2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: A Very BoldRide Slide Show
Earlier this week we brought you our BoldDrive review of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. We were wowed by its ability to seemingly spit in the eye of Sir Isaac Newton, but there were natural laws violated by Jeeps in places elsewhere than the Circuit of the Americas. Outside of Austin, Texas, we drove the true flagship of the Jeep lineup, the 2014 Grand Cherokee. You can cram it with all the luxury features, added MPG, and cutting edge tech that you want– if it can’t swing it off road, then its not a Jeep. The Compass and Patriot were never true trail vehicles, and never garnered the respect and adulation of the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, or any of the long line of predecessors. To prove its mettle, we went into some harrowing terrain with one of the best SUVs in the world, to prove that the Grand Cherokee can live up to Jeeps reputation as the king of the trail.
So we followed the folks from Jeep, who were in the lead vehicle. (NOTE: that’s a 10th Anniversary Wrangler Rubicon. Look at those meaty tires. Yum.) We took the trail at a snail’s pace. Speed isn’t the objective when crawling.
“They stumble, that run fast,” was a fair warning from Romeo & Juliet, and the same applies to the trail. Take it slow, lest you do something stupid, and become stuck in this backcountry.
But when you see so many Jeeps at play at a distance from the trailhead, you get antsy. The ascent and descent controls kept us at bay. It functions as a cruise control for the trail. Without any foot inputs, it controls the speed of the vehicle, modulating brake and throttle, splitting power independently among all four wheels.
The speeds are modulated in single kilometers per hour, toggled via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Blip the upshift paddle a couple times for the extra grunt to crest an incline.
However, when we got to a rock face that the guides were calling “Moab,” we knew things were going to get fun.
Our gallery > your gallery.
We know this almost looks PhotoShopped. It’s not. Deal with it.
In cresting the rock face, we couldn’t even see the guide, just his outstretched hands, some seven yards ahead.
In the indelible words of Bill Murray, “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” With the last Grand Cherokee in the group making its way back down the mount, it was back to camp for brisket! That said, the dismount was no walk in the park!
The angle was so sharp, that our seatbelts literally held us suspended, watching a dirt trail fill up our windshield. (We would have grabbed a photo of that too, but this intrepid journo preferred to clutch the camera to his chest with one hand and the “oh shit” handle with the other.) Conclusion: the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee lives up to the Jeep name, confirming its reputation with every rock crawled, desert crossed, and river forded.
Photos: George Kennedy for BoldRide