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.
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