Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 4X4 test drive review. I'm starting to get it

We took BHo to basketball practice last week, and it was one of those deals where the gym was locked and we had to wait for someone to bring the key.  It was really cold out, so everyone was still sitting in their cars.  There are twenty-one fourth-grade boy basketball players at BHo’s school, and every one of them was sitting in some kind of SUV or crossover vehicle.  Every.  Single.  One.  Of.  Them.  Normally, BHo would have been the exception; but not this time.  We had access to a 2014 Jeep Cherokee.  And while I’ve never considered myself an SUV guy, per se, I am starting to see why so many people are.

Although the Cherokee name is familiar to most people, this is an all-new entry for Jeep, meant to replace the aging Liberty in their lineup.  It is a completely different, smaller vehicle than the Grand Cherokee.  Think Chevy Equinox, Toyota RAV-4, or Ford Escape to give you an idea on the size here.  It also shares some of its underpinnings with the Dodge Dart, which explains the long nose/short back proportions.  The test vehicle was a four-wheel-drive Limited, and it actually turned out to be the perfect vehicle for my purposes at just the right time.

Jeeps are known for their off-road capabilities, and I’m sure this one would do just fine where the pavement ends.  They also offer a Trailhawk option if you want to get more serious about that.  But I think the strength of this particular model comes from its everyday versatility.  The little Jeep rode and drove well when the sun was shining, and it was a complete snow animal when the world turned white.  In fact, there is a knob with a “Snow” setting, and while everyone else was spinning their wheels, I thought I was invincible driving the Cherokee.  You really feel safe and confident in all driving conditions.

The interior was also quite nice.  If you still remember Cherokees from the 1980s, you know those cabins could be stark places.  Not so here.  Of course, being a Limited, this one had all the bells and whistles.  The blue-and-brown leather seats were attractive and supportive.  The large 8.4-inch touch screen had everything you could ever want out of a high-end modern car.  And it had a variety of cubbies and storage bins to hide your valuables.  It also had a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, although I always wanted it to be lower and farther back than its adjustments would allow.

Gadgets—oh yes, it had them.  Some were better than others.  It got to -6 degrees on Monday morning, so the remote start with heated seat and steering wheel was fantastic.  The power rear lift gate was very handy for loading up folding chairs, groceries, and basketball equipment.  On the other hand, the backup camera seemed to think that our tire planter, the trashcan, and seams in the pavement were all two-year-old children riding tricycles. It would very enthusiastically slam on the brakes at every opportunity.  That could be a good feature, but it needs to go to sensitivity training. 

This Cherokee was equipped with the top-of-the-line 3.2-liter, 271-hp V6 paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.  NINE SPEEDS.  The idea is that it should shift smoother and more seamlessly, and fuel mileage should be optimized.  That mileage is rated at 19-mpg/city, 27-mpg/highway, which seems acceptable for a four-wheel-drive SUV.  Smoothness depends on the driving conditions.  I had it during extreme cold temperatures, which probably didn’t help.  But I did notice a clunky hesitation occasionally upon takeoff.  Overall it was a fine, over-the-road powertrain that fit the comfortable, relaxed nature of the Cherokee.

The window sticker on my 2014 Cherokee test vehicle was $37,425.  That’s not cheap, but it’s also not shocking considering the level of content.  It does make me think that the other parents at BHo’s school have better-paying jobs than I do.  At any rate, after driving it for two weeks, I can see why people are willing to shell-out that kind of jack on one.

I can’t think of a better vehicle for the cold, snowy conditions that we are dealing with here in Kansas City than the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited.  Check out the pictures below, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. I Like the JEEP vehicles, Have had one for two and a haft years ....Terry

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