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Old 10-24-2015, 10:29 PM   #1
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New Durango Hemi or Grand Cherokee Diesel?

I'm planning to tow a Lance 2285 TT, dry weight 4500 lbs. I really, really want to stay with an SUV for the around town convenience and am looking hard at a new Durango V8 or a Jeep Grand Cherokee Ecodiesel. My tow vehicle payload is pretty light, two smallish adults and a kiddo, about 340 lbs. I'm thinking the longer wheelbase of the Durango would be a plus for stability, but love the torque the Jeep diesel would offer. Would really appreciate and experience out there. We're new to the towing game and don't want to make a big mistake right out of the gate!

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Old 10-25-2015, 07:54 AM   #2
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First of all, you can't use the dry weight of the trailer - there's propane, battery, water, gear, etc that you will be traveling with. The dry weight is the weight from the factory before anything is added to it. No one travels dry.

So let's assume you travel light and add a mere 700 pounds to that dry weight, for a total of 5,200 pounds. Assume 12% tongue weight (12% is standard) and you'll be at 625 tongue weight.

Now add that 625 to your family weight and that equals 965 pounds. And that assumes NO gear in the tow vehicle. I would suspect you are at or near the payload capacity of both of those types of vehicles.

Good luck with your search, but you might want to consider a 1/2 ton truck.

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Old 10-25-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
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Durango does have longer wheelbase but the rear overhang is longer as well, so I would not expect much difference in term of stability. Look at the payload capacity, extra 100 lb counts. With 8 speed transmission both engines will do the job, gasser will turn faster, scream louder, but will outrun diesel in 0-60 contest due to much higher hp output.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:19 PM   #4
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I would choose the eco diesel. It has better mileage when towing or not towing. I believe it to a be a better towing engine, IMHO.

Towr: 2007 Country Coach Allure 470 - 37 Sunset Bay Cummins 400 ISL
Toad: 2016 F150 King Ranch - 3.5L EcoBoost 4x4 Supercrew (curb weight 4,775 lbs)
Toad: SOLD 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee (yes, it has a Hemi) (curb weight 4,720 lbs)
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:45 AM   #5
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I think the Durango has the payload (suprizingly). I'm not sure about the Jeep. Definately check that. That will be your limitting factor. if BOTH can handle the payload of your family, the tongue weight, and a WDH, then you can pick between the two based on features you like. The drawback to the ecodiesel is that it is heavy, so eats into payload. Heavy engine is good for stability IF you still have enough payload left over. If it doesn't leave you with enough payload, it is out of the running.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:51 AM   #6
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You will be so much happier towing with a pickup. If you ever have to go up or down a hill in either of the vehicles you are considering while towing a loaded trailer and family, the vehicle will be stressed to the limits or beyond. Keep in mind you also need to be able to safely stop all that weight. You want to stay well under the limit
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:10 AM   #7
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According to the Dodge and Jeep websites, either vehicle in 2WD configuration can tow up to 7400 lb with the Hemi. The Grand is also available with the 3.0 L diesel, which is also rated for 7400 lb. Understand that is the very most it should tow, under good conditions. You also have to consider frontal area which can increase the wind load. And as stated before, if you plan on going through the mountains, you will need to gear down. Both of these vehicles currently come with the 8 speed automatic. (both hemi and diesel). So, really, according to the specs, either vehicle should work, as long as you keep your weight under control and don't expect too much if towing in hilly or mountainous areas. Personally, I like the hemi. Its proven to be pretty much bulletproof if you take care of it. I'm just still not sold on diesel power and all that has to go along with it.

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Old 10-26-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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Towing calculator

Here's an easy tool:

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Old 10-27-2015, 07:34 AM   #9
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On looks alone, I'd buy the Jeep with a Hemi. I don't feel the diesel is worth the extra $$.

However, to tow in the neighborhood of 5K with an SUV, I'd buy a Sequoia.

Enjoy whatever you buy.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
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Lowest payload of the Grand Cherokee I'm seeing is 1390lbs. I think the grand Cherokee will work. Just please invest in a quality hitch setup and you'll be happy. The hemi may actually pull better but the economy will be in the toliet compared to the diesel.
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Old 10-30-2015, 09:33 PM   #11
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I have a 2015 Durango R/T AWD with the Hemi and here are my stats.

Base Curb Weight: 5331lbs
Payload: 1340lbs
GVWR: 7100lbs
Tow capacity: 7200lbs
GCVWR: 13,100lbs

Surprise, the Durango in most cases is very close to the 1500 spec wise and in some cases beats it depending on engine/package configuration. I did not want a 1/2 ton truck and the Durango is a great SUV. Handles my 5000lb TT just fine. I average towing at approx. 62MPH between 12 & 13 MPG.

Only two improvements would be larger fuel tank and tow mirrors.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:24 AM   #12
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Wow, that's great. Is 5000 lbs for your TT your loaded weight? Thanks a bunch for the info.
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Old 11-29-2015, 02:22 PM   #13
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I bought a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD with the 3.0 eco diesel. I plan to purchase a Jayco TT with similar specs to what you want to buy.

My JGC rated to tow #7200. My goal is to max out total weight to no more than 5500 to 5700 lbs. which will be 20% under max capacity.

I suggest you go drive both first and see what meets your needs. I can tell you 1st hand that you will be impressed with the torque & power of the diesel, not to mention the mileage. I will be towing here out west with a lot of hills and mountains which sold me on the diesel.

The cost for the diesel is about $1700 more than the hemi as a option.
Higher costs for the diesel maint. I'm more than happy with my choice.

Good luck with whatever you choose. Wireman
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Old 11-29-2015, 02:36 PM   #14
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We tow with a 2014 Diesel Grand Cherokee, and the creature comforts are wonderful (heated and cooled seats, surround sound, etc.). Gets pretty good "gas" mileage, too, around 14-16 mpg.

I also tow with a ram 1500 with the hemi, and it was miserable without using a superchips tuner to adjust the shift points. With the tuner, it is actually a nicer drive, with less wind effect on the trailer transferring to the truck. But, 7-9 mpg while towing.

So, we use the diesel Grand Cherokee most often, unless we know we will be buying large items while on the trip, or if we need to haul wood or something with us.

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