The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee only went on sale last August but an update for the popular SUV, the most significant since this generation’s launch back in 2009, has made its debut today at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

The latest version is coming in for the 2014 model year and brings with it fresh new styling, an eight-speed automatic across the board, and a new diesel option.

For performance fans, the SRT model is still offered, though it's no longer called SRT8, and it now features a more distinct look to further differentiate it from the regular Grand Cherokee range.  

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT still features a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine and its output remains at 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. However, thanks to the addition of an eight-speed automatic instead of the previous five-speeder, the latest model is said to be more refined, more economical, and capable of towing up to 7,200 pounds.

The transmission, sourced from Germany’s ZF, is fitted on all 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees and features pseudo manual control. It also features an Eco Mode, which, when selected by the driver, optimizes the shift times to help save fuel and on certain models, like the SRT, works together with other fuel-saving features such as cylinder-deactivation.

Also on the SRT model, the transmission’s manual mode works independently to the Selec-Track stability system, meaning the shift program has no effect on the chosen suspension, stability control and driveline torque split settings anymore. Selec-Track has its own settings including Auto, Sport, Tow, Track, and Snow modes. With Track selected, up to 70 percent of torque can now be channeled to the rear wheels. Also new is a launch control system.

The suspension on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT still consists of independent front suspension with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive dampers and stabilizer bars. The brakes are chunky Brembo six-piston calipers up front and four-piston at the rear, which bite 15-inch and 13.8-inch discs respectively.

No performance figures have been released though we should expect the vehicle to still reach 60 mph in around 4.8 seconds and top out at 160 mph, just like the outgoing model.

As the latest addition to the now standalone SRT brand, designers have attempted to give the Grand Cherokee SRT its own distinct look. This sees unique LED daytime running lights added to the headlights, as well as a brawnier grille, a new, one-touch liftgate and a new rear spoiler installed.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Inside, Grand Cherokee SRT customers are treated to Chrysler’s latest Uconnect 8.4-inch touch-screen display, a new sports steering wheel and redesigned shift paddles for the transmission. The latest Uconnect system features the new Uconnect Access Via Mobile which enables Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora Internet Radio or Slacker Radio music streaming with Uconnect using smartphone data, and, exclusive for the SRT8, it also gets a Performance Pages screen that shows recent track times, lateral acceleration, 0-60 mph times and much more.

As for the rest of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee range, fans after economy can look forward to a new 3.0-liter ‘EcoDiesel’ V-6 option. Essentially the same turbodiesel engine offered on the Jeep Grand Cherokee overseas, in U.S.-spec the engine will deliver 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and return up to 30 mpg on the highway, yielding a range of up to 730 miles. Jeep predicts a fuel economy of 21/30 mpg city/highway for rear-wheel-drive EcoDiesel models and 20/28 for the all-wheel-drive version.

The regular range also gets new styling, headlined by new lights, bumpers and an updated interior with the latest version of the Uconnect interface. For more details, check out the in-depth post on our sister site The Car Connection. And for more from the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, be sure to hit our dedicated show hub.