The Fast Lane Car Goes Towing with the 2014 Grand Cherokee ECODiesel

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When you think of towing, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a diesel motor.  In the front of a pickup truck.  Not in a Jeep sold in America.  But that’s exactly what the guys at The Fast Lane Car were thinking: hauling a 5,740-pound boat behind the 2014 Grand Cherokee ECODiesel.

They were also planning on timing it from zero to 60 mph with and without its water-going caboose, at a mile above sea level.

Although the 3.0-liter V6 oil-burner churns out 240 horsepower and a stout 420 pound-feet of torque, its $4,500 price ballooned TFLCar’s Overland tester’s as-tested sticker to $53,685.  Up to 30 highway miles per gallon and a 730-mile range should have taken some of the sting out of checking that option.

Those are (mostly) good numbers, but Roman Mica was primarily interested in how quickly the GC went from a dead stop to 60 mph.  Unladen, it made Mica wait at least 9.19 seconds.

As you can imagine, those times tanked after the trailer and boat were hooked up.  That’s not to mention the fact that managing editor Andre Smirnov was also riding shotgun.  He and Mica set out to determine if the sand-bagged rig could hit 60 in 17 seconds.

It did not.

Despite engaging sport mode and pre-spooling the ECODiesel’s turbo, the fellows only managed a 19.97-second run – the best of two.

There were two factors to blame: a power band that snapped after 2,000 rpm and the elevation in Colorado, which Mica claimed slows acceleration times by one or two tics.

Nevertheless, he and Smirnov decided to see what times a gasoline pickup could knock off.  Any guesses as to which truck they picked?  The answer—and its run numbers—might surprise you.  Find out if you were right by clicking the link, below.

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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