2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: The Case for Buying a Cherokee
September 19, 2014
A few days ago some neighbors of mine wanted to check out our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited I had parked in my driveway. As I was showing them the Cherokee and walking them through its various features, I realized this was a good opportunity for me to really sum up the Cherokee's strengths and weaknesses. In the end, I came away convinced that Jeep's got a solid crossover SUV on its hands.
Shopping for a new vehicle these days isn't so much about finding a "good" or "bad" one but finding the right kind of vehicle that matches your needs and wants.
The couple, Liz and Dillon, both own Mini Coopers. Liz wants to replace her Cooper S hardtop with something more substantial. They're in their early 30s and don't plan on having any kids. But they do own dogs and they're frequently traveling out of town or going hiking on the weekends.
For Liz, I think the Cherokee could be pretty ideal. The main reason, which is I suppose is fairly obvious, is the Jeep's enhanced off-road ability. You get a decent amount of ground clearance with every Cherokee, and you can further complement it with the optional four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and/or the Trailhawk trim level that comes with additional off-road oriented enhancements. Granted, most of the time she's just commuting around town to work, but on weekends a Cherokee would give them some extra capabilities that wouldn't necessarily be available from other small crossovers.
This capability doesn't have a negative effect on daily driving either. As we've learned from our long-term vehicle, the 2104 Jeep Cherokee rides very smoothly and is impressively quiet on the highway. Other advantages include the excellent 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, the high amount of available safety features and the Cherokee's distinctive front-end styling that helps it stand out from all the other dozens of crossover models on the road. Liz was impressed with all of these qualities.
I did tell them about the downsides, though. I think the Cherokee needs the V6 engine to be at its best. Of course, getting the V6 is pretty cool for the quick acceleration it provides. But if fuel economy is a priority, then you're stuck going with the Cherokee's underwhelming four-cylinder engine. And the reality is that most shoppers go with a four-cylinder model for a small crossover.
I made two other points: 1) The Cherokee is down on luggage and cargo capacity compared to roomier rivals (even though back seat space and comfort are competitive); and 2) Jeep doesn't enjoy as high of a reputation for reliability and resale as some other brands (e.g., Honda and Toyota). As it's still a relatively new model, it might give some people pause if they're planning to own for a long time.
Yet for Dillon and Liz, and really a lot of small crossover SUV shoppers, the Cherokee could work out quite well. They didn't think the smaller cargo area would be a big deal, and the V6 is a good match for their sporty leanings. I even showed them some of the shopping, pricing (Price Promise) and local inventory features for the Cherokee on the latest version of the Edmunds mobile app.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor