Jeep Expands Alternative Fuel Offerings
All DCX 4.7L V6s Go Flex-Fuel for 2007
For the 2007 model year, the 4.7L V8 offered in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander gets flex-fuel treatment, making these SUVs able to run on gasoline or E85. The engine is also used in the Durango and Ram, though Dodge had already offered flex-fuel-capable powertrains. While GM and Ford offer several V8 engines in either the flex-ready or the gasoline-only variations, DaimlerChrysler will simply equip all 4.7L V8s with the appropriate modifications for the capability.
Jeep Adds Diesel Grand Cherokee for 2007
Perhaps making a bigger splash is the announcement that the Grand Cherokee gets a diesel for the States with the 2007 model year. The Grand Cherokee had already been available with in international markets with the diesel, though this will be the first for the U.S. version. The Commander is offered in Europe with the same diesel engine, so if the Grand Cherokee diesel sells well, a Commander diesel for the States seems only a matter of time.
The diesel is a 3.0L DOHC 24v V6 common-rail injection turbo-diesel built by Mercedes-Benz, delivering 215HP for this market. It will be available in Laredo, Limited, and Overland trim levels. Look for a five-speed automatic transmission, as the diesel gets in Europe and other Grand Cherokees are equipped with.
Jeep expects the CRD to get 19 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. By comparison, the V6-equipped Grand Cherokee’s EPA ratings are for 17/22 mpg, the 4.7L V8 for 15/20 mpg, and the 5.7L HEMI V8 for 15/20 mpg. The diesel’s 215HP betters the V6’s 210HP but not the 4.7L’s 235HP, though its increased torque should provide for better acceleration and it is rated for more towing. Though VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents haven’t driven the diesel yet, it should give a more substantial feeling to off-the-line acceleration than either the 4.7L V8 or the V6 and satisfy the needs of most drivers, especially those needing to tow anywhere near the diesel’s 7400-pound capacity.
Will Going Diesel Save Money?
Diesel engines can offer better fuel economy than gasoline engines, and Jeep claiming a 30 percent improvement in the Grand Cherokee. But in the current environment, some regions have seen diesel prices running higher than or about the same as premium unleaded gasoline, which the standard gasoline-fed Jeep engines don’t even need. Regular 87 octane is the requirement for the V6 and 4.7L V8, though 89 octane is recommended for the 5.7 V8. Statistics from the Energy Information Administration put the national average for regular unleaded at $2.86 per gallon, and diesel at $2.88 (as of May 29, 2006).
Diesel engines generally get better fuel economy, but the cost savings may be offset by higher cost of the fuel. Diesel engines can be a solid choice, but it is not a slam dunk that going diesel will ease your pain at the pump.
First Modern Diesel Jeep Was Liberty
U.S. Jeep dealers began offering a diesel-powered Liberty for the 2005 model year and have sold 11,000 CRD Libertys through the end of May 2006. Of course, in all of 2005, Jeep sold more than 166,000 of the mid-size SUV. While the response to diesel has been solid and has satisfied DaimlerChrysler’s expectations, it remains a small percentage of the mix.