Eco Mode in Jeep Grand Cherokee: What You Need to Know

eco mode in jeep grand cherokee

Are you looking to improve your Jeep Grand Cherokee’s fuel economy and save money at the pump? Enabling the Eco Mode is an easy way to get better gas mileage during daily driving. But how does it work and when should you use it? This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about the Eco Mode feature available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

What Exactly is Eco Mode?

The Eco Mode is a selectable driving mode built into most modern Jeep Grand Cherokee models. It alters various vehicle settings to help improve fuel economy and efficiency when enabled.

Eco Mode works by making changes to the transmission shift schedule, throttle mapping, torque converter lockup, cylinder deactivation and more. The main purpose is to reduce fuel consumption without compromising performance too much.

When the Eco Mode is activated, the automatic transmission will upshift earlier and downshift later. This keeps engine RPMs low to conserve fuel. The torque converter will also lock up sooner to reduce wasteful slippage.

Throttle response is dulled intentionally to prevent aggressive acceleration that guzzles gas. On equipped V8 models, Eco Mode takes advantage of cylinder deactivation technology to seamlessly shut down cylinders when power demands are low.

All of these changes allow the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Eco Mode to deliver slightly improved fuel efficiency and MPG during normal driving conditions. The tradeoff is moderately reduced performance and acceleration.

When Should You Use Eco Mode?

Eco Mode can be useful in a variety of daily driving scenarios when performance is not a major concern. It works best under the following conditions:

  • Long highway drives with steady cruising
  • Daily commutes with smooth flowing traffic
  • Flat, low-grade roads where full power is not needed
  • Light acceleration and braking patterns

The fuel economy improvements will be most noticeable when driving at consistent highway speeds. Eco Mode helps maximize miles per gallon by keeping the RPMs low and transmission in higher gears.

However, the feature is less effective for situations like:

  • Stop-and-go traffic where frequent acceleration is needed
  • Steep uphill grades that require more power
  • Towing trailers or hauling heavy cargo loads
  • Winding roads with rapid acceleration and braking

Eco Mode is designed for moderate throttle and low RPM cruising. It will show benefits during mellow daily driving involving little braking and smooth accelerating. Think of it as a specialized “fuel saver” mode for ideal commuting.

How Do You Turn Eco Mode On or Off?

Activating the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Eco Mode is simple. All you need to do is press the “ECO” button located on the center console near the gear shifter.

When Eco Mode is enabled, a small green indicator light will illuminate on the instrument panel to confirm it is on. To turn Eco Mode off, just press the button again and the light will turn off.

The system will also automatically disable Eco Mode if you use the steering wheel paddle shifters (if equipped) or put the transmission into full manual control. This returns the vehicle to normal automatic shift programming.

So in summary, just push the ECO button to enable, and push it again to disable. The green indicator light shows the current status. If you want full manual gear control, Eco Mode will also automatically turn off.

Does Eco Mode Actually Improve MPG in the Real World?

For most drivers, using the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Eco Mode should deliver around a 3-4 MPG improvement during steady highway driving at cruising speeds. However, actual gains will depend heavily on your driving style and behavior.

If you defeat the purpose by driving aggressively with rapid acceleration, Eco Mode cannot work as designed. It relies on smooth, moderate throttle input to maximize efficiency. But when used properly, a modest bump in fuel economy is very achievable.

Small gains of 3-4 MPG may not seem significant, but improved efficiency does add up. Over the course of a year, using Eco Mode smartly on highway commutes can save you many gallons of gas and potentially hundreds of dollars.

How Does Eco Mode Affect Acceleration and Performance?

One tradeoff of using Eco Mode is moderately reduced vehicle performance and acceleration. Since it tries to limit excess fuel usage, you will notice effects like:

  • More sluggish throttle response
  • Slower acceleration, especially from a stop
  • Earlier upshifts and later downshifts by the transmission

The transmission shift points are altered to keep RPMs low for efficiency. This means you get less power for quick acceleration. More throttle is required when passing on highways.

While performance is diminished, most drivers find Eco Mode usable for normal commuting needs. You still have enough power as needed for safe daily driving. Just don’t expect spirited acceleration until Eco Mode is disabled.

Is Eco Mode Suitable for Towing or Off-Road Driving?

Eco Mode is designed strictly for improving efficiency during moderate on-road driving. It is NOT recommended for situations like towing trailers, hauling heavy loads, or driving off-road where full engine power may be required.

The throttle response reduction and tendency to upshift early can really sap engine braking and torque. This could make towing heavy loads up steep grades more difficult. Off-road, the lower RPMs may cause you to get stuck or slip traction.

For any demanding driving scenario, make sure to disable Eco Mode and use the normal vehicle mode instead. Maintaining the Grand Cherokee’s full performance capability should take priority over saving fuel.

Does the Eco Mode Work With All Jeep Grand Cherokee Engines?

Eco Mode is available across the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup, from the standard V6 to the optional V8 engines. However, the potential fuel economy improvements will be most noticeable on Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with cylinder deactivation.

When paired with Eco Mode, the cylinder deactivation can shut down even more cylinders under lighter loads, maximizing efficiency benefits. Even without this tech, V6 models will still see gains from the other changes while in Eco Mode.

So in summary, yes, Eco Mode functions to save fuel on all new Jeep Grand Cherokee engines. But having cylinder deactivation truly amplifies the fuel saving effects during highway cruising.

Is There Any Downside to Leaving Eco Mode On All the Time?

There are no mechanical or durability concerns associated with leaving Eco Mode enabled at all times in your Jeep Grand Cherokee. The changes it makes are all electronic adjustments to components like the transmission and engine.

Eco Mode accomplishes its fuel savings by tweaking things like shift timing, throttle mapping, torque converter lockup, and cylinder activation. No added stress or wear is put on physical parts.

Feel free to use Eco Mode as your everyday default driving mode. Jeep engineered it to seamlessly optimize efficiency without compromising reliability. Just know performance is degraded.

Does Eco Mode Integrate With Other Vehicle Systems?

On Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with the available Quadra-Lift air suspension system, Eco Mode also interacts with vehicle height.

When Eco Mode is active, the Grand Cherokee will automatically lower itself by .6 inches once speed exceeds 55 mph. This subtle ride height reduction improves aerodynamics to further aid efficiency.

Eco Mode also communicates directly with the engine’s cylinder deactivation function if equipped. It will aggressively take advantage of shutting down cylinders whenever possible to minimize fuel usage.

So in short, yes, Eco Mode integrates with air suspension and cylinder deactivation tech to compound its fuel saving effects under the right conditions.

What Are Some Alternatives to Using Eco Mode?

Beyond relying solely on Eco Mode, there are a few other habits that can help maximize your Jeep Grand Cherokee’s fuel economy:

  • Remove unnecessary cargo weight and roof racks to reduce mass
  • Make sure tire pressures are set properly per the door sticker
  • Follow the maintenance schedule and replace air/fuel filters
  • Use regular octane gasoline unless premium is required
  • Drive conservatively with gentle acceleration and braking

When combined with smart use of Eco Mode on highway drives, these practices can help further enhance efficiency and MPG. Every little bit counts when it comes to saving fuel!

When Does It Make More Sense to Use Sport Mode Instead?

Sport Mode does essentially the opposite of Eco Mode – it extends gear ratios, firms up shifts, and increases throttle response. This is ideal any time brisk acceleration or strong engine braking is needed.

Examples include merging onto highways, passing slower traffic, climbing steep hills, towing heavy loads, off-road driving, or whenever a more aggressive, sporty feel is desired.

Just know that fuel economy suffers quite a bit in Sport Mode compared to the efficiency of Eco Mode. Only use it when the added performance is a must.

Final Thoughts on Jeep Grand Cherokee Eco Mode

The Eco Mode available in most modern Jeep Grand Cherokees can be a helpful feature for owners focused on saving fuel, especially on long highway commutes. When used smartly, it improves efficiency noticeably.

Just keep in mind that performance is dampened, so avoid Eco Mode when towing, hauling heavy loads, driving off-road, or acceleration is a priority. Think of it as a way to conserve fuel when you just need efficient, mellow cruising.

With a little practice, most drivers should be able to extract 3-4 MPG gains from Eco Mode based on their individual driving style and behavior. Over time, the extra miles per gallon does add up at the pump.

So in summary:

  • Eco Mode improves efficiency by adjusting shifts, throttle, cylinders
  • Best for highway cruising, not stop-and-go traffic
  • Delivers small but measurable MPG gains
  • Expect slower acceleration and performance
  • Disable when towing or off-roading
  • Completely safe to use by default
  • Works well with cylinder deactivation technology
  • Alternatives like smart driving habits further boost economy

Give Jeep Grand Cherokee Eco Mode a try on your next highway trip! With strategic use, you can put more money back in your wallet and get where you’re going while using less fuel.

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