June 29, 2015
I always enjoy my time in Moab, Utah, but I look forward the road trip to and from the place just as much. But I never like to retrace my steps if I don't have to, so I plotted out a return route that stayed north of the Colorado River.
It could have been 100 percent interstate, but that's rarely very scenic. Besides, I'd been that way before when Kurt and I passed through these parts during our 2012 Tesla Model S coast-to-coast road trip.
So I dipped off the freeway as soon as I could and put the 2014 Jeep Cherokee on a lurching path that zig-zagged south and west through tiny Utah towns such as Hanksville, Escalante and Tropic, before fueling up and regaining the interstate in Cedar City.
June 23, 2015
My trip to Moab, Utah in our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 was business-related. What kind of business?
The best kind.
Jeep invited me to participate in an overnight off-road excursion in a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, the Trail-Rated version that's more off-road focused than our Limited equipped with the basic Active Drive I four-wheel drive system. The off-road differences between the two are far more significant than red tow hooks and fender flares.
June 17, 2015
If you don't know Moab, you ought to school yourself. It's a wonderland of rock, the sort of place they might reject as too over-the-top if they ever decided to make a live-action Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner movie. Two stunning national parks — Arches and Canyonlands — are ridiculously close by, and a few more are in the neighborhood.
Every time I go there, I want to sign up for a geology course when I get home.
Business took me there this time. I could have flown. I should have flown if I'd been thinking straight. But I'll never turn away from a road trip, especially in this part of the country. For reasons that will become clear soon enough, I decided to give the job to our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4.
June 10, 2015
While 1,000 miles isn't exactly a long-distance record, that's how far I drove last weekend in our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. My brother and I visited family in Northern California, but we had a small window of time to get there and back.
West Los Angeles to Nevada City is a little shy of 500 miles and, with a small detour to pick up my brother, I easily added 1,000 miles to the Cherokee's odometer. Not a bad way to get acquainted with this five-passenger crossover.
June 4, 2015
Risue Canyon Road (Forest Road #050) is 16.5 miles long and runs through the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. My plan was to get to one of the primitive campgrounds at the tail end of the trail before dark. In no way is this trail the Rubicon, so I felt confident in anything AWD/4WD, with no need for a 4-inch lift, lockers, or 35-inch tires.
I was having a great time. The Cherokee was a blast and soaked up the bumpies with ease.
June 1, 2015
I recently took our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited on an extended road trip north along the Eastern Sierras. I soaked up most of the miles with the help of satellite radio, Chex Mix, and my dog, Fritz. The Cherokee is comfortable, quiet, and loaded with tech that really helps melt away the miles.
I'm an avid camper, and the plan was to have a couple days to myself before meeting up with the rest of the crew for Memorial Day weekend. I had my Eastern Sierras Off-Road trail book in hand, earmarked with many different off-tarmac byways. No particular plan in mind, just miles and time to kill.
May 11, 2015
Though it crossed the 15,000-mile barrier this month, our 2014 Jeep Cherokee didn't stray far from home, accumulating just 1,054 new miles. That's an improvement over the 627 miles amassed last month, but we'll need to pick up the pace if the Cherokee is to reach 20,000 miles in its final 10 weeks with us.
No new records for best fill or best range were set this month, and our Cherokee's lifetime average fuel consumption remained unchanged at 21.5 mpg.
The Cherokee V6 4x4 earns an EPA combined rating of 22 mpg, which means our Cherokee Limited is hitting its marks with 15,501 miles under its belt.
The stats break down like this:
May 7, 2015
The Jeep Cherokee is unique in the compact SUV segment because it's available in three distinct 4-wheel drive, tire and suspension combinations.
Our Cherokee Limited 4x4 sits at the lower end of the Jeep off-road spectrum with the so-called Active Drive I four-wheel-drive system and 225/60R18 tires. Sport and Latitude 4x4s with the AD I system get 17-inch tires and wheels with the same rolling diameter. All of them ride on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, stand 66.2 inches tall and have 7.1 inches of ground clearance.
Step up to the optional Active Drive II system when you buy a Latitude or Limited and you'll get a class-exclusive, low-range transfer case that enables superior low-speed crawling. It also provides a neutral position for flat-towing your Cherokee behind a motorhome.
Moreover, you'll get a significant 1.1-inch suspension lift that hikes ground clearance to 8.2 inches and raises the roof to 67.3 inches. Jeep engineers had to devise longer rear trailing arms to maintain the desired rear suspension geometry, which is why the wheelbase of an AD II-equipped Cherokee is somewhat longer at 107.0-inches.
The Trail-Rated Trailhawk has what Jeep calls Active Drive Lock, which is the AD II system with low range, plus a lockable rear differential. The 1.1-inch lift is standard here, of course, but the addition of taller P245/65R17 off-road tires produces an additional half-inch boost to ground clearance (8.7 inches) and overall height (67.8 inches).
I wondered what all of this would mean for Ramp Travel Index, otherwise known as RTI. I measured a Cherokee Trailhawk some months ago, but never got around to measuring our long-term test vehicle on our 20-degree RTI ramp until late last week.
February 17, 2015
Most of our trip into the not-so-wilds of Nevada had our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited on well-groomed dirt roads. The roads were so civilized, that we never saw the need to switch into any of the off-road drive modes. That was, until one of the locals told us that we should check out an area up in the hills.
January 14, 2015
Though we made it to Bend, Oregon, free and clear with no inclement weather to challenge the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited, that quickly changed. First, we drove the half hour or so up to the ski resort area of Mt. Bachelor, traversing the curving Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway to get there, the latter 20 percent of which was caked in a thin layer of snow. Even with all-season tires, we plowed through without issue. A day later, things got even more interesting.
December 25, 2014
When I'm not installing car seats, I occasionally allow myself to enjoy the act of driving itself. And if you're going to drive around in a small, relatively affordable crossover SUV, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited is one of the best ones out there.
The last time I drove the new-generation Cherokee, it was in a much earlier state of development. The engineers were still working on the nine-speed automatic transmission calibration, plus I was driving around Moab, Utah, which is at 4,000 feet.
Yet, our long-termer feels very much like the V6-equipped Trailhawk models I drove last year.
October 17, 2014
When I heard that the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited has a nine-speed automatic transmission, I thought, this is getting ridiculous. What's next, a 47-speed automatic transmission? Does it really help with fuel efficiency and ride comfort? Does it ever even get up to 8th and 9th gear?
September 22, 2014
I may be the first one to take our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited in the dirt, but I say that with some qualification. This wasn't a core wheeling excursion by any means, but only a chance to see how this Dart-ish thing that calls itself a Cherokee would feel on loose terra.
I drove out to the Holy Jim trailhead in Trabuco Canyon, a part of the Cleveland National Forest that divides Orange and Riverside counties. The trailhead is less than 5 miles from the paved two-lane that cuts through the canyon, and the first two miles of that is just washboard gravel track. Once you hit the boundary of the national forest though, the road narrows, the ruts deepen and gnarly jagged rocks litter the primary driving line.
September 18, 2014
There are other things about its powertrain calibration I find suboptimal, too.
August 28, 2014
For understandable reasons, the majority of small crossovers on the market come with four-cylinder engines. But there are shoppers out there who desire more. Fortunately for them, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee offers a V6 engine as an upgrade.
August 26, 2014
Ah, the test track. The perfect place to observe a Jeep Cherokee in its natural habitat.
Well, not really. We aren't going to be tearing down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca in our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited anytime soon (we'll leave that to the Corvette). However, subjecting it to our standard performance testing procedure does give us a chance to safely see what its limits are. Here's what we discovered when we put our newest crossover through its paces.
August 22, 2014
One of the new-fangled features on our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited is its adaptive cruise control system. It comes as part of the optional Technology package. Like most other systems of its kind, it keeps a set distance between you and the car you're following, and it will bring the car to a stop if necessary. I've used the Cherokee's system on many occasions and it's one of the better systems on the market.
August 20, 2014
Our new 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-termer has a nine-speed automatic transmission. It has manual-shifting ability with the console shift lever, and it's even in my preferred layout of push-forward to downshift.
It doesn't blip the throttle, but that's not a huge deal. In general this is a good transmission, with pretty smooth shifts, both up and down.
What I'm finding strange, though, is that it doesn't provide much in the way of engine braking.
August 14, 2014
I know. I'm not fooling anyone. The vehicle under the photo-shopped tarp is a Geo Tracker, not a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. But the question is a good one nonetheless. Can you tow a 2014 Jeep Cherokee behind a motorhome?
After all, the new Cherokee is a great vehicle for the RV crowd. It's light and easy to tow. It's not terribly expensive. It's comfortable to drive. It's not a total gas hog. And certain versions (I'm looking at you, Trailhawk) are surprisingly capable when it comes to off-road exploring near the campsite.
A trailer will work, obviously. But four-down "dinghy" towing is the Holy Grail here. It's the preferred method for those who spend a lot of time in their motorhomes. Trailers are a pain in the you-know-what and your typical two-wheeled tow dolly isn't much better.
So can you pull a 2014 Jeep Cherokee behind your motorhome?