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Jeep EcoDiesel: a pricey option

by David Zatz on

VM 3-liter ecodiesel

The sophisticated, state-of-the-art three-liter VM V6 diesel available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee comes at a significant cost: it is a $4,500 option, unless buyers go for the top-of-the-line Summit 4×4. Then, it’s $5,000, according to the HeraldNet.

The Grand Cherokee spans an impressive range of prices, starting from $29,790 (including destination) for the base Laredo rear-wheel-drive model; even that trim level includes an eight-speed automatic similar in design to those used by BMW and Rolls-Royce.  The top model is the SRT, which tips the scales at $63,990 but is considered by many to be a bargain, when compared with similar models from luxury brands.

The V6, when coupled to the eight-speed automatic, is expected to provide acceleration similar to that of the first Hemi models with the five-speed. Currently, all Grand Cherokees use eight-speed automatic transmissions, including the diesel.

The VM diesel produces a bit less horsepower than the gasoline V6, but more torque than the gasoline V8 (SRT excluded); the added torque is especially helpful in a heavy vehicle like the Grand Cherokee. Fuel mileage is the prime strength of the diesel, though, with preliminary estimates of 22 / 30 for the rear drive version — much better than the V8’s 14/22 or the gas V6’s 17/25.

Diesel engines are typically more expensive than gasoline engines; the Cummins diesel in Ram heavy duty pickups, which is chosen by most buyers, sells at an even higher premium. The diesels’ greater torque, high compression rates, and exceedingly high fuel pressures require both greater precision and far more durable materials than typical gasoline engines.

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