2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Long-Term Road Test

Introduction


  • 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

    2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

    Selecting the Technology Group option adds a camera located in the front bumper for adaptive cruise control. | July 22, 2014

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Long-Term Road Test: Introduction

July 23, 2014

What We Got
A 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited bathed in True Blue paint and riding on chrome-plated wheels. So no, we didn't get the off-road-oriented Trailhawk model. As cool as that version of the new Cherokee looks, most buyers will opt for something closer to our tamer Limited model.


2014 Jeep Cherokee

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After all, this is Jeep's replacement for the Liberty, a vehicle that never gained much of a reputation as a rock crawler. And while it may bring back an old name, the new Cherokee comes to market with the most interesting styling in this segment since the Suzuki X90 and a full suite of modern convenience and luxury features in a full-on assault on the CUV status quo.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has a starting price of $22,995 in its base Sport trim, while our Limited (three rungs higher up the Cherokee ladder) starts at $28,095. As a Limited model, this Cherokee comes packed with standard features that are optional or not available on lower trims. Upgrades include leather-trimmed bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and a back-up camera.

What Options Does It Have
Though the Limited already comes fairly well equipped, there were a few extras we felt were worth adding for this test. First up was the V6 engine, a $1,495 option. In our 2014 Jeep Cherokee First Drive, we found the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder to be a little underwhelming, so for our needs, the 271-horsepower V6 was at the top of our list. The fuel economy hit isn't too bad either, as the V6 returns 22 mpg combined vs. 24 mpg combined for the four-cylinder.

We plan on taking plenty of road trips with this crossover, so 4WD was a must in case we run into bad weather, or a hidden geocache, or a dusty trailhead that looks fun somewhere along the way. Plus, it's still a Jeep, and Jeeps are bought for their all-terrain, all-weather ability. Checking the box for the Active Drive I 4WD system ($2,000) also includes the Selec-Terrain dial, which allows the driver to choose from Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand/Mud modes to optimize traction. Active Drive II adds low-range gearing but we decided against spending the extra $995.

Rounding things out, we also ordered the Technology Group ($2,155), a package that includes blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and an automated parking system. A navigation-HD radio system set us back another $795. A six-speaker audio system is standard, but we felt the nine amplified speakers and subwoofer were worth the extra $395.

Add in the destination charge of $995, and the grand total of our Cherokee Limited 4x4 is $35,930.

Why We Bought It
Compact SUVs have never been more popular, and the Jeep Cherokee already accounts for nearly 25 percent of all Jeeps sold in the U.S. as of June 2014. That's a huge chunk of the company's overall sales, considering the Cherokee has only been on dealership lots since October of last year.

This new Jeep also features plenty of firsts. It's the first Jeep to use underpinnings from Fiat, Chrysler's corporate partner. It's also the first use of the company's 3.2-liter V6 and the first time a nine-speed automatic has been offered in a compact SUV. This Cherokee also features radical styling that lands it firmly in the love-it-or-hate-it category.

When we rated the 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk, we noted that the off-road tires negatively affected the car's handling and braking performance. Does the Limited improve the Cherokee's day-to-day livability? Will we miss not having the more capable four-wheel-drive system?

We'll answer these questions and more over the next 12 months and 20,000 miles. Check the Long-Term Road Test page for daily updates and driving impressions.

Best mpg: 21.7
Worst mpg: 17
Average mpg over 580 miles: 20

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation

Comments

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    Another good choice for a LT car. After all the whining and hand wringing about the styling, these things are flying off dealer lots.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I've seen a bunch of these in person now and my brother-in-law and his wife bought one a few months ago (the Trailhawk version) to replace her Volvo wagon. In person it is really a good looking SUV.

  • bgsntth bgsntth Posts:

    What makes the Cherokee unique (attractive) is the availability of a low-range with locking center and rear diffs and real AT tires in this class.

  • ek900 ek900 Posts:

    Good choice for a long term test. I agree with the comments above that, despite a lot of criticism of the styling from the media, it seems to be working. I see a lot of these popping up in my area.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    interesting that you picked up the limited version all the other websites/mags went immediately for the trailhawk. i find it also interesting that nobody is reviewing the four cylinder. do you think the v6 will be a big seller because it is only a $1500 upcharge? What i want to also know is do you think upper-scale moddels of the smaller SUVs are a good replacement for the classic american large sedan? Rear legroom seems similer and you have the added utility of the hatchback and ride hight and the prices seems to undercut the large sedan as well.

  • coxwill coxwill Posts:

    I'm looking forward to this test...I'm planning on replacing my MINI next summer (I need more room) and this is on my list of "maybe's". I'm really interested in the real world performance and mileage of the V6 (my MINI is the S...so I still want something semi quick/fun)

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    the rear storage is pitiful in jeeps. owned an 05 grand cherokee and couldn't believe the lack of storage area. while shopping for a '14 grand cherokee i checked the numbers and, yep, same amount of rear storage space as a RAV4!! looked at one of the cherokees at the auto show and the storage floor is very high for no obvious reason...

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    and by storage space i meant to say cargo area.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    Flame away but I'm disappointed you sold a unique and intersting vehicle (the Tesla Model S) for yet another boring SUV.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    > @bassracerx said: > interesting that you picked up the limited version all the other websites/mags went immediately for the trailhawk. I expected Edmunds to do the same. The Trailhawk package is, to me, the one reason to pick the Cherokee. It's unique within the class. Take that away and the Cherokee is an also-ran in the increasingly crowded compact CUV market.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    I have mixed feelings about this vehicle, so I'm glad you are testing it. Most of the competition feels quite cheap, so I like that Jeep made an effort to install a premium interior and ride here. I also like the off road capability of the Trailhawk and availability of a V6, both are very unique in the segment. However, the cargo space is uncompetitive (this is an SUV after all), and your Trailhawk took 8 seconds to hit 60 with a 270 hp V6 under the hood. Very underwhelming considering what a V6 RAV4 was capable of.

  • elgac elgac Posts:

    > @darthbimmer said: The Trailhawk package is, to me, the one reason to pick the Cherokee. It's unique within the class. I completely agree with you. I do think Jeep did a good job with the interior, but the Trailhawk is the only way to go, otherwise you just blend in with the incredibly boring, albeit useful, crowd.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    Completely get the decision to forgo the Trailhawk. By the same token, I've been shocked how many Trailhawk Cherokees I've seen on the road. It must be good dealer upselling or maybe the Trailhawk falls into a certain price point sweet spot in the market, because, as you point out, the Trailhawk's capabilities really aren't critical to most. I guess the styling flourishes of the Trailhawk may help too. Also, it will be interesting to see how you compare this car to the CX-5 and CR-V that have been in the long term fleet. Jeep is clearly aiming for the heart of the small CUV market and those are two great examples. The Jeep however offers better off road capability at the expense of a degree of utility and cargo room. I think it's silly to make big deals over a couple cubic feet of cargo room difference from one CUV to the next but the Cherokee's cargo area is significantly smaller with a much higher load height than the rest of the cars in it's segment.

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    Does anyone else hate the headlights on these?

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    @legacygt-- I see your point, and I'll amend what I said above to @bassracerx. It makes sense for an automotive publication doing a comparison to sample one of the Cherokee's lower trim levels. That makes it more of an apples-to-apples comparison against segment leaders to determine if the Cherokee is worthy as a basic CUV. It's just that _as a buyer_ I would likely only go to the Cherokee for what sets it apart from the pack, which is the 4x4 hardware in the Trailhawk version.

  • rsholland rsholland Posts:

    I would have preferred a Trailhawk, as that is the only Cherokee that has my interest. Still, this Limited should give one a pretty good idea as to what it's like to live with this (radically) all-new CUV/SUV. What concerns most is it going to be reliable?

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