2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Nevada Road Trip, Part 3
February 16, 2015
I love dogs. If I had room in my life for one, it'd be a no-brainer. Scott's dogs, Archie and Dudley, are exceptionally cool and they proved it on our Nevada road trip. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited, on the other hand, was adequate but not all that praiseworthy as a hauler of larger dogs, but perhaps not for the reasons that you'd assume.
In terms of dog space, piling stuff behind the driver's seat to fill the footwell helped matters. This created a bit of a seat cushion extension. Had we not been so pressed for space, one of these seat extenders would've been ideal. While I can't speak for Archie or Dudley, I think they managed just fine. They were large enough that they could easily look out of the windows. They were large enough, actually, to sit at the same height as a human. This had its own issues, though.
Dudley quite enjoyed putting his head right between the driver's headrest and the roof pillar. His panting spread a most pungent odor right past the side of my head. After a few hours, I made peace with this, but I would never say I'd become acclimated. Seriously, how could you get mad at a face like that?
The more significant issue was also related to ventilation. John bought some cheap beef jerky at a fuel stop. So cheap, in fact, that none of us were all that interested in eating it. Then he had the horrible idea of giving it to the dogs. To quote Han Solo, "what an incredible smell you've discovered!" It was surprising how quickly the dogs "processed" the jerky.
It was at this very moment I wished the rear window could have been opened. We could have opened the front windows to produce a front-to-back airflow. But no. No. Opening all four windows instead created a vortex of stomach-churning odors. Like most things I find hilarious, this was also horrifying. The good news is, the strong chemical stench that once permeated the Cherokee's cabin is gone. It's been neutralized by a more...organic force.
Back to relating the Cherokee to real-world dog compatibility, I think we managed to get by at the Jeep's interior space limit just fine. It would have been understandably more comfortable if we had one fewer dog or one fewer human. Then again, it probably wouldn't have been as much fun.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 11,597 Miles