December 9, 2013
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel vs 2014 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec Diesel. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Dan Heyman
Ahhh, cottage country in Ontario. Perfect for jet skiing and wakeboarding in the summer, cross-country skiing and maybe a bit of snowboarding in the winter (I say “a bit” as I am a BC boy, where alpine sports are king…), maybe a hike or two and plenty of time spent lakeside. Either way, a great road trip destination and escape from the concrete jungle of Toronto.
It’s also SUV country, and in our case, diesel SUV country. If anything’s going to challenge the fuel-misering chops of any diesel vehicle, it’s cold-weather driving in November (seat and steering wheel warmers blaring, heat cranked up to 11) up into the whitening wilds of north-central Ontario. This was an odyssey through snow-blanketed pastures and dusted evergreen trees, and over undulating terrain in temperatures hovering at around the -5 degrees Celsius mark.
A journey only for those with true grit.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the last models in the Dodge line-up to share some of its chassis components with a Mercedes product (from when DaimlerChrylser was a thing), and that car happens to be the other car in this test, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
However, when it comes to the engine, we go from one European manufacturer to the other and trade our German schnitzel for some Italian prosciutto, as the newest engine to enter the Grand Cherokee line-up is a Fiat-sourced 3.0L diesel V6. It makes 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, fed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The ML 350 Bluetec continues to make use of the 3.0L V6 we’ve seen under its hood for quite some time now, and while it makes the same hp as the Jeep, it adds 30 lb-ft of torque. That’s good schnitzel. It does, however, give up a gear to the Jeep as it comes equipped with a 7G-Tronic auto. Both vehicles have a manual mode that lets you shuffle cogs by yourself with wheel-mounted paddles. These being diesel-powered family haulers, however, I doubt many owners are ever going to make much use of them.
These are both diesel vehicles, however, so of particular interest is what kind of fuel economy we’d be getting. Mercedes claims 7.1 L/100 km on the highway for the ML and Jeep claims 7.0 for the Grand Cherokee, so we were keen to find out how close these vehicles would come to these figures, especially considering the cold weather we’d be facing and which is always a bane to diesel power.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel & 2014 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec Diesel. Click image to enlarge
A lot of the perceived value of these two trucks depends, of course, on how much having that Three-Pointed Star emblem means to you because our testers both had similar MSRPs: $72,350 for the Benz, $69,655 for the Jeep; I don’t know about you, dear readers, but near-on 70 grand for a Jeep is a healthy amount of coin. The diesel powerplant shoulders a share of the blame, here, as it is a $4,995 option to the Overland or Summit trims, the only two with available diesel power.