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Remember the Diesel Jeep SUVs of the Mid-2000s?

Here’s something you may not remember, or something you never knew about in the first place: In the mid-2000s, in the United States, Jeep offered diesel engines in its Liberty and Grand Cherokee models. They weren’t common, and it wasn’t heavily advertised, but you could get diesel Jeeps more than a decade ago.

The situation was this. In the mid-2000s, Jeep was experimenting with ways to improve gas mileage, and diesel engines weren’t subject to the stringent standards that they are now (it’s currently difficult to get any diesel certified). So Jeep decided to try out diesel power in the Grand Cherokee and the Liberty. They were dubbed the Liberty CRD and Grand Cherokee CRD, for “common-rail diesel,” and the two models were offered back-to-back: The Liberty CRD was sold from 2005 to 2006, and the Grand Cherokee CRD came out for the 2007 model year.

Interestingly, the two models didn’t use the same powertrain, as I had always assumed. The Liberty CRD actually used a 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder with 160 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which was mated only to a 5-speed automatic and returned 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway — a huge improvement over the 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy offered by the Liberty’s 3.7-liter V6.

The Grand Cherokee CRD, meanwhile, had more grunt: it used a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that made only 215 hp but an impressive 376 lb-ft of torque, which was then unheard of in midsize SUVs. It returned 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy, which was also an improvement — though not as significant an improvement — over the regular Grand Cherokee’s 17 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with its 3.7-liter V6.

Of course, the Grand Cherokee CRD and the Liberty CRD have been largely forgotten about, though a quick Autotrader search reveals a handful still around. There are currently 65 examples listed on Autotrader, split relatively evenly between the two: 28 Grand Cherokee models and 37 Liberty models, just in case you want a little more torque — and a little better gas mileage — with your used Jeep.

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  1. Please review a new Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel!!!!!!! It would be a perfect video for your new YouTube channel!!!!

  2. I’ve got the Lib CRD and I love it. Turning it into a nice little restomod trail rat. imo the most underratted Jeep of all time. An unknown little unicorn with 360 lbs torque chipped while getting about 28 mpg highway.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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