer case) and the fact that a *Jeep* left the design room with that flaw is simply unacceptable.
The phone ringer (for incoming calls) is terrible and you can’t control the volume. Choices for which content to display in the digital cluster range from mildly worthless to offensively useless. The infotainment shows you the EULA/release legal-ese every freaking time you start the car. Every … freaking … time. The voice control is terrible. When voice control succeeds in placing a phone call, it puts you through 10 seconds of voice instructions for how to hang up a call before it will place the call. Again, every…fracking… time. The backup camera is about waist high. It would be much better as part of the third tail light assembly.
Finally, overall visibility isn’t great. A 360-degree camera system would be really helpful, especially off-road. The A pillars are enormous and block a lot of the driver’s line of sight.
When you spend a good chunk of your own money on a car, you want it to be good for your needs. If you’re looking into a used Jeep Grand Cherokee, hopefully Brent’s thoughts are helpful. Thanks for sending them our way! If you have your own thoughts (and some epic photos — thanks Brent!), send them our way to either firstname.lastname@example.org if you want them published here, or email@example.com if you have a pickup story.