2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Child Safety Seat Install
September 12, 2014
I have two small children and I'm often wrangling their child safety seats in and out of Edmunds.com's test vehicles. As the small crossover SUV segment is a popular choice for families, I decided to see how well my child safety seats fit in our new long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
As is the case with most vehicles, fitting my seven-year-old's Recaro booster seat was easy. The seatbelt buckles for the outboard positions are spaced far enough apart so that there's enough room for a child to easily buckle and unbuckle the belt herself without having the booster seat interfere.
More of a challenge is installing bulky front-facing and rear-facing child safety seats. In my first photo you can see my three-year-old's Britax Marathon reversible seat installed in its front-facing position. I was again pleased with the results.
First off, the Cherokee's seat cushions are pretty flat, so I was able to position the Britax safety seat properly without having to futz around with folded up towels. (I usually do put down a towel to protect the upholstery, but for the sake of the photo I didn't use it here.)
Installing a front-facing seat almost always requires the removal of the rear seat head restraint in order to get a proper fitment against the seatback. The Cherokee's head restraints do have latches on both seat inlets that you have to press in order to fully release the head restraint, but it wasn't terribly difficult to do this.
One useful aspect about the Cherokee is that the rear seats recline, so this should make it even easier to get the right seatback angle for your child's safety seat.
The Cherokee's LATCH anchors are exposed, making them easy to find. They are mounted close to the seat bottom, though, so if you're trying to connect a safety seat's LATCH connector that is upside down (the bigger end on the bottom) it's going to be harder to do. My Britax seat is that way when used in its forward-facing position, but I eventually got them to connect.
Then, of course, the true test: the rear-facing position. This is used for younger children, and dedicated infant seats install this way, too. The Cherokee's relatively flat seat cushion was again a bonus here. I didn't have to do much with a towel to get the safety seat at a proper angle.
The Cherokee also has a suitable amount of space with its seats slid as far back as possible to fit a rear-facing seat. I had the driver seat positioned for me — I'm 5-feet 10-inches tall — and there was still about 1 inch of clearance left between the safety seat and the back of the driver seat. That's not a huge amount, but I suspect most parents won't need to adjust the front seats much to accommodate rear-facing safety seats.
My usual disclaimer applies in that I only checked the outboard seating positions and your results will vary based on the child safety seats you have. But overall the Cherokee should please family buyers with safety seats to install.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,132 miles