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Auto review: Grand Cherokee goes the distance

| Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, 9:17 p.m.

The flagship of the Jeep line — the five-passenger Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle — is both a grand and high-mileage traveler for 2014.

The roomy interior can be luxuriously appointed with stitched leather seats, panoramic sunroof, suede-like ceiling material and a Blu-Ray rear entertainment system with two video screens.

But that's not all. With the addition of an impressive diesel V-6 from Jeep's parent, Fiat of Italy, the 2014 Grand Cherokee 4X2 now boasts a federal government travel range of 615 miles on a single tank of fuel, the best ever for a Grand Cherokee. It is rated at 22 miles per gallon for city driving and 30 mpg on the highway, for an average of 25 mpg.

That makes the Detroit-built SUV third best in fuel mileage among diesel-powered SUVs sold in the United States, behind the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 Bluetec with a four-cylinder diesel and a government fuel economy rating of 24/33 mpg. The 2014 Audi Q5 SUV with diesel six cylinder is second, with a rating of 24/31 mpg.

The test Grand Cherokee, with brown metallic paint and dark brown leather seats, looked sharp with its 20-inch wheels.

It was right-sized, driving like a small vehicle but providing good passenger comfort and cargo room of up to 68.3 cubic feet.

Consumer Reports says reliability of Grand Cherokees with gasoline V-6 has been well below average. Diesel reliability is unknown.

There was one instance of the forward collision avoidance system in the tester activating without reason. No one was in the intersection or in front of the vehicle, but the Grand Cherokee suddenly flashed “Brake!” in the instrument cluster and began to brake hard on its own as if it sensed an impending frontal collision. A check of driver complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed at least one other Grand Cherokee has exhibited this problem this year.

NHTSA reports the 2014 Grand Cherokee has been the subject of five safety recalls.

Ann M. Job is an Associated Press contributor.

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