2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Road Trip Cargo Space
January 15, 2015
When you buy a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited instead of a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester or indeed most other "compact" SUVs, you should do so with the knowledge that it does not possess the same amount of cargo space. A major culprit for this deficiency is its higher load floor created by the large spare tire and the need for a taller departure angle. This is what you call a trade-off for the Cherokee's requisite Jeepness, but how useful is the existing space?
When loading up the Cherokee for our Oregon road trip, it became clear that it isn't the cargo hauler its competitors are. We really didn't have that much stuff, but the Cherokee quickly filled up. The large, roll-type cargo cover was immediately removed, destined to remain in Los Angeles, as we needed that extra inch or so of cargo height between its bottom and the top of the back seat.
Since we didn't need that back seat for passengers, it was pulled all the way forward, which is a nice, versatile feature that most competitors do not offer (the Chevy Equinox does, the CR-V used to). Not only did it provide a few inches of much-needed extra trunk space and a handy gap between the trunk floor and seat back for securing a few grocery bags (that can be accessed by flipping the seat back forward), but we could have kept our dogs nice and close to us had we chosen to bring them along.
I suppose this could be good for a child seat too, well, as long as they've gotten that whole kicking your seat thing out of their system. At the same time, I wonder how adding a child to the road trip equation would have stretched the Cherokee's cargo capacity. Adding whatever strollers, toys or whatever to our pair of suitcases, large shopping bag of winter coats, two bags of groceries and one duffel bag of extraneous items would've been difficult.
So for a pair of DINKs and potentially their dogs, the Cherokee proved to be sufficient for a winter road trip and indeed well suited for our cargo needs. For a family with human youngsters, however, you'd probably be filling it to the absolute brim in winter. It would be better in the summer sans bulky coats, but an SUV with a bigger cargo hold may still be a better call.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,390 miles