Read the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4's long-term updates.
What We Got
Compact SUVs are among the most popular vehicles sold in America today. Their utility and efficiency, combined with better visibility than midsize sedans, makes them wildly appealing. It's a market that lies directly in the crosshairs of Jeep's latest Cherokee.
We spent 12 months testing a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 to see if the new crossover could live up to its namesake while meeting the demands of a highly competitive segment. The Limited is the second highest trim, topped only by the off-road-focused Trailhawk. While the Trailhawk might have provided a more Jeep-like experience, we ordered the Limited model, as it better represents what most buyers will choose. The base Cherokee Sport starts at $22,995, and opting for the Limited trim brings the price up to $28,095.
Selecting the 3.2-liter V6 ($1,495) over the base 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder provided much better drivability and didn't result in a huge hit to fuel economy. Jeep's passive Active Drive I ($2,000) four-wheel-drive system was a must-have for all-weather and all-terrain use. Active Drive II adds low-range gearing but for an extra $995, and was unnecessary for the way we planned to use the Cherokee. The Technology Group package ($2,155), navigation/HD radio ($795) and a nine-speaker audio system ($395) gave us the modern infotainment features.
With the $995 destination charge, our Cherokee stickered at $35,930.
"Push the lever forward for 5th. The gear indicator on the instrument panel changes from 6th to 5th, but nothing seems to happen. Push forward to try 4th. Again, it indicates 4th but there's still no change in revs. Third gear: still nothing. It's like it's freewheeling. It took a downshift to 2nd gear for there to be a noticeable change in revs and some level of engine braking." — Mike Monticello
"Jeep/Chrysler wanted a smooth and refined action to throttle inputs. In this pursuit they damped the throttle so heavily that small inputs made by your foot result in no forward progress whatsoever. Give it a little more pedal and it responds, but it takes its sweet time doing so. This is annoying. Smooth, sure, but annoying." — Jason Kavanagh
"This is not an overtly athletic crossover SUV. It's nothing like our old Mazda CX-5 in personality. Yet the Cherokee is likable in a different way, and the effortless torque has a lot to do with it. Even compared with the powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines in this class, the V6 is just impressive because it makes for such a relaxed driving experience. Merging and passing requires so little work. It's like the old days." — Erin Riches
"I also like the V6 engine's power, of course. If you're a recovering previous-generation Toyota RAV4 V6 owner, this should be your next vehicle. Mind you, our Jeep is never going to average 25 mpg like our 2012 Honda CR-V and 2014 Mazda CX-5 did, but 22 mpg is a pretty solid average for a vehicle able to move out so decisively in traffic." — Erin Riches
"It took 14.341 gallons to fill the tank, which worked out to 28.7 mpg. Our Jeep Cherokee V6 4x4 carries an EPA highway rating of 27 mpg. The interstate speed limits along my route ranged between 70 and 75 mph, and Ash Fork stands about a mile higher than my starting point in Orange County, California. Color me impressed." — Dan Edmunds
"Whereas the CX-5 is pointy and crisp, the Cherokee is plush and refined. Its ride quality is very good, and not mushy. Absorbent. It picks up its feet over bumps and the steering is geared and weighted appropriately, too. The Cherokee's noise isolation is also quite effective. It feels refined. Long trips like mine are no problem at all for the Jeep. Its seat remained comfortable even after five hours in the saddle. This Jeep Cherokee SUV/wagon/thing doesn't smack you over the head with its goodness. It just is." — Jason Kavanagh
"I absolutely love the front seats in our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. Every time I get in, it's like settling into a comfy leather armchair. There's just the right amount of padding and support in the seat bottom. It's soft but not squishy, firm but not stiff. The combination of rich brown leathers doesn't hurt the effect, either." — Kelly Hellwig
"The underfloor storage in our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited keeps small items, like athletic shoes and my 1981 issue of Street Freaks, from ping-ponging around the vehicle's vast expanse of cargo space. Smartly, its four bins vary in size and shape, and they're just deep enough to be truly useful. Access is also well thought out. Jeep engineered a hook-and-tether system so you can quickly suspend the 'floor' from the tailgate jamb, which allows you to use both hands for loading and unloading your items. It's a simple solution, and it could not be easier to use." — Scott Oldham
"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 backseat." — James Riswick
"As you can see, the instrument cluster uses classic analog gauges separated by a digital screen for all the new stuff. You get the basics at a glance with the option of adding whatever information you want to the center screen. Or you can have nothing at all, like a classic Jeep. It's the best way I've seen of bridging the gap between displaying basic info and more complex information like adaptive cruise control settings and auxiliary engine info." — Ed Hellwig
"'Why's this wood panel here?' Megan asked. It was the first thing she noticed when she sat in the passenger seat of our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. 'It isn't even real wood. Is it supposed to match the brown door panel or something?' 'You're right. This thing feels cheap,' I said. 'But otherwise, it's pretty nice in here, right?' Though neither of us initially thought this piece was real wood, it turns out that it is." — Travis Langness
Audio and Technology
"I headed home a few nights ago for the first time in our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. Tried pairing my phone when I jumped in but was met with the above note telling me that the 'Hands-free system is loading. Please wait.' So I waited. And waited. And waited. It became clear after several minutes that the problem wasn't fixing itself. I cycled the ignition several times thinking that would do it. Nope. The notice persisted all the way home. And into the next day." — Josh Jacquot
"Our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited is a great example of how to blend old and new technology in a way that's easy to use. It not only has one of the better user interface setups for its touchscreen, it also has a handful of physical knobs and buttons for the stuff you use most often. The volume and tuning knobs for the radio are big and easy to find without needing to look at them, which is always a big plus. Same goes for the fan knob in the middle. Finding the temperature buttons takes a little getting used to, but eventually you can find them without glancing down, too. For more advanced features you can go to the touchscreen menu." — Ed Hellwig
"Sam stopped in every 20 minutes or so with updates. It was frequent enough to make me feel like I wasn't forgotten. Even when the news was bad, 'My technician called in late for work this morning,' she delivered it in a pleasant manner. The final check-in came at the three-hour mark. She explained, 'My tech determined that an internal failure was causing the problem. I will order a replacement radio and call you when it arrives.'" — Mike Schmidt
"Another radio was ordered.... Two days and a weekend passed before parts arrived. Installation was same-day. This ranks as one of the stranger service experiences I've seen. I don't know if the blame rests with the dealer and our advisor or with another arm of the company, but there was a lack of communication some place. The end result was a delay in our repair of nearly two weeks. That is unacceptable." — Mike Schmidt
"The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited isn't for everybody, but what it offers that the Honda CR-Vs and Toyota RAV4s of this world do not is the sort of personality that comes from about seven decades of heritage. Now, some could certainly question how much of that heritage applies to a Fiat-based crossover with standard front-wheel drive that looks like nothing that's come before it." — James Riswick
"Personally, I wish Jeep had reserved 'Cherokee' for another time, another product, a sub-$30,000 budget Grand Cherokee that would fill the slot above the new version and even fill a void soon to be left by the FJ Cruiser's departure. A bit of an X3-to-X1 or C-Class-to-CLA-Class strategy. And before you say that the new Cherokee IS a budget Grand Cherokee, no, no it's not. It's a Fiat Dart with higher ground clearance and decent off-road ability. But it's not a Grand Jr." — Dan Frio
Maintenance & Repairs
The Cherokee required routine maintenance at 10,000-mile intervals, though the owner's manual notes that this is the maximum distance between service. If the car is being used in what Jeep refers to as "severe operating conditions," the Cherokee might display a maintenance alert as soon as 3,500 miles after the previous service. These conditions include driving in a dusty or dirty climate, in extreme hot or cold or while towing a trailer.
We brought the Cherokee in twice for scheduled maintenance, once for an oil and filter change at just under 10K miles and a second time at 13K miles for the 10K-mile service. Our total out-of-pocket cost for these services was $120.
The Cherokee was subject to a single recall during our test. It was a software update to the airbag deployment system. This update was performed when we had the radio replaced after we suffered issues with the Bluetooth. The Bluetooth debacle involved multiple trips to the dealer and took the Cherokee out of service for two days. The radio was eventually replaced under warranty after two weeks of delays while the dealer and the manufacturer sorted out the problem.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates for the Cherokee are 22 combined (19 city/27 highway). We averaged 22.5 mpg over 22,329 miles. Our best tank was 35.5 mpg and the farthest we traveled on one tank was 438.1 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
The MSRP on the Cherokee was $35,930. After testing the Jeep for one year and 22,329 miles, the Edmunds TMV® Calculator valued the SUV at $25,857 based on a private-party sale. That equates to a substantial 27 percent depreciation, more than the 18 percent depreciation of our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V or the 15 percent of our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5.
Pros: Comfortable seats. Smooth, refined ride. Quiet, well-appointed interior. Strong engine. Above-average off-road prowess. Affordable regular maintenance.
Cons: Cargo capacity doesn't match its competitors. Slow powertrain response in some situations. Polarizing appearance. Troublesome dealer experience. Subpar resale value.
A strong engine and four-wheel-drive system make the Cherokee the off-roader's choice in the class, though it might not please fans of the original. On-road manners don't suffer despite the Jeep's rugged nature. Cargo space lags behind the competition.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$120 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Radio replacement, airbag software update|
|Non-Warranty Repairs:||$759 for a new windshield|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Days Out of Service:||2|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||35.5 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||12.8 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||22.5 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$25,857 (private-party sale)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||22,329 miles|
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.